Every day, millions of users are publishing content on the internet. Due to this, on-page SEO has become more important than ever. Writing optimized content is the key to improving search engine ranking.
On-page SEO is an umbrella term for different factors used by search engine bots while ranking webpages. This guide provides an easy, step-by-step process that can be followed by business owners in India for optimizing web pages. After reading this guide, you will be able to:
- Create on-page SEO friendly content
- Optimize content to rank high
- Increase the traffic on your website
Write On-Page SEO Content
The first step of on-page SEO is to focus on creating valuable content. Here are a few key steps that you should follow while doing so:
Conduct Keyword Research
Finding the right keyword is key for writing optimized content. There are many free tools for conducting keyword research. While we will cover keyword research in-depth in another guide, there are a few points that you need to know here.
There are two different types of keywords:
- Primary keyword: This is the keyword that you want to rank high for. For example, for this guide, the primary keyword will be “on-page SEO”. This keyword will be given high importance and used throughout the webpage.
- Secondary keywords: The secondary keywords are often used alongside the primary keyword for conducting the search. These are not as important as the primary keyword. For example, the secondary keyword, in this case, is “SEO for business owners in India”.
As keyword research can get highly technical, it’s a great idea to get assistance from an SEO firm.
Write for the Search Intent
Every keyword has a search intent attached to it. The search intent conveys the reason behind conducting the search. There are different kinds of search intents:
- Informational: The reader wants to get some information, such as learn more about local SEO for businesses in India.
- Transactional: The reader wants to buy a specific product and is directly looking for it.
- Navigational: The user is looking for a specific website, such as YouTube or Facebook.
- Commercial: The readers want to buy a product in the future and conduct research for the same.
The best way to identify the search intent is by conducting a Google search for the primary keyword. If the first few articles are informational blogs, then the search intent is informational. If you are writing on such a keyword, you should write a blog instead of a product page.
Provide More Value than Competitors
The key part of writing optimized content is focusing on the value provided to the readers. At the end of the day, even if you optimize the content, it will not rank high unless the readers actually want to read it.
- Make it reader-friendly: Write the content in simple, easy-to-understand language. It’s a great idea to write everything in an active voice with relevant examples. This makes the content more accessible for the reader.
- Use audio-visual content: Audiovisual content such as video or images is a great way of making your content stand out from the crowd. This makes the content more engaging and easier to follow.
- Provide extra value: Before writing, you should look at the content shared by your competitors. Then, you should write better, more valuable content. For example, if your competitors are using stock images, then you should add customized images to each webpage.
- Avoid auto-generated content: Auto-generated content refers to content written by AI tools. Such content does make much logical sense. While this might help in filling up web pages fast, it will not provide any value to your readers. This will be ranked poorly by Google.
- Avoid duplicate or thin content: Many blog owners make the mistake of believing that each variation of the keyword should have a different webpage. For example, different web pages will be created for “on-page SEO for businesses” and “on-page SEO for entrepreneurs”. This leads to many web pages with poorly written content.
Once you have written the content, there are a few small changes that you can make to optimize it. This won’t take a lot of time but has the potential to significantly improve the search engine ranking.
The meta title, or the title tag, refers to the heading of the page. This is an HTML element that is displayed in the code of the webpage. In the image below, the blue text is the meta title.
If you are using WordPress, the heading of the page will automatically become the meta title. Otherwise, you can add the following <title>Example Title</title> to the <head> section of your webpage’s code.
The meta title is one of the few things that a reader sees before clicking on search results. Therefore, writing a good meta title can have a huge impact on the click-through rate of the webpage.
Here are some practices to follow:
- Keep it short: Google only displays about 60 characters in the search results. Anything longer than that, and the readers will only get half the information. You can use the Moz tool to preview the title tag.
- Make it descriptive: The title tag should clarify and describe the scope of the article to the readers. For example, let’s say you are sharing tips about running a business in India. A good title would be, “Top 10 Tips for Running a Business in India in 2021”.
- Add the target keyword: The meta title should always contain the target keyword. This indicates that the content is focused on the target keyword. This is given high importance, both by Google and potential readers.
- Relevant: The title tag should be relevant to the user. A good way to do this is to update the title with the year. This tells the reader that the content is updated and provides relevant information.
The meta description refers to a short description displayed in the search results. This is the text displayed below the page heading. This provides a chance to engage with the readers and prompts them to open the webpage. Apart from this, it is highly relevant for on-page SEO.
Similar to the title tag, the meta description is an HTML element. If you are using WordPress, you will get the option of adding the meta description in the settings section of the webpage. Otherwise, you can add the meta description using this code: <meta name=”description” content=”Example meta description.”>
- Make it short but descriptive: Google only displays about 160 characters in the meta description. It’s important that you keep it short while providing the relevant information. It’s a good idea to view it as a two-line summary of the webpage.
