10 On Page Optimization Techniques in SEO that Every Marketing Freelancer should Learn

On Page SEO, in fact, is the first step to ready up a website for the online marketing campaign. It is the architecture behind the scene that you need to ready up. In other sense, it is the skeleton of a website which needs to organize to make it SEO friendly.

However, in most cases, when a new freelancer starts learning about search engine optimization, s/he mostly becomes confused about from where to start! The most common scenario is, they use to start from the tail i.e. off-site SEO. No doubt that, off-site SEO is much bigger subject than the on-page optimization. If you count the points involve in off-site SEO, you probably will get a good list of jobs.

On the other hand, on page SEO includes few fixed number of jobs which carries the much importance than the off-site SEO activities. I usually follow the below lists of tasks in my on page optimization;

1. SEO Title

This is considered as the first and most important place of any website for optimization. It is the place where you must need to use your most targeted keyword for which you want to get ranking in the Google SERP.

When any search engine crawler visits your website to collect data for indexing, they first collect data from SEO title. It is, in fact, shown in the search result. If you can use the exact key phrase in SEO title, it brings the most benefit. Let’s take a look at the below image where SEO title shows in the search result.

Freelancers HUB SEO Title and Metadata in Search results

Now let’s find out, in a browser, where this SEO title actually located on the web page. Below image can surely give a much clear picture and help you to understand.

On page Meta data examine on Browser - by Freelancers HUB

Recommended Title Length:

This is one of the most important factors you must keep in mind while writing and updating the SEO meta title. Previously the maximum recommended length was between 55-60 characters.

On May 2016, Google released an update, increased its space for showing search results. Reference to a report released by Search Engine Land on May 12, 2016, Google now showing maximum 70 characters of Title in its search result.

It was a bigger opportunity given by Google to the website owners to accommodate and optimize the SEO title with more targeted keywords or phrases. According to Moz, Google usually updates its algorithm 500-600 times in a year. So, as an SEO professional, you must keep yourself updated with Google and other search engines algorithm so that you can adjust your SEO strategies.

HTML code for updating the SEO Title:

Although nowadays, most of the CMS has the built-in system to update metadata. But as an SEO professional, you must need to know the coding.

Well, you don’t need to memorize it, but you must keep it somewhere safe in your PC hard drive. So that, whenever needed, you can easily copy/paste the code.

<title>WEBPAGE SEO TITLE HERE</title>

As mentioned that, now most CMS has the built-in system to update website metadata, I’ll show in my upcoming posts, how to update these metadata in most popular CMS i.e. Optimize a WordPress site by using Yoast SEO Plugin.

 2. Meta Description

It is the second most important section of the website for optimization. While a search bot lands on a web page from crawling and indexing, this is the second place after SEO title from where they use to collect data about the page content. So optimizing meta description with target keywords is vital for any website to do better performance in the organic search.

Here, optimization refers to writing a good description of the web page that must contain your most targeted keywords or key phrases. While writing meta description, you must keep it natural and must not sound weird.

Although maintaining keyword prominence bring the best result in terms of organic search, but you must write it in a natural way. Never try to over optimize the description which may also sound unnatural to the human readers and to the search bots as well.

Recommended Description Length:

Length is a big factor for meta description too. Google usually show maximum 155-160 characters of meta descriptions in its search result. Your meta description can be more than 160 characters, but in that case, Google may not show the words after 160 characters. So, the best practice is to keep the length 160 characters or below.

However, according to Search Engine Land report on May 12, 2016, regarding Google update that now it shows approximate 278 characters in search results from meta description. But I personally found most of the search results still showing 155-160 characters in search results from the web page meta descriptions. So, I stick with the previous practice of writing and updating meta descriptions with maximum 160 characters length.

HTML code for updating the Meta Description:

Though it’s now not much important to memorize the HTML coding for meta description as most website platforms now have the built-in system to update these sections. But again, being an SEO professional, you must know and learn the coding. Just keep it in a safe place from where you can just copy/paste it whenever needed.

<meta name=”description” content=”META DESCRIPTION HERE”>

3. Meta Keywords

This section is now not much important for Google as they ignore counting meta keywords. An announcement on Google Webmaster Central Blog on September 21, 2009, declares the fact. But, it is still important for the other major search engines like Bing, Yandex, and others.

