The Latest Best Practices for On Page SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | June 27, 2013

On page search engine optimization has been written about many times, by us as well as many other bloggers. (For example, we recently wrote about avoiding on-page SEO mistakes.) But with Google’s algorithms always on the move and ever evolving, it makes sense to check in with on page SEO every once in a while to find out what the best practices are and whether they have changed.

Some things have stayed the same. Many of the existing on-page SEO rules still apply: Canonical URLs, a headline with the keywords right up front, proper encoding, no broken links, and effective title tags that are concise enough that they won’t get cut off by Google.

Well-crafted meta descriptions are still important, although not so much for search engine rankings anymore – meta descriptions are basically useless for Google ranking, but they do affect the information that is displayed about your page in the SERPs.

Those on-page SEO elements are (and still should be) part of your on page SEO to-do list when you’re creating a new page or updating an older one. But let’s add a few more items to your on-page SEO checklist:

Main content should get right to the point. The main content should appear right after the navigation – not down the page after ads, JavaScript elements or anything else.

Load time and page size affect your ranking. You can get everything else right, but if your page is huge and loads slowly, it won’t rank as highly. This matters to Google as well as human users, so it’s worth making sure your web pages are easily and quickly accessible. So think about limiting the JavaScript snippets and other elements that may be slowing down your load times.

Optimize your website for mobile search. As more and more users move away from their desktops and use mobile devices for search, it’s all the more important to make your website more mobile and responsive. This is also a crucial element for brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on mobile search.

Take advantage of Google AuthorRank. It used to be that websites and blogs were written almost anonymously. That has changed because of AuthorRank. Because Google is eager to promote the use of Google+, AuthorRank has become an important part of both your site’s search rankings and also a source of valuable user clickthroughs. So populate your Google+ profile, enable rich snippets for your website, and start building up your AuthorRank – both with content published on your own website and guest posts you write for other blogs.

Also, be sure to post a link to more articles by the author for even more clicks and an easy way to build your reputation in your industry.

Don’t forget the social sharing buttons. Maybe it’s not SEO per se, but social sharing buttons are something users have come to expect on every web page. Give them a way to bring more clicks to your website!

On-page SEO encompasses an ever-changing set of practices, but remember that what search engines want is usually what users want to see as well. And that means fast-loading web pages with great content right at the top and no broken links. Improve usability and you’ll help improve your search rankings!