On Page SEO Elements
On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) is the practice of optimizing web pages for specific keywords in order to improve search visibility and traffic.
Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness, or E-A-T for short, is a concept that Google uses to rank the quality of content on pages and websites.
For on-page SEO, this means that you need to convince Google that the information your website contains can be trusted as high-quality.
In general, Google wants to show users the highest quality and most trustworthy content at the top.
If you prove that you are an authority in your field and you are using your expertise to create high quality content, you will earn better rankings.
2. Title Tag
Every page on your website will have a bit of HTML code that is called the “title tag”. They act as the first signal to search engines and to users what the page is about. When someone performs a search, the clickable
link in the search results is pulled from the title tag you set for the page.
If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly in the SERPs.
3. Meta Description
The text that appears below the title tag in a search results page is called the meta description.
You have more characters to work with than a title tag, which you should use to elaborate on what the page is about. It's best to keep meta descriptions long enough that they're sufficiently descriptive, so we recommend descriptions between 50–160 characters.
The URL structure of a page is another small element that signals to search engines and users what it is about. It should be treated like the title tag: keep it short, and use the main keyword.
Here are two on page SEO examples of good and bad URL structure:
5. Heading Tags (H1, H2, H3 etc)
Heading tags are a bit of HTML code that helps search engines and users understand what content is on a page at a quick glance.
Each page should have one H1 tag, and H2 tags to outline the main categories of information on the page.
You want your headings to introduce what the next section of content is about. The more specific you get, the more specific the heading tags should be.
Let’s take that example of the men’s hiking boots page. Here’s how you could structure the content using subheadings:
H1 = Massage Services
H2 = Best Asian Massage
H3 = Massage in Napa
6. Alt tags (+ image optimization)
Alt tags are a bit of HTML code that helps search engines understand what pictures, videos and other media are on your page.
The issue is that while search engines can read and understand text, they are not yet able to read what is contained in an image or video.
So any time you include a piece of multimedia on your page, make sure you give it an alt tag. Treat it like a title tag for the specific piece of media.
For example, if your hiking boots page has an image of a pair of Salomon backpacking boots, you should set the alt tag to say alt=”Salomon backpacking boots”. That tag acts as text to tell Google what the image shows.
Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that keywords are important.
When you have multiple pages trying to rank for one target keyword, search engines aren’t sure which page is the best one to show to a user.
They all wind up competing with each other, and in the end they will collectively rank lower than having one page focusing on it.
8. SEO Content
All of the elements mentioned above are helpful, but in the end the most important on-page element that will affect your rankings is the content.
Content that is optimized for SEO should also:
- Be interesting and cover information that people actually want to read about
- Encourage engagement with readers so they interact with the page or click on other pages
- Be something that people want to link to and share on social media
- Be original – you should avoid duplicate content across your site
9. Internal linking
Another important on-page ranking factor is having internal links to other pages on your website.
Having internal links helps search engine crawlers find more related content to a page. This relevancy (using descriptive anchor texts) helps them better understand the general focus of your website.
They also help the real people who browse your website. When you have links to related content to provide more context or information on a topic, people are likely to click on them to learn more.
10. Page speed
Page speed has become a major ranking factor used by Google.
This is something they tie into the user experience. There are plenty of studies that show how page load and longer loading times leads to more people abandoning the page before it ever loads.
Another major ranking factor for a page is how friendly it is for people viewing it on their mobile devices. This is called “mobile-friendliness”.
There’s not much point in having great content if users are struggling to view it on their phones.
More than 50% of all online traffic is now done on phones. As a result, Google now indexes websites based on their mobile pages — not their desktop pages anymore.
12. User Engagement
We’ve touched on the importance of having users engage with your content elsewhere. Google uses behavioral data to see how engaged readers are with your pages. If they’re engaged, it tells Google that your content is high quality, interesting, and trustworthy to real people.
On the other hand, if it does not engage with your audience then Google will assume it’s low quality or not what users for a given search want to see. They will reduce the ranking of that page over time if it is not fixed.
Examples of engagement includes the following:
- Users click on another page to read more
- Users interact with a tool you created
- Users click to play a video
- Users stay on a page for a long period of time