On-Page SEO Factors and its Optimization
In this article, you will learn on-page SEO Factors and its optimization. We will start from the very beginning and move to a more advanced level gradually. On-page SEO factors lie within the website and not outside it. All these techniques address the issues related to improvements within the website. As Google is the most widely used search engine, I will, therefore, be referring to Google when I talk about search engines in my discussion. These rules are general and apply to all search engines.
As we know, Search engines work according to an algorithm. When someone searches something, Google looks into its database and extract the result according to its complex algorithm. How Google decides to show some results on the first page, other on second and so on? There are more than 200 factors that contribute to extracting search results. Google gives a score to each website based on these two hundred factors. We know that Google ranks a website based on these factors but are not sure how many points are given to each factor. If someone knows the exact factors and its weight, Google will no longer be Google. Those people who are technically strong will win in this case and people will be deprived of getting the right information.
It is also notable that a factor will be having much importance now and it will lose its importance later. Sometimes old factors are completely ignored and new factors are launched. We will, therefore, be having a focus on overall grade and not only on a particular factor. The more score your website gets against these factors, the more is your ranking. We will be discussing how to tweak your website and its content according to these factors to help you get a good score.
According to the Pareto Principle, “In many situations, 80 percent of the outcome depends on 20 percent of the efforts”. I will discuss those 20 percent efforts in this article.
Page-level factors are those which reside on the page. It includes content, headings, meta tags, and images, etc.
You may know that your website page consists of HTML coding. HTML is a hypertext markup language. Google looks at the code running behind your page. The meta tag consists of a name, description, and value. Value is the content that is present on the page. These Meta tags are not visible publicly.
Where should you put Meta Tags?
You should put all Meta tags in the head section of the HTML code of your page.
Look at the following example of Meta tags
<head> <meta charset=”UTF-8”> <meta name=”description” content=” On-Page SEO Optimization”> <meta name=”keywords” content=”on-page, SEO, Technical SEO”> <meta name=”author” content=”Rahamd Ullah”> <meta name=”viewport” content=width=device-width, initial scale=1.0”> </head>
What are important HTML Meta Tags?
- Title Tag
The title tag is the tag that is visible in blue color in the search result and appears on top of the browser when someone clicks on it. This Meta tag is the most important. It should be having the target keyword and in the beginning if possible. Its length should not exceed 70 characters. It looks like this.
< title>What are on-page SEO factors and how to optimize them?</title>
Description is another important Meta tag. It is displayed below the title in the search results. Its limit is up to 300 characters but Google will display only 156 characters. We should also mention the target keyword in the Meta description. It looks like this.
<meta name=”description” content=” this tutorial will teach you all on page SEO techniques with proper examples and practical demonstration”>
- Meta Keywords Tag
This is also an important Meta tag. Google has discarded this tag but many people still use it. Other search engines still give importance to keyword tags. I, therefore, recommend its use. It looks like this
<meta name=”keywords” content=”On-page SEO, Technical SEO, Meta Tags, Advanced SEO Factors”>
Look at the following example of search results. I have identified how each Meta tag looks in search engine results. You can see that I have used the target keyword in title and description.
To view these tags on any page, right-click on the page and select “view page source”. You will see all the Meta tags in the head section. Look at the following figure.
Content is a factor for on-page SEO
Content is also an important page-level factor. It is known among SEO professionals that “content is king”. It has more importance because it is the thing people look for. You should pay great attention to providing useful and structured content. It is considered as the heart of SEO. Your content will determine how long the visitors stay on your site and how much they are enjoying it. We have written a separate article on how to write useful and SEO friendly content. If you don’t know about the art of tweaking your content so that the visitors, as well as search engines, like it. You should read about how to write SEO friendly content?
You may know, Google is a general-purpose search engine. It also gives images as a result of a search query. Therefore, images are considered as one of the important on-page SEO factors. Images also fall in the category of content. But we have treated it as a separate factor due to its importance in on-Page SEO. You might have heard that “image is worth a thousand words”. They have also an important role in user experience. Readers get bored when reading a long text-based article. If you properly insert images within your article, it gives a sort of refreshment after reading a long text. But, it does not mean that you should insert funny images for better user experience. All your images should be related to your content.
Besides good user experience, images can also be taken as a traffic source. Yes, images can also bring visitors to your website. Suppose a new mobile has arrived in the market and people are praising it a lot. You also became curious to know how this new mobile looks like. You typed the search query, “Samsung note 9 photos”, and you are presented with all the images of that mobile. Where these images came from? They came from different websites. They have optimized their images for SEO, and so they are shown in search results.
- Images types
There are three well-known types of images used on the internet, GIF, PNG, and JPEG. These three images types have their own characteristics. You will have to adopt the one that best suits your needs. Quality-wise JPEG images are the best. They are used for printing purposes. A mistake many people do here is that they upload print-ready images with large size to website. It increases page size and hence page load time. You should, therefore, compress images before uploading to the website. There are many compression tools available that compress images without making a huge effect on quality. PNG is most widely used on the internet and therefore it is also called a web standard image type.
