We know you know that quality content is key to ranking well in the search engines. But unfortunately it is not enough on its own. The content on your website must be structured so that it is easy to read, both for search engines and humans. What good is quality content if no one can find it?
What is On-page SEO?
On-page elements are aspects of the site that influence the ranking of this page in the search engines. All these contribute to strengthening your ranking if optimised.
This means a page will need to be structured in such a way that the search engines can understand what it is about, how it is organised and what keywords it is relating to.
If people are going to visit your page it needs to be optimised. The content needs to be well written, easy to share, and deliver on its promise to the reader. Both Google and humans will see straight through your shady tactics if you are hiding behind popular, but irrelevant keywords to drive traffic.
So what is best practice? We give you our checklist of top eight things that you need to get in place for good on-page SEO.
Checklist for On-page optimisation
1. Title Tag
Don’t just whip up any old title for a new page on your website. Try to see how you can best include your chosen keyword. This allows the search engines to immediately see what the page is about. Make sure your title is kept between 40-70 characters so the whole title is displayed in the search result.
You have probably been to a lot of websites with long and confusing URLs with lots of signs and symbols that make it impossible to read. Google feels your pain.
Keep your URLs short, but try to include your chosen keyword here as well. Use a “-” between words instead of space, this will only display as %20, making the URL impossible to read).
3. Meta description
You guessed it, they keyword should go here as well. The meta description does not directly affect SEO, but it is really important for people searching.
This is the first thing they read about you and is a huge deciding factor in whether they click the link to your website. This traffic, however, will affect your ranking more directly.
Keeping it below 160 characters, ensure that your meta description gets your point across and engages the reader. If you don’t have this in place for your page, the search engines will automatically generate one for you which might not always give the best result.
4. Optimise your images
The search engines cannot see an image, they need to be able to read it. Use your chosen keyword when entering the name or descriptive alt-text for your image. This also ensures that you comply with rules for readability of all Norwegian websites.
If someone cannot see images on a website and use a software to read out everything on the page, the software will read the alt-text to tell the person what the image is showing. This is also the text that will show when someone’s internet connection is too slow to load images.
5. H1, H2 and H3
One of the more important things you can do is to create a title structure for your sites using the H1, H2, H3-tag and so on. The H1 tag is the most important, and this should include a version of your chosen keyword. This helps the search engine understand what the page is about.
H2 and H3 are subheadings. These help structure the hierarchy of your site as they show the search engines what topics are more important on a single page. H1 is the most important, then H2 and so on. Try to include variations of your keyword in these as well to help your ranking, but keep it natural.
6. Encourage sharing
Make it easy for visitors to share your content. Include sharing icons on all pages and ask people to share it if they find it interesting. You have created content of value so don’t be scared to share it with the world!
7. Responsive and optimised for all devices
You can’t avoid this step. Your website must be responsive so it is optimised for all devices. Your site should be just as easy to use on mobile as on desktop.
First of all, visitors will be frustrated by a website that is not user-friendly on mobile devices. Secondly, Google penalises websites that are not optimised for mobile, so they will not be ranking in search performed on mobile.
Considering 39-72 % of people search from their mobile devices (dependent on industry), you might be losing out on a significant number of potential customers.
8. High-quality content
We consume digital content differently to what we do in print, often skimming it looking for answers to our query. Ensure that the content you are writing is easy to digest.
Avoid lengthy paragraphs and vary the way in which you present the content. Some things are probably better presented in bullet points or as an illustration. Remember to use fonts that are easy to read on any screen.
The length of the content is also important. This is topic dependent, but any piece of content over 1000 words tend to do better in the search engines. Longer copy also makes it easy to include more natural variations of the keywords throughout the text.
One last tip: use links, external and internal. You might have an article or page that digs deeper into a topic than what you just included in your blog post? Link to this in your content.
Linking to external sources is also great, as long as you deem them credible. Linking to 1-2 credible sources from your content will help your content do better.