Search engine optimisation (SEO) is like a living organism. It’s constantly changing, evolving, and adapting to meet the current needs of internet users. People are changing the way they search for information, their preference for certain types of content, and the way they navigate it. Marketers need to be on their toes and tweak their SEO strategies to give users an enjoyable experience.
So, the question you may be asking yourself right now is how do you optimise a website today?
Let’s talk a bit about on-page Search Engine Optimisation.
On-page SEO refers to the elements within your website that you can modify in order to get the best search engine rankings. Besides making sure that the content you publish is relevant and high-quality, you can also improve the value of your meta descriptions, images, and HTML tags. Overall, on-page optimisation is also achieved by having a cohesive website that is evaluated as trustworthy and authoritative by search engines.
We will go through all the elements of on-page optimisation you should be focusing on for driving organic traffic and converting visits to revenue.
Why Is On-Page Optimisation Important?
When search engine crawlers evaluate your website, they use several parameters to measure how relevant your content is to internet users. Knowing what crawlers are looking for and how they measure your site’s value allows you to eliminate possible weak points and identify new opportunities to rank higher.
Make no mistake: optimisation is not about what search engines like. The main focus should be on real people and their questions, problems, and preferences. Adapting your company’s vision to understand how page ranking factors reflect your audience’s needs can help improve your marketing strategy.
A website with good on-page optimisation is going to meet the needs of their audience. And, because it’s relatable and shareable, it will gain more visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
How to Optimise Your Content?
Choosing the right keywords is one of the main on-page SEO factors, and it remains relevant together with other “traditional” SEO tactics, like link-building. What evolved in the use of keywords is how search engines look at them now. Thanks to machine learning technology, search engines are now capable of interpreting keywords and better match them to the search intent.
You will, of course, have to start with thorough keyword research. This task has been and still remains one of the pillars of good SEO, as it helps you match your content to what people are looking for. There are several tools you can use for your keyword research, from Google Keyword Planner to Moz Keywords Explorer, AHREFS Keyword Explorer, SECockpit, etc.
In the early days of SEO, keyword research meant identifying the top-ranking search queries and stuffing your content with them to push it higher in the SERPs. Maybe that was a thing in 2005, but now that simplistic approach would not only be ineffective but also penalised by Google.
The new approach to keyword research includes:
- Focusing on search phrases that are more similar to natural language (as people use voice search much more than in the past)
- You can optimise your content for related keywords that mean the same thing but are semantically different (because search engines now are able to understand synonyms)
- Answer the most commonly asked questions on the topic you are writing about to rank for Google’s featured snippet section. If you want to be featured as a featured snippet, then you must already rank in the SERP top page. SEO tools can easily identify the pages you are ranking on the top page for, and filter out the keywords that have a featured snippet.
Use your main keyword right at the beginning of your article or blog post. This will help search engines better figure out what your content is about. Include the main keyword in your title, subtitles, meta description, social media captions, and so on.
Avoid keyword stuffing and select only those phrases that are relevant to the content you publish. Coming up with creative, valuable keywords is important, too, but it doesn’t mean you have to cram them all together in one article. You can write several posts on a topic, using different keyword phrases, and use internal links to interconnect your content.
LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing keywords) are related terms that a search engine uses to better understand a page. You can find such terms if you input a certain keyword in the search box, then look at what other keywords the search engine suggests. Use LSI keywords instead of repeating the same keyword a dozen times in a content piece.
Be creative when choosing the subjects of your content. Be sure not to write only about your products or services, but approach more general topics as well. It’s a great idea to answer a specific need of your audience with a tutorial or 101 guides, and you can always link to a product page if it’s relevant to the subject you wrote about.
How to Optimise the Technical On-Page Parameters?
Besides optimising your content, you also have to make sure you are offering a good user experience to your visitors. Writing stellar content will be useless if your page takes too long to load or has other technical issues that make your visitors close the tab or press the “back” button.
You shouldn’t ignore the technical aspects of your on-page SEO, as they can really impact your rankings. Here are the top on-page technical elements to watch out for:
- Page loading speed: a slow website will put the visitor’s patience to the test, and there is not much of it in the first place. Users expect a page to load in a couple of seconds, on average. If your slow website makes them wait for too long, they will look for another source, and your website will make a poor impression. Improving your server response speed is very important in ranking higher and having a good ranking overall.
