ON-PAGE SEO: THE 13 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS

Our Quick Guide Of The Key Tactics That Will Improve Your Website Ranking.

This is Part 4 of 7 in our series on Website Design Optimization. Subscribe to receive updates on the latest news from 1&0.

You probably hear people talking about on-page SEO all the time. It’s the first thing that comes to mind after keyword. But what does it really mean, and what does it require?

Unlike a Reese’s peanut butter cup, where there’s no wrong way to eat it, there really is a wrong way to approach on-page Search Engine Optimization. In fact, there are plenty of wrong ways to approach it. But there’s no point in focusing too much on what not to do when we can lay out for you a list of things you need to do.

On-page SEO has to do with the way search engine algorithms see and understand a web page, primarily. Pages with great SEO have the potential to get ranked higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for the right searches.

Each page on a website can be optimized, so it’s not only about optimizing your site once and then forgetting about it. Every new page or post that is published on your site has the potential to be shown in a list of search results to your target clients or customers.

Since there is actually a right way to go about optimizing web pages, we want to cover it here. This article covers the top 13 factors of on-page SEO and why they’re important.

#1 SEO technical audit

#2 Keywords in the first 100 words

#3 Optimized titles, URLs, and subheaders

#4 Optimized images

#5 Meta tags

#6 High word count

#7 Responsive design

#8 Fast site speed

#9 Outbound and inbound links

#10 XML sitemaps

#11 Search engine friendly content

#12 Crawlable links

#13 Strategic user experience

THE 13 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS OF ON-PAGE SEO.ON-PAGE SEO IMPORTANT FACTORS

SEO Technical Audit

Good on-page SEO starts with the technical audit. The technical audit looks at the elements of a webpage that influence its ability to be effectively crawled and indexed by search engines.

We will go into greater detail on some of these further in this article.

To complete a technical audit, you will review at least the following: metadata, xml & html sitemaps, robots.txt, the URL structure, protocol, canonical content, and site speed.

Keywords In The First 100 Words

Where you put keywords matters when it comes to on-page SEO.

Include the page’s keywords in the first 100 words. The reason this is so specific is that the first 100 words are usually what can be seen before the reader has to start scrolling.

In journalism, this is called “above the fold.” The website design world has adopted the above the fold terminology, but what’s meant by it is within the first 100 words.

This is the part of the page that determines what it is about.

Optimized Titles, URLs and Subheaders

Let’s break this one down into parts.

TITLES – Titles are arguably the most important, visible on-page SEO element. The title tells search engines AND visitors what the page is about. Not only does the title need to include a keyword or phrase, but it also needs to be compelling. Use a modifier, like the word “most” that’s in the title on this page, to enhance the title. The title should also always be wrapped in an <h1> tag.

URLs – Your URL should be memorable and contain the primary keyword for that page. Keep it short and on topic.

SUBHEADERS – Use subheadings on your page, wrapped in the <h2> tag, to reinforce what your page is about and also to make the content easier to scan and read.

Optimized Images

Always give images a title and alt-text data. Generally, it’s okay for the image title and alt-text to be the same.

Ideally, the title of the first (or only) image on a page should match the primary keyword or the title of the page itself. It’s also a good on-page SEO practice to include images or other multimedia as often as you can.

Additionally, make sure the image’s file name references the keyword, if possible.

Meta Tags

Here is a breakdown of the meta tags that matter:

TITLE TAGS – This is what users see in search engines. Keep it under 60 words and make it compelling and relevant. Include keywords, ideally at the beginning.

META DESCRIPTION – You can get creative here, but the description should still include your keyword(s). This is also shown in search engines and users rely on it to determine if the page is what they are looking for.

The meta description may not impact the ranking of a page, but it does greatly impact whether or not someone clicks on your link.

High Word Count

In general, pages with more words do better than pages that are short in terms of on-page SEO. There is no golden word count, and the content has to be relevant. Shoot for content that is 1,200 words or longer.

Responsive Design

Because many people use mobile phones for search, search engines take into consideration whether or not a page is mobile-friendly.

It used to be that skilled website designers would design two sites: a desktop site and a mobile site. Now, it’s a best practice to create a responsive design, which is a design that renders properly on either a desktop or mobile device.

