Understanding the Basics of On-Page SEO

Understanding the Basics of On-Page SEO

SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of ranking and positioning your website high on search engine results to achieve ‘organic’ or free traffic. SEO can drastically improve your online visibility and deliver a steady flow of targeted visitors to your website.

However, many different factors contribute to your overall ranking in a search engine. These can be divided into on-page and off-page components.

On-Page vs Off-Page

On-page factors refer to the elements on your website that you control. These include the quality of your code, content on your site, and structural changes that impact the overall user experience. On-page SEO is the foundation for your campaign and can help search engines determine what a website or page is all about.

On the other hand, off-page factors relate to promotion performed outside the boundaries of your website that improve your sites relevance, trustworthiness, popularity, and authority. Essentially, it determines what other people think of your website. Link building is the most popular off-page activity, although other factors such as social media marketing, and social bookmarking are also important.

On-Page SEO Tips

The SEO landscape is constantly changing, and there are hundreds of different factors to take into account. While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, here are some of the vital on-page elements you can focus on to start moving your site up the rankings.

Title Tag:

Your title tag is probably the most important on-page SEO factor. Title tags are clickable headlines that help provide context for visitors and help websites understand what your page is all about. Focus on incorporating your keyword into the title tag, and positioning it as close to the beginning as possible; although, be careful not to overdo it with keywords. It should read naturally and be relevant to the content. Keep your title tags between 50-60 characters for best results.

URL Structure:

URLs should reflect the hierarchy of your website and are used by search engines to determine the relevancy of a web page. Keep your URLs short and keyword-focused. As an example, www.example.com/seo/on-page-factors provides context for search engines and is much better than www.example.com/title/535343534.

Image Optimisation:

Engaging images can improve your bounce rate and provide a better user experience. But, don’t forget to optimise them! Large images can drastically reduce the load time of your page, while your image Alt Tag should include your target keyword.

Internal Linking

Internal links are crucial to your on-page SEO. They help search engine spiders crawl and index pages and understand the content of your entire site. It can also help improve individual page rankings by sharing ‘link juice’ among pages on your site. It’s important to make sure that you only include links if they are useful and relevant to both pages.

Website Speed and Mobile

Website speed is becoming more important to consider as Google places a higher emphasis on improving speed across the board. Site speed (and individual page speed) are part of Google’s ranking algorithm. Slow websites result in search engine spiders crawling fewer pages and negatively impact your sites overall ranking. Also, slow pages can affect the user-experience leading to higher bounce rates and lower conversions. Test your website on Google’s tool here, and take note of the suggestions for both desktop and mobile.

Don’t Forget the Content!

Above all, quality content always comes first! Without fresh, quality content there will be nothing to optimise. While you should include keywords (sparingly) and optimise the text for search engines, your content needs to provide value for visitors first and foremost. Make sure your content is unique, well-researched, and useful. Break it up into scannable sections using headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and always write for your readers, not search engines! Longer content tends to rank better too.

Get Your On-Page SEO Right

On-page SEO is critical to improving your rankings in search engines. While these are just a few of the techniques you could use, it’s important to use them together, and in conjunction with off-page SEO to achieve best results.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your on-page SEO, please get in touch with us here. We’d be happy to help!

About the Author

Sertan Djelal is head of online at Five Geckos Digital Marketing. He has worked as an online marketing consultant and strategist for over 14 years, having held positions both in-house as well as agency side, working with a variety of businesses and brands, supporting them to improve their online presence, web visibility & SEO.

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