On-Page SEO Best Practices

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 01, 2015

Want to increase the amount of targeted traffic to your website? If so, on-page SEO is an important concept to implement on your site. It’s one of the easiest ways to achieve higher rankings in the search engine results pages. With that in mind, let’s explore some on-page SEO best practices.

Always Prioritize the Needs of Your Human Visitors

Have you ever encountered a web page that didn’t read naturally because it was stuffed with bunches of keywords? What was your reaction to that website? If you’re like most people, you probably hit the back button and went on to explore the next set of search results, never to return to the keyword-stuffed page.

That’s exactly what you want to avoid doing when you optimize your own website.

Many analysts believe that user engagement plays an important role in Google’s ranking algorithm. What that means: it’s possible that Google has ways of algorithmically determining whether your website visitors are viewing your content, interested in it and engaging with it — and to what degree they are doing so.

Metrics like bounce rate and time spent on page could theoretically help Google make these sorts of judgments.

Since the whole point of SEO is bringing engaged human visitors to your site, it only makes sense to prioritize their needs when you optimize your website.

Write Unique, Relevant, Keyword-Rich Page Titles

For each page on your website, you’ll want to create a unique page title that accurately and concisely describes the contents on the page. Do include keywords in your page titles, but not ridiculous numbers of them. Be choosy, and stick to using keywords that potential readers would be most likely to search for.

Keywords aren’t a bad thing; in fact, they’re critical to good on-page SEO. You need keywords to explain to both your human visitors and the search engines what each page on your site is all about.

For best results, you also want to differentiate the title tags you use on each page.

An important mistake to avoid: you don’t want to use the same title tag for every page on your website. For example, let’s say your URL is smithfamilyrecipes.com. You could use the title tag “Smith Family Recipes” for the home page of the website, but you’ll want to avoid using that same tag on any of the site’s other pages. Instead, you could use title tags like “Grandma Smith’s Best Apple Pie Recipe”, “Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes”, and “Summer Squash Recipes” to differentiate the website’s pages from each other.

Summarize the Page Contents in the Meta Description

Think of each of your meta descriptions as being mini sales pitches for the pages on your website. When a visitor searches for a relevant query via Google or other search engines, the search engine is likely to display your meta description as part of the snippet shown in the results.

Your link and meta description will appear in a list, along with 9 or more other possibilities the user could select. S/he’s going to choose whichever one looks most useful or interesting, so be sure to make your meta descriptions enticing.

Many SEOs recommend repeating your main keyword phrase in the meta description. We think this is a good idea, but only if you can do it in a way that sounds natural.

These best practices were compiled using a combination of our own experiences plus recommendations by Google, which were published in Google’s starter guide to SEO. If you’d like to find more in-depth information about on-page SEO best practices, the starter guide is an excellent resource to look at. Best wishes with your on-page SEO efforts.