On-Page SEO: 11 Techniques to Boost Your Rankings
Google regularly releases updates to its search engine algorithm.
However, the latest updates have had little influence on “On-page SEO”.
In this article on “On-page SEO”, discover 11 techniques to improve your search traffic, boost your rankings and facilitate “off-page SEO”.
A few quick reminders on SEO
Before going into the technical details of “On-page SEO”, let’s start by clearly defining some terms of Natural Referencing (SEO).
What is SEO?
Natural Referencing or SEO is one of the six levers of Digital Marketing which encompasses all the techniques to improve the positions of your website pages in search engines.
This includes :
- Technical aspects of your website ( Technical SEO ),
- Optimizations on each of your pages (On-page SEO),
- And various actions to strengthen the popularity of your website ( Off-Page SEO ).
My diagram below shows the interweaving of these 3 aspects of SEO to obtain the best possible result.
What is “on-page SEO”?
“On-page SEO” brings together all the techniques to optimize each of the pages on your company’s website to rank them as high as possible in the search engine results pages.
This is why the Anglo-Saxons call it “On-page SEO”, which means “SEO on the page” or “SEO on the page”.
Another goal of “On-Page SEO” is to help search engines understand the meaning and context of the content of each of your pages or blog posts.
Indeed, when the search engines “read” one of your pages, they pay special attention:
- Under the page,
- To the meta description of the page,
- In the subtitles,
- And the content (text, videos and images).
With all that, they deduce the subject of your page; they can rank your page (for various keywords) in their index.
The techniques of “On-page SEO” therefore consist in optimizing all this information.
Note: Obviously, many other criteria come into play, such as backlinks, the authority of your domain, competition etc.
Now discover my 11 “On-Page SEO” techniques to boost your search engine rankings.
Preamble: Some Digital Marketing experts will tell you that there are more than 11 techniques to optimize the SEO of a page. I would tell them that these 11 techniques are the most important.
You can apply them to your site today and quickly boost your SEO.
1. First, work on the quality of your content
When working on your SEO, always keep in mind:
- Exceptional content can be ranked very well without working on its SEO,
- Poor quality content will never take off even with SEO work,
- Good content can only get better by working on SEO!
It’s not easy to write great content, but at least here are four criteria for good content:
Ideally, all the components of your pages should be unique (text, image, video, presentation, infographic, comment, etc.).
Never copy existing articles.
Content published first on your website.
Always post any content on your business website first.
So, even if you authored it, content already published on another website should not be duplicated on your website (unless you place a canonical tag).
On the other hand, the reverse is not a problem. Moreover, some articles published on my blog are republished a week later on LinkedIn and Medium.
Content with text
Even if your website is meant to feature visuals, always write text to accompany your non-text content.
Indeed, even if search engines’ algorithms evolve quickly, it is always easier to interpret text than images or videos.
So if you are essentially posting videos to your website, transcribe the sound content into writing. At a minimum, add a textual description. For example, if you are a photographer, describe your photos in words.
Useful and in-depth content
Never post content just to keep up with your posting pace.
Before clicking the “Publish” button, make sure that this content still adds value to your website.
Plus, no one wants poor quality, hastily written articles. It’s the same with search engines.
Finally, post in-depth content regularly.
Indeed, the study by Thibaud Herr shows that articles, on medium, with a reading time of 8 minutes, attract the most attention.
Since an adult reads an average of 300 words per minute, the optimum word count for an article is around 2,400 words.
My advice: just because an article is over 2000 words long doesn’t mean your audience will appreciate it. Write without worrying about the length of your text. Then count the number of words and refine if necessary. The important thing is completeness.
2. Optimize the SEO title of the page and its meta description
This is the basics of SEO since this is the information that appears in search results.
Note: in the search above, I used the search operator “site:” to limit searches to the content of Mohd Shahrukh.
The SEO Title of your page
The SEO title is the blue line in the search results pages. This is the first piece of information that a user will see and which prompts them or not to click and visit your website.
The SEO title of the page is also displayed in your browser tab. By hovering your mouse over this tab, the SEO title appears in full in a tooltip.
Note: SEO title is also called <title> tag by developers.
