There numerous on-page factors that can influence the performance and rankings of a website.
When people search for products or services online, Google wants to provide them with the best possible search result. So to rank, it’s essential to produce high-quality content on web pages.
Google understands the significance of the keywords and is less concerned about the number of times the keyword appears and more about the quality of the surrounding content.
The content on a page should match what a user expects to see when they click through to your webpage from the search results.
The average word count of a page ranking on page one of Google is now over 1,900 words.
Today, over half of online searches come from smartphones and tablets.
It is essential that a website is mobile optimised and provides a great mobile experience for users.
Mobile-friendly sites are now critically important since Google implemented its mobile-first indexing and gives preference to websites that are mobile-friendly and load fast.
So if your site is not classed as mobile-friendly by Google, it’s time for a website overhaul.
With ever-increasing broadband speeds, users no longer want to wait more than a few seconds for a web page to load up.
So site speed can have a major impact on user experience and ultimately bounce rates, where users get tired of waiting and move to another site that loads quicker.
According to a recent study by Google; bounce rates increased 32% when loads times jumped from one to three seconds, to 90% by 5 seconds, and over 100% by 6 seconds.
A slow loading site will lose traffic and rankings over time. Any website that takes more than a few seconds to load needs attention to improve load times.
Schema.org is a markup language which uses sets of tags to store data on website pages that is only visible to the search engines. This business-specific data is used to improve the way that search engines read and present them in search results.
Doing schema markup for a local company clarifies to the search engines what the business does, what it sells, and how to contact them. While it may not impact on rankings, higher click-through rates are possible by way of rich snippets and review ratings.
Relevant keywords can act as a basic relevancy signal and help search engines rank websites better. Having at least one keyword associated with your business in the domain name can provide a better boost.
Individual page names (URLs) also play a role in rankings, so consider including URLs that contain relevant words related to the content on the page.
A title tag defines a title of a page. It explains what the page is about and is the first thing to appear in search results, in bold blue text.
The title tag for every page should be a unique description which helps the search engines and users better understand what the web page is about.
Headings are HTML tags used to break pages into sections. While they help users to scan pages for specific information, they can also help search engines better understand the content on a web page.
Sitemaps are used to help search engines better understand how to navigate a website.
An XML sitemap needs to be included to help the search engines crawl all the pages and index them.
Navigation and ease of use
Now there is a preference for mobile versions of websites in the search engines; navigation menus should be logical and easy-to-follow to ensure good user experience.
All important pages should be one or two clicks away from the homepage.
Website visitors should be able to access information or complete an action within seconds.
A meta description is a summary of a page’s content. It appears in the search results beneath the title tag for the same page in search results.
Meta descriptions do not help with rankings, although a well-written can help with click-through rates and traffic for a page that appears in the search results.
Image markup tags
Alt tags are used to describe what displayed in an image.
These tags help the search engines understand what the images are meant to be about.
Avoiding duplicate content
It is critical to avoid having the same content on multiple pages on your website or having the same material that is present elsewhere online.
Unless you are republishing content from another source, Google will penalise your site for having duplicate content, and your rankings will drop. Moreover, if you do, ensure you have provided credit to the original source.
HTTPS vs HTTP
HTTPS is a way to encrypt information sent between a browser and a web server. This encryption protects your website’s users from identity or financial theft.
HTTPS-secured sites have a small green padlock icon next to their domain URL string.
In 2014, Google stated that secured sites would rank higher in the search listings compared to those using the HTTP protocol.
Analysis and follow up
Once all of the above factors have been attended to and a website ranks; on-page optimisation never ends.
Once visitors visit web pages, SEO experts need to review the traffic data regularly.
They may be able to locate any opportunities that could be used to increase to the click-through rate (CTR) and any call-to-action (CTA) such as a purchase or sign up.
Google prefers to serve up quality sites for their users. If users leave the pages on a website too quickly, then the website rankings may drop in due to poor on-page factors. When users leave a site too soon, they add to the “bounce rate” statistic.
High bounce rates suggest that the web page needs to be improved to provide a better user experience to increase page session duration and ultimately, sales.
Off-page factors are the ranking signals that take elsewhere online. Typically these comprise links from other websites, links from social media sites, online reviews and offline marketing.
If the on-page and off-page optimisation perform well, the site should rank well. Good optimisation sends signals to Google and the other search engines that a website is trustworthy and authoritative and deserves to be rank well.