On-Page Optimization: The Anatomy of SEO and Your Web Page in 2020
Why is on page SEO so important in 2020 and will continue to be important for as far as we can see at this point? Well, in case you didn't know, about 93% of online experiences begin with a search online. And about 74% of these searches take place on Google.
This shows the importance of having your business site show up on search engines, especially Google (no need to be intimidated). And in order to do this, you have to implement an SEO strategy that consists of on-page optimization.
There's a lot that goes into on page SEO, which can turn off many business owners. But if you ignore it, it comes at the peril of your digital branding.
Since the majority of people online are looking for products and services (pay attention to your own search habits), you need to have a targeted presence online. So in this quick guide, we're going to cover the anatomy of on page SEO and how it can benefit you directly.
Get your pen and paper ready to jot down this on-page SEO checklist and be sure to note the on page SEO factors for 2020.
Optimized Title Tags
SEO and On-Page optimization stem from your target keywords. Once you have your list of highly-targeted keywords, you can begin your on-page optimization. The first place you want to begin is with your title tags.
These should begin with relevant keywords to help the page rank for the term. When users search for that keyword, it'll make your page more likely to show up in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is possible because your title tag is the most important factor in your SEO. So it holds a lot of weight in the SERPs. Try to get your keywords as close to the beginning as possible.
Now think back to the beginning of this post, the majority of people searching online are beginning a search to seek more information about a product or service, which means they have questions about a product or service you offer but need more information to aid them in their buying decision process.
Does your title jump out and express value to your readers? Remember, Google specifically looks for EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) in their content quality guidelines.
SEMRush has a fantastic content marketing toolkit that includes a topic research tool that I personally find priceless!
Make Your URLs SEO-Friendly
Now, even your URLs need some SEO love. There's such a thing as URLs that can hurt your optimization efforts. Both the structure and keyword use is essential here.
For instance, you want the URL to be short and keyword-optimized. Here's an example: www.yoursite.com/your-target-keyword. Avoid using URLs, such as www.yoursite.com/8-24-18/category/articletitle.
This with your optimized title tags will further help your SEO ranking.
SPECIAL URL ON PAGE SEO TIP
For a visual example of a correct URL structure, simply analyze the URL structure and title for this post. From time to time I may tweak the title of a post on our site if it's not performing to expectations, which is basically every post in the beginning until we identify the best language for each post that communicates most effectively to our readers. For this post, my target keyword will always be “on-page seo”, which is how the URL structure reflects.
URLs are the most challenging to change in my experience once a post is indexed and ranking, so be sure to give each URL structure the appropriate amount of research and planning to ensure maximum success. Learn from my mistakes and avoid using dates in your URL structure, such as “on-page seo for 2020“. This may boost your short term rankings, but the further away you get from that year the less valuable that link structure will be.
Use Keyword Modifiers for an Added Boost
There are various ways you can modify your keywords to make them more appealing to searchers, hence the term keyword modifier. For example, you can include words like “best”, “review”, “2020”, and “guide.”
These are common terms users add to the search terms they insert into Google. These are long tail versions of your keywords, which can help to drive more targeted visitors to your site.
It's easier to rank for long tail keywords since there's less competition for them.
Now think of the best modifiers people would type in to learn more about your product or services and start thinking of natural ways to implement them into your content, no different than people typing it in.
Put an H1 Tag Around Your Titles
Besides optimizing your titles with keywords, it's important to include an h1 tag for your headlines. This sends a signal to search engines that this is a title. You can easily implement this without coding knowledge using CMSs, such as WordPress.
However, if you're struggling with this, you can easily look it up on YouTube to see how it's done. You may have to check to ensure the theme you have isn't overriding this setting.
Below is a quick instructional video explaining the different title tags in WordPress and how to use them.
Use Multimedia (But Don't Overdo It)
Back in the day, you could get away with building websites that were text-only. Today, however, users expect websites to contain different types of media to educate, entertain, and engage them through the entire process of their product or service.
By simply adding imagery, videos, charts, and other visuals, you can reduce your bounce rate substantially. Plus, it'll help boost the amount of time visitors are spending on each page. These are two crucial factors Google considers when ranking your website (bounce rate and dwell time).
Place Your Keyword in the First Paragraph
Now, when it comes to the content of your page, it's important to optimize it effectively. And a part of this is placing your target keyword within the first 100 words.
Keep in mind that search engine bots crawl your pages. So by putting the keyword early on the page, it ensures the bot sees this and will rank your page for it. This is also what shows up sometimes in the snippet in the SERPs (if you don't have a meta description).
For a visual example of how to optimize the first paragraph of an article, take a look at the first paragraph of this article to see how the use of onpage SEO is used.
Implement a Responsive Web Design
If your site is not mobile friendly and doesn't work on mobile devices, then you're simply doing it wrong.
The amount of mobile device users in the world is projected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. In 2016, an estimated 62.9 percent of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone. The penetration of mobile phone has a forecast of continued growth, rounding up to 67 percent by 2019.
China was predicted to have just over 1.4 billion mobile connections in 2017, while India was forecast to reach over one billion. By 2019, China is expected to reach almost 1.5 billion mobile connections and India almost 1.1 billion.
What's the message here? If YOUR message is NOT where people's eyeballs are, which is on mobile devices (says the data), then it is not getting to everyone needed.
But this isn't the only thing it'll affect -- it'll also hurt your SEO ranking. Google released an update to its algorithm that requires sites to be accessible on all platforms -- especially mobile devices.
