The purpose of on-page SEO
On-page SEO is a combination of strategies with the same goal—to get a website to rank as high as possible on search engine result pages. In order to do that, websites have to know, and create, content that appeals to Google’s algorithm for finding the best content on the web.
By following the algorithm and creating search engine friendly content on a website, that website can boost its chances of being seen on search engines, like Google. When someone types in a keyword or phrase that matches the content on that page, it will pop up in the search results, increasing the chances of getting new people to visit the site.
Website content that utilizes every on-page SEO strategy at its disposal is more likely to rank on the first page of search results, while content that does not use effective SEO strategies is likely to be found on subsequent pages. It is important to get website content on the first page of the search results because some studies have shown that the first page can capture as much as 92-percent of search traffic, which leaves just 8-percent to click through the results on the second page.
Difference between on-page and off-page SEO
On-page SEO is different than off-page SEO. While the latter includes all the elements of a particular website, making these factors easy to control, the former is controlled by outside influences. It includes links from other websites and attention on social media.
However, that does not mean there is nothing a business can do to contribute to their off-page SEO success. They can hold contests on social media, create guest posts for other websites, and reach out to influencers to support the brand.
Both strategies are important to overall SEO, but because the results of off-page SEO are impossible to control, many businesses choose to focus their efforts on on-page SEO techniques.
Choosing the right keywords
One of the most important on-page SEO strategies is to choose relevant keywords. That means conducting keyword research.
The process includes:
- Making a list of topics that are relevant to the business
- Using those topics to create a bank of keywords and phrases
- Researching those phrases, and related phrases, to see how much traffic they get
Choosing good keywords and phrases is not always as straightforward as it seems. For example, the phrase “wedding dresses” is a keyword phrase that gets a lot of traffic, but it also means that a small bridal shop will have a lot of competition. It is best to strike a balance between simple and complex keywords and phrases. In this example, that might mean choosing “lace wedding dresses” as a keyword phrase instead.
A good on-page SEO strategy includes many different keywords and phrases on different pages throughout the website. It is a good idea to try new phrases in blog and website content to see how they perform so keywords can be adjusted or expanded in other areas of the site.
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Where keywords should be placed for on-page SEO
Not only is it important to consider the keywords and phrases chosen for on-page SEO, it is important to know where those keywords should go.
Keywords and phrases should be placed throughout the content on a website, but there are other places they must go if a website is to rank highly in Google’s algorithm.
The best places to include keywords and phrases on a website include using them:
- In the title tag that shows up in search results
- In the metadata that shows up in search results
- In the URL, so it is easily readable and logical
- In the H1 tag at the top of the page
- In at least one other subheading
- In the first 100 words of an article
- To label images on the page
How often they are used matters too. Google’s algorithm for on-page SEO has changed from rewarding content that contains as many instances of a particular keyword to punishing sites that engage in keyword stuffing techniques.
Today, the density of a particular keyword or phrase should not be any more than one or two percent of the content on the entire page. That ensures Google is able to tell the content is relevant to a certain audience, and it ensures the content on the page is smooth and easy to read.
Focus on uniquely valuable content
Although the focus of on-page SEO is choosing the right keywords, knowing where to place them throughout the content on a site, and at what density, there is more to it.
Search engines, like Google, want to return the most relevant, helpful, and valuable content possible whenever someone enters a query. In order to do that, they look at things like the quality of the content on a page. It is important for the content on the page to be unique and valuable, in addition to including relevant keywords.
In order for the content on the page to be unique, it cannot appear anywhere else on the web. If content is copied and pasted from one web page to the next, it will be punished by Google’s algorithm, and it may not show up on search results pages at all.
In order for the content on the page to be valuable, it has to include information that is useful to the reader. When people searching a keyword or phrase land on the page, it should provide the best information in relation to that keyword on the web.
Not only will creating uniquely valuable content boost on-page SEO by getting the attention of Google’s algorithm, it will also create excitement among the people who visit the page, boosting off-page SEO as well.