Why On-Page SEO Is More Important In 2022 Than Ever Before
In the fast-moving world of search engine optimization (SEO), search algorithms can change in an instant. What was the most efficient SEO technique then is not going to be as relevant today.
The heydays of link building and off-page SEO as the most powerful SEO strategy are over. Welcome to the reemergence of on-page SEO as a key search engine ranking factor. While both off page SEO and on page SEO are classical SEO factors, there has been a pendulum shift in the direction of on page SEO.
Why On Page SEO Is Increasingly Relevant
In the past, it was all about links. Backlinks were king. You could get them by writing articles for other sites or by buying them. But that’s no longer enough. Today, you need to have a website that is well optimized for your keywords. This means having a site map, meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, image tags, etc.
As Google search gets exponentially smarter, the algorithm is beginning to focus less on backlinks. Instead, on-page elements are getting more of the spotlight. What does this mean? Well certainly keyword stuffing is not making a return. Instead, search engine crawlers are rewarding a combination of cleanly structured websites and user engagement.
In preparation of the changing of the baton, you will need to prioritise on-page SEO to get organic traffic for your website. Here’s how you can start with this SEO technique:
Optimising Your Content With On-Page SEO
Keywords are an integral part of the process, but they should never be used solely for their own sake. Keyword stuffing is no longer effective because it makes your content look spammy. You want to use relevant keywords that describe what your page is about and matches the target search intent.
For example, if your site sells dog food, you might include the following keywords:
- dog food singapore
- puppy food singapore
- buy dog food
- order dog food
Other than considering the search intent of keywords, you should not sprinkle them into your content without care throughout the content. In order to give your content the opportunity to rank higher, your selected target keyword should be placed within the first 100-150 words. Keywords that are used earlier in the content tend to catch the attention of search engines more.
That is not all. Search engines will look at how many instances where a keyword, or a similar phrase, are used within a page. Take the search query – ‘java programming’ for an example, use it once, and those robots may not be sure if that is what your content is about. However, use the keywords strategically and they will become more convinced. Do not overstuff, and use keywords wisely.
Do use keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Keyword Finder to find out which keywords are popular and which ones are not. If you do not know where to start, try using Google Trends to see what people are searching for at the moment.
The search engines are big fans of structure, so be sure to use your H1 and H2 headers throughout your content. This helps the robots to determine the structure of any given page. If you are just throwing out walls of text. you are shorting yourself on potential gains.
Headings also allow users to have a better experience when reading your content, and it is easier for them to navigate to where they want to be. Think of how you would want a content piece to read, and add value to that in your content creation process.
Internal and External Linking
Remember to always include internal links within your content! Search engine bots are able to better gauge what topic your page is covering with the appropriate links. At the same time, your website’s internal linking structure is considered a big ranking factor as they help crawlers understand the relationship between your website’s pages.
Other than internal links, pages also tend to rank higher when they have external links to authority websites. From a user perspective, you are helping them to get more relevant information to make a decision. So make sure to build relationships with other high quality sites. You can do this by commenting on their articles, sharing their content, and even guest posting on their blogs. However, do not over do external links as this would dilute the link juice of your page.
Another thing that search engines hate is broken links. They are one of the biggest reasons why people lose rankings. Broken links happen due to several factors such as unorganised content changes, server issues, malware attacks, etc. So, make sure to check your backlinks regularly, and fix any broken ones. It is recommended to use a tool like Ahrefs to find these broken links.
It is extremely important that your URL is short, looks authentic, and most importantly, contain the keyword you are aiming for. As a rule of thumb, we recommend not having more than 5 terms in your URL.
In addition to the length of your URL, when it comes to SEO, it is recommended that you do not use underscores or special characters in your URLs. These make it difficult for both user and search engine alike to traverse your website.
For webmasters who use popular CMS like WordPess or Shopify, a user intuitive interface should exist on your page backend to edit your URL. In addition, ff you are using WordPress, there are plugins that allow you to easily create a template for URL structures.
Images play a huge role in SEO. They help the search engines understand what your page is about, as well as provide a visual element to your content. Images should be optimised by size, resolution, and file type.
If you are uploading images from your computer, ensure that you are saving them in JPG format. The reason being, this is the best image format for SEO purposes. In particular, you should avoid using PNG images where possible as these typically have larger image sizes.
Be sure to use image alt tags, and ensure that the image has a clear description. Image alt text is used by search bots to understand the content of your image and how it is relevant to your page. Do ensure that the image alt tags make sense in within the flow of content before and after it.
