On-Page SEO Basics
You need SEO for your content to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs). To do this, each page of your website needs to be optimized (on-page SEO) for maximum rankings in Google search.
You know this, right? You understand that search engine optimization is the key to online marketing success, helping you gain organic traffic, generate more leads, and boost sales and revenue.
This article explains on-page SEO basics for 2023 that will help you get started and stand out from the competition. Removing the complexity, we will show you step by step what you need to do to rank high in Google.
From how to create SEO content to technical page information, this article serves as a guide for those just getting introduced to search engine optimization. Ready to understand on-page SEO best practices? First, let’s explain exactly what on-page SEO is.
What is On-Page SEO?
Before starting, let’s inspect and understand what on-page SEO is and what makes it different from off-page SEO.
On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) refers to the optimization of elements on your website that affect your search engine ranking.
On-page SEO includes your website’s title, meta tags, header tags, content, and other important aspects that we discuss in this article.
Apart from the content, you will need to optimize webpage speed and ensure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly. With over 60% of all searches now being performed on mobile devices, this is an absolute must.
On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to the optimization of elements that are not on your website but still affect your ranking. Off-page SEO includes other aspects, including social signals, backlinks, and brand mentions.
While both on-page and off-page SEO is essential for ranking high in SERPs, on-page SEO is the foundation on which we build your off-page SEO.
With that said, let’s look at some of the most important on-page SEO factors for 2023
We will start with site speed, which has become one of the most crucial ranking factors nowadays.
Does Site Speed Affect Your SEO Performance?
Imagine you click on a search result that takes longer to load. Will you wait for the content? Will you wait for the page to fully load or try to look for the information on another page?
According to a study conducted by Google, as the page load time increases, the bounce rate also increases. When pages take 3 seconds to load, the probability of bounce rate increases by 31%. Ouch!
Your website’s speed is important for both your users and search engines. Google has even stated that site speed is a ranking factor.
A slow website frustrates your users and hurts your SEO because it increases your bounce rate and decreases the number of pages viewed per session.
How to measure speed with search ranking in mind?
We can measure site speed with various tools, including Google page speed insights, GT Metrix, and webpagetest.org are at the top of the list.
These tools use different measuring algorithms and assess the site to see how long it takes and the main reasons for its slow loading.
Google has announced three basic parameters for site speed. The basic parameters list includes:
- First input delay (FCP)
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Collectively, we know these three parameters as the Core Web Vitals.
To ensure that most of your users have a pleasant experience, aim for the 75th percentile of page loads for mobile and desktop devices.
To pass the Core Web Vitals compliance assessment, a page should meet or exceed the recommended targets at the 75th percentile for all three of the above metrics.
What is a good site speed?
Ideally, your website should load in less than 3 seconds. Anything longer than that, and you risk losing visitors and search engine ranking.
In accordance with Google guidelines, the site’s largest contentful paint should appear within 2.5 seconds. For a good user experience, the first input delay (FID) should be around 100 ms or less. Last, the cumulative layout shift (CLS) should be less than 0.1.
Mobile Friendliness & Responsiveness
More than 60% of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, so your website must be mobile-friendly and optimized to perform optimized for these screens.
Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor on Google, so you’ll need to ensure your website is responsive and viewable on various devices.
Here are a few tips to help you make your website more mobile-friendly:
- Use a responsive design that scales to fit different screen sizes.
- Use large font sizes that are easy to read on mobile devices.
- Use shorter paragraphs and sentences.
- Include plenty of white space to avoid cluttered pages.
- Make sure your buttons and links are big enough to be tapped easily.
- Expertise, Authorities, and Trust (E.A.T) Score
While writing content, you need to show your expertise which is the most important ranking factor on google. Imagine you are reading a blog post about fixing a car engine written by a doctor. Will you trust the information in the post? Never!
Google has an exceptional team known as the Search Quality Evaluators, responsible for analyzing websites and content to ensure they meet the searchers’ needs. These quality raters use guidelines set by Google to rate websites on factors like E.A.T. (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
According to these guidelines, content must be:
- Written by experts or authorities in the field
- High-quality and well researched
- Free of grammatical and spelling errors
- Trustworthy and reliable
Some niches fall under a specific category which Google calls your money or your life (YMYL). These include health, finance, and legal advice. For websites in these niches, Google requires a higher level of E.A.T.
To improve your website’s E.A.T., ensure your content is well-researched and accurate. If you’re writing about a sensitive topic, cite your sources so readers can check them for themselves.
Content Structure & Layout
Let’s say you’ve optimized your site speed and established E.A.T too, but what users can’t find what they are looking for? Then all your efforts will be in vain.
The layout and structure of your website’s content are just as important as the quality of the content itself. If your content is well organized, it will be easier for users to find what they’re looking for and even harder for Google to index your pages.
Here are a few tips to help you structure your content:
- Use headlines and subheadings to break up your text and make it easier to read.
- Include images, videos, and infographics to break up blocks of text and add visual interest.
- Use bullet points and lists to highlight key points.
- Use external links to reputable sources to back up your claims.
Internal links to other pages on your site will help Google index your website and can also help keep users engaged.
