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On-page SEO

Welcome to our SEO for Beginners series. If you’re reading this for the first time, then it’s great to have you! We’re excited to share these bite-sized guides and introduce some of the key aspects of search engine optimisation. If you’re fresh from reading our introduction, then thanks for dropping by again.

There is a whole industry that’s developed around SEO, and you’ll find plenty of online deep dives into this complex art. It’s our aim to cut through this noise and provide you with some clear and achievable advice that you can easily put into practice.

On-page SEO

So, getting down to the nuts and bolts. This guide is all about on-page SEO. This is the stuff that you can do to your content and pages to help Google index and rank your website. On-page SEO is really very simple and we split it up into several key areas:

  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Content and images
  • Alt tags
  • URLs

Title tags

This is the short headline that you see for every result in Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Title tags also appear as the short description you see on a browser tab and are often displayed when a page is shared on socials. Title tags are one of the elements that Google will trawl for keywords, so it’s important that you give them some thought. 

Top tips:

  • Summarise what’s contained on the page
  • 50-60 characters is the right length
  • Include keywords that you expect a user to search for and include alternatives if possible
  • Make your title tag humanly readable, and not a spammy list
  • Split your title tag into two parts: page description, your name
  • Use a | to divide your title these parts

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short captions that appear below a title tag on a SERP. They are a brief summary of the contents of your web page. Well crafted meta descriptions are going to encourage more users to click on your pages (known as click-through rate – CTR). The higher your CTR, the more positively Google will rank your site.

Top tips:

  • Make it humanly readable, descriptive and engaging – you want users to click on it
  • Include keywords, but don’t make it spammy
  • 50 – 160 characters is suggested length
  • Don’t repeat meta descriptions, as this will look messy

Content

Sounds kind of obvious doesn’t it, but well-crafted, readable content and messaging is a crucial element of on-page SEO. Whilst keywords are an important element, Google is also interested in how relevant your pages are to a user. It wants to know whether your content meets the user’s intent when they are searching.

This means you need to be thinking about who your users are, what they might be searching for and how your content might meet their needs. By answering these questions, you are creating SERP-friendly content.

Top tips:

  • Make your content as long as possible. Google likes lots of content
  • Lay your pages out well. Make sure that content is thematically ordered and uses headings to guide users
  • Be an authority in your field. Google wants to show its users that it can provide them with the best page results possible, so it likes experts
  • Don’t duplicate content from other pages, as it will impact your ranking
  • Choose a spread of keywords that align with those used elsewhere in your SEO strategy (see our SEO for Beginners for more on this)
  • Lastly, write well! Be engaging, interesting and knowledgeable. Users are much likely to come back

Images

Images are the unsung hero of on-page SEO. By optimising your site’s images, you are increasing the chance of your site appearing in Google Images and image packs that appear in SERPs. This is achieved by giving your images search engine friendly filenames, which Google trawls.

Image sizes also play a crucial role here. If the image files on a web page are large, then this will slow down the time it takes for the page to load. Google will penalise the site for this slow load time and this will adversely affect the ranking. It’s also not a great experience if a user has to wait for an image to load up.

Top tips:

  • Make your filename descriptive and humanly readable
  • Include keywords from your SEO strategy
  • Choose the right file format – PNG can be high quality but large files, JPEGs are optimised and can be easily adjusted
  • Resize images so that they are smaller than their original size, but be careful not to compromise on quality

Alt tags

Another useful element in your SEO strategy, alt tags are a piece of text that describe what is in an image. These are super important for accessibility, as screen readers will read alt tag descriptions for visually impaired users. In on-page SEO terms, Google will trawl alt tags and these will support the ranking of your page.

Top tips:

  • Make your alt tag descriptive and easy to read
  • Use use a keyword, but don’t be spammy

URLs

These play a minor role in terms of SEO, although they are important for your users. By creating a clear, descriptive and readable URL you are helping them understand what your page is about. Similarly, URLs can act as a factor when ranking sites.

Top tips:

  • Use keywords from your strategy
  • Don’t make your URLs too spammy
  • Make sure that your URL is descriptive and humanly readable

The takeaway

There are lots of on-page tactics that you can add to your SEO arsenal. Take some time at the outset to create a set of keyword terms for a piece of content, then you are able to make sure that they are woven into each aspect of on-page SEO.

By taking a strategic approach you are putting in place a smooth SEO process for your content. This will eliminate the time drain that is trying to retro-fit your work in an effort to try and force optimisation. But, the real test here are your users. If your on-page read well users, then it is good SEO.

Well folks, that’s on-page SEO 101 over and out. We hope that this guide has helped dispel some of the myths of search engine optimisation and that there are lots of positive things you can do for yourself. Look out for next week’s article, where we’ll be tackling the world of off-page SEO.

 

 


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Graphic about on-page SEO