Understanding SEO:  Basics of On-Page Optimization

When you want to raise your rank in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), on-site or on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be the first thing on your agenda. It’s the foundation of your SEO campaign, which all your other strategies will depend on. 

 

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How SEO Works

To understand why, you need to get an idea of how search works. Google and other search engines constantly send out software called web crawlers or spiders to index websites. The crawlers will attempt to determine a webpage’s intention or what it’s about, its reputation, and the quality of its user experience. Once a user inputs a word, phrase, or question, the search engine will try to produce the most relevant and most helpful pages.

As you can tell, many of the qualities that a crawler checks are found within the page itself, especially intention and user experience. Intention can be gleaned within the page’s content while user experience is checked by how helpful a page can provide information to the user.  However, crawlers are not actually intelligent. Despite their growing sophistication, they are limited in their understanding of words, sentences, and themes. The task of on-page SEO is to make it easier for them to understand a page and improve its user experience.

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While the exact factors that determine ranking are a closely guarded secret, we know that these 10 factors help your raise results in the SERPs.

 

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Keywords

Since a crawler can’t understand language, it determines a page’s intention through the presence of words. It assumes that a page which contains certain words must be about these words. Because of this assumption, it’s vitally important to associate a page with the words – or keywords – that you intend or else the webpage’s meaning will go over the spider’s head. It’s good on-site optimization practice to always choose keywords which best describe your page. Just be careful of spamming them or repeating them endlessly because it will harm the user experience.

 

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Geolocation

Location is one of the most helpful information that a webpage could provide. A user searching for restaurants will want somewhere close to him. However, computers can be located anywhere so make sure that search engines know where your business is located or where its market lies by incorporating the location in your keywords.

 

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Meta Tags and Descriptions

Meta tags and descriptions are hidden in the code of webpage and they provide crawlers with information about your page. Tags basically inform search engines that the following information is important while descriptions tell what it’s all about. Well-written descriptions should be approximately 150 characters long and should contain your main keywords for positive on-page optimization.

 

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Headings and Titles

Headings and titles are crucial for crawlers in the same they’re helpful for humans: they tell what the content is about. It’s common practice to include your main keywords in them.

 

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URL Strings

The URL or web address is also an important ranking determinant. Many websites use a query string, something like “brand.ph/index.php?id=1“, but this is bad for optimization. They should be written descriptively and thus be treated as an alternate title for the page. Remember to use hyphens instead of underscores to indicate spaces.

 

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Images and Multimedia

Crawlers can read text; they just can’t understand it. However, they can’t view images or other multimedia at all. To help them learn, images and multimedia should be titled and tagged as descriptively as possible. Dump “logo1.jpg” in favor of “brandname-hotel-makati-logo1.jpg.”

 

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Links

Site spiders hop from page to page by following links. Like titles, hyperlinked text tends to be descriptive of the page it’s linked to. But links also help user experience. Users want to easily navigate from page to page for information, a practice facilitated by linking. Internal links are particularly helpful. They connect pages within a website and helps users discover your site’ content, which encourages more site engagement. Outbound links, those that lead outside the website, also help crawlers understand your page for much the same reason. Remember to include one or two hyperlinked text in your page for your users and spiders. Lastly, just like people, crawlers don’t like dead links that go nowhere and they should be removed during your on-page optimization.

 

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Site Structure

A site’s structure or sitemap should be as straightforward as possible because it enhances the user experience. A user wants to discover information and content. If data is tucked away in an isolated place or buried deep within the website’s structure, it might as well not exist. In general, site structure could only go up to three levels before becoming confusing.

 

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Site Speed

Nothing improves user experience than speed. Users unanimously want information now and waiting a long time turns them away. There are many ways to tune site speed, such as compressing images and multimedia, and minimizing redirects and other unnecessary steps to content.

 

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Mobile-Friendly

Today, users aren’t browsing on only on desktop but a myriad of portable devices. Unfortunately for pages sized for desktops, they look horrible on mobile, which leads to a bad user experience. For proper optimization, webpages should adopt mobile-friendly designs.

Due to constant algorithm updates, on-page optimization continues to evolve. The factors might rise or fall according to new rules from the Google and other search engines. To keep in touch and learn other ways to optimize your site, consult an SEO specialist. They will know what needs to be done to make website rank highly.

 

Bonus!

 

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Content

Content is critical to on-page SEO. However, that’s a topic that can’t be discussed here. Stay tuned to our next installment to learn more about creating awesome posts. Subscribe to M2Social!