The Alphabet ‘O’ in SEO stands for ‘optimization.’ The exact dictionary meaning of optimization is “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.” If you apply this meaning from an SEO perspective then it simply means that structuring your website in such a way that it must rank as high as possible on search engines, i.e Google & Bing.
If anyone is still confused with the word ‘structuring’ then I would like to replace it with a more simpler word ‘making changes.’ One can make as many changes in their website to gain higher ranking in Google or Bing. However, it must be noted that these changes must be in compliant with Google and Bing guidelines.
Now there are broadly two ways to optimize or making changes to your website: on page and off page optimization. This article (as is evident from the headline) is about on-page optimization and will specifically cover 8 most important factors in on-page optimization.
What is On-page optimization?
On page SEO simply refers to any optimization activity that happens within the website as opposed to outside the website. Therefore for making on-page changes you’ll have to log into your website’s CMS account (wordpress, drupal etc) and sometimes even your website’s hosting account.
Can your Website rank Higher without On-page Optimization?
The answer is emphatic ‘no.’ Your website can’t rank higher without proper on-page as well as off-page optimization. Both are immensely important, one simply cannot compensate for other. Both on-page and off-page are like two pillars and strength of these two pillars will pretty much determine your website’s success.
When should you perform On-page Optimization?
Certain SEO factors like HTTPS migration, increasing website speed & setting up AMP version requires one time setup, especially when you’re in the process of launching your website. On other hand, there are other SEO factors that need regular optimization, particularly when every time you’re uploading a fresh article on your website.
On-page optimization actually includes more than 8 SEO factors but the 8 factors that we’ll be briefly highlighting here cover almost the entire foundation of on-page SEO.
The 8 most Important On-Page SEO Factors that we’ll be briefly covering in this article as follows:
- Crawlability & Indexability
- HTTPS extension
- SEO friendly URl
- Keyword optimization
- Meta tags & meta description
- Content optimization
- Website speed
- Mobile friendly website
Crawlability and Indexability:
Your website won’t even stand an iota of chance of showing up in search ranking unless Google is able to crawl and index your website. Making sure that Google is able to crawl and index your website is actually the first major step in ensuring your website’s success in the SEO game. It is equally important to bust the myth that crawling and indexing are two different things (will speak more on this in some other blog post).
Here is how you can let Google to crawl and index your website flawlessly by following these simple steps:
- Register your website on Google search console and create & submit sitemap. There is an option called ‘sitemap’ in search console, click on it and submit your website’s sitemap. Creating a sitemap is immensely simple and takes barely few minutes. A simple search on Google or Youtube will let you know how to create a sitemap.
- Ensure your website’s overall architecture is neat and clean. Nowadays since people use readymade Word press templates, most users don’t face much problem on the front of site architecture front. However, if anyone still doesn’t want to take a chance then they can easily check and change certain things that come in the preview of site architecture. For instance, ensure that all the pages of websites are properly linked.
- Upload fresh content regularly on your website. If you’re uploading articles on your website once in a blue moon then you’re only making it more difficult for Google to crawl and index your website.
Don’t allow HTTPS extension to expire:
The fact that today Chrome labels non-HTTPS sites as unsecure speaks volume about the importance of having HTTPS extension. It is pretty clear that today Google attaches huge importance to HTTPS extension. Nowadays most hosting service provider offer HTTPS extension within their hosting plans and hence most may not have to worry too much about buying SLL certificate separately. But these SLL certificates are only for limited period and renewing them before their due date is important to ensure that Google does not label your website as non-secure.
SEO friendly URL:
Firstly, you can directly edit the URL of your blog post in your wordpress CMS itself. You don’t need any special coding knowledge for this at all. In wordpress, go to URL slug or permalink and edit the URL in a way that will give your blog better visibility on Google. Now coming to what really constitutes SEO friendly URL, any URL that is inclusive of primary keyword and is not too long is just about friendly enough. Many a times the word press may by default set the URL exactly as per your article title. However, you can change the URL permalink since it is not mandatory at all that the URL and article’s title should match. Another important to remember is that please don’t overstuff keywords in your URL as they may prove counter-productive.
It goes without saying that your article should be inclusive of keywords. A good keyword density will increase your article’s chances of gaining visibility in Google ranking. Keyword density is a subjective thing since it depends on the word count. Roughly in a 300 word article, your keyword should appear at least 4-5 times including in your main title. The keyword density will obviously keep increasing as word count of your article keeps increasing further.
Try to use secondary keywords (substitute) to avoid overstuffing of keyword in your article. Remember that overstuffing your article with keywords is a black hat technique and overleveraging this technique will put your website in risk of getting spammed.
Meta Tags & Meta Description:
Although considered as lightweight signals but Meta Tags and Meta Description are still considered as important on-page SEO factor.
Meta Tags is like a small snippet that gives a fair idea about your article to search engine. Conventionally, in most cases your primary and secondary keywords pass off as meta tags. For example, for this very article I will use meta tags like on-page seo, seo, etc. One does not need to have coding knowledge for adding meta tags as wordpress has in-built feature for this. Simply go to ‘tags’ section and add tags separated by commas. Meta tags usually appear in the right hand side of word press while every time you’re uploading new article.
Now coming to Meta description, this again provides a small gist and snippet of your article to Google. Meta description always appears in search results, just below the web URL. Many Seo experts argue that good description can help your article rank better.
However, to write meta description you’ll have to download a SEO plugin, with Yoast SEO being the most popular plug-in. .
Two things come under content optimization, first is ‘superior content’ that resonates with your target readers. Your content should basically be able to resolve your target reader’s pain-point by decisively answering their queries. Try making your content as visualistic as possible by including charts, graphs and infographics.
Now coming to the second part, which pertains to readability. Readability refers to anything and everything that is extremely easy to read. From Seo perspective, following factors goes into making any content easily readable.
- Divide your entire article in short paragraphs. Each paragraph should not be preferably more than 5-6 sentences.
- Don’t indulge in long sentences repeatedly in your article, try keeping the length of your senences within the length of 10-12 words. It must be noted that too many long sentences in the article tends to confuse the readers and eventually puts them off.
- Try as much as possible to use active voice sentences in your article.
- Lastly & importantly, ensure that your articles are completely bereft of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Equally ensure that sentence construction throughout the article is correct & flawless.
Google gives preferential treatment on websites that load fast, preferably within 3-6 seconds. If it your website is taking longer than this then you should be raising a red flag and immediately try to fix the problem.
If your website is indeed suffering from slow speed then try to implement these following solutions:
- Compress the size of your images, too many high resolution images can adversely impact speed of your website.
- Using browser caching can help in increasing your website’s speed. You need not need any special coding knowledge for this as there are many wordpress plugins for this purpose. I personally recommend W3 Total Cache.
- Reduce redirects on your websites. Too many redirects like 301 and 302 can hinder the speed of your website.
Mobile responsive website:
Today more than 60% traffic comes from mobile phones and this fact alone is sufficient to sum up just how important it is to have a mobile responsive website. For this, you need to choose a mobile responsive wordpress theme or template. Today most of the wordpress themes are mobile responsive and therefore you won’t face much problems in finding mobile friendly themes.
You can also opt for wordpress AMP plugins to make your website’s mobile responsive.