What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.
It’s about understanding what people are looking for online, the solutions they’re looking for, the words they’re using, and the type of content they want to consume. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to interact with people who are looking online for the solutions you provide.
If you want to learn SEO, you need to be prepared for a lot of creative, technical, and analytical work. There are many techniques with different aims, but the main point remains the same — to be among the highest results in organic research.
Simple words, SEO is about running the right website for the right people.
It’s not just about the perfect structure or technical background of the website. Your website must be filled with quality and well-optimized content tailored to the needs of your audience. And, of course, it must be good enough to link to other websites.
Basic Terms of SEO
There are two broad categories of SEO: ON-PAGE SEO and OFF-PAGE SEO.
Doing On-page (on-site) SEO means optimizing your website to affect the organic search results. Over the last few years, Google has released a number of updates to its search engine algorithm, the largest of which were Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird. Those updates set additional rules on how owners should structure their link building sites, both building incoming links and using anchor text for outgoing links.
Despite the updates, however, on-page SEO hasn’t changed all that much. Each on-page SEO task is actually for the benefit of the user. Yet, most SEOs have still not come to terms with this fact.
I’m going to show you the essential things to pay attention to in this on-page SEO cheat sheet. They will improve your search traffic, increase your rankings, and make the off-page SEO for you a lot easier.
1. Site Speed
Page speed is a ranking factor, and the reason for this is clear. In this rapid era, if there are other faster options no one is willing to wait for information from a site.
What if you open a page, and wait more than 3 seconds, let’s say? You’re likely hitting the back button and hoping for another answer.
Google collects these signals and includes them in its algorithm.
You can use Page Speed Insights from Google to test the speed of the page. Besides the speed score, you’ll also get tips and hints on how to improve the speed of the site.
Don’t forget that Google is looking at your web “through your mobile device” with mobile-first indexing. So, Pay particular attention to page speed on mobile phones.
You may need a developer to implement all the technical stuff perfectly (unless you know anything about HTML / CSS minimizing or DOM elements).
On the other hand, there are things you can do even if you’re not a web developer.
For most users, sticking to these key best practices is enough to keep the speed of the website at a satisfactory level;
Choose a proper web hosting
Hosting has a significant impact on the speed of the page, so make sure you choose a reliable provider.
Things you should bear in mind:
- Server Location
Optimize the images
Image is one of the most important things about page speed.
Image files that take too long to load (that can mean a few seconds in the SEO world). Therefore the image sizes should be optimized and the ideal balance between size and quality found.
Do not forget to compress the image files, too. You can try the tool TinyPNG
Big image files are the most common issue of slow page loading. Make sure this isn’t your case.
Tip: Try to keep the image file size below 100kB and use lazy loading if there are too many images on the page.
Enable browser cache
What is Cache?
Every time someone visits your site, all the elements are loaded. Such components are stored in a temporary storage space in a browser called a cache. If you visit your website again, you can load the website from the cache.
Caching ensures that your website is much faster for returning visitors.
If you’re using WordPress, there are a lot of great caching plugins that you can install to leverage the benefits of caching your browser and speed up your site.
Consider a CDN
Let’s think you’ve got hosting from Germany, but you’ve also got a lot of visitors from the United States. How can you make sure that the page loads quickly for everyone, even if the server is far away from their location?
The answer is: use the Content Delivery Network (CDN) to host your images or even your pages.
CDN providers have servers on each continent and serve your images or pages from the server closest to the visitor so that the page can be loaded as quickly as possible.
2. Mobile-Friendly Website
As mentioned above, Google’s mobile-first index favors mobile-optimized websites in most cases.
There are several options for mobile devices: a separate mobile site or a responsive design. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but the best solution for SEO and analytics today is the responsive version.
Just to be sure, test your mobile-friendliness in a tool from Google or check any issues in Search Console, section Mobile Usability.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, you can take specific steps:
- Install a responsive theme — hire a developer to work on your website responsiveness.
- Simplify the menu — make it clear to mobile devices
- Compress image sizes — this can significantly improve page speed
- Remove aggressive pop-up windows — self-explanatory
- Optimize text — avoid long text blocks and make sure the font is readable on mobile devices.
- Consider AMP — AMP is a technology that enables the faster distribution of content on mobile devices; it is particularly useful for large blogs or news and magazines.
3. Create short and simple URLs
What do the URLs of your page look like in the search results? Do they help you understand the content they contain?
Here are some of the best practices for URLs:
- Ideally, the focus keyword should be included
- The shorter the better the better
- Separate words in a dash
Do not use digits or other special characters
4. Research your keywords
Although most on-page SEO guides do not deal with keyword research, this is a key step in creating new content. So here, it deserves some space.
Why is the research keyword important?
- Find new ideas on the topic
- Find phrases that are popular, relevant and easy to classify
- Understand what people are interested in
The last point is particularly important when it comes to on-page optimization.
Keyword research is going to tell you what people are looking for (and how many of them). It also helps you see what specific questions they have and what phrases they use to find answers.
Based on these insights, you can start creating content that is perfectly tailored to your visitors, and both Google and your visitors will love it.
As Google has evolved over the years, so has the research of keywords. Today , the focus is now on the following things:
Quality content: keyword research (and SEO in general) will not help you if your content sucks, great content should be your # 1 priority.
Topical keyword research: keyword research is no longer just about finding a single keyword, but also about understanding the whole subject and its related terms and subtopics.
Search intent: Search volume and keyword difficulty are not the only things to focus on when searching for keywords, be careful about the purpose behind the query.