Each page should have a unique SEO title to help search engines, but also your visitors, understand what it is.
A page with the title “How to Find Relevant Keywords for SEO?” Is much more understandable than just “index.html”.
The SEO title of the page is still one of the essential criteria of “On-page SEO”.
Here are my top 4 tips for optimizing the SEO title of your page:
- Add keywords at the start of your page titles. Just make sure your target keyword is part of the title. If possible, put it at the start of your page’s SEO title.
- Write short, descriptive titles. To avoid being truncated in Google search results pages, your SEO title should be no longer than 60 characters.
- Include numbers and catchy words. Numbers and words like “complete”, “exceptional”, “guide”, “Comment”… attract the attention of Internet users. You will therefore receive more clicks.
- No need to include your domain name in the SEO title. Unless you are a brand with strong brand awareness, including your domain name in the SEO title is not necessary. Instead, I prefer to use the 60 characters to provide a more detailed description of your page.
The Meta Description
On the search engine results page, your page meta description is displayed below the URL.
As its name suggests, the meta description must be descriptive, with no more than 160 characters.
Like the title, it should be unique for each of your pages.
Use this description to present your page to convince the Internet user to visit your website rather than selecting another link on the search results page.
Note: Google does not always show the meta description you give it. Sometimes he’ll use his own if he thinks it’s more appropriate for the user.
Here are my two main tips for optimizing a meta description
- Always write a Meta Description. Google will not necessarily use it according to the keywords typed by Internet users. But avoid the automatically generated descriptions, which are often of little interest.
- Add your keywords in the description. Google displays in bold in the description the search terms entered by the Internet user. Therefore, if your target keyword is present, your description is more attractive to the Internet user.
My secret: to optimize my SEO titles and meta descriptions, I study the Google Ads ads that appear when I type in my target keyword. Advertisers, who are a priori your competitors, invest:
- Their budget to be positioned on the right keywords,
- And time to optimize their ad titles and descriptions.
My advice: take inspiration from Ads to write SEO titles and meta descriptions for your content.
3. Insert your keywords in the content of your page
Working on the SEO of your content is an integral part of “On-page SEO”.
Indeed, your goal is to make your content stand out for one or more targeted keywords.
This is why before publishing any content, it is essential to research the best keywords for:
- Determine which search terms users type most often,
- And put them in line with their research intended to reduce the bounce rate.
Once your target keywords are found, add related keywords (also known as LSI keywords ).
This is for at least two reasons:
- Give away for Google’s search algorithms to find the meaning and subject of your content,
- Avoid over-using your target keyword and appearing as a spammer in the eyes of Google and Bing while making it easier for your visitors to read.
Here are two ways to identify which keywords are considered by Google to be relevant to your target keywords:
- Google Suggest. When you enter a query in Google search, a list of suggestions is displayed. These are keyword candidates to mention in your content.
- Related research. At the very bottom of the search results page, Google shows you a list of related searches. So all you need to do is mention some of these words in your content.
My advice: Insert all these keywords (target and LSI) in the content of your page; remember to insert your target keyword once in the first 100 characters of your content.
Important note: never hide your keywords, never practice keyword stuffing at the risk of being penalized. Just use your target keyword and related keywords wisely. This is counterproductive, as HubSpot rightly explains to us.
4. Cut and format your content
To facilitate reading, all your pages should be appropriately divided into chapters.
Imagine a table of contents with a main title and subtitles.
The titles and subtitles of your content
The title of your content is different from the SEO title of your page.
This is the title that appears on your website page, not the tab.
Clarification: the developers call it the HTML <H1> tag, which is different from the <title> tag that I presented to you previously.
If you are using WordPress, the default SEO title is your H1 tag.
You decide whether to keep the title in the <title> and <H1> tags or to provide another title for the <H1> tag.
Note: in some cases, it is interesting to differentiate the 2, as in the example below:
However, each page should only have one H1 tag.
To divide your content into chapters, use the subtitles that the developers call the tags (H2, H3, H4…).
Just follow these three rules:
- Avoid using just one word for a title. Instead, make your topics interesting and valuable for users who like to read an article.
- Indent titles hierarchically. That is to say that the first title is the <H1>, then below the <H2> then if necessary <H3>, <H4> …
- Insert your related keywords in the subtitles.