- Title, Description and Alt attribute of Images
Google does not understand images, it decides on textual information attached to each picture. This includes alt attribute, title, description, and text around the image. The alt attribute is the most important for image SEO. The rest are not that important and have less impact on SEO, but we should also consider them.
Site Level Factors
Site-level SEO factors are also called technical factors. These factors are related to the technical aspects of the website. For example, speed, uptime, page size and so on.
A good website structure helps the crawler better crawl your website. It is also required for the best user experience. The layout of the website should be well written so that users and Google find it easy. This is a very lengthy topic that covers topics like what is website structure? , the importance of site structure and how to obtain a good site structure for better SEO. We have covered all these things in a separate article to make this article as compact as possible. I will suggest reading this complete discussion on how to improve website structure for SEO.
HTML sitemap is as important as XML sitemap.XML sitemap is for bots while HTML sitemap is for humans. HTML sitemap plays the role of a directory for the website. There are many websites where finding information is very difficult. You will not know where particular information lies. You click and click but don’t find the required information. To avoid this thing, a sitemap is created for users. This sitemap contains all the useful information. This HTML sitemap plays a very good role in user experience and hence SEO. An HTML sitemap is required for large websites in which content is not well linked. It is equally important for new websites and also for those websites which have a lot of media content.
The HTML sitemap is also useful for indexing those pages which Google did not index due to deep levels. As we know, Google goes to level 3 or 4 for indexing. Those links, which were not indexed by Google, can be indexed using a sitemap.
An XML sitemap is for search engines. This is in a language that is understood by bots only. Sitemaps, whether XML or HTML, play a vital role in indexing and on-page SEO. XML sitemap looks like this one.
The basic difference between HTML and XML sitemap is that an HTML sitemap is provided to Google as a web page while XML sitemap is not treated as a web page. Another difference is that we provide some extra information in XML sitemap which is not available in HTML sitemap. The most important thing is the frequency. Frequency tells the search engines how frequently a page is updated?
Internal linking is used to refer to other information within the website. This internal linking can be structural as well as contextual. Structural are those which support the structure of the website while contextual are those which are within the articles. I have added many contextual links in this article for making this article short. I have referred to other articles on my website where I have explained some topics in detail. As these links, where I refer to, lie within my website; they are hence called internal linking.
External links are those links that we use to refer our readers to other websites. For example, if I talk about something that I cannot explain well or require a lot of writing to explain and that does not reside on my site, I will refer to some other website. This external linking can be fruitful and dangerous also. For example, if I link to a website that is penalized by Google, Google will think that I am improving an invalid website and hence I will also be penalized. It is therefore important to have good quality external links and as few as possible.
Website Uptime and Security
Website uptime and security are both important on-page SEO factors. You will not get a good ranking if your website is down most of the time or if it is not secured. There are many online tools that will email you when your server is down. You should take the uptime and security into consideration for improving on-page SEO. Security also includes many things such as server security, account security, and SSL, etc.
Breadcrumb navigation is also an important on-page SEO factor. Google loves a short URL in SERPS and breadcrumb helps you achieve that. Breadcrumb navigation is helpful for users and also important from a search engine point of view. You should, therefore, implement breadcrumb navigation for improving on-page SEO.
Robots.txt file tells the crawler which section of the website you want to make public and which section to hide from people. Google has recently told that it will not follow robots.txt to hide pages in search results. You should therefore no index a page if you don’t want it to be shown in search results.
Fresh and Recent Content
These two things are also very important. How frequently you update your content and how recent you update, both have importance in on-page SEO. Google will not give importance to your website if your last article was added three years ago.
The blog page is considered as value page. It is the page where your visitors expect updates. All other pages remain almost static. It is therefore important for every business to have a blog page and publish regular articles for its visitors.
Free software, tools, and e-books, etc fall in the category of advanced content. They are also very useful for on-page SEO. This content is as important as the blog page.
Domain level factors also play a vital role in SEO. The domain name, domain extension, keywords in the domain, etc contribute to ranking in Google. These domain-level factors are permanent and we cannot change them. We can make changes up to some extent but most of the things are permanent.
Domain name contributes to ranking. The domain name should have the following properties
- Must represent your brand
Domain TLD extension should also be taken into consideration. If you are targeting a specific country, it is suggested to include it in the TLD extension. If you are a business targeting Pakistan only, then you should include.PK in your TLD extension. If you are not specific to the country then you should take a .com, .org, .net, etc according to your business.
Keyword in domain
You should include your target keyword in your domain name. if you are a business dealing in electronics, then you should include “electronics” in your domain name.
Age of the domain
Yes, Google also believes in “old is gold”. The age of the domain plays a role in its ranking. If a domain is from the last ten years and publishing content continuously, it should be getting more attention in search engines than a domain of three months.
Search engine optimization is an ongoing process. The factors which are very important today may become less important in the future. This is also possible that less important on-page SEO factors become very important in the future. We will constantly be updating this article to cover all the important SEO factors. If you have any questions or suggestions about including or excluding a factor, please mention it in the comment section.