Has your website’s organic growth stalled? Have you been growing your backlinks by using great content, but don’t see an improvement in rankings and organic traffic? It’s time to go back to basics, and refocus on a technical audit geared at improving your on-page SEO.
If you’re like most people, perhaps you’ll feel this topic is “beneath” your level of expertise. Maybe you have intermediate experience of SEO and feel that you already know this, and don’t need to read about it one more time.
What most intermediate and experienced SEO’s forget is the power of optimizing your on-page elements. At times, a simple process of optimization can substantially improve your website’s traffic. In the image below, you can see a substantial increase in traffic after an on-page optimization project was completed.
Now, let’s look at all the different elements that you need to consider when optimizing your site for on-page SEO.
Set the SEO Tone and Plug Those Keywords Immediately
One important rule for the perfect SEO optimized page is keyword placement. Your keyword should land within the first 100 to 150 words of your page.
The keywords you use on your page should also be related. Using latent semantic indexing, Google understands the relationships between words and groups related terms together. Think of your keywords as silos. The primary keyword is the focus, but you should have related, secondary keywords to support those terms. Consider using the keyword ratio at 1.5% to 2% of the overall word count.
Keywords in Your Title Tag and Subheadings
Keywords are so essential to the perfect SEO optimized page. Your keywords should be in your page’s title tag, and ideally as close to the front of the title tag as possible. This emphasizes the importance of your page’s keyword, or keywords if using multiple.
Another important SEO element of keywords is the role they play in subheadings. Your page should have subheadings, those “H2” and “H3” tags. Your keyword should appear in at least one subheading to make your page search engine friendly, however, placing it in a few never hurts.
In the image above, you can see how keywords are used in the Header tags.
Here you can see the source code, using the header tags.
Content is Key for the Perfect SEO Optimized Page
You may be a savvy entrepreneur with the next innovative tech idea, but writing isn’t really your forte. That being said, you need at least 500 words to get the most SEO power out of your page’s content. Your page’s content needs to hit 500 words, and it should be original, found nowhere else on the Internet. Plagiarism platforms can help you ensure your content is 100 percent original. Some plugins like Yoast have a 350-word minimum for article readability. However, having at least 500 words is a definite must.
Many new studies suggest that even longer pages are performing better. If you study the top 10 results for many informational keywords, you’ll find that those articles have at least 1,000 words, sometimes as many as 2,000. Google is looking for a value-ad, which can only be found if you spend enough time to go in-depth into your subject matter.
Focus on Harvesting your SEO Authority
Does your website have a lot of 404’s? You most certainly don’t want your audience to be routed to a “401” dead end. As Google values user experience above all, having 404’s on your site can have a significant negative impact.
During page maintenance or redesign, your URL structure may have changed, yielding many 404 errors. Did you properly redirect them, using a one-to-one approach? Unfortunately, if your redirects are not handled with SEO care, your page will lose its search engine footing. Use an extension like Link Redirect Trace to check if your site has improper redirects, and look for 404’s on Google Search Console.
Build a Title Tag with SEO Search Engine Muscle
Your title tag is the simple most important attribute in a on-page SEO strategy. Get it right, or go home. Make sure your title contains between 50 and 60 characters, since search engines like Google only display 55 to 60 characters of a title tag. Adding a few title tag modifiers can also increase your page’s rankability. Clever adjectives such as “best” or “guide” works wonders.
Get Visual with Your Page’s Media
Clickthrough rate from the Google search results page plays a major role in a page’s rankings. Google can measure how many people click on your page when they see you in the SERP’s. They can also measure how much time people stayed on your page before returning to the search results page. For site’s using Google analytics, bounce rate and user interaction can also be measured and used as a measure of user experience.
Images and videos will keep your bounce rate low while increasing user interaction and time on page. Does your page have media, including videos and/or images? If not, it is time to do a bit of video and photo curation, because the perfect SEO optimized page needs vibrant visuals.
Link Your Page Content to Reliable Authoritative Material
By linking out to relevant authoritative domains, you use citations to associate your site with trusted content. Google uses the quality of your outbound links as a measure of the quality of the content on your page. Make sure you sprinkle at least 2-3 authoritative links on every informational page (don’t use these on landing, sales-centric pages!).
Are you including keywords in your URL’s? Keep your URL’s short so that the URL density for your keyword is higher. If you are using a shopping cart or complicated CMS, make sure it has the ability to rewrite the URL’s to create clean, search engine friendly URL’s.
Developing the perfect SEO optimized page is a time consuming process at first. However, after you begin employing these SaaS SEO strategies on a regular basis, it will become second nature. Pretty soon, you may find yourself giving optimization advice at the next company mixer, or dinner party with friends.
Originally published Sep 28, 2016, updated Aug 14, 2023