Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short can be described as taking specific measures to increase the level of visibility of a website or a web page to users when searches are made on search engines. In other words, trying to increase the chances of a webpage or website occurring really high in search results is search engine optimization.
It’s important to note that search engine optimization does not include any form of paid services such as ads placements. Only efforts to increase search performance which don’t require any form of payment can be categorized under SEO.
With a clear understanding of what Search Engine Optimization means, let us now get in-depth with On-Page SEO Guide for Niche Sites.
What is On-Page SEO?
As the name implies, On-Page SEO is the practice of taking precise steps inside the sites or pages to increase the performance of websites in search engines, thereby driving traffic to that website.
It’s optimization done on pages, that’s why is called on page SEO or on site SEO.
Why do you need on-page SEO?
Let us take a rather unconventional but clear route to explain exactly why On-Page SEO is necessary.
Imagine having a great looking vehicle with shiny alloy rims, nice body paint and everything that screams of a perfect ride. You attract a couple of friends who would love to hitch a ride to an event in your super cool car.
When they arrive, you first tell them, “guys, sorry, as amazing as this vehicle looks, we’ll need to push it to start. Also, I need to warn you that the engine kicks off gradually and we’ll ride for about ten minutes before you get to feel how fast it can really go”. Such a killjoy you’d turn out to be.
Now let’s put this in perspective. It’s pretty simple. For a business to be successful, you have to tidy up everything that needs to be in-house. Afterward, you can head out to promote it.
One can decide to jump the gun and proceed to build links and start advertising a site through means such as Pay Per Click. When the traffic starts hitting pages that are not optimized and will come up top competing against the snail and the tortoise for the battle of the slowest, you’d then realize how important On-Page SEO is and why it’s very necessary.
SEO generally is still the most important source of targeted traffics to the website and On-Page SEO is an aspect of SEO. This is another reason why you need On-Page SEO.
On-page SEO techniques
Moving on, we'll explore some proven techniques that can be adopted in On-Page search engine optimization.
1. Meta title
This is what gives the search engine and searchers a brief description of the contents of a webpage. It’s like some sort of complimentary card for the web page. You don’t want to give out a crappy complimentary card.
The meta title is one of the first things searchers see about a page and search engines use it when indexing web pages. Therefore, one should pay attention to inserting keywords that help users and search engines to a great extent understand clearly what a web page is all about.
Meta Titles should be descriptive but not overly long, 55 characters or less is optimal. Also, keywords should be emphatic but not repeated.
It’s also important to use unique meta titles for each web pages, even if the contents are the same. This will help the search engines and searchers understand that the tags are not duplicates.
2. Meta description
This can be seen as a helping hand to the meta title. It summarizes the contents of a web page and a description of about 150 characters is good enough. It can be seen as a sub or mini ad for a webpage.
It’s high yielding if every webpage has its own meta description, just like the title tag. Also, the description for every page should be unique, whether or not the contents are the same. This helps the users and the search engine not to understand the descriptions as duplicates.
Meta descriptions should be short, not more than 160 characters and they should contain targeted keywords. Quotation marks should be avoided.
These descriptions should propose value to the user and also include a call to action. With an active voice, languages that appear to guide users as to what the next step is will likely get them to act.
3. SEO friendly URLs
The way a URL is structured can affect the rankings of a page though it may not be of much import to the overall domain itself. Hence, it is just as important to structure URLs in a friendly manner. So how do you come up with SEO friendly URLs?
URLs should contain keywords that describe a page’s content. A URL is great if I can tell its contents by mere looking at the words that make up the URL.
By extension, the words in a URL should be separated by hyphens. Lowercase words are preferable and the URLs should be short. All these points towards readability, which is the goal. That way, a user can tell the contents of the URL at a glance, remember?
4. Heading tags
Header tags should contain keywords that describe the contents of a webpage. The contents of the H1 tags (an HTML tag for the largest headings in a web page) should be closely related to the page title and should be relevant to the contents of the web page. H2 and others should also have contents similar to the H1.
5. Keyword density
Just as the name implies, keyword density is the number of times in percentage that a keyword or phrase occurs on a web page with respect to the total number of words on that page. It’s widely accepted that this value should range from 1 to 3 percent. Anything higher than this can be otherwise regarded as spam.
Search engines though do not have any specific figure that can be regarded as an optimum value for keyword density. You just have to have enough keywords for the search engines to figure out what your page is all about.
6. Content length
Google’s algorithm prefers more content. Studies show that page one of the search rankings is dominated by longer contents.
From 1500 to 2000 words on an article is pretty good for search algorithms.
7. Content quality
It’s important that the quality of content should not be watered down in the quest to increase the word count.
If this is the case, one would end up losing out eventually and the verbose content would end up not helping the algorithm decipher what a web page entails.
8. Keyword in first and last 100 words
This is probably one of the best practices that should be used in content marketing. The words that help crawlers figure out what a page is about should be available substantially in the first 100 words and also last 100.
The keywords in the first 100 words can make it easier to quickly connect a title to the actual content especially for users and keep them interested in your page.
9. Use LSI keywords
LSI is short for Latent Semantic Indexing, a technology used by Google to figure out the relationship between different terms and concepts. LSI keywords (related keywords) can be used to improve SEO traffic.
Use LSI keywords when describing the contents of a webpage. They can help a webpage come up high in searches when the search algorithm sees them as the most relevant results to keywords used in searches.
10. Use images
Use images which are relevant to contents and place them close to the most relevant contents. Images should also be saved in the correct format and should be named with the keywords you want to target.
11. Embed videos
The most important part of SEO is the content and Videos are part of the content. When users demand Videos in their search, contents with videos relevant to what is being searched will definitely increase the ranking of a web page in search results.
Videos should have the right captions and be of the correct format.
12. UI design/site layout
Generally, a good design or site layout will translate to a better crawling by web crawlers.
Ensuring that proper subcategories are put under categories. Scattering unrelated links all over a page makes it more difficult for search engine algorithm.
A site/web page should be designed such that the URL structure adheres strictly to the hierarchical structure of the site/web page.
13. Use internal links
Internal links (with proper URL structure) will improve search engine performance. The more internal links, the better the search performance of a page.
It’s important that links are not made to be excessive when compared to the overall content of the page. One way to ensure that many internal links don’t look absurd is increasing the general content size. The internal links should be in context and related though.
14. Use external links
This is almost the same as the above and the effects are the same. The only difference here is that the links that lead from your page are toward webpages on another site, as opposed to internal links which take you to different pages on the same site.
People are afraid to use external links because they point towards other websites, but just as internal links showcase the subject of the website, so does good external links.
Google finds external links towards good sources important and valuable.
On page SEO tips for your niche site
Here are some important tips for On Page SEO.
Now we understand what On Page Search Engine Optimization entails and its “never overemphasized” importance. We’ve also seen the techniques and useful tips in achieving On Page SEO.
The only thing left to do is to go back to the drawing board and make those web pages perform better. I’ll leave that up to you, dear reader.