Fast Site Speed

Site speed factors into on-page SEO. A site that has a lot of complex code is going to load really slowly. Sign up for Google Page Speed to optimize your loading time. Keep the load time within just a few seconds.

Outbound and Internal Links

Don’t be afraid to use outbound links. For optimal on-page SEO, you have to use them. If you’re concerned people will leave your site, have the links open a new tab.

Link to authority content that is relevant, and make sure to ‘follow’ the link. Use ‘nofollow’ for links in blog comments or potentially suspect or spammy links.

Inbound links are useful, too and essential for on-page SEO. The more content you publish on your site, the more opportunities you will have to create internal links.

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps tell search engines what they will find on your site. They also lay out a path the crawlers to follow.

First of all, if you don’t have an XML sitemap, you’re setting your site back in a major way. Creating a sitemap is easy.

If your website is built on WordPress, there are plugins for it. If not, Google has posted a list of sitemap generators.

Once you’ve created your sitemap, submit it to the major search engines. Keep the sitemap up-to-date.

Search Engine Friendly Content

Remember when Flash-based websites were so popular? Gone are those days. One of the biggest reasons it’s so rare to come across a Flash website is because it’s not search engine friendly.

Avoid using too much Flash or other elements that search engines can’t read.

The same goes for putting all of your text into a large image and posting that instead of actual text. Search engines can’t read the text on an image.

Crawlable Links

This is one of those very technical on-page SEO elements that can easily get missed. You can inadvertently tell search engines not to crawl or index certain pages, which is an easy way to NOT show up in SERPs.

One way is forgetting the sitemap, as we talked about earlier. Another way is to tell the search engines not to index your site or pages within it.

That doesn’t mean they won’t get indexed, and sometimes it’s even advisable to not allow certain pages or files to be indexed. Still, you should know what is happening and why.

Conclusion

Want an optimized page? Craft and publish really great content for the people who will visit the page, and lay the page out in a way that helps them engage with it.

Sometimes, this important message gets lost in translation because of all of the other important SEO factors. Never lose sight of the point, which is an awesome user experience.

Images, videos, title tags, subheaders, long content, links, etc. – these are not just boxes you check off when you’re done adding them.

The reason search engines value these things is because when they’re present, people stay longer on the page, link to it, share it, and interact with it on social media.

The worldwide web then becomes richer and more usable, and everyone benefits.

When visitors engage with web pages, search engines see them as valuable. If your only goal is to rank high in search engines, you’ve lost the plot.

A high ranking is only one part of the equation.

What happens after someone gets to your page is the most important thing. Optimize for that, too, so that the rest can fall into place. For a highly detailed report about On-Page Search Engine Optimization from our friends at Ahrefs.

On-page SEO is one of the most important parts of website design optimization. Let us help you get it right. Contact One & Zero today to learn more about what we can do for you.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

OUR TOP 5 EFFECTIVE WEBSITE DESIGN OPTIMIZATION TIPS

How To Optimize Your Website For Search, Easily & Effectively.

This is part 3 of 7 in our series on providing our Top 5 Website Design Optimization Tips. Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates.

strategy is an actionable plan for reaching your goals. Strategy answers the question, “How are you going to do that?” In website design optimization, your strategy should be focused and specific.

Think through your target clients and customers. The strategy you come up with is based on the research that you’ve gathered.

If you’ve researched well enough, you should know the keyword concepts for your website and have brand and competitive analysis you can use.

Think of website design optimization strategy as what you do after you have come up with some goals for your website and defined your ideal visitor. Imagine you are playing a game of Chess and there are multiple moves you can make.

Which one will be the best one? The answer to that is going to depend on a lot of factors. Some moves will be better than others. Some moves will be game changers, either for better or for worse.

In Chess, if you’re good at it, you don’t just make moves and hope for the best. You keep in mind the desired outcome, and then map out a series of moves, including trade-offs, that get you to where you want to go.

It’s the same with website design optimization strategy.

You already have a goal – or a vision – for your website. You already know who you want to reach. And you know what keyword themes you want to focus on. You can also prepare for your website project with a design sprint, check out our complete guide to performing a design sprint.

