On-Page SEO today is a lot different than it was just a few years ago. Today, Google’s robots can recognize things like ad-heavy websites, poor navigation or low quality content. All of this means it’s probably time to update your on-page SEO.
Here are the changes you should make to bring your on-page SEO up to date. Use these best practices moving forward.
The Basics: Title Tags and H1 Tags (plus others)
Your title tag is still by far the most important tag on your page. Your title tag should have your keyword inside the title tag. If you have a brand name, make sure it’s after your post title, not before. Your H2 tag is the second most important tag. If possible, have a keyword in your H2 tag as well.
Other tags found on the page have decreased in importance. Meta Keyword tags, image alt tags and so on don’t make as much of a difference anymore. It’s still good practice to have alt tags on your images, but it may not impact your SEO but it will impact your user experience.
Internal Linking: Categories, Related Posts, You Might Like
Your internal linking helps keep people on your website. That reduces your bounce rate, increases time on site and boosts your overall website quality, which in turn boosts your rankings. Also, good internal linking will help spread your authority throughout your site.
In general, you should build 3 to 5 categories of content. All your content should fall into these 3 to 5 categories. Your category pages should link to your content pages, and your content pages should link back to your category pages.
Additionally, each page of content should have related posts and/or “You Might Also Like” sections. WordPress plugins can make this very easy to build. While there are automated options, you’re usually best off hand picking which articles should be featured at the bottom of your content.
Finally, link to other places within your site from within your content, not just in your sidebars or at the bottom of your posts. Google places far more importance on in-content links.
SEO Best Practices for Content
Google prefers in-depth, meaty content. Generally all your content should be above 1,000 words where possible. Solve a problem and create a resource that people want to read.
Don’t stuff your site with ads. Google now measures the content space versus ad space as a ranking factor. Make sure you have social media buttons on your site, for both SEO reasons and for social media traffic. Finally, add an optimized image or two – it helps improve your site quality, as well as keep people on your site for longer.
Use the meta description area. Many SEO experts will tell you this doesn't matter to your ranking position, but it does matter to the person reading the website description in the search engine. A good meta description will win you the click. When we did this for our transport company, we often included our phone number in the meta description. This generated quite a lot of phone calls from potential customers looking for a quote.
SEO is changing. Update your on-page SEO and make sure to incorporate these best practices in your content moving forward.
Pros & Cons of Optimizing Your On-Page SEO
Starting with the top 5 or 10 pages of your website that get the most traffic, check your title and H2 tags to ensure they have your keyword(s) in them. Continue to work on your existing content to improve their SEO.
If you use WordPress, add a plugin to generate “related posts” within your pages. While you’re checking your title and H2 tags, look for ways to add in-content links to your pages.
If you have an abundance of categories, look for ways to combine topics to cut back on how many categories you have.