On page SEO is the first step in showing search engines that a page is relevant to a certain topic. I feel that its also necessary to state that good solid content is the foundation that everything must be built on. If the website content is not very good, your foundation can only be so strong. When your foundation is not very strong, you can’t build a very tall building, the same way you wont be able to get very high rankings. Search engines will only let mediocre content perform so well in the search results. The point is, before you explore any on page SEO techniques, make sure you are presenting solid content.
On Site SEO Factors & How To Use Them
Let’s get into on page SEO techniques, starting with the most basic, then getting to the more complex:
Title Tags: This is the single most important on page SEO factor. The title tag is what is shown in the search results and what users click on to go to your site. You want to make this relevant and include phrases you want to rank for. You don’t need to repeat words or rewrite the same thing in different variations. For example, lets say you want to rank for Dallas plumber, plumber Dallas TX, and commercial plumber Dallas TX. You don’t need to put all of those variations in your title tag one after another. You just need to construct a title that fits all of that in it somewhere. A good way to do that would be simply commercial plumber Dallas TX | XYZ Plumbing Company. All the variations are in there in some way, even if they’re not in the right order.
Meta Description: The description meta tag is not exactly a factor in ranking, but it is what people see below the title of your listing. Its a good idea to include your main keyword, but that’s not its most important purpose. The main purpose is to write a description that will entice people to click through to your website. People are looking at your listing along with 10 others and making your description more convincing may give you the click over someone that’s ranked above you. Don’t underestimate the power of a good meta description.
Page URL: It’s common to include keywords in the URL of the page, but don’t go too crazy with this. Search engines will bold parts of the URL that contain your keywords so it can help your listing stand out. You don’t want to make it too long or stuff too many keywords in it because that could potentially look bad. Try to be concise and to the point. Sometimes, just one main word is good enough.
Headings: H1, H2, H3, H4, etc are all elements that you should be using on your pages. They should be descriptive headings that explain what the content below them is all about. Include a few keywords in them when it makes sense. Don’t simply write your keywords as your headings. You want to make the page for the person viewing it and keep the search engines in mind as a secondary thought.
Internal Linking: When ever you’re writing about a topic that you have another page on your website about, link to it with relevant anchor text. This will let link juice flow through to the other page, and also describe what the page is about. Avoid using any type of plugin or anything that does this for you automatically. Its best to do this manually and mix it up when doing so.
Images: There are 2 tags in images that you can include relevant phrases. There’s the alt and the title tags of an image. The alt will be shown if the image does not load for some reason. Since search engines cant see images, its supposed to be used to tell them what the image is about. If you are putting relevant images on your pages, it should be about keywords that you want to rank for anyway. The image title will be displayed if someone hovers their mouse over the image. Don’t stuff these with too many keywords. Make them descriptive and maybe include partial keywords in them.
Lists: – If you have ordered or unordered lists on your page, try to include keywords in them when possible. A good use of this can be for a table of contents for long pages. You can make an unordered list of the different sections of the content of a page and use in page anchors to link down to the matching section on the page.
Bold, Underline, Italics: These things should be used for styling of your copy first, but keep in mind to fit relevant keywords in these when possible. This shows that your keywords are important aspects of the content that should be emphasized.
Siloing Content: When writing a page, you want to cover the entire topic that you are writing about. Sometimes a topic is quite large and there are multiple sub topics of it. Consider writing pages for each sub topic of your main topic and linking to them from the main topic page. This is showing the search engines that your page is an extensive resource for the main topic and digs deep into it with sub pages explaining every aspect of the topic.
This page is part of an SEO content silo that looks something like this:
This could obviously be expanded much further. To create this content silo and communicate the connections to the search engines, we need to make sure we implement proper inbound linking on each of these pages. There should be in-context links on each of these pages that link to each other. Proper internal linking combined with content siloing ensures that the search engines know how each page is connected and the topic of the connection.
This doesn’t always make sense and you don’t want to be creating thin pages just for the sake of making pages. However, if you do have a large topic that you’re writing about and could write substantial sub pages of sub topics, that could be a great way to increase the resourcefulness of your website. After all, the goal of the search engines is to deliver the most relevant results to the topic.