What Is On-Page SEO and How Does It Help Your Business Grow?

On-page SEO is one of the most important aspects of your website. If you want to help your business grow, then you need to make sure the various elements of this mystical sub-species of SEO align with your business goals.

But what exactly is on-page SEO, and why should that concern you? This is what we’ll explore in this article. So without further ado, let us begin!

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO (or onsite SEO, if you prefer) is one of those concepts that is difficult to classify. Ask 5 SEO specialists what on-page SEO is, and you’ll get 7 different answers. So let’s take opinions out of the equation, shall we?

Many people define onsite SEO as the process of optimizing the aspects of your website that are under your control. This definition doesn’t quite work, though. You have control over the technical SEO aspects of your website, but they’re not considered a part of on-page optimization.

A better definition would be: “Onsite SEO is the process of optimizing the aspects of your website that are under your control and visible to the user.” Simple, straightforward, and not a matter of opinion.

Some elements of your onsite SEO can be seen on search engines. We’re talking about metadata (title tags and meta descriptions). Others can be seen when a user gets to your website, like HTML tags (H1, H2, H3, and so forth), the copy on the page, and a lot more. All of these things have a direct point of contact with the user.

This is what makes on-page SEO so important. Since it’s directed at the user (your potential client or customer), it can make or break your website. The metadata has a direct effect on clickthrough rates. The tag structure affects the readability and accessibility. The copy will either sell your product or service, or it will put people off.

Even if you have good traffic (which is hard to achieve without good onsite SEO, but hey—stranger things have happened), your conversion rate (people actually doing what you want them to do) will depend on how good your on-page SEO is. In a sense, that’s one of the most important aspects of SEO for your business.

Key Components of On-Page SEO

We’ve already mentioned some of the elements of onsite SEO. Now, let’s talk about them a bit more in-depth and pull back the veil of technical terminology. Behind the veneer of pretentious jargon (sorry about that), there lies a system that can help you blow your competitors out of the water.

  • Title Tag

    The title tag is a bit confusing. It’s called a “title,” but it’s a title only in the sense of search engine results. Basically, your title tag is what the name of your page will be on Google’s search results page.

    There are some best practices you need to be mindful of for a good title tag people actually want to click on. Here’s what we look out for at Uptick:

    • Title length: The optimal title length is between 50 and 60 characters. Any longer than that and Google will truncate it, which usually reduces the number of people who click on it.
    • Use of keywords: People sometimes stuff the title with as many keywords as Google allows (and sometimes more). However, this doesn’t get people to click and it doesn’t get the content to rank higher. Instead, we use keywords descriptively. They’re still there, but only to enhance the user’s (and the search engine’s) understanding of what they’ll find on the page.
    • Make it natural: This is sort of an extension of the previous point, but the title needs to sound natural. No one wants to click on a keyword-stuffed title.
    • Use of brand name: Using your brand name in the title is a nuanced subject. It used to matter more, but these days Google often removes it so it’s better to simply use a more descriptive title than wasting space on the brand name. This should be judged on a per-case basis, though.

     

    Meta tags are really important for clickthrough rates. Subtle nuances aside, it’s relatively easy to create a title tag people want to click on. All you have to do is stay mindful of best practices. The real fun begins when you have to write a meta description.

  • Meta Description

    The meta description appears on the search engines pages right below the title tag. Its purpose is to… wait for it… describe the page. It’s a short summary of the page’s content that appears in the search results as a way to inform users of what to expect on the page.

    You can think of it as either an abstract or a short pitch. It needs to convince users that your content is what they’re looking for. It’s another factor that can affect clickthrough rates, so like the title, it needs to be convincing.

    Let’s go through some best practices:

    • Meta description length: The optimal content length for a meta description is between 100 and 160 characters. There is no upper limit, but Google truncates it if it doesn’t fit. 160 characters give you ample opportunity to include all important elements.
    • Use of keywords: It’s a good idea to use your relevant keywords in the meta description, but don’t go overboard. Don’t get out of your way to include them if it doesn’t sound natural.
    • Make it descriptive: It’s called a meta description for a reason. It needs to do a good job of describing your page or blog post so that people click on it. Make sure to include information that’s relevant to the user.
    • Create a unique description for each page: Duplicate meta descriptions are usually not a great sign. You want to make sure you have a unique meta description for each page of your website.

