What is On-Page SEO?
Classic SEO usually refers to off-page SEO techniques: building backlinks, cross-posting content, and so on. Backlinks were so important in Google’s formative years that the original name of the search giant was actually Backrub. However, Google has changed with the times, and it now favors information-rich content that matches user intent. Its algorithm is smart enough to assess someone’s reasons for searching and show them the most relevant content. That means that your page could have all the backlinks in the world and not rank for a particular query.
The Key Elements of On-Page SEO
With that in mind, your goal for every page on your webpage should be to rank for your _target_ audience’s searches — and deliver authoritative, relevant, and accurate content that Google prioritizes. You also need to pay close attention to how your content is formatted and coded so that Google and other search engines can properly parse your page. Taken together, this means you have to thoroughly optimize from top to bottom.
The Title Tag
Your page’s title tag doesn’t technically weigh in on your rankings, but it’s what will be shown to users on SERPs. Usually, it’s the clickable link in a listing, so you want to make sure it’s something that entices people to click. Similarly, your meta description no longer plays a large role in Google’s algorithm, but it’s shown with your listing and helps encourage users to visit your page.
Search engines parse your page’s headings, especially your main heading, to assess the purpose and content of the page. A page with minimal headings, improperly layered headings (e.g. jumping from H1 to H3), or zero headings likely won’t perform as well in search engine results.
Ultimately, Google is looking for valuable, accurate content to show its users. Keyword-stuffing is not only considered “black hat,” but it also can harm your rankings. Today’s consumers want to quickly access relevant information, and Google is particularly good at sussing out inauthentic content that’s just written to garner clicks. Always write your content to provide value for your target audience, and Google will reward your pages with higher rankings. (Learn more about how to create SEO-friendly content.)
Tap into Longtail Queries
Cryptic titles and vague descriptions are not only poor writing, but they also prevent your pages from ranking higher. It’s a best practice to figure out what longtail queries and key phrases your target audience is entering into Google. Then, write content that addresses those queries. Often, they’re phrased as questions or how-tos (like the title of this blog post). Do your research to figure out which phrases you should target in your content strategy.
Use Content Pillars
A content pillar is a comprehensive guide to a topic in which your business is an expert or thought leader. It can include ebooks, blog posts, infographics, and anything else that builds the “pillar” of engaging content. Too often, businesses suffer from poor on-page SEO because they’ve (a) cannibalized their ranking SEO keywords by having too many similar pages and (b) failed to build internal links among the various pages of their website. Content pillars solve both problems by helping you map out content across your site in a strategic way.
We live in the age of the image, and Google knows it. Google scans your webpages’ images along with the text, evaluating how the image fits into your content. That’s why it’s crucial to properly label your images (and optimize them for the web). Ensure that you include alternative text for images that provide valuable information and empty alt attributes for decorative images.
On-page SEO is primarily a matter of making your page user-friendly. That’s what search engines prioritize when determining how to rank pages. Create high-value, relevant content that matches your target audience’s queries, and ensure that each page is properly formatted. Aim for high readability and use a robust content strategy to ensure that your site does not cannibalize itself.
Need help with your on-page SEO? Our SEO experts are happy to help. Reach out to Dotlogics for a consultation.