The best way to accommodate both users is to have a responsive web design. This way, you can have one site that responds to any device the user is on. In the past, you needed a separate mobile site to appease your mobile users.
But this is costly to create and maintain so it's best to go with a responsive design. This will ensure the content is easy to read on any screen size. And the buttons and links are easy to click using fingers and thumbs.
Include Outbound Links in Your Content
Having external links on your pages can help your onpage optimization strategy. It helps your users find relevant resources and content related to the topic you're writing on. It also sends relevancy signals to Google to help rank your site appropriately.
For instance, if you have a legal website offering advice about auto accidents, you can link to stats for the number of car collisions that occur annually. You can also link to state laws revolving around carrying the right amount of coverage.
Include Inbound Links for On-page Optimization
It's also important to include internal links in your content. This will help users and the search engine bots navigate through your site and understand the intention of each piece of content better. Make sure the pages you're linking to are related to the content on the page. Otherwise, you're sending them on a meaningless wild goose chase which not only annoys readers but also confuses the search engines which will inevitably hurt rankings.
You can link to other relevant blog posts or to a product or service page if it fits the intent of the user at that given moment. For example, if the content is about how businesses can benefit from using a service you offer, you can include a link somewhere in the content to your service page.
As a rule of thumb, you should have between two and three internal links in every post and for internal links, meaning links to other posts on your site, it's best to make your anchor texts descriptive of the post you're linking too.
Improve Your Site Load Speed
A slow website is one way to boost your bounce rates. No one wants to wait around for a site to load up and in many cases, users will leave within three seconds. For this reason, you should make sure you're not overloading your pages with too many graphics, designs, and multimedia.
This is why we recommended earlier that you not overdo the amount of multimedia you place on your web pages. There are free tools you can use to monitor your site load speed times. If you find it's taking longer than three seconds to load, then you can make some adjustments.
Sometimes, you may need a better host to manage your site, especially if there's a lot of downtime. Another option is to use a CDN to compress your images.
The longterm and most effective solution to improving website speed and security is to have a quality hosting provider. We use and recommend WP Engine only because of their how fantastic their customer support and product is for us which in turn is a contributing factor to our success. To learn more check out our WPEngine Review.
Include LSI Keywords in Your Pages
LSI (or latent semantic indexing) keywords are phrases that are synonyms to the keywords you're targeting. For example, if your target keyword is car, you can use LSI keywords like automobile, vehicle, or the name of a make and model, such as Ford F150.
Google is smarter now than ever before. It's able to identify synonyms and intent to better make the search results more relevant to the user. This is great news for you since you can write content that sounds more natural.
The idea is to sprinkle LSI keywords throughout each of your pages to help boost optimization.
Optimize All of Your Images
It's not just the text content on your site that requires optimization. It's your images as well. Although Google is growing more advanced, it's still unable to see visuals. So you'll have to give it some help by optimizing the images with alt tags.
These tags include details about what's in the image and also has relevant keywords. Also, you should optimize the file names of all images. For example, my_keywords_image.png.
Add Social Share Buttons to Each Page
What's the purpose of SEO? To get more views and visits to your content. And while social sharing buttons won't necessarily boost your rankings, it will help to extend your reach around the web.
If people are sharing your blog posts on their social media accounts, then this can help increase your brand's visibility. You may even get some link love -- another blogger may find your post interesting and link to it in their own blog post.
Write Long-Form Content
Now, not every page of your site needs to have long-form content. You can get away with a couple of paragraphs for your “About Us” and “Contact Us” page. However, for your services page, you should definitely aim for 1000+ words.
The same goes for your blog content. The longer the content, the better. Ideally, you want to go for something around 2,000 words. Of course, you want it to be high-quality and contain lots and lots of value.
Fluffy content is poor-quality and will only turn off your visitors. Then once Google sees people bouncing away, this will send signals that your content isn't worthy of a high ranking.
Long-form content is commonly found on the first page of Google, likely because these posts have high value. They're very informative and educational. You can't really fit much value inside a 500-word post.
Work On Increasing Your Site's Dwell Time
How long are visitors spending on your site before clicking the back button? If they're on your page for a few seconds before hitting “back” then this is a red flag. This can mean several things. For instance, the content found isn't relevant to their needs.
In this case, you should analyze the keywords to ensure they match the intent of the users you're targeting. It could also be a red flag that your content is of poor quality. Or maybe the site load speed is taking too long.
If you're using Google Analytics or other tools, you can look into your metrics to see if there's any indication of what's wrong. Maybe it's specific pages that are seeing lower dwell times than others.
You can try improving your content, making it longer and more engaging. Make sure to include images, videos, and other visuals to make it more enticing to read.
Wrapping it Up
At the end of the day, you want an on page optimization plan that'll include all of these components. If you miss any of them in your SEO checklist, then it could cause an imbalance in your traffic, dwell time, and conversions.
Remember, being found on Google is the key to generating more business for your company. It doesn't matter if you're a brick-and-mortar or an online entity. You need the internet to survive in today's markets. And this holds true no matter the industry you're in.
You'll find that even B2B brands are having great success with using SEO to drive traffic to their business. This is because businesses are run by people and people are using their smartphones and computers to shop online for whatever products and services they need.
The key now is to formulate a solid SEO strategy to ensure you're implementing all you need to rank high.
Working with an SEO Expert
There's a lot on your plate as a business owner, which is why you should consider working together with an SEO expert. The professionals at Marketing by Kevin offer a full suite of services that can help you rank higher in search engines.