     

    It’s not a good idea to jam in a list of keywords and call it a day. You want to make sure the meta description generates results for you. Every time you change meta descriptions or want to target a different keyword, you should give it some time and head off to Google Search Console to see if it’s working.

  • Content Optimization

    The expression “content is king” gets thrown around like a penny in a washing machine. It’s gotten a bit annoying, if not banal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. After all, page content is the reason why anyone even bothers to enter your website in the first place. You want to make sure that you can deliver.

    Now, talking about content can fill an entire book in and of itself (let alone an article), but for the sake of brevity, here we’ll go through the most important aspects. This is by no means a comprehensive list:

    • Content length: The average length for the top result on Google’s first page is 1,447 words. Longer web pages tend to perform better. However, this was discovered in a correlational study, and correlation doesn’t mean causation. Usually, the best approach is to cover a topic comprehensively and make sure your readers get the most out of it.
    • Content structure: Most users scan before they read so it’s important to structure content in a way that’s easy to scan. Use H2, H3, H4 tags and bullet points, and make it easy for people to discover answers even without reading the entire piece. We usually come up with the content structure before we sit down and write.
    • Unique content: This should go without saying, but make sure there’s no duplicate content on your website. Google and other search engines don’t like it when you have duplicate content, especially if it’s obvious pages only exist for SEO traffic.
    • Keyword optimization: Ideally, you should have done keyword research and should know what keywords you want to optimize for. You’d then use them in the H-tags and the body of the content. Keyword usage should resemble a clean window: invisible unless you know they’re there.
    • Image optimization: Don’t forget to add image alt text. It tells Google and accessibility software what’s depicted on an image and helps it to better understand the context.
    • Make it engaging: There is not much point in your content ranking if it doesn’t engage users. Ensure your content is effective at what you want to achieve, whether it be to sell a product or service, provide information, or demonstrate authority.
    • Use internal links: Internal linking helps both users and search engines navigate your website better. If applicable, use them to provide additional information. Make sure links are relevant and there are no broken links.
    • External links: Adding external links to authoritative sources is a good practice that demonstrates you’ve done your research. Just make sure to actually link to authoritative sources.
    • Tone and voice: While not strictly SEO-related, this is nonetheless extremely important. Use a tone and voice that resonates with your target audience.

     

    You need a detailed content strategy to tie all of this together. A content strategy that hits your target keywords and drives organic traffic is usually a part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. Most Uptick SEO strategies involve content to improve a site’s performance and bring more traffic.

    If you do everything right, you should have content that answers users’ queries, satisfies their needs, and easily directs them to take action. If it doesn’t, then perhaps an SEO audit (with a site audit tool) or having a look at Google Analytics might be in order.

  • User Experience

    The user experience brings everything we’ve discussed so far home. If you have great content, excellent structure, masterful use of keywords, and title tags that make people click, but your user experience is horrible, it’s not going to mean much for actually getting you some business.

    • Site speed: Page speed comes and goes from the club of direct ranking factors. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, but it’s always important. Make sure your website is quick, snappy, and loads fast.
    • Mobile-friendliness: Most people use their smartphones to browse the web, so it’s essential that your website is mobile-friendly. Even Google looks at the mobile version of a website first.
    • Intuitive navigation: If you want to successfully sell your products and services, you need to remove all hurdles from the buying process. And let us tell you, frustrating or counter-intuitive navigation is one of the biggest offenders.

     

    When it’s all said and done, if you’ve done everything right, your on-page SEO should be helping your business grow.

Conclusion

Why did you need to know all this? Because onsite SEO is one of the main touchpoints with your potential clients/customers. If it’s bad, it creates a bad experience and makes it difficult to grow your business. If it’s good, it dramatically improves your chances to grow.If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry. You don’t need to do all this yourself because we can do it (and more) for you. Whether it’s keyword research that will reveal hidden opportunities for growth, title tags and meta descriptions that will have people clicking, or content that will keep your sales team working overtime, you can always count on us! Let’s get started!

About Uptick

Uptick Marketing is a digital marketing agency based in Birmingham, AL. We provide a variety of digital marketing services (30+ services à la carte) to our clients, including search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, digital advertising, graphic design, video production, and more. We work with business owners, marketing directors, and other key stakeholders every day—and we believe in results-driven strategies that work to grow your business.

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