In the old days, many approached on-page optimization as simply keyword stuffing; that is, you mention the keywords you would like to rank for as many times within the content as possible.
This made for a bad user and reading experience. These days on-page optimization includes smart keyword targeting, where keywords are mentioned in key elements while still providing a good user experience. This means that the reading experience needs to be good and also that your content satisfies what the user is actually looking for.
On-Page Optimization plays a significant role in the rankings process. Changes are made through a Content Management System, meaning a non-technical person should be able to do it. If you have a modern Content Management System like WordPress, it should be easy to target keywords in key elements. We’ll cover the key elements shortly but they include making images, headings, main body copy, meta description tags and title tags.
Time investment is split between up-front work and ongoing maintenance.
SEOptimer, Mozbar and SEO SiteCheckup are SEO tools that are all able to grab the important on-page elements from the HTML for a webpage. This is useful when we want to quickly review whether an existing page has been optimized or not. It also saves time in having to dig around in the source code.
Mozbar is a Chrome and Firefox extension created by Moz.com. It has more functionality in Chrome as do many other SEO browser extensions.
1) When installed, you can click the M icon in the top right of the browser so it is selected and turns blue (you can click it again to toggle it off when finished).
2) Then click the Page Analysis icon on the top left to inspect the most important on-page SEO elements.
Pre-click on-page optimization as the name suggests is optimizing for what’s visible to the user before they click on a result. This includes:
- The title tag
- The URL
- The meta description
As you’d expect, part of this process involves encouraging the searcher to click on your listing, rather than the others.
Post-click on-page is everything the searcher sees after they click on a listing and when they visit your site. So this is what the visitor sees when they land on your webpage. It includes optimising keywords and the user intent of keywords into the main copy, headings, hyperlinks and images.
Before starting on-page optimization you need to decide what page you are optimizing and what keywords you wish to target. This requires keyword research and ideally prioritizing the keywords as we did in an earlier exercise. For the upcoming on-page optimization lessons, we’ll show examples of how you would optimize the snowboard sizing page.
Portent’s SERP Preview Tool is an excellent way of visually seeing what a Google search result would look like before you make the pre-click on-page optimization changes. This way you can make sure your snippets are the right length and that they look enticing for the user to click through.
Amazon is incredibly dominant in SEO and there are lots of reasons for this. They provide a great user experience on their site, have a big product range and have colossal domain authority. Although as we can see from the above slide, their title and meta description tags are a little on the long side and get truncated which isn’t ideal for click-throughs.
Aside from the main body copy, title tags are the single most important on-page element to get right. They are the first part of a listing a user sees after they make a search and search engines pay close attention to what words are provided which influences how well your web pages will rank.
You can see the title in the source code by right-clicking on the webpage and selecting “view source code”. It will appear as <title>Corporate Training | Digital Marketing Institute</title>
Why Title Tags are important:
- It’s a heavyweight on-page SEO signal and the single most important place to include keywords
- Getting it right has a direct impact on higher rankings
If you look carefully at the top of an internet browser, you can hover over the tab which is next to the address bar and see the full title tag.
The most important part when optimizing title tags is to get the right blend of keywords. If it looks like one long keyword list, you may be considered a spammer, but if it includes your main keywords (your primary (P1) and secondary (P2) keywords) and is written in natural compelling English, then you should be on track.
One of the reasons we prioritize the keyword research is for the title tag optimization. This is because it’s hard to work more than three or four keywords into a title tag, so we tend to just focus on the primary and secondary keywords; which are three keywords in total. Often the tertiary keywords (P3) are closely related to the primary and secondary keywords, so they are fairly well represented.
How to optimize title tags:
- Work in keywords (this is the most important part to get right)
- Include main (primary and secondary) keywords
- Main keywords nearer the beginning help
- Don’t keyword stuff
- Use the space provided
- Max space is 600 pixels (around 70 characters including spaces)
- Over 600 pixels gets truncated off the SERP listings
- Be descriptive and engaging
- Describe the page in a natural human-friendly language
- Make enticing enough to encourage click-through
Some extra info:
- Common sentence separators are “|” and “-”
- A brand is optional and commonly used after a sentence separator at the end. The exception to this is for the homepage where the brand is typically at the beginning of a title tag.
- Very occasionally Google will write its own Title Tag in the SERPs
This is for a fictitious snowboarding company called “SnoWayBro”. Normally, we pay the most attention in optimizing the P1 keyword and P2 keywords. But in this case, because many of the keywords are so similar in meaning, we managed to accommodate all of the P3 keywords pretty well, asides from “what size snowboard do I need”. That’s because so many of the P3 keywords were close variants of the P1 and P2 keywords, e.g. synonyms or plural/singular differing.
The chosen title tag is: Snowboard Sizing Guide, Charts & Calculator | Sno Way Bro
You can see we have used Portent’s SERP preview tool which helps illustrate what the title tag will look like and whether it’s within the recommended size limits.
Meta description tags are only visible in the SERPs and the source code. You cannot see them when you are viewing the main content of a page. As you’ll find out in this SEO module, there is quite a bit of work involved in ranking for a keyword but one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is improving the click-through rate in a search engine listing where you actually rank.
You can see the meta tag description in the source code by right-clicking on the webpage and selecting “view source code”. It will appear as <metaname=’description’ content=’ Transform your business by providing digital marketing & social selling training solutions to your employees. Find out how it can impact your business today. ‘ />.
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