Now, it’s time to think about how you plan to accomplish all of this.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1.  Strategy vs. tactics
  2. The 5 Elements of an Effective Strategy

STRATEGY VS. TACTICS

First, it’s important to separate strategy from tactics. A strategy is a plan, or an approach. A tactic, on the other hand, is a task. Strategy informs the tasks.

In other words, the strategy creates the framework for the tasks. Many business owners think about website design as a set of tasks, and forget to think through strategies.

The reason that tasks, such as “start a blog” or “put up a link to my Facebook page,” aren’t sufficient strategies is because they are not tied to outcomes or any rationale.

What will setting up a blog do for your specific business? Does linking to a Facebook page make sense? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you should wait until you do. The process of figuring out the answers to that question is strategic planning.

THE 5 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY

Objective and Keyword Themes

Start with the objective. How do you want your target clients and customers to interact with your website? What do you want your website to do for them?

What should the website accomplish? Another way to think of the objective is the end goal. Why are you building or optimizing a website to begin with?

As for your keyword themes, how will they help you attract customers? Consider if the keyword ideas you’ve come up with will attract the right people – based on your objective – to your website.

If your objective is to build a list of prospective customers, your keyword concepts might be different than if your objective is to sell a certain amount of a particular product.

Digital Strategy

Next, incorporate the research about your target clients, your brand analysis, and the competitive analysis that you’ve already gathered. Use this information to determine how you plan to use the website as part of your business model.

Digital strategy is really about how technology will support your objective.

Digital strategy is going to be different for every business. It sounds technical and complex, but it can be made simple through brainstorming.

Think about the technology that needs to be in place in order to facilitate the buying process or run the business. What platform should the website be built on, and why?

Does the website need to have an ordering system? How does mobile fit into the picture? Should there be a click to call feature? How will the audience view the content?

The key here is to be discerning and focused. Resist the urge to do it all.

Strategy is just as much about what not to do as it is about what to do.

Read our article on how to perform research to form your website design optimization strategy.

Content Mapping

Content mapping is about making sure you have appropriate content for your target customers, based on where they are in the buying process.

This is about meeting customers where they are at. Someone who is still just discovering that they have a need to fill (discovery phase) needs to be shown content that helps them learn more about their problem and the potential solution.

On the flip side, your target customer might be someone who is already ready to buy.

Why does content mapping matter? Because, for effective optimization, you have to have content that is appropriate for various buying stages.

Someone who is ready to buy doesn’t need a lot of reference information such as blog posts or white papers. Free trials, discounts, or free estimates are more suitable in that stage.

Someone who’s looking for the difference between single pane and double pane windows, for example, isn’t ready for you to come to their home for a new window consultation. They’re still in the discovery phase.

Ideally, your optimization strategy includes content mapping for customers at all stages: discovery/awareness, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. Map the content you plan to have to each of the stages. A visual content map can be a helpful tool, this article from The Moz blog is an oldie but a goodie.

Online Sales Funnel

The online sales funnel is the set of exact steps that convert prospects into leads, and then leads into customers. On your website, this is the path people will take to ultimately do business with you.

Not everyone who comes to your website will eventually be a customer. The funnel starts out wide and gets narrower at every step.

  • Step one is usually landing on your website. Hopefully, you’ve done through all of the previous steps and are able to successfully determine ahead of time where most of your traffic will land. If that happens to be your homepage, consider what needs to be there in order to convince your prospects to take the next step.
  • Step two is going to depend largely on your specific path from prospect to lead to customer, but it always involves asking the visitor to take some sort of action – even a small one (like clicking a link). The same is true of all of the other steps in the funnel. They always involve influencing the visitor/prospect/lead to take an action and continue their relationship with your business.

Web Build Strategy

This is the last element of the website design optimization strategy. It involves coming up with a strategy to build out the website. Strategic design, when done well, is natural.

The website should make sense based on your target audience, what you want them to do, and how you will measure the actual outcomes against the intended outcomes.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve found these website design optimization tips helpful. The most difficult part about strategy is making hard decisions. It’s human nature to want to do everything.

At the same time, it’s natural to be resistant to settling on a particular strategy, wondering whether or not another strategy would be better.

No one wants to miss out, or choose the wrong path. But to be successful, you have to make some decisions, and know and own the trade-offs that come with them. Plan smart moves based on data and insights. If the outcome is less than desirable, tweak the strategy and keep going.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.