Speaking of on-page and off-page SEO (many SEO’s also consider keyword research a separate aspect), I’d like to say that, quite often, on-page SEO does not get the attention it should. This is because, in general, it takes less time than link building and often plays second fiddle to off-page SEO when an emergency rankings boost is required.
However, there are certain on-page SEO factors, leveraging which can work miracles for your site, and it’s important to know how much impact each of them carries. So, let’s talk about these factors.
Include one primary keyword in a page URL.
The web pages in your domain may be optimized for many different keywords. It is said that the best way is to focus only on one keyword phrase and to include it directly in the URL address.Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in URLs.
Use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in URLs.
When you use underscores to separate words in a URL name, Google will read it as one single word. This means that the_best_seo_practices will be treated by search crawlers as ‘thebestseopractices’. That one is hard to read, right?
Choose a static URL address instead of a dynamic one.
There are two types of web addresses: static and dynamic.
A static URL looks like that:
A dynamic one can look like this:
While search engines can easily understand both of the URLs, for human beings dynamic URLs are completely illegible.
For instance, if you have a blog on WordPress you can see that a default URL address of a particular post is dynamic. Take a look:
When you click the ‘publish’ button, WordPress will automatically convert it into a static address. However, it will pick random keywords from the blog’s title. In terms of SEO, it would be better if you edit the URL name yourself which is possible as seen above.
Keep your URLs static.
If you’re not familiar with dynamic versus static URLs, this terminology may seem strange to you. It’s easier to describe dynamic URLs first; these are URLs that provide different content depending on the nature of the query to the site’s database. Static URLs, by contrast, only change if someone manually makes a change to the site’s backend code. With very few exceptions, your site’s URLs should all be static, only changing when you push manual changes to them. This is generally a more trustworthy practice, and will help keep the authority of your domain and individual pages high.
Shorten your URLs.
For the same reasons that you shortened your domain name, you should shorten your URLs. This is as much for your own benefit as it is your users’, as it’s going to make organizing your site much easier. For example, if you have a “products and services” subcategory page, consider shortening it to just “products” or “services.” If you have a long blog title like “how to recover from an embarrassing situation at work,” consider shortening it to “embarrassing-work-situation” as an extension of your URL. Remove any unnecessary additions or extensions whenever possible and focus on what really matters. I realize this seems to counter-act my advice from #12 (adding a breadcrumb trail increases the length of the URL), so to be clear, what I suggest is using breadcrumb trails and keeping them short and concise, while also making an effort to keep URLs short after the inclusion of the breadcrumbs.
Organize your URLs logically with a breadcrumbs trail.
You should also keep your URLs logically organized by using a breadcrumbs trail. In the realm of website development, breadcrumbs trails are strings of sectioned-off extensions to the end of your URL. For example, you may list out the categories and subcategories where a page is located. For example, you might have example.com/maincategory/subcategory/page instead of just example.com/page. This gives you the opportunity to optimize for more keywords, provide a more convenient user experience for your customers, and give more information to Google about how your site is organized. There’s no reason not to do this (and it happens automatically for most template-based CMS’s like WordPress).
Keep a URL address brief, descriptive and relevant.
A visitor should be able to tell at a glance what a particular website is all about. If you choose to edit a URL address yourself, you’ll not only work in favor of the keyword optimization, but you’ll also make it easier for a user to understand what he or she can find on a particular website. This way you’ll make a searcher’s life a bit easier.
Optimize your URLs for your on-page content.
I’ve already talked about general principles for URLs—they should be static, short, and featuring a breadcrumbs-style trail to help users with navigation. But on the page level, they should also be optimized to appropriately describe your on-site content. For example, if you have an article on how to make chocolate fudge, a URL ending in “how-to-make-chocolate-fudge” is more descriptive and therefore better optimized than “online-recipe-3331.” Generally, you’ll want to avoid any numbers or special characters, include keywords where you can, and strive for intuitiveness. If a user can figure out what a page is about just by looking at a URL (without even clicking it), that’s ideal.
Create a sweet title-tag for every single page of your website.
A title tag describes what your domain is all about. This is one short sentence in which you describe your online space. It will appear in several places, such as: the SERPs, social media, external pages, and in browsers (see examples below).
It should be short, catchy and original enough to attract the attention of those people who are your targeted audience. Yes, it means that you should speak their language and present your website in a way that would be attractive to them.
Use meta-description to present your brand better.
A meta description is a short paragraph which is displayed under a title tag on the SERP (see screen above). A meta-description gives you the opportunity to introduce your brand before a searcher pays a visit to your site and actually sees the products that you offer.
The optimal length of a meta-description is between 150-160 characters.
Many tags are used in the header of a website providing Google insight into a piece of content. These include meta tags, verification tags, social tags, and arguably the most important, title tags. There are four main parts to a title tag these include:
- Keyword Target: What keywords are you targeting?
- Keyword Placement: Where to place the keyword? The old SEO thought processes said to put it at the beginning; new research shows that might not be as important.
- Brand Name Placement: Where to place your brand name in the title tag? At the beginning or the end of the title tag?
- Structure/Length: How do you present your title tag content, and how much space do you have to include your messaging?
Internal links are any link that takes a user to another page within your website. For a user, the goal of internal links is to help them discover information that will help expand their knowledge about a topic. For a search engine, an internal link gives them access to new content and helps distribute ranking power throughout a website.
A strong internal link structure can amplify SEO efforts by creating a strong on-site foundation for discovering and ranking new pages.
Don’t forget to use ALT attributes for all of the images.
Search engines don’t read images, they read the ALT text instead. You should use an ALT attribute to help engine crawlers better understand the meaning of an image and what it represents. Of course, it’s good to use keyword phrases you target to describe the images on the webpage itself.
Also, it is good to place keywords in the text that surrounds the images and make it bolded. This way engine crawlers will know that this part of a post is particularly important for readers.
Whatever CMS (content management system) you use, each time you upload an image you will have a chance to optimize it with proper keywords. It’s easy.
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