Summit Ghimire is the founder of Outpace, a search engine optimization company. His clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies.
Every effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaign has one central goal: communicate the quality and value of your website to Google. If the search engine algorithm is not convinced that your site will provide a valuable experience to the users, it will make your website take a deep dive into the search engine results page (SERP) that populates. Without good on-page SEO, a website will be little more than a paperweight in the internet landscape, destined never to be discovered.
The 5 most important elements of on-page SEO
Each SEO strategy uses specific aspects of on-page optimization that are best suited to achieve the unique goals of a particular campaign. The specifics strongly depend on the size and scope of the campaign and the characteristics of the customer. As such, on-page SEO can be broken down and organized in several ways. But here are five basic elements.
There are several factors to consider when creating high quality page content for a website. First and foremost, create a checklist to guide your process. Each list will likely vary, but they should always approach the key concepts on purpose:
• Strive for accurate, informative content.
• Think about your audience and their journey.
• Integrate keywords strategically.
• Blend seamless visuals (video, images, etc.) into copy
Keywords – the searchable words and phrases that indicate what the content of a web page is about – stand out in the search engine’s algorithm. This communicates the intent of your website, which begins the valuation process.
Every search by a user requires relevant results, and keywords integrated into a website’s copy tell the algorithm exactly what information is included. Keywords are divided into two categories: short and long tail. Short keywords are more broadly targeted, while long tail keywords emphasize an increasingly specific focus.
3. HTML Elements
A significant portion of on-page SEO involves integrating specific HTML coding choices when creating content for the website. For professional SEO agencies, these adjustments in approach are not complicated, but they bring significant benefits.
• Page titles: As simple as it may seem, a website’s page titles are important. Aside from their role in search optimization, titles mainly communicate what visitors can expect on the site.
• Headers: Like page titles, headers are critical to communicating content intent to the search engine’s algorithm. They organize the content in a reader-friendly format and deliver a higher quality user experience.
• Meta descriptions: When the results are populated on the SERP of an application, individual listings will have short page descriptions. These bits of text, also known as meta descriptions or snippets, appear below every title and are one of the most important elements that the visitor sees.
4. Site Performance
It would be worth investing time and resources in optimizing a website – from high-quality content to value-based links – if the website isn’t performing well on all devices.
Site performance is a central element in the search engine algorithm evaluation process. If the speed of a website is slow and ineffective, resulting in a poor user experience, the visitor will quickly leave for greener, faster pastures. Today’s Internet users are fully aware of how advanced technological capabilities have been achieved, and they expect a page experience that lives up to that potential. As Research has shown, users have little patience to give: if a page takes longer than three seconds to load, most users will leave the site completely.
5. Advanced Steps
There are many advanced elements available to website owners. Two common examples are the integration of image alt text and optimized site architecture.
• Image Alt Text: It’s time for the world to learn about image alt text. This feature responds to the rising tide of image search. It’s undeniable that a significant portion of website traffic can come from image-based results.
However, for this to happen, alt text must be applied. Alt text is essentially SEO for images. Applying alt text manually is always recommended for small websites. However, for larger websites with thousands of pages and images, using tools that help automate this process will save time and resources.
• Site architecture and internal linking: An effectively optimized website needs a streamlined organizational structure with the right interlinks so that search engine algorithm crawlers can navigate smoothly. The path of exploration on a website should be understandable and easy to follow.
Qualitative search engine optimization achieves a specific goal: to tangibly increase website traffic. On-page SEO is only as effective as the level at which a website’s audience is understood: what are they looking for and how can the customer meet their needs. Effective SEO results require a consistent effort to assess, adapt and improve the quality of content and how it is perceived.