Content has always been the main ingredient of the recipe. With good quality content, you can rank for a longer duration no matter how much future content you produce.
What kind of content is best for SEO?
But with helpful content, one might wonder what kind of content will be effective for SEO. The answer to this question is:
For SEO, the most valuable content is the one that is optimized both for search engines and users at the same time. When your content perfectly fulfills the query’s search intent and thoroughly answers the searcher’s question, both Google and the users will love your content.
This content is not easy to produce but is worth it if you take your time and create something beneficial.
What is helpful content, according to Google?
If you want your content to show up on Google, align it with the user’s intent. Figure out what they need and why they’re searching for it. Additionally, make sure your writing is easy to follow with helpful images, videos, charts, and tables included.
One of the most common mistakes that most beginners make is getting astray from the main topic. It is imperative to stay on point and talk about only those things that apply to the topic.
Your content should be original and free from plagiarism. Google penalizes websites that have plagiarized content. So, make sure you write original content, research extensively, and cite your facts properly to prove them.
A picture is worth a thousand words. You should never write content that consists of only words. Nobody wants to read that, especially for informational keywords; providing information without proper demonstration makes little sense.
Therefore, you should always use images, illustrations, videos, charts, and infographics., to make your content more appealing and interesting.
The overall page experience is also a critical ranking factor. Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience, and if your website is hard to use and navigate, it will affect your rankings.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your page experience:
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Use clear and easy-to-read fonts.
- Use high-quality images.
- Make sure your website loads quickly.
Technical aspects such as meta titles and meta descriptions also play an essential role in SEO. The meta title is the title of your article on the search engine result page, and the meta description summarizes your article that also appears on the SERP.
Both are important because they help you get clicks from the SERP. A good meta title and meta description can make all the difference and help you get more traffic to your website.
Here are a few tips for writing compelling meta titles and descriptions:
- Make sure your meta title is less than 60 characters.
- Make sure your meta description is less than 160 characters.
- Include keywords in your meta title and description.
- Make sure your meta title and description are interesting and enticing.
Links are one of the most powerful SEO ranking factor that helps rank a site higher in SERPs. In content marketing, we call this internal linking when you link to other articles on your website.
Internal linking is essential for two main reasons:
It helps users navigate your website easily.
It helps search engines understand your website better.
If you want your website to rank higher, focus on internal linking. Now you might wonder how internal links can help. Well, the answer is simple. Whenever you link to relevant information, it signals to Google that you’re an authority on the topic and helps you index your website better.
You can use google to find relevant information and link to them using a simple query, i.e.
Site: yourdomain.com “keyword .”However, if you want to avoid checking manually, a link whisper plugin will do the job for you.
You can also use tools like Ahref’s webmaster tool to find orphan pages and internal linking opportunities.
Apart from that content and link building, technical SEO is equally important. You can guide google about unique content on your website using a specific code known as schema markup.
Schema markup is a code you add to your website to help search engines better understand your content. It is important because it can help you improve your click-through rate and organic traffic.
There are different schema markups, such as
- Article schema
- Product schema
- Review schema
- Local business schema
- Event schema
You can use the Google structured data markup helper to generate the code for your website. All you have to do is enter the URL of the page you want to mark up and then select the type of data you want to mark up.
After that, you must annotate the data and generate the code. You can either copy the code, add it to your website or use a plugin like Yoast SEO if you’re using WordPress.
Apart from the schema markup, there is another interesting thing you would want to know. It is called a featured snippet.
A featured snippet summarizes an answer to a question on the SERP. Google pulls these featured snippets from websites and displays them on the SERP.
To get your website featured in the snippet, ensure that your content is well-written and informative. Be sure to use relevant keywords and phrases in your content.
Winning featured snippets is possible; to accomplish this, find the right topics and optimize the answer for those topics. For example, a how-to-based keyword can get a featured snippet with a bullet-point answer. Similarly, a comparison keyword can quickly get a featured snippet with a table.
Your URL structure is also a critical factor in on-page SEO. Optimize your URL in a way that is helpful for the user and the search engine.
Here are a few tips you can follow to optimize your URL structure:
- Use relevant keywords in your URL.
- Keep your URL short and simple.
- Use dashes to separate words in your URL.
- Avoid using special characters in your URL.
- Make sure your URL is readable.
However, a common mistake that most beginners make is trying to stuff too many keywords in the URL. Avoid making this common mistake.
You might have heard about the term flat URL structure. It is a URL structure in which the URL of a page is at the same level as the home page.
We consider this a good URL structure because it is easy to read and understand. It is also easy for the search engine to index such URLs.
Another typical URL structure is the subdirectory structure. In this type of URL structure, place the URL of a page under a directory.
We also considered this URL structure good because it is easy to read and understand. However, it is more challenging for the search engine to index such URLs.
On-Page SEO optimization is one of the most important things you must do to rank your website high on the SERP. However, it is also one of the most challenging things to do.
This is because there are so many factors that you have to take into consideration. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, it will be worth it.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and it helped you understand the basics of on-page SEO and how you can optimize your website for the search engine. If you have questions, reach out to our team.