Once you’ve determined the goal of your content, the audience you’re trying to reach, and performed thorough keyword research, it’s time to optimize your content for SEO.
On-page SEO is no longer a matter of checking items off a checklist. There’s more complexity than ever when it comes to on-page SEO and it’s constantly changing.
On-Page SEO Best Practices
Here are some of the most effective on-page SEO best practices you can implement to help increase your page rankings on search engines.
Your website architecture will directly affect your URL structure. You should consider adding important keywords into your navigation where it makes sense for a number of reasons:
- Important keywords in the URL help indicate to users who may see your URL on social media or in an email as they hover on a link to click that they’re getting what they want and expect.
- URLs are also commonly used as anchor text when no anchor text is provided.
- Finally, URLs are one of the most prominent elements searchers consider when selecting which site to click on in the search results.
With that said, when it comes to including keywords in your URL structure, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You want to first make sure it makes sense to include the keyword and second, make sure you’re following best practice for an SEO friendly website architecture.
Besides your overall content, title tags are one of the most important items to optimize as Google looks at this first for an indication of page relevancy.
Every page of your website should have a title tag and every title tag should be unique. Best practice is to include any major keywords towards the front and keep the length to around 50-60 characters. It’s alright if you go over the 50-60 character limit as the end goal is to write a great title tag that converts and gets clicks, not to obsess over the length. There also has been recent news that Google is extending the length of title tags for mobile.
H1 Header Tags
H1 is a reference to an <H1> code and the visible header on your pages. Again, every page of your website should have only one H1 and it should be unique. To provide continuity from the search results to the landing page, you’ll want to try and include the same key phrase you included in your title tag into your H1. That’s not to say your title tag and your H1 need to be an exact match, but they shouldn’t be so dissimilar that they drive a user away in confusion.
Image Optimization/Alt Text
Any time you have an image on your website Google can’t read it, as search engines can only read text. The best thing to do is to include alt text on every single image on your site. By doing this, your image has an opportunity to show up in an image search result. You can try to weave in a target keyword or your brand/product name if it makes sense, but don’t force it. Alt text should just be a simple description of what the image is.
In addition to crawling your title tags, H1’s, and alt text, it should be no surprise that Google and other search engines will be crawling the content on your pages. Google has evolved a lot over the years and has caught on to the days of blatantly stuffing your content with the same keyword over and over again so you can rank. Therefore, you want to take a holistic approach and focus more on the quality of the content you’re writing and its usefulness to a potential visitor. Try to have at least 300 words and mention your focus keywords about 2-5 times per page. You should use your keywords interchangeably and organically.
Internal and External Links
Another part of SEO Best Practice is using internal linking. Not only is it good for SEO, but also from a usability standpoint, allowing users to easily navigate your website. You should try to use links in a natural way, typically including 2-5 interior links per 300 words.
Any time you mention something in your content and you have a whole other page that talks about that subject, you want to link to that page. Try to wrap the anchor text around words that tell you what you’re going to get. For example, “Learn More about X” is better than just “Learn More.”
As long as they’re trustworthy, relevant sites, there is also SEO benefit in linking to external sites and external sites linking to you.
This is just a short list of some SEO best practices you can implement to help increase your page rankings on search engines.
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