5. Hit the search intent
Google is getting better at understanding what kind of results people want to see.
It uses a Google Rank Brain-machine learning algorithm that inspects a variety of searches and learns to satisfy the search purpose behind each query.
Traditionally, we distinguish between four basic categories of search intent based on the behavior of the user:
- Navigational — queries that serve as a navigation to a specific page that the user has in mind.
- Informational — General queries for information
- Transactional — queries that lead directly to online purchases
- Commercial — queries that precede online purchases
Why is it important to know the search intent?
Let’s say you own an e-shop with climbing equipment and you want to rank the product page of your best-selling climbing shoes with the keyword “best climbing shoes.”
There’s one problem — if you look at the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) you’ll see that there are no product pages instead, Google ranks climbing shoe reviews on various affiliate websites
Google considers the search intention behind this query to be commercial, not transactional, so it ranks pages with this type of content.
So even if you optimize your product page perfectly and create great content, you ‘re probably not going to rank for the keyword “best climbing shoes.”
6. Optimize for the focus keyword
SEO is not about finding a keyword and stuffing it all over the place.
However, it is common practice to choose one focus keyword and use it in the main on-page elements such as title tag, headings, body text, and anchor text.
It doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to use other keywords and that you can’t rank with your piece of content for other keywords.
Focus keyword helps you to focus your content on a specific topic.
7. Essential Tag Fundamentals
Are you taking meta tags seriously? Although the effect of the title tag or meta description has changed significantly over the last few years, it is still a good practice to pay attention to them.
The main types of meta tags that you should pay attention to on-page SEO are:
Title tags define the title of your website or document. They are mostly used to display preview snippets of your web pages. When writing your title tag, it should be short, clear, and descriptive, but it should not duplicate content from the content of the page.
The ideal length is between 50 and 60 characters. If your title tag is more than 60 characters, Google will only display the first 60 characters.
You can use the Moz preview tool to preview how your title tags will appear in the search engine.
This is how the meta description normally appears in the organic search listings:
The meta description is what the search engines use to measure what theme you’re writing about and the exact audience they should send to that page. So, make it descriptive and short — no more than 160 characters.
There’s no need to add keywords to your meta description (which would work against you anyway). 160 characters just don’t have enough space for stuffing. Instead, use synonyms or latent semantic indexing (LSI) of your keyword to get SEO in the meta description page, keeping search engines happy.
For example, if your main keywords in the headline are “generate web traffic,” here are the keywords of LSI that you can use:
- get site visitors
- drive free traffic
- attract site visitors
- attract website visitors
Although the keyword in the URL most likely does not influence your ranking in any way, it is a good step that can improve the overall UX and CTR.
URLs, as we mentioned earlier, should be simple and informative.
There is another important reason why the focus keyword should be included in the URL: if someone links to the naked URL, the keyword will naturally be part of the anchor text.
Titles and subheadings :
For the H1 heading, you can use the same words as the title tag (it’s actually a common practice), although you’re not so limited to the length here.
It’s good to use other strategically targeted keywords, synonyms and related phrases in other headings (H2, H3, …) too, but it’s fine if you don’t.
Body of the text:
In the body of the text, the focus keyword should appear.
Just one important piece of advice: forget about the keyword density and write as naturally as possible.
8. Creating Content That Drives Search Traffic
Content is the backbone of a thriving business, and SEO is the backbone of content marketing. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Content is King.” But, there’s a way more to successful content marketing than just “Content.” You’ve got to publish the kind of content that drives traffic and expands your business.
This involves using specific keyword phrase components that include long-tail anchor words.
You will also notice that when you start creating in-depth content, you will see a corresponding increase in traffic from long-tail searches, a very specific keyword phrase indicating the positioning and urgency of the buyer. These help search engines give you juice because you’re helping people solve content problems.
Your customers are smarter than you think these days. You have to be willing to listen and learn from them — their search for solutions motivates them to ask certain questions. These questions can tell you exactly what you want the most.
Content that drives traffic …
Is practical, useful and valuable
- Is interesting to read
- Is in-depth and well-written
- Is written with the user in mind
- Solves a problem
- Is easy to share
- Is optimized for a high-volume keyword
According to Demand Metric, 76% of online shoppers were excited and closer to the company after reading their customized content. That’s why 78% of CMOs consider custom content to be the future of digital marketing.
Traffic-generating content will make the user happy. So, we ‘re going to start with the most important aspect of content marketing: user experience optimization.
It often begins with a keyword phrase about what the user is looking for.
An overview of the optimization of user experience: on-page SEO starts and ends with the user. No one should build a search engine site. We ‘re building sites for people. After all, search spiders won’t write a comment, sign up for your list, or buy your product. Only your users can do this.
On-page SEO consists of those activities that directly affect the content, pages, and architecture of the site — in other words, all the internal factors that make up the site useful for visitors.
It’s all about creating positive experiences for your users.
One experience should conclude that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved customer experience.
In this blog, we looked into the SEO basics and ON Page SEO. I have taken the same approach with this in-depth article. However, if you don’t remember all of the above, just keep in mind the true purpose of SEO to educate, inspire, and guide your users properly as they navigate your site.
Get your site ready, before you go out to build authority inbound links because the foundation is what matters most when it comes to SEO. Always study your Google webmaster tools and analytics, both of which will inform you about what your ideal customers really want from your site.
So this is it, please give a response to this article, how you feel after reading this, what you learn, and also comment on what topic I should cover in the next upcoming articles.
Stay tuned and stay healthy, keep reading, and spread the knowledge.