Original images are preferred over stock photos as they look much better and provide clear differentiated value to the user. In line with Google’s 2022 helpful content update and 2022 May core algorithm update, there is a greater emphasis on unique value provided by your webpage. This is where original images that show clear first hand experience with a product or topic can help immensely.
Videos are great for SEO because they are easy to consume and digest. Videos are also very engaging, which means they are likely to keep people on your site longer. You should aim to upload videos that are between 2-5 minutes long. It is also advisable to avoid including too much text in your video as text has proven to be much less engaging for users.
A quick tip is to align your video alongside important portions of your page. This ensures that the user sees your key content while also signaling to search engines the relevance of the content.
At the same time, videos do help to lower the bounce rates of your website due to their high engagement potential.
The title tag is one of the most important factors for on-page SEO—if not the most important. It basically provides the search engines with an overview of the content within a page. The closer you can get your target keywords to the tag, the better it is for your ranking. By using your keywords within the title tag itself, you can improve the rankings even more.
If you are looking to target long-tail keywords, you can utilise modifiers within the title tag itself.
The role of meta descriptions cannot be underestimated as well. Rather than let the CMS determine your meta description, it is better for you to craft your own unique one. Implement the target keywords within your meta descriptions to help your content stand out for users and robots alike.
Optimising For CTR
While we all would love more organic click-throughs, you need to make effort to smoothen the process. While getting everything on-page fixed up is good, it can be wasted if users are not clicking through. Here are some tips for improving click through rates:
Use Question Title Tags
Usually, question-based title tags tend to have better CTR than plain old statements. By positioning your content as a question that people would ask, it is likely that your page will be providing the answer. Give the people what they want.
Use Current Year
Nobody likes old news and data. By utilising the current year in your title and/or description, you are keeping your content up-to-date and relevant to the audience.
This is another way to increase the click-through rate of your page. If you use the right keywords in your meta description, you can ensure that the search engine spiders pick them up and rank your page accordingly. As such, this can be seen as putting key phrases that your target audience is likely to use so that your website immediately appears relevant to them.
Include An Offer In Your Meta Description
Offers are always popular amongst consumers. They provide immediate value and allow you to position yourself as someone who is willing to give something away for free. Use offers in your meta description to encourage people to visit your page.
Optimising for User Experience
In addition to all that we have covered, the overall user experience can also impact on how well your content will do on rankings. Dwell time, bounce rate, and more metrics are taken into account. By keeping your audience happy, you are doing yourself a favour.
Deliver Relevant Content Swiftly
When users click on a piece of content, they are looking for answers straightaway. Do away with the pleasantries, and dive straight into what they want. Avoid taking up space with too many images, and make your content the star of the show.
Page Loading Speed
Everyone is impatient on the Internet, and that is a fact. How fast or slow your page loads is part of the user experience. If it is too slow, you can bet they will be closing that tab real soon.
Core web vitals is a set of metrics that allows you to analyse your website’s performance from multiple angles. These include things like speed, mobile friendliness, security, and more. In particular, core portions of core web vitals include:
- First Contentful Paint (FCP)
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
- Time To Interactive (TTI)
These metrics allow you to see where your site stands in terms of loading times, and what was the page loading experience like for a user. Do use Google Search Console to do a bulk analysis of persisting CWVs issues on your websites’ pages.
A sitemap is a list of pages on your website that provide information like the URLs and last edit date. This helps Google know which pages are linked together, how fresh the content is, and how they are categorised. A sitemap is usually created by hand, but there are tools such as Screaming Frog which are available to help create them automatically.
Other than the typical sitemap, there are also extensions such as author, video, and image sitemaps. An image sitemap provides links to images on your site, and includes metadata about those images. This means that when someone clicks on an image, they get additional information about the image itself.
When a search bot crawls your website, it relies largely on your sitemap to find all pages and prioritize the crawl.
The final step in the process of optimisation is content optimization. The purpose of this step is to ensure that your content is being crawled and indexed correctly. It is important to note that not every page needs to be optimized. Some pages may only need a few tweaks here and there, while others may require a complete overhaul.
You should always start with the most popular pieces of content, and then move onto other types of content as these carry the most potential impact. Oftentimes, refreshing an old but still visible article brings an instant burst of organic traffic in.
At the end of the day, search engines are constantly updating their criteria when it comes to ranking and determining what is best for their users. If you are looking to come out on top, you need to be aware of the new changes that are always in the pipeline, so you can work better and more efficiently get organic traffic.
The growing importance of on-page SEO is but one of those ways. If you find yourself needing some help to understand it all and get an optimised website, get in touch today with the best SEO agency in Singapore – First Page Digital. Our SEO experts provide a free SEO consultation, and let you know the best ways to grow your website and explode your traffic.