On-site search engine optimization is the first critical step to achieving high rankings in the search results for your targeted keyword phrases. On-site SEO is just as it sounds. It’s organic search engine optimization work that is done on your website – particularly in the website content – that helps make your website more relevant for your primary keyword targets.
There are three primary on-site elements that need to be optimized for every web page on your site. These on-site SEO elements are:
- Page Title (Meta Title)
- Page Description (Meta Description)
- Optimized Web Copy (Text on the Page)
Optimizing all three of these elements is the first critical set to achieving organic SEO rankings and the overall website optimization of your company’s website.
In the rest of this blog post, we’re going to outline each of the three on-site SEO elements and how to properly optimize them for the search engines.
On-site SEO: Page Titles (Meta Title)
The first on-site SEO element we’ll discuss is the Page Title or Meta Title of your web page. The title tag is the first thing the search engine spider sees when it comes to any of your web pages. The title tag tells the search engine spider and your site visitors what your web page is all about – it’s also the most prominently shown text on the search engine results page.
In organic SEO terms, the Page Title tag is the most critical factor in establishing relevancy for your targeted SEO keywords. Because of this, it’s highly important to craft balanced, well-optimized Meta Titles that include targeted keywords for the search engine spider – and that are also easy to read for user benefits. Below we outline several keys to consider when crafting well-optimized page titles.
- To properly optimize your website to achieve organic SEO rankings, each web page on your site should have a unique meta Page Title. On many websites, particularly those built on content management systems (CMS), it is easy to have automatically generated meta titles that are consistent across every web page on the website. Be sure to have a custom, keyword optimized title tag for every page on your site for maximum organic SEO benefits.
- Your Meta Title Tag should accurately describe the content on each of your web pages. By doing so, it lets search engine users – and search spiders – know what the page is about, and is one of the reasons why a unique page title is key.
- Most search engines like Google only display 60-70 characters of your title tag, so it’s important to keep your page titles concise and to the point with your keywords.
- Your primary keyword phrase that you are targeting should always be used in an exact phrase match at the beginning your title tag. This is very important for organic SEO and will maximize your website’s potential to rank well in the search results.
- When separating keywords phrasing in your meta page titles, be sure to use basic characters like commas, hyphens, or pipes (‘|’) and avoid using special characters that can waste character space.
On-site SEO: Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are short summaries of your website’s pages that display below your website URL in the search engine results pages. Although meta descriptions aren’t visible to users on a webpage, and they do not have a direct impact on how well your website ranks in the search results, they are still a critically important for getting users to click on your website from the SERP.
Good Meta descriptions should be informative about the content of the page, and often times include a call to action. Here are some on-site organic SEO tips to keep in mind when writing good Meta description tags for maximum organic SEO value:
- Strong Meta descriptions should be between 150 and 200 characters long. Google and the other search engines display 160 characters.
- Your meta descriptions should be creative and compelling to increase click through rates. Meta descriptions should also include calls to action and promote why a user would want to click on your page to see what you have to offer.
- Include your targeted keywords early in your meta description tag. It’s also good practice to include variations of your targeted keywords later on in the meta description.
On-site SEO: On-page Content
On-page content is the actual text and images that site visitors read while visiting your web pages. So it’s only common sense that your web pages have well-written, well-optimized valuable content for your users to read. Publishing content with generic, fluffy on-page content can have negative implications for your organic SEO rankings.
Producing well-optimized on-page copy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Good SEO copywriters know that writing well-optimized copy is a balancing act of getting your message across creatively while sprinkling in your targeted keyword phrases throughout the copy. For proper on-site optimization, your website copy should be optimized for conversions have value for your users and compel them to to take action. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind while writing on-page copy for maximum organic SEO benefits:
- Moderate usage of strong tags on your targeted keyword phrases is a best practice. This lets search engine spiders know that this particular phrase is more important than other phrases on your web pages.
- Logical use of header tags throughout your web pages is also a good practice. Make sure you properly utilize the power of H1’s, H2’s, and H3’s throughout your pages. The H1 tag should be used as the primary title of a page and H2’s and h3’s are supportive sub-headers. Be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases into these headers for maximum SEO benefits.
- Your web copy should include sporadic use of your primary keyword target(s) throughout your web page copy. Be sure not to overuse your keyword targets (keyword stuffing) but mentioning your keyword target(s) early in your web content is essential for search engine optimization gains.
- Depending on the nature of your industry, competition and topic of the web page, your content should be between 300-800 words per page. In general, the more valuable on-page content you can include on your web pages, the more respect you’ll gain from the search engines for being a relevant source of the keywords that you’re targeting.
With all the changes to Google search in 2012, it’s important to have a solid SEO strategy for your website. On-site SEO is only the first step in a successful organic SEO campaign. Proper search engine optimization requires both on-site and off-site work on and ongoing basis. Off-site SEO search engine optimization work such as link building and article marketing are an essential ingredient in achieving top SEO rankings.