- Source code: the source code of a page is the language used by browsers to help them figure out how to display your website. It contains elements like HTML tags, internal linking, and anchor texts, which can be optimised for better rankings, as we will see below.
- IP addresses: choosing a dedicated or shared IP address can impact the SEO of your page, so choose your domain carefully.
How to Optimise Your Source Code Elements for SEO
As mentioned in the previous section of this guide, optimising your source code will help browsers display your content exactly as you wish, but it also helps web crawlers better understand your content’s structure.
H1 Title Tags
Your title should be relevant to your users. Include the main keyword in your title, and make sure you have H1 title tags that tell search engine crawlers what they should be looking for. Wrap your title in the H1 title tag to help Google understand the structure of your page. The use of a good title tag will improve your click-through-rate.
H2 Subtitle Tag
The same principle applies to subtitles, which should be wrapped in H2 subtitle tags containing the main keyword of the sub-section of the content.
It’s never a good idea to let the meta description section blank. Even if Google will try to identify a relevant snippet of your content to show as a meta description, it might not be the ideal one. As you know your content best, you should take an extra minute to add the most relevant meta description for your web page.
Writing an engaging, attractive meta description that includes the most important keywords can help you rank higher, as users will find it easier to know what your blog post or article is about.
Image Alt Tags
Images should also be optimised for search engines. All your images should have a proper alt text description, which tells search engines and users what the image contains. Keep your alt text descriptions concise and relevant, inserting keywords when possible and natural.
Canonical tags are used to avoid duplicate content on your website, and they tell search engines which URL to display in the SERPs.
How to Optimise the Design of Your Website for SEO
Understanding the importance of your page’s design is also part of an effective SEO strategy. The design of your website is dedicated to the user, but website owners are often caught in between having a pleasant design for their users and having an SEO-friendly website for search engines.
- Improving your design for SEO includes several actions:
- Keeping your files and images to the smallest possible size, without compromising the quality of your design;
- Making your website mobile-friendly, as a very big part of your visitors come from mobile devices. Google has a very simple tool that you can use to assess if your web page is mobile-friendly;
- Creating a site structure that is user friendly, but also allows you to optimise for SEO by creating subcategories;
Web development and SEO should work with one another, not against each other.
Google’s E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness
The acronym E-A-T has been on SEO experts’ minds for a while, as it expresses a website’s value in the long-run. Paying attention to these indicators when creating your SEO strategy helps you make better decisions when it comes to what kind of content you publish.
Mastering SEO tactics and going deeper into the technical part of a website’s optimisation are great, admirable things. But losing focus on the value of your content will make the tools above irrelevant. Content marketing should focus both on search engines and customers.
When deciding on the topics you are covering and how you present them to your audience, do everything you can to show your value in your niche. Adding author boxes to your blog posts or articles, covering general subjects related to your industry, publishing tutorials or FAQ sections are all great ways of showing you really know what you’re doing.
Let’s say that you are running a website focused on Internet Marketing. Writing well-documented, accurate information is not enough to get you a high E-A-T score. Knowing what your audience really wants and writing your content in a form they will understand and relate to is just as important.
Content writing is not technical writing or journalism, even if your website and audience belong to a very specific niche. Good content is easy to read and navigate through, it offers relevant information and it’s structured effectively.
Using the Topic Cluster Model
The evolution of on-page SEO is currently shifting towards the topic cluster model. Many websites are implementing the new model as we speak, adapting to the changes in user behaviour and search engine algorithms.
When using topic clusters, you don’t focus on keywords, but on topics. Of course, keyword research is just as important, but doing it for each post separately will soon not be enough. If your website’s concept allows you to successfully implement topic clusters, you can already start thinking about it.
This SEO model uses a content structure concentrated on separate topics. Each topic has a pillar page, which is like a 101 guide on a certain topic, and cluster content, which goes in-depth, offering more details. The pillar page will link to the cluster content, and the cluster posts will link to the pillar page.
Combined with Google’s ability to find equivalent keywords and show results based on an idea rather than a specific phrase, the topic cluster model really is the next way of organising your content.
Are You Ready for Your On-Page Optimisation for SEO?
If you don’t have the time or expertise to make on-page improvements for your website, and you are ready to get more organic traffic and conversion rates, contact one of our digital marketing experts at Australian Internet Advertising and get a free proposal in a matter of hours.