Here is something to deepen your knowledge of all these HTML tags.
Formatting to facilitate readability
Don’t just throw text on a page but make sure the formatting is easy to read.
- Use bold, underline, or italics to highlight important parts of a page,
- Use a font with a good size (at least 14px),
- Split the text into small paragraphs (max 3-4 lines),
- Use large line spacing to make it easier to read,
- Divide your text into sections of 300 words maximum with subtitles.
5. Optimize your images
A picture is worth 1000 words!
Images enhance reading by making your page less indigestible, like a block of text.
The biggest problem with images is that they slow down the loading speed of your pages.
Here are some of the best practices for your images:
- Use original images. If you need to use a royalty-free image from a media library, try referencing the source.
- Optimize the weight of your images. With a lighter weight (in bytes), your pages load time faster.
- Use the ALT attribute to describe the image. You make it easier for search engines to interpret the image.
- Name your files properly. Use descriptive file names. For example, “SEO-on-page.jpg” is easier to interpret than “image1.jpg”.
For those of you who use WordPress, here are my handy recommendations for optimizing your images.
6. Optimize your URLs
Obtaining good natural referencing also involves optimizing your URLs.
URL optimization mainly has two aspects:
- The structure of the URLs on your website, which I classify in technical SEO,
- Optimizing the URL of a given page which I discuss here.
A permalink (also called a slug) is the unique URL for each page.
Here are some rules to follow to optimize the URL of a web page in terms of SEO:
- Have between 50 and 60 characters,
- Favour dashes to separate words,
- Delete the words without value (from, to, to, etc.),
- Avoid accents,
- Be as short as possible,
- Contain your target keyword,
- Be descriptive.
Concretely mshahrukh.com/about-me/ is preferable to:
7. Insert internal links
Links to other pages on your website take people to other pages on your business website.
If these pages cover a related topic or go deeper into the topic, people will stay on your site longer, which is a positive sign for search engines. But, again, this is because the bounce rate decreases.
But internal (and external) links are also helpful for search engines to crawl your website.
Indeed, after having discovered one of your pages, the crawler follows all the links present on this page to analyze the other pages.
Conversely, on a page without links, the search engine robot “reads” it then immediately leaves.
This provides several advantages:
- Report the presence of all your pages on your site to Google,
- Tell it what your most important pages are by pointing more internal links to them.
Here are five practices to properly insert your internal links:
- Don’t use your target keyword in your internal links. Prefer the keyword of the page to which it points,
- Add internal links only if they are helpful for your readers,
- Do not insert more than 15 internal links on a page. I limit myself to 2 or 3 internal links for the content of 1000 words. This is my opinion and is not based on any study,
- Add the links to the content of your web page. Links in the footer or sidebar carry less weight.
- Hunt for orphan pages. That is, pages on your site do not receive a link from another page on your site. This is generally the case for new content.
8. Build your credibility with external links
By referring to other content, you increase the credibility of your words.
This is why linking to other high-quality websites improves the relevance of your content. Moreover, since it is suitable for visitors, it is necessarily good for the SEO of your site.
In addition, Google uses these external links to understand better the topic covered in your content.
9. Monitor your page loading speed
Finally and to finish, here are two techniques of Natural Referencing (SEO) that are becoming more and more important:
- The speed of loading pages,
- And mobile-friendliness.
No one likes a slow website, neither does Google!
So, to force entrepreneurs to take web page load times into account, Google officially announced that user experience is factored into these ranking criteria.
This is why the speed of your website is essential to get a Google position at the top of its results pages.
Make sure that each of your website pages loads as quickly as possible and, if possible, in less than 2 seconds:
- Measure the loading speed of your page with Pingdom,
- Take into account the recommendations of Google provided by its free tool page speed insights,
- Check out our guide to optimizing your website page speed.
Having a fast website is suitable for SEO and building loyalty, and converting your visitors into customers.
10. Ensure the compatibility of your page on mobile
Worldwide, more than a third of searches in Google are now done on a mobile device (source StatCounter ).
This means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, you potentially lose a third of the traffic and therefore over 30% of the revenue.
