On-page SEO, simply stated, is the process of getting a single page optimized on your site. This is not to be confused with on-site SEO, which relates to optimizing the entire website. However, having said that, there is no reason to think that these two are mutually exclusive because the latter ends up affecting the former. After all, the pages will fare well only when the site is optimized properly. Today, I’ll share my top 7 On-page SEO tips for 2019 — after all, with frequent updates to the Google algorithm, SEO changes constantly.
When it comes to on-page SEO, even in this day and age, people end up thinking that it’s just about placing the right keywords, in the right places, the right number of times. Although keywords are a critical component of on-page SEO, there is much more to optimizing your on-page SEO than that. You have to get the content, media, links, and the user experience just right to make it shine, which translates to more visits from organic search and, ultimately, higher conversion.
So, how are these factors working for SEO in the year 2020? How much has changed, and what are the new trends in on-page SEO? Keeping these performance factors in mind, here are my top 7 on-page SEO tips for this year.
1. Start with SERP research
SERPs, or search engine results pages, represent what a user sees when they search. Your task, should you be willing to accept it, is to show up in the top 3 positions when a user searches for terms related to your brand. That’s because the first 3 organic results (not the ads) receive lion’s share of user clicks. Once you get to the second and subsequent pages of an organic search, the chances of getting a click are negligible, in most cases. That’s where SEO comes in.
You need to take a proactive approach if you want your SEO techniques to actually work. Google algorithms change constantly, and so do effective SEO tactics. So, before you go ahead and try to optimize your pages, make sure that you’re doing it right.
So, your first step is to research SERPs by entering keywords in Google and checking the organic results.
- Which links show up first, second, third …
- What do these links have in common
- Check links on lower pages. What are they doing wrong
This will help you know what the most relevant results are, according to Google, for that search term. Checking the first couple of results will tell you all about what the sites are doing right, from titles, content, to featured snippets.
Don’t just stop at getting ideas from the SERPs. Think about gaps that you can fill in. For instance, there might be a topic about your keyword that the search results do not turn up, which can be a good content idea to help with your rankings.
2. Go on to ticking off the performance criterion
In terms of on-page SEO tips, there are two pertinent questions that you need to answer:
- Has Google Analytics tracking been set up?
- And, do you track the primary keyword phrases?
Related to the first question, Google Analytics is your first and maybe the best free source of information regarding how your existing content is performing. Surely, Google Analytics is the best option out there for this purpose, but it is not the only one. You can try other alternatives like Kissmetric, Piwik, and so on.
In Google Analytics, you can import dashboards into your reporting. This puts all your SEO-type metrics in a single place and allows you easy and quick access to evaluate and, importantly, improve your performance. You’ll see the number of visits from organic search, keywords bringing visits to your site (although Google has gotten very stingy with this data), and visits per page.
This information helps you optimize your pages, creating more pages that resemble ones that are doing well and eliminating pages with poor performance.
Now about the second question, it is true that factors like personalization, localization, and so on, have made it difficult to track individual keywords. However, do not give up on tracking primary keywords because it will give you an idea of whether you are on the right track. If you’re willing to spend a little money, Google Ads, formerly Google Adwords, provides a wealth of information regarding performance of individual keywords. There’s even a free tool, Keyword Planner, that helps guide you toward high performing keywords.
3. Now on to indexing and crawling
You won’t be able to rank as well if Google crawlers are unable to access your webpage. Look out for common culprits that inhibit crawling like NoIndex tag and robots.txt files. In any tool that you use for this purpose, make sure to check the pages that are blocked by robots.txt and unblock those to help the crawlers access your page. You can find this information in Google’s management console. Some SEO plugins, like Yoast, have settings built-in to ensure you’re site is crawled and to submit a sitemap to Google.
Now, that you ensured your page can be crawled, you have to make sure that it gets indexed. The simplest way to know if the page is actually indexed is to copy the URL and paste it as a text to Google.
If the page does not show up, you will have to take some steps. Check if the ‘NoIndex’ tag is being used by the page and uncheck it. If it’s not, then look for crawl depth. In large websites and mainly the e-commerce websites, pages tend to get buried too deep to be indexed. The crawl depth should be no more than three clicks.
4. Time for getting the keywords right
If you think keywords don’t have the same potential to sway the ranking as before, think again! You need to target the right keywords too if you want to make it to the top of the SERPs.
Getting the keywords right is less about using the right tools and more about understanding your target audience and their needs. For instance, those looking to buy would use terms like ‘discounts,’ and ‘buy,’ while those just browsing would search ‘reviews’ and ‘top ten.’
Understanding this division is really important in 2020 because you want to lead both these types to your page. Besides, with Google prioritizing user’s intent over anything else in the search rankings, this is not something you can overlook and is one of the newer on-page SEO tips for 2020.
Also, with an increase in voice searches, it would help to use long-tailed keywords that are mostly in question format. Users speak differently than they type, so you need longer keywords and less formal language.
5. Not to forget the contents you post
The importance of having great content on your site can’t be underestimated. Just like in years past, the most important on-page SEO tip is creating valuable content on a consistent basis. That doesn’t mean tweaking an old post or adding an infographic. Provide value to your visitors and do it a minimum of once a week, although that’s more than on-page SEO.
Other website SEO tips regarding content are that websites with more content outperform websites with less content and the more frequently you update content, the better you’ll perform.
Think of it like bread and butter for your webpage because it is the ultimate deciding factor on where your page will end up on the SERPs.
Research has shown that, at present, your best chance at succeeding lies with delivering long-tailed content. According to backlinko, the first page results of Google have an average word count of 1800+ words. The study by SumoMe and BuzzSumo states that the content with a minimum of 2,000 gets the most shares.
Longer posts draw a higher number of backlinks, as well, and that helps increase your page’s position in the results and page authority in the rankings. However, don’t let that give you the idea that you can fill up those 2000 words with anything and everything you want. Remember that relevance and quality are still two of the most important factors in content creation. And, buying backlinks or getting random backlinks hurts more than it helps, another of our on-page SEO tips for 2020.
6. The images you have count too
The images you have also count, making it one of our on-page SEO tips for 2020. That’s because they help to make your page more engaging and interesting. You need to make sure that you have as many images as your competitors, and that they are all unique.
Yes, you will have to spend a couple of bucks on a photographer or a graphic designer for unique images. But, it’s all worth it when it comes to improving your page’s appeal. Besides, you want high-quality images, and cutting corners will not help your brand’s perception.
Now, you will also have to decide upon the image format because that impacts your page’s loading speed. The most commonly used formats are JPEG and PNG, though the latter takes more time to load. However, you can use PNG product photos and decorative imagery, since they scale better than JPEG.
And, don’t steal images. Buy them, join a free image site, or be sure to credit the website where you got them. Many websites create images and infographics solely for the purpose of getting backlinks, so they encourage you to borrow their images.
7. Finally, the user experience factor
More web searches are conducted on mobile devices nowadays than on laptops and desktops. So, you must have a responsive web page that runs equally well on both PCs and mobile devices.
In addition to that, make sure you have installed the SSL certificate for your website, or else Google will put a ‘Not Secure’ label in front of your URL. This will end up driving viewers away from your site because your site will not seem reliable anymore to them.
Make sure that your page ticks all the boxes as mentioned above and that should make it rank just fine on the major search engines. So, go ahead and get working on it now!
Guest Post by:
Aditya works as a Growth Assistant at AirTract, a go-to place for all expert advice wherein people ask questions, write articles, share and learn from online courses. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering and has been working in the field of Digital Marketing for the past two years. He is also a voracious reader and a big sports fan.
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