If you’ve been focusing all your SEO efforts on social media engagement, forum posting, guest blogging, and other off-site SEO tasks that aim to get a link back to your website and in turn, increase visitors and conversions, it’s all good. But if you’re doing all these and your organic searches are still getting dismal numbers, it’s a huge sign that you’ll need to double-check your website and fix on-site SEO issues.
On-site or On-page SEO involves dozens of small tasks that help turn an ordinary website into a search engine-friendly website, but here are the 20 most commonly forgotten website elements that you should check out:
1) Proper use of No-Index Tag – When the “noindex” tag is applied to any post or page, search engines will not index those pages. If that is your intention, then so be it. But if you’re not aware of such a tag exists, make sure to remove the no-index tag now.
2) Attention-grabbing titles – Titles should stir the curiosity of visitors and make them click the post. Of course, the title should be relevant to the entire content. If possible, include the keywords on the title tag, but ensure that it would make sense and not added just for the sake of keyword placement.
3) Meta description – Meta descriptions provide search engines and potential visitors with additional information about a post. It is the first 140 characters posted on search engine results, so make sure they count by including important keywords and giving an interesting summary of your post.
4) HTTPS – In 2014, Google announced that they are weighing secured sites more when it comes to ranking. Since then, studies from Moz and other SEO industry sites have shown that over 75% of websites on first pages use HTTPs.
5) Header tags – Header tags are used for sub-headings throughout a page. They are named from H1 to H6, but search engines read H1 the most. As such, it’s important that words, phrases or sentences with the H1 tag convey additional information related to the overall content of your page.
6) LSI – SearchEngineJournal defines LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing as a “mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.” In short, LSI refers to synonyms of keywords. Since search engines can now understand the concept of synonyms, using LSI for content can improve SEO rankings without using keywords with the old-and-tired robot speak style.
7) Multimedia content – Search engines can only read text, so all pictures, videos, and audio content that you upload won’t have any bearing when it comes to ranking. However, if you follow proper formatting for these types of content, it could benefit your SEO efforts significantly.
8) URL – By default, all posts published via WordPress and other CMS (content management systems) are given a specific URL or permalink structure with a random number like http://www.ivetriedthat.com/p=1234. Simply changing the end of your URL with a more specific word or phrase like http://www.ivetriedthat.com/Onpage-SEO-guide can make a huge difference.
9) Underused or overused anchor texts – Anchor texts are the clickable texts in a hyperlink. When linking to another page within the site, or a third-party site, it’s important to use keywords relevant to the page. Not on does this technique reduce bounce rates, it also helps search engine bots “understand” what your content is about and index your page properly.
10) Keywords – If you’re still stuffing keywords all over your posts, you should trackback and edit them out or change them into LSI instead. It’s no longer acceptable to trick search engines into checking out your pages with keywords splashed all over a page. Search engines can see through this, so make sure to write with your readers in mind.
11) Encourage engagement – To reduce bounce rate (the amount of time visitors spend on your site’s page), encourage your visitors to check out more content from your site by installing “similar posts” plugins, adding social-sharing buttons, encouraging them to comment, posting more multimedia content and more.
12) Sitemap – Does your website have an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl through your site? If you answered yes, double-check if it’s still functional. Add sitemaps for photos and videos as well to bring more SEO juice via your multimedia content.
13) Canonical URLs – In cases where pages are doubled with the same content, adding the HTML link tag rel=canonical into the page you deem more important. Once you’ve done this, it merges the two (or more) similar pages into one without having to delete any of the pages and being tagged with duplicate content.
14) Responsiveness and Site speed – Slow-loading websites may be due to unnecessary plugins, web hosting, and other causes, but this is often easily fixed. Make sure page loads is under two seconds and pass mobile-friendly tests.
15) Fix broken links – SEO is all about user experience and making it easier for search engines to find your site. But when your site has 404s, non-indexed pages, and other errors, not only do these errors lead to demotion from search engines, they also cause bad user experience.
16) Incorporate semantic search concept – Google’s Hummingbird update updated how search engines understand keywords. The literal keyword/phrase used for SEO in the past (example: New York personal injury attorney) can now be forgotten completely since Google takes a cue of the searcher’s location and intent of the search. Adapting to these changes can improve rankings and boost site visitors.
17) Robots.txt – One of the most basic, yet overlooked site element is the robots.txt. This allows or disallows web-crawlers to crawl a part of your website or not. It is the first thing search engines look for when examining a website, so make sure yours was done right with proper instructions.
18) Ads – Wrong placement of ads can turn any webpage unreadable. Make sure to study the size of ads, try out ad placements, and examine ad loading times whenever you decide to monetize your website with ads.
19) Navigation – Your site menu should be organized properly so that the most popular pages are featured where visitors could easily view them. Take advantage of the internal linking opportunity from every navigation space available, either at the main one on top, side or bottom.
20) Mobile-friendly – Mobile search is the future – the number of people using their mobile devices for searching the web has overtaken desktop users. Updating with the times avoid turning off your visitors with an outdated site.
On-page SEO is just as important as link building or Off-page SEO. Use the checklist above and give your site a free website audit to determine if your website is doing alright, SEO-wise or if it needs to undergo some changes. You’d be amazed that even the slightest changes could improve your site’s traffic and conversions significantly.