On page SEO – what is on page and how to do – on page techniques and ranking factors

Chapter 8:

Keywords and keyword research is important but not until they are used properly. Even the best of keywords portfolio cannot bring desired results if they are not optimized. This is done by the on page SEO optimization and this is why it is equally important, or even more. It is the on-page optimization and the right content which gives meaning and direction to our targeted keywords. Let us know how to boost your keywords and their rankings with right on page SEO techniques and strategies.

This is what you will learning in this chapter:

1. What is On Page SEO?

2. How do we optimize keywords for ranking?

3. Using keywords in the right places

What is on page SEO optimization and how to do it

On Page SEO

On Page search engine optimization (SEO) is about optimizing the content of a page.

In the chapter about keywords research we talked about what are keywords and how to select the right keywords for your website. We ended that chapter by talking about assigning keywords to the pages or creating pages according to the keyword groups.

So, what this means is that the next task is to customize a page or create pages to properly use those keywords. What this means optimizing those pages, and not so much about how to design it. Designing of pages then becomes a way of presenting the content in the ways that is best, attractive and motivates & eases reading it.

What on page optimization does is make a web page and its content relevant for our selected keywords. It means building content to best represent our keywords.

Optimizing for keywords mean building unique and relevant content around the targeted keywords mainly to gain search visibility of those keywords and to boost their rankings in search engine pages.

Content and its optimization through on-page provides meaning and direction to our targeted keywords.

What is On Page SEO?

It is optimization to rank keywords

On Page SEO optimization is all about helping selected keywords rank higher in search results. This is done by using keywords in the right places and optimizing those keywords through use of right supporting content throughout the page.

If you remember what we briefly mentioned in our chapter about What is SEO, we talked about that in the early years keyword stuffing was popular. That was the part of on page SEO and how it was perceived and done at that time.

On page has changed meaning over the years and over the history of search engines and SEO. The objective remains the same which is to make your targeted keywords rank higher in the search engine results, just the means to do this keeps changing with time and with the way search engines view and measure importance of website, content and how to display search results.

How do we optimize keywords for ranking?

Using keywords in the right places

So, keeping all the above things in mind, how do you do on page SEO, how do you best optimize your keywords with on page content, how do you make your keywords target more search queries and bring more traffic, and make your keywords rank higher in search engines.

Let us discuss all that.

Just like technical SEO, we will take the top to bottom approach.

But it is important to mention here that few optimization points covered in technical SEO would really help if those are done by this stage. These are having HTTPS protocol website, which is mobile friendly and has clear structure, with sitemaps and robots files ready or better submitted, and also clear indication to search engines whether the website wants to display www or non-www version all the time, everywhere.

How to optimize title tag

This is said to be the most important optimization technique. There are two reasons for that. One, it is considered highly important by search engines to derive meaning of the content. Second, the title tag is the first thing which gets the attention of a searcher in the search engine result pages (SERP).

This is also the place, and the first place, where you should use your primary and other keywords, for every page.

But there is one huge limitation, space limit. You should ideally keep your Title tag within a limit of 60 characters so that it shows properly. Now you have to optimize your keywords with that limit in mind and also make your title tag attractive enough to generate more clicks.

You can use a short sentence keeping your keyword as close to the beginning as possible for maximum benefits. Or you can use multiple keywords separated by comma, hyphen, or colon signs.

To help you in choosing the best title try searching for your keywords and look at the search results and how the keywords are used. Then come up with a better and your own title.

URL optimization

URL is the second line seen by searchers just below the Title. Here we can use our keywords in a way that tells users more specifically what our page is about.

Although there is no word limit still it is best to keep it short and brief to help users understand better. Unlike the Title tag we do not use a sentence here and often use only one keyword.

This is where we name the page and use keyword within it. The most important thing to remember is that we do not change URLs. URLs when created are permanent and any change creates a new URL which loses all the authority of previous one unless we redirect it.

We use our primary and most important keyword in the URL. It is best to keep the keyword close to the beginning and even start the name with that keyword. Never force too many keywords here.

Use hyphens (-) to separate the words in the URL and never use underscores (_). Why we use hyphens is because a hyphen sign separates two words while underscore shows them as one.

This is how search engines look at it

Travel-industry means travel industry for search engines

Travel_industry means travelindustry for search engines

Underscore in URLs can make it difficult for rankings.

Meta description

Meta description is the third thing which is seen by searchers in search results and the third place where you can use keywords.

Descriptions do not help in ranking of keywords still play important role in explaining that page and influencing searchers to click on search results.

This meta tag allows you to explain the page in little more details. You can use upto 160 characters here which means about two short sentences. You can use more text but Google and other search engines cut all the extra text and only show the text within the character limit.

