This is a two part article about On-Page SEO and On-Page Optimization tactics. In Part 1 we highlighted what on-page SEO is and explained some on-page optimization tactics including URL, page title, meta tags, and open graph tags. In Part 2 of we’ll explain some additional on-page optimization techniques for you to consider.
Headings (H1 – H6)
HTML headings are used to differentiate the headline of a page from the rest of the content. Headings define which parts of your content are important and how they’re interconnected.
There are six levels of headings, H1 through H6, with the lower number having a higher importance. The font size will also be larger for lower-numbered heading tags unless otherwise specified through stylesheets.
As a general rule, try to refrain from using headings on a page more times than their number indicates (i.e. only 1 H1 tag, no more than 2 H2 tags, etc.)
When optimizing images for on-page SEO, there are three main areas you can focus on – file size, file name, and the ALT tag. Page load time is a factor in your page rank and images are usually the biggest culprit in slower load times. Making sure you’re using the right type of image – JPG, GIF, or PNG – and ensuring your image is compressed can have a significant impact on your load speed.
Exactly as we discussed in regards to URL’s in Part 1 of this article series, the file name of an image is very important. Using keywords in the file name will help not only the page but also the image in relevant keyword searches. You can test this out by going to www.google.com and clicking the images tab and performing a search.
Finally, it is important to place relevant, descriptive keywords in the ALT tag of an image. If your image is a smiley face, your ALT text may look like this:
<img src=”smiley.jpg” alt=”Smiley Face”>
The ALT text will be displayed if the image is unable to load. It will also used when the page is read by a screen reader, an accessibility tool potentially useful to people who are blind, visually impaired, illiterate or learning disabled. We’ll discuss more about usability and accessibility shortly.
Believe it or not, outbound links (links to other sites) can help your on-page SEO just as much, if not more than, inbound links (links to other pages on your site). Outbound links to related pages on sites with authority act as a relevancy signal that will help search engines find your page’s topic.
Link relevancy is determined by both the content of the source page and the content of the anchor text. Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked-to document, so make sure your anchor text contains relevant keywords, not just “click here.”
<a href=”http://www.domain.com” target=”_blank”>Anchor Text</a>
The purpose of a sitemap is to lay out your site’s main content and to show both search engines and visitors how and where to find information on your site. It is usually a good idea to offer both a user-facing sitemap as well as an XML sitemap. A user-facing sitemap is simply a page on your site that lists out all of your pages in hierarchical format. This allows your site visitors to view the page and quickly locate the area of the site they are most interested in.
An XML sitemap is a document that helps search engines better understand your website while crawling it. While submitting an XML sitemap to search engines does not guarantee that the pages in that sitemap will be fully indexed, it helps search engines find your content by providing links to all the major pages of your site.
Usability and Accessibility
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a website while accessibility means that people with disabilities are able to use the website easily. Search engines use a number of variables to determine how to rank a particular page or site. The usability and accessibility of a site impact things like user engagement, which can help search engines determine whether visitors find the site worthwhile.
Visitors will be more engaged with an accessible and usable website which provides a measurable benefit to a site’s external popularity. Search engines interpret this as a signal of higher quality which has an influence on page ranking.
Each of these tactics deserves far more attention and detail than can be covered in one or two articles. We’ll review each of these on-page SEO tactics in more detail in future blog posts. In the mean time it’s important to remember that, while each of these tactics may help your ranking for certain keywords and phrases, authentic content will be the ultimate factor in how your page ranks. Focus on providing valuable content for your users and use these on-page optimization techniques to augment your overall strategy.
What on-page SEO tactics did we miss? Which do you think is the most important? Let us know in the comments below.