What is on-page optimisation?
On-page optimisation is the process of improving individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. This involves optimising both the content and HTML source code of a page, as well as making technical improvements to improve user experience and search engine crawling.
Let’s start with search engines?
Search engines assess web pages in a different way than human visitors. Naturally, search engines cannot see the design of a page or what you have to offer provides real value to your visitors. So a search engine can only judge a web page from a ‘technical’ point of view.
With this mind here is my take on what are the most 10 top important on-site SEO factors.
In no particular order.
The importance of mobile optimisation for SEO
Mobile optimisation is a crucial aspect of SEO, especially given the increasing number of mobile users (who doesn’t have a mobile phone today). Mobile optimisation ensures that your website pages display correctly and are user-friendly on all mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This is important because Google and other search engines prioritise mobile-friendly websites in search results (mobile-first indexing), and without a doubt, mobile users are more likely to engage with websites that are easy to use and navigate on their mobile devices.
Mobile optimisation also improves the user experience, reducing bounce rates and improving the time users spend on your website. By prioritising mobile optimisation in your SEO strategy, you can improve your search engine visibility and drive more relevant traffic to your website.
To optimise your website for mobile devices, it’s important to use responsive design (web pages that look good on all devices), which automatically adjusts the layout of your website based on the device being used to view it. This ensures that your website is optimised for a variety of screen sizes, and provides a consistent user experience across all devices. It’s also important to reduce the size of your images and other media, which will improve page loading times on mobile devices and page speed is a ranking factor when it comes to Google.
By making sure your website is optimised for mobile devices, you can not only improve your SEO but also provide a better user experience for your mobile visitors, leading to increased engagement and potential conversions (revenue).
SEO-friendly URLs for better SEO
SEO-friendly URLs are an essential aspect of on-page search engine optimisation. URLs should be concise, descriptive, and contain relevant keywords that accurately reflect the content of the page. The URL should also be easy to read and remember, with a clear structure that indicates the hierarchy of the page. Using hyphens to separate words in the URL is also recommended, as this helps search engines understand the meaning of each word.
An SEO-friendly URL can improve your website’s search engine visibility, making it easier for users to find your website and understand the content of your pages. Additionally, an SEO-friendly URL can improve the user experience, leading to increased engagement and potential conversions.
Example: Avoid what we call in the SEO world ‘ugly’ URLs like omisido.com/p=555 or very long URLs like omisido.com/oh-my-god-omi-is-such-a-nice-guy-and-i-like-hanging-with-him. Remembering https://omisido.com/omisido/ is so much easier than https://omisido.com/?author=1, isn’t it?
Each page must have unique Page Title and Meta description.
It is crucial for every page on a website to have a unique page title and meta description. The page title is the main heading that appears at the top of a browser window and provides a brief and concise summary of the page’s content. It also plays a significant role in determining a page’s relevance and ranking in the search engine results (SERPs).
Similarly, the meta description is a brief summary that appears below the page title in search engine results and provides additional context to potential visitors. Ensuring that each page has a unique and descriptive title and meta description can improve a website’s search engine rankings, attract more visitors, and increase the chances of visitors clicking through to the website (increased CTR).
When it comes to crafting effective page titles and meta descriptions, it’s important to use relevant and targeted keywords that accurately reflect the content on the page. This will help Google understand what the page is about and ensure that it appears in search results for relevant queries. It’s also important to keep the titles and descriptions short and concise, while still providing enough information to entice visitors to click through to the page.
Taking the time to create unique and compelling titles and descriptions for each page on a website can have a significant impact on its search engine performance, visitor engagement, and overall success.
Optimise your Header Tags for better SEO
Optimising your header tags is an essential part of on-page search engine optimisation (SEO). Header tags are used to structure your content and provide a hierarchy of information to search engines. The H1 tag is the most important, and it should be used to introduce the main topic of the page. I will recommend you use only one H1 tag per page (although HTML5 doesn’t mind having more than one H1 on the page), and this H1 should contain relevant keywords to help search engines truly understand the page’s content.
Additionally, using H2, and H3 (Google doesn’t really care about anything past H3) can help break up content and improve readability, making it easier for users to scan and engage with your content. By optimising your header tags, you can improve your website’s search engine visibility and user engagement.
In addition to using relevant keywords in your header tags, it’s important to keep them concise and descriptive. This will help both search engines and people visiting your website pages quickly understand what the page is about thus reducing the bounce. It’s also important to use header tags in a logical hierarchy that reflects the structure of the content on the page. This can help search engines better understand the relationships between different sections of your content and improve the relevance and authority of the page.
Overall, optimising your header tags is a simple but effective way to improve your website’s on-page SEO, attract more organic traffic, and improve the user experience for your visitors.
Outbound links to authority sites for better SEO
Including outbound links to authority sites in your website’s content can have a positive impact on your SEO. Outbound links to reputable and high-authority websites can help establish your website’s credibility and authority, showing search engines that you are providing valuable content to your visitors.
Linking to relevant and trustworthy sources also helps to increase the user’s trust in your website (and your brand) by providing additional resources for the visitor to learn more about the topic.
In addition, outbound links can help improve your website’s page authority, which can have a positive effect on your search engine rankings. By including outbound links to authority sites(the word ‘authority’ is important), you can improve the quality of your content and enhance your website’s overall SEO and UX.
