Best Practices for OnPage SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 01, 2015

Are you ready to optimize your blog or website for the best possible chances to be discovered in the search engines? If so, you’ll definitely want to implement the following best practices for onpage SEO:

Do Keyword Research Before You Write Your Pages or Blog Posts

Google’s Keyword Planner tool and Google Trends are both excellent resources to use for doing keyword research.

A bit of upfront keyword research will help you to identify which keyword phrases your potential website visitors are likely to search for. Ideally, you’ll also want to choose keyword phrases that are short, descriptive, and closely related to the topics you plan to write about.

Choose Page Titles and Blog Post Titles Carefully

Be sure to include one unique keyword phrase in each page title or post title. You want to use a different title for every page or post on your website.

There are several important reasons to give careful consideration to your titles. For starters, your title tag is one of the most critical components of your entire onpage SEO strategy.

Additionally, if you’re using a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, the title you choose will also influence your page’s URL. You want your URLs to be easily understood. This is important, since URLs are displayed in the search engine results pages, and could influence your potential visitors when they decide whether or not to click on your links. URL structures also provide important signals to search engines, helping them to understand what each of your web pages is all about.

If you’re coding your own web pages in HTML, be sure to use title tags. If you’re using a CMS and you enter your page or post titles in their designated spots, your CMS most likely will take care of the title tag coding for you.

Create Compelling Meta Descriptions for Each Page or Blog Post

Write a couple of sentences or a short paragraph for each meta description. Be sure to include your most important keyword phrase in a way that seems natural.

Include at Least One Image on Every Page of Content

Google, Bing and Yahoo all offer image search capabilities. If you include pictures on your pages, it’s possible that your users could find your website via image search.

If you don’t use any pictures, your site loses out on these additional opportunities to be discovered.

Optimize Your Pictures for Image Searches

If it makes sense to do so, include your most important keyword phrase in your photo caption and alt tags. If that wouldn’t make sense for some reason, the next best thing is to write your photo captions and alt tags using relevant keyword phrases that accurately describe what’s pictured in the photo.

Use Breadcrumb Lists for Easy Site Navigation

Breadcrumb lists can help your visitors navigate your website more intuitively. Not only that, they can also help the search engines to better understand your site structure as well.

Include Your Page Lists in Two Different Types of Sitemaps

There are two different types of sitemaps you could implement on your website, and ideally you’ll want to have both of them.

The first sitemap is the one for your human visitors to use. It should be laid out carefully and logically in such a way that your visitors can use it to quickly find the information they want to access on your website. You can use any format that makes sense for this purpose, but we often use an outline or table of contents type of format for this.

The second sitemap is the one intended for search engine spiders to access. The sitemap you provide the search engines will help them to algorithmically “understand” your website structure. This is important for maximizing your site’s organic search traffic.

These are our suggestions for making the most of your onpage SEO strategy. If you want to maximize your organic search traffic, we suggest that you systematically implement these best practices for onpage SEO.