I review a lot of websites. As a professional website copywriter, I sometimes review dozens of sites a day, and I often see the same SEO mistakes being made across all of them.
It’s understandable. These are the kinds of little, persnickety details that small business owners and scrappy start-ups don’t have the time or energy to worry about.
But, your on-page SEO does matter. Optimizing your site’s core and blog pages for on-page SEO can lead to big wins in search traffic and will ultimately determine where and how your content is ranked by Google. When it’s done well, it can lead to more targeted leads to your site.
And you know what they say, just five minutes a day will keep the Google Gods at bay.
While Google is rumored to use hundreds of ranking signals to rank your site, the on-page elements are those that affect your page-level rankings. In other words, these factors assess the structure and content of the page. In contrast, off-page elements include things like site speed, quality backlinks, mobile responsiveness, and user experience. While those things are also important, I won’t get into them in depth here.
On-page SEO is all about the content and structure of your page. Even better, unlike many of the other, more difficult components of SEO, you have complete control over the quality of your on-page SEO. That makes it a great place to start when you’re looking for more traffic and want to give SEO a try.
These six quick on-page SEO tips are a great way to ensure every page on your website is optimized for both bots and humans.
First, I realize that this may not be something you can control. If you’re updating content to an existing page or have already created your URL structure, that’s ok. Go grab a cup of coffee and move on to the next item on this list.
But if you’re adding a new blog post, product page, or resource to your website, customize your URL so that it’s logical and aligns with the content on the page. Your website builder will give you a default URL that is often meaningless (‘page-43’ or ‘product/category/3334444-1’) and these don’t mean much to your users. They also make it difficult for Google crawlers to understand and properly categorize your content so people can find it.
Customize your URL so it’s self-explanatory to anyone viewing it.
For example, this blog post URL is hdcopywriting.com + /blog + /on-page-seo-checklist, or site + /category + /content-description.
Here are some tips to consider when thinking about URL structure:
Your title tag and meta description are the little blurbs you see on a search results page, and it’s important that you give them some TLC. These two elements are easy wins for boosting your page rankings, but are often overlooked.
Organize your content under a clear H1, H2, and H3 header structure. Your page needs to have an H1 that includes your primary keyword and describes the content or goal of that page. Think of your H2s and H3s like a table of contents that groups and organizes sub-sections logically. While it seems straightforward, it’s easy to lose track and create headers that don’t make sense, so take a moment after you write to review your sections and subsections for clarity.
Whenever possible, use meaningful keyword phrases in your headers.
If you take the time to optimize your visuals, not only will Google likely reward you for it, but you’re also ensuring that all users, even those who require additional accessibility support, can benefit from your website.
There are a host of best practices for making your website more accessible, but when you’re looking specifically at your on-page images, there are really three things to consider:
As a final note on optimizing your images, Google increasingly favors fast websites, so consider compressing your images or using a preferred format that won’t weigh down your load time.
Readability is an increasing important ranking factor but is also just common sense when it comes to delighting your readers with interesting content. Because reading on a device or computer is less natural than reading a book or other hard copy, keep your longer-form content scannable and visually interesting with these tips:
Links–both those going to other sites, and those that link to other pages of your own site–are important to SEO for a few reasons. Outbound links are an authority signal to Google that can boost your own domain authority and overall rankings.
Internal links help you in a couple ways:
Your on-page SEO is a checklist, a series of boxes you need to check to make your page more accessible to both humans and to Google, and can help you improve your site’s authority with:
Think of your on-page SEO as regular housekeeping task rather than a one-time exercise. As keyword interest and conversations evolve, updating your on-page SEO will help you re-use the same content to yield consistent new traffic and leads.
If you’re looking for help with your on-site strategy or know your pages could use a bit of boost but are unsure where to start, let’s connect. I’m happy to help.
Hey there, I’m Heather, Chief Copy Nerd & Owner of HD Copywriting. I help service providers and online entrepreneurs get laser-focused with copy that’s grounded in persuasion and influenced by my deep understanding of data and search engine optimization. So you can launch and sell more confidently.