Evaluate your mobile traffic on Google Analytics in the section:
Audience> Mobile> Overview
Mobile compatibility means 2 points:
- Readability on this small screen is correct,
- The content is identical on mobile to that on the computer to not be subject to the rules imposed by the transition to the Mobile-First index.
What to do?
First, after each post, check your webpage with the free Google Mobile-Friendly tool and resolve any potential issues.
Then check your website on your mobile, as a real user would, to verify that the readability is good and the content on your page is the same as on a computer.
Note: if your website has a responsive design, it is a priori fully compliant with the constraints related to mobile compatibility.
11. Moderate comments
Many entrepreneurs believe that with the popularity of social media, blog comments are no longer critical.
It is wrong!
The number of blog comments is always essential for “On-page SEO”, according to Gary Illyes, an engineer at Google (source Search Engine Roundtable ).
It’s simply an indication that people are enjoying your content and engaging with your page. As a result, it can boost a page’s SEO.
Indeed, before making a new comment, your visitors will read the existing comments. So, naturally, this increases the time they spend on the web page.
To make the best use of comments, follow these simple rules:
- If possible, moderate comments before posting them,
- Avoid keeping comments that are too general,
- Approve only comments relevant to the content of the page, which provide value,
- Remove comments when users don’t use their real name,
- Always respond to comments to encourage others to comment.
My on-page SEO checklist
The 11 practical tips are summarized in the checklist below.
Note: For WordPress users, save time on these technical aspects of “on-page SEO” by installing the Yoast SEO plugin. It checks most of these points directly from the WordPress content editor.
Is “on-page SEO” more critical than “off-page SEO”?
To achieve maximum exposure in the search engines and keep your users happy, you need to work on the SEO of each of your pages and work on your website’s popularity (or “Off-Page SEO”).
In my opinion, “On-page SEO” is a priority.
I’ll explain why:
- “Speak” the language of the search engines. Search engines are computer programs that do not “read” a website like a normal user. But they understand its source code, especially HTML. So by following my 11 “on-page SEO” techniques, you “speak” their language.
- “On-page SEO” also concerns the user. Most of these guidelines improve the satisfaction of your readers.
- Few entrepreneurs do. As unbelievable as it may sound, few sites are optimized for search engines. By following my checklist, you will stand out from your competitors and therefore double them in the results pages of Google.
- On-page SEO is, in some cases, just what you need. For example, a company with a limited catchment area must invest in Local SEO. In this case, a good “on-page SEO” may be sufficient.
- Why would you want to promote an unoptimized website? This can attract visitors who will immediately leave with a bad impression.
So, it seems consistent to us to start working with the SEO of each of your pages before spending time trying to promote it.
My advice: if you have already published a significant volume of content without working on “on-page SEO”, treat your most popular pages as a priority.
To do this, connect to Google Analytics and go to the section:
Behavior> Site content> All pages
Conclusion on the 11 techniques to optimize on-page SEO
On-page SEO is a set of techniques that are used to optimize a web page for natural referencing.
Entrepreneurs often tend to focus on the content of their site, its design, its ergonomics, its navigation.
This is important but, be sure to follow the checklist above to optimize the web pages on your business site.
Indeed, keep in mind that the 1st objective of On-Page SEO is to satisfy and guide your users when they browse your company’s website.
Learn how to optimize your website pages before you seek out authoritative inbound links.
Indeed, the quality of your website and that of your content is what matters most in terms of Natural Referencing (SEO).
And if your content is good, readable, quick to load, without a doubt, some Internet users will refer to it in their content. As a result, your site will gain popularity.
“On-page SEO” is also the most effortless SEO practice to do. It requires little development expertise, like technical SEO or other site owners’ ability to acquire inbound links.
Whether you are a B2B or B2C company and if your activity relies on the Internet to win new customers, start today a process of optimizing the referencing of your pages.
Establish a routine every time you post new content and take a closer look once a month or quarter as you can.
Don’t forget to sign in to your Google Search Console. This is the health record of your website, as seen by Doctor Google.
Google lists all the errors that are in your pages. Follow his recommendations to the letter.
To sum up in 3 questions.
Have you implemented these SEO optimization techniques for your pages? What are your results?