If you’re operating a website or blog for business, you may have already heard of SEO optimization, but have you heard of on page optimization?
Keeping your website visible in search results is critical to attracting visitors. That’s where SEO comes in.
Tweaking your individual pages strategically for better traffic distribution across your domain, however, is a crucial part of any thoughtful SEO strategy.
And that’s where on-page optimization can make a big difference.
See, search engines like Google index and store millions of web pages, analyzing them for content that matches a user’s keywords. You can rank higher in search results if you understand the key ranking factors a search engine uses to rank your pages against competitors.
You can’t go wrong covering these key ranking factors listed below:
7 Critical On-Page Optimization Ranking Factors
- HTML Source Code
Very simply, HTML is the language used by computers to transmit and relay the information about your website, stored on a server. A search engine reads or ‘crawls’ the HTML coding on your website, which provides direction on how the page should be layed out, the colors to be used, images, text, as well as directions for where to find the required files. If the HTML coding is poorly written, search engines will find it difficult to crawl your website. Users will find the experience frustrating, and quickly leave to find a website that functions properly.
- Meta Description
A meta description is a short, 160-character description of your content, located in the HTML header code of your website. Referred to as a ‘snippet’, the meta description appears in search results and provides users with a summary of your page’s content, listed below the URL. If the description proves unappealing, misleading, or lacking in relevance, your content will get overlooked.
- Title Tags
Search engines read the title tag to determine the relevance of your content to keywords. The title tag appears in the HTML code, similar to the meta description.. If a user types a specific search query in the search engine, and the title tag of your blog article or website page uses the same keywords, your page is considered a relevant match. Utilizing keywords in your title tags is absolutely necessary to ensuring your content is appropriately matched.
- URL structure
Invalid extensions (ASL, HTML, PHP), special characters (%^~) or unrecognized characters can cause crawl errors that make your content inaccessible to users. The structure of your URL should be descriptive as well as hierarchical, for each page of your website or blog. In this example:
the URL is descriptive, making it easy to recognize in a search index. It’s also hierarchical, indicating the path to the blog article on homemade sauce, which can be found on the blog folder of the main domain. A search engine can easily identify the owner of the content, its location and its’ relevance.
- Website Copy
Search engines prefer unique content that is informative and well organized, supported with images and relevant anchor text that enriches the reader’s experience. Generic content that can be found on any of your competitor’s pages will make it difficult for you to stand out in search results.
Aim to make the content on your web pages original, informative, and always page-relevant. Utilize keywords discriminately so they appear naturally in the body of your text, but make sure they can be found in the title and URL of the page as well, for optimum rankings in search results. Research your competitors, and then go the extra mile!
- Image Alt Text
Including titles and descriptions with the images you use on your blog or website is a simple way to improve your ranking in search results. The ‘Alt Text’ provides search engines with a physical description of the contents of an image, which makes the image more SEO-friendly. As voice search becomes increasingly more common, including alt text descriptions will become even more crucial to on page optimization.
- Useful Links
Internal links, provided their useful to the reader, can really enhance a user’s experience, and keep you top of mind with search engines. Internal linking allows readers to travel directly to a subheading or section of your content they find relevant, instead of scrolling. Internal links are hyperlinks that direct a user to further details found on other pages of your website. Wikipedia offers several examples of pages that make extensive use of internal links, anchor text, and intrapage links to facilitate the reader’s experience. Your visitors will stay longer, reducing your bounce rate, and increasing your chances of converting more leads into subscribers or sales.