Optimization Improves Rank – Get Started with On-Page SEO

Leslie Gibson
May 22, 2020
Many people have questions about basic SEO and optimization techniques. This post answers these questions: Why optimize? How do you optimize? What can you expect after optimizing a web page?

SEO Can Improve Search Position

Produce high-quality content and use on-page optimization to gain visibility in search results.

Being more visible in search results can determine whether or not a potential customer visits your website (or if they can even find it in the first place). Search engine optimization (SEO) – the multi-faceted practice that helps site owners achieve organic visibility – comprises technical considerations like site speed and mobile-friendliness, plus a host of optimization tactics designed to impact on-page ranking factors.

Optimized Content 

  • Provides value to the reader
  • Uses keywords to clarify purpose and intent
  • Includes images, video, and graphics as well as text

Great content is the foundation on which all high-ranking websites are built. Quality content can ensure visibility in a crowded online search space. Yes, site architecture is critically important to visibility, but unless your content is unique and worthy of links from other web properties, your pages may not see the light of day in the search engine results page (SERP).

Your web content must convey what makes your product, service, or story different and valuable. There should be a reason behind the content you create. Great content provides answers, offers solutions, fills a void, or meets a demand. Thoughtful content creation requires that you understand what potential customers or visitors want and need to know about your products or services. Your content must provide the answers they seek.

Optimizing content with keywords helps search engines not only understand the content’s purpose, but how and when to present your pages in search results. Keyword research can help you understand how people are searching for your products and the words and phrases they use in search queries.

Optimize each page for a unique, primary keyword theme. Support the main keyword theme with related, secondary keywords and phrases. These secondary phrases should be sub-topics that provide opportunities for cross-linking between pages to continue to answer searchers’ questions.

Content can take many forms – text, images, videos, tools like calculators, tables, graphs, and more. Providing an engaging, helpful combination of text and visuals that best satisfy search intent and provide value is key.

Optimized Foundational Elements 

  • Convey the purpose of the page by clearly communicating what the reader can expect to find
  • Establish the hierarchy of information on the page by way of heading tags (H1, H2, H3)

The page title, visible in the browser but not on the page, is the first, most important foundational element to optimize. Titles should be unique for each page, descriptive, and brief.

Meta description
Although it’s not technically a ranking factor, nor is it visible anywhere on-page, the meta description is another important optimization to make. In each organic search result, the title appears first, followed by the meta description. The title introduces the page topic or theme, and the meta description further describes what the searcher can expect to find when they click through.

Heading tags
Search engines read webpages from the top down, so establishing a hierarchy with headings helps them understand the level of importance of each part of the page.

Optimized Visual Elements

  • Create interest and promote engagement
  • Support text content by giving the reader another way to learn and understand
  • Enhance accessibility for all visitors

Optimizing visual content with descriptive file names, introductory on-page text and captions, alt text, and transcripts for videos further enhances a search engine’s understanding of the content.

Image file names that have been optimized to include a keyword or word that describes the image help search engines understand what the image is about, and how/when to display it in visual search results. Adding captions to images provides yet another opportunity to optimize visual content with relevant keywords.

Descriptive alt text is key to optimizing images. Alt text allows the image to be “seen” by ereaders and other tools used for accessibility purposes.

Using structured markup is another important optimization tactic that is becoming more common. Markup helps search engines understand even more about visual elements.

Optimized Links

  • Spread equity throughout the website
  • Enable visitors and search engines to easily access all pages
  • Keep visitors on a guided path through your pages
  • Demonstrate the value of your content to the search engines

Linking from one page to other related pages within your website is another critically important optimization tactic.

If your website features products available in different sizes, colors or styles, and products are displayed by categories, subcategories, and additional subcategories, make sure all pages are linked together from the top down, and that the visitor (or search engine) can follow the same path back to the home page via links.

Finally, links from other websites are what really get search engines to notice you. Be generous with content. Make sure that your content is sharable and not hidden behind a login or firewall, or technically inaccessible in any way. Creating content that others find valuable and want to share with their readers and site visitors can exponentially improve your visibility.

Summary: Key Optimization Tactics to Use on Every Page

  • Create high-quality content that fills a need, answers a question, or provides a solution in an entertaining, engaging way
  • Craft descriptive, unique titles and meta descriptions for each page, including the keywords and phrases your customers use to search
  • Use headlines (H1, H2, H3) to create hierarchy and order on the page, leading visitors from one key point to the next
  • Optimize visual content with descriptive file names, introductory on-page text and captions, alt text, and video transcripts. Use structured markup to further optimize visual elements
  • Finally, create a smart linking strategy that allows your site visitors and search engines to travel seamlessly from one page to another

What Marketers Need to Know

Optimization is key to improving search rank and visibility. But no matter how much you do to optimize your pages, the algorithms adjust, industries and customer preferences change, and world events can completely upend the way people search. Optimization must be an ongoing practice based on changing customer wants, needs, and questions.

Image source: Unsplash

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