However, it’s important to note that you should only include outbound links to relevant and high-quality sources. Linking to low-quality or irrelevant websites can harm your SEO, as search engines may view this as spammy or manipulative.
In addition, too many outbound links can distract users from your own content and make it more difficult for search engines to determine the focus of your page. When including outbound links, make sure they add value to your content and enhance the user experience.
By incorporating outbound links to authority sites in a strategic and thoughtful manner, you can improve your website’s overall SEO and provide your visitors with a more valuable and informative experience.
Duplicate content removal
The so-called “duplicate content penalty” can be described as a situation in which search engines, such as Google or Bing, penalise websites for having content that appears in multiple locations across the internet.
When multiple websites have identical or highly similar content, search engines may face difficulty in determining which version is the most authoritative and relevant to rank in the SERPs.
SEO always says something like ‘your website will be penalised for duplicate content’. However, it is important to note that strictly speaking there is no such thing as a ‘duplicate content penalty’. Whilst search engines do prefer unique and original content, they do not penalise websites for having duplicate content (you will never see a penalty notice in your Google Search Console account). Instead, they simply filter out or ignore pages with identical or highly similar content in their search results.
Therefore, having duplicate content on your website may not harm your search engine rankings, but it may reduce the visibility of your website’s pages hence the term ‘duplicate content penalty’.
Note: It is still important to create unique and original content to improve the user experience and increase the chances of search engines showing your pages in search results.
Boost your SEO by using Structured Markup
Using schema markup is a super effective way to enhance your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO). Schema markup is a code that is added to your website to assist search engines in better comprehending the content on your pages. It provides additional information about the structure of your website’s content, the types of content, and their relationships.
This extra information can aid search engines in better matching your website’s content with user queries and enhance the visibility of your website in the SERPs. By utilising schema markup, you can improve your website’s organic search engine traffic, boost click-through rates, and ultimately drive more traffic to your website [potentially resulting in more revenue.
Schema markup can also help your website appear in rich snippets in search results, which can provide users with additional information about your website’s content, such as ratings, reviews, and other details. This can make your website stand out in search results and improve your click-through rates, leading to more traffic and potentially more conversions.
To take advantage of schema markup, you can use tools such as Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper or hire a professional SEO expert to help you implement it on your website. Overall, incorporating schema markup into your SEO strategy can provide significant benefits and improve your website’s search engine visibility and user engagement.
Analyse your backlink profile
Analysing your backlink profile is a critical aspect of any successful SEO strategy. Backlinks are links from other websites that direct users to your website, and they are a key ranking factor (unconfirmed but supported by so many examples) used by search engines like Google to determine the authority and relevance of a website.
By analysing your backlink profile, you can gain valuable insights into the quantity, quality, and relevance of the backlinks pointing to your website. This information can help you identify areas for improvement, such as low-quality or irrelevant backlinks that could be hurting your rankings. It can also help you develop a more effective link-building strategy to improve your search engine visibility and drive more traffic to your website.
Not everybody is talking about the importance of internal linking when it comes to SEO, but on the scale from one to ten your internal linking profile should probably get eight. The explanation is very simple: if your internal links are broken, if the bot crawling your website sees a lot of 404’s and 500 response codes it will not be able to index your pages. Your website should provide clear paths for spiders and for that matter human visitors to navigate your website and understand your content and website structure.
Proper internal linking is the only way to distribute page authority and ranking authority throughout your website. So do it wisely.
Let me give you some of the points I usually give to my clients:
- First and most important – provide value for the visitor. Only use links that are natural to the reader.
- Second use ‘follow’ links. I know some SEO’s recommend using ‘nofollow’ links in order to increase the link juice to a single page. This is a strategy of the past. In my opinion, when it comes to internal linking the link value should follow to and from internal pages and the idea of stopping it at one point is never good.
- Last but not least try and find another relevant internal page rather than linking back to the Home page. Most home pages have lots of internal and external links pointing at them anyway so try and boost the PageRank of your internal pages.
SEO and semantic searches: the importance of relevancy
Search Engine Optimization has evolved significantly over the past 10 years, and one of the most important aspects of SEO in recent times is relevancy in response to people querying things in different ways, languages, and tones. With the advent of so-called semantic search (and machine learning), search engines are becoming way smarter and better able to understand the intent behind a user’s search queries. This means that search engines are better able to deliver relevant results to users, which in turn improves the user experience.
As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for websites to create content that is not only optimised for keywords but also provides value to users and is relevant to their search queries. In other words, as SEOs, we have to help Google in order for the Search Giant to bring more visitors to our website properties. By focusing on relevancy, websites can improve their SEO and attract more targeted traffic to their site.
To learn more about Semantic Search either read Google Semantic Search by David Amerland or visit The Google Semantic Search Community where David Amerland himself with the help of Teodora Petkova will bring your knowledge up to speed in no time.
Despite the numerous Google updates in recent years, the on-site SEO optimisation hasn’t changed much. It is still important and it still needs to be done. Yes, by all means ‘Content is King’ but even kings need to live in properly build castles and this is exactly what on-site SEO gives you. A properly build home for your content to live so it can attract and create more business for your company.
P.S. Elements that did not make it into my top 10 list but are still very important when it comes to on-site SEO optimisation: Server Speed, XML sitemap, custom 404 Page, Social Media Integration, CDN (Content Delivery Network) and last but not least page speed.