- Add the primary keyword: Just like the meta title, the primary keyword should be added to the meta description. The goal is to use it in a natural and readable way, instead of stuffing it with keywords.
- Satisfy the search intent: The meta description should always be in sync with the search intent for the keyword. For example, if the search intent is informational, then the description should convey that.
- Add a call to action: You should always add a call to action at the end of the meta description. Let’s say the search intent is informational. A good call to action would be “Find an in-depth guide here!” or “Keep reading to find more!”.
As per Google, optimizing the URL plays an important role in the overall on-page SEO. This refers to the hyperlink of your webpage.
- Avoid URLs that need to be updated: The URL should not contain any date or year. This creates the risk of the URL becoming outdated very soon, thereby requiring more effort from your side.
- Add the target keyword: Ideally, the URL should be the target keyword for the webpage. This also helps in signaling the nature of the content to search engines.
- Keep it short: The URL should be short and to the point. You should avoid adding any filler to the URL.
The content of the webpage plays a huge role in on-page SEO. This is the main thing that the reader is interested in. Here are some best practices that you should follow to improve its quality:
- Add primary and secondary keywords: You should add the primary and second keywords throughout the webpage. Make sure that you use it in a natural way without affecting the quality of the content.
- Pay extra attention to the first 100 words: Google places an emphasis on the first 100 words in a webpage. Using the primary keyword in the first paragraph conveys that the content is actually focused on the keyword.
- Avoid keyword stuffing: While you should use the target keywords in the content, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing. This will negatively affect the readability as well as the ranking of the webpage. Ideally, the primary keyword density should be used 1-2%.
Providing links within the webpage improves on-page SEO. The point remains the same – you provide more value to the readers by giving them a reference to your source.
External (Outbound) Links
External links refer to links that take the readers to a different website. You should always use authoritative sources in the external links. It’s better to have a few quality links than to flood the content with irrelevant links.
Internal links refer to different web pages on the same website. This is a great way of promoting the users to read the content they might not have found otherwise.
Here are some points to keep in mind while internal and external linking:
- Use anchor words: Anchor words refer to the words you hyperlink. The reader should understand the nature of the content hyperlinked by reading the anchor word. Ideally, you should hyperlink the primary and the secondary keywords.
- Check broken links: Broken links hurt the SEO score of the webpage. These are links that cannot be accessed by the users and reduce the value provided by the webpage. You should periodically check the content for any broken links and update it when required.
Adding visual elements such as images gives a huge boost to on-page SEO. This makes the content more readable and increases its value. Further, this provides a chance to engage with the readers in a unique manner.
About 20% of searches take place on Google images. This makes optimizing images critical for increasing traffic to the website.
- Add alt text: The alternate text is similar to the meta description of the webpage. This is used by search engine bots to rank the images. The alt text should be 2-3 lines long and include the target keyword.
- Use primary keyword in the file name: The primary keyword should always form part of the file name. A good file name should be descriptive and convey the reason behind the image. This will improve the ranking of the image in Google image search.
- Create custom images: Adding a custom image increases the value of the content. This can provide extra information or concisely summarise the content for the reader. However, if you are unable to add a custom image to each webpage, then adding a stock image is a good alternative.
- Compress images: While images are a great addition to the webpage, they do increase the load time. This can drastically affect the readability of the website. Therefore, you should always compress the images.
You can download the infographic here.
Take it a Step Further
Once you have optimized the content, there are a few steps that you can take to optimize the website. Even if you have added highly valuable content, it is useless if the readers cannot access it properly. Here are two simple steps that you can take to improve it:
Create a mobile friendly page
Presently, more than 60% of the users access the internet using their mobile phones. Failing to optimize the website for the mobile means you are losing out on a lot of traffic.
Each time you update a webpage, you should always run a check with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to determine its mobile accessibility.
Check page speed
The page load speed determines if the users actually stay to read the content. Even a slight increase in load speed significantly increases the bounce rate.
The page speed is also used by Google while ranking web pages.
On-page SEO plays a vital role in search engine ranking. Regardless of how good your content is, it is irrelevant if the readers don’t get to see it. Optimizing the page improves the chances of getting more and more readers to access the content.
There are a few simple points that you should keep in mind while optimizing the content:
- Find the right primary keyword with high search volume and less difficulty.
- Focus on providing unique and valuable content to your readers.
- Add the primary keyword to the meta title, meta description, and URL.
- Keep the meta title and meta description short but descriptive. Use it as a chance to engage with the readers before they read the content.
- Use 2-3 external and internal links on the webpage.
- Add optimized images and videos that set your webpage apart from competitors.
We have put together everything in an SEO template for you to use. This will help you post an optimized web page each time. You can find it here. You can also choose to download an Excel version:
– Practics.in team
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