Meta description gives you the opportunity to briefly explain what the page is about and use other supporting keywords and/or elaborate what your Title says and your URL means.

How to optimize heading tags

There are 6 headings tags which one can use on any web page. These are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. But out of these H1 is the most important header tag followed by H2.

These serve two or even more purposes. After the 3 meta tags pointed above which are not visible on a page, header tags becomes important because this is (ideally) the first thing visitors will see when they visit your page.

This is also the first place on the page where you use your keywords. This is also the tag that tells everyone what the below content is about.

H1 is the main heading on a page and for any content. It is like the headlines of a news, article, blog, etc. This is not static like URL and can be changed to better present the content.

Use your primary keyword here, along with other secondary keywords if you want. H1 should not look like a stuffing of too many keywords. Make it a little elaborative and pointing and indicative of what you want to say in the content yet using the keyword to help it rank better. It is like making a sentence out of your primary keyword or main keywords.

Optimizing alt tags

Alt tag is another very important tool to use for on page SEO optimization. We talked about this in our technical SEO section in the point where we discussed providing readable content and giving alternative content for images. This is because search engine bots and spiders do not read images and videos at all.

Alt tag is the place where you describe and tell search engines what the image is all about. Here is the code and the way to do it:

<img src="location of image file in the directory" alt="put a line or few words about what the image says">

Why is this important? Because here is another important place to put your keywords.

The other advantage or benefits of using and optimizing alt tags is that since now search engines can read what your image is about they can index your images and well you can get your images ranked and get some additional traffic.

How to optimizing content

Content is the place where your strengthen your keyword optimization strategy. Here you can use other related keywords like synonyms, long tail keywords or LSIs.

Content is the place where your strengthen your keyword optimization strategy. Here you can use other related keywords like synonyms, long tail keywords or LSIs.

But the first thing to note and do is to use your primary keyword in the first paragraph of your content which would ideally start right after your H1 tag.

Then when you reach towards the end of your page, include that keyword in the last paragraph too.

Then the content will also have your secondary header tags like H2, H3 and so on. These are ideally used to highlight content sections. Do not repeat H1 tags for inner sections.

As we said before, you should use other variations of your primary keyword including long tail keywords.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

What you should also do is use LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. LSI keywords are related keywords that indicate the context and meaning of your primary keywords and tell search engines what exactly your keywords and content is about.

For example if you have a page that talks about Apple then you could be talking about few things, Apple phone, Apple computers, Apple fruit, or may Apple fruit recipes.

Now, how do you tell search engines what your page is about? Here LSI keywords help. Let us give examples for each case

Apple phone – smartphones, touch phones, ipad, mobiles, phones, SIM

Apple computers – company, Steve Jobs, services, products, services

Apple fruit – red, fresh, fruit, nutritious, healthy, organic

Apple fruit recipes – salad, cut, peel, cook, juice, grate

All these are LSI keywords which help search engines understand what your primary keywords indicate to and what your content is about. This helps in right indexing of pages and relevant and better ranking of keywords

Conclusion and Recap

These were the key on page SEO techniques. These are all the main places where you should be using your keywords.

Let us revise what we learned above about on page and using keywords and also tell you how and what keywords you should be using in all these places.

Title tag

Title tag is the first prominent place to use main keyword. You can also use secondary keyword along with primary one but should avoid keyword stuffing. Title tag tells about the content of the page and is seen by the user in search engine page.

URL optimization

Use your page's main keyword in the URL but make it as short as possible. You may also use just one key word from your main keyword there. For example, for a page about on page seo techniques, URL can be on-page-seo or just on-page.

Do not use underscores (_) to connect words, instead and always separate words with hyphens (-). Do not use connecting words like the, or, for, etc.

Meta description

Meta description is seen by searchers on the search page and hence it is important. But it does not influence ranking in any way. Keep it short like two lines and make it say what your page is about in a more descriptive way than your Title or URL.

Heading tags

There are six heading tags i.e. H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. H1 is the most important while H6 is the least. H1 is the main Title of the page which a visitor can see, and it tells about the whole content. SEO often use upto H3 and sometimes H4. Place main keyword in H1 and as close to the beginning. You can use more than one keywords either in a single line or separated by hyphens or commas.

Alt tags

Alt tag describes what an image is about. It is the title tag for the image. It is created to make search engines read and index the images appropriately. It helps in on page SEO, and boosting keywords rankings, and also ranking of the images separately.

Content

Content is what explains and describes your keywords and supports them too. The first thing to do is to include your main keyword in the first paragraph of the content.

Then you can use long tail keywords, supporting and synonym keywords and LSI keywords in the content. Use of LSIs and long tail keywords supports in the indexing and ranking of your main keyword, by giving meaning to the page content. It also makes a page rank for more keywords.