So, what is the function of Meta Keyword Tags?

It actually tells the search bots about the topics i.e. key phrase used in the page contents and so the search engines show the web page in their search result for the given keywords in the meta tag.

Regarding the length of meta keywords, it is the best practice to keep the length within 15-words, but practically there is no any thumb rule for this.

HTML code for updating the Meta Keywords:

The HTML code for updating the meta keyword tags on a website is as below;

<meta name=”keywords” content=”META KEYWORDS HERE”>

4. Header Tags

Search bots usually crawl the header tags on its fourth phase while crawling and indexing a web page. There are total six types of header tags i.e. H1-H6.

The page or post title usually is in the header one tag. It is nothing but the headings of any page contents. But why it carries so much value for the search engines?

Well, if a web page doesn’t have proper SEO title and meta description, then search bots takes the header one tag as the page title and display int heir search result. On the other hand, if a web page SEO title and meta descriptions are present, then search bots picks the most valuable words from the headers tags to justify the content and prioritize in their search result.

What mistakes people usually do in their great piece of contents?

In most cases, I have seen that most websites that maintain a great blog and publish posts on them on a regular basis but still struggling to get ranking for their contents. The most common mistakes they usually do is not using proper header tags.

For the heading of any paragraph, publishers use Bold Text. Definitely, the bold text helps the search engines to identify potential words within the content, but it carries much less value than the header tags.

So whenever, you’re going to optimize any existing any page or posts contents, you must have a look at the titles, sub-titles or subheadings of the content. Use proper header tags to highlight the paragraph topic. And, if possible, then try to include some of the target keywords or the words of the key phrase in the header tags.

5. Image ALT Tag

This is another very much important part for on page optimization. Placing right and keyword optimized ALT tags on all the images can help the site get ranking in the Google Image Search.

There is usually no any recommended length for image ALT tag either like meta keywords. But, the best practice is to keep within the 50-60 chars and it must contain the keywords and also the business name.

The HTML code for updating the image ALT tags on a website is as below;

<img src=”IMAGE URL” alt=”IMAGE ALT TAG” />

6. Anchor Text Optimization and Interlinking

This is another vital part of optimizing a web page that gives a signal to the search engines about the valuable words for the content. It helps the search engines in two different way.

First, It helps the search bots to understand the valuable words both for the linked pages and linking page. It also passes link juice from the linking page to linked page that helps to get ranking for the words used in the anchor texts.

Second, search bot understand that visitors, readers or the website users can get into the more valuable and informative page through the anchor text links that help them to gather helpful information. In search bots algorithm perspective, this will give the better user experience for the website users which is also a vital quality requirement b Google.

Thumb rules for Anchor Text Optimization and Interlinking:
  • You must need to read the page content thoroughly and understand the main topic.
  • List down the target keywords or key phrases used for the contents. If not really used, then find out through keyword research.
  • List down the possible relevant pages or posts from the website.
  • Figure our the potential places within the content where you can make an anchor text to create anchor text link to the target pages.
  • In some points, if possible, use keywords or key phrases. But, never try to force it or you may lose the content beauty.

7. Canonical Tags

This is particularly important for large size websites and eCommerce sites. But, for small websites, this tag is not much important. The main purpose of using this tag is to avoid duplicate content issue.

Nowadays most of the eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, 3dCart has the built-in system in their platform to put this tag on all the web pages. You only need to put the check mark the option in the settings.

On the other hand, CMS like WordPress has many different available plugins to implement the tag on any particular web pages or posts. In my other post of optimizing a WordPress site with Yoast SEO plugins, I will show how to do it without facing many difficulties.

The HTML code for implementing Canonical tags on a website is as below;

<link rel=”canonicalhref=”https://freelancers-hub.com/” />

8. 301 Redirections

301 Redirections set up is very important tricks that every SEO freelancers must know. Usually, in two cases, this 301 needs practical implementation.

First, if the website owner wants to move his/her entire site from old domain to a new domain. In such case, the whole website redirection needs to be done through editing the old website’s htaccess file. To implement such 301 Redirections through editing htaccess file need to update with below codes;

Options +FollowSymlinks
RewriteEngine on
rewritecond %{http_host} ^domain.com [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]

You need to replace domain.com and www.newdomain.com with your actual domain name.

The second case for 301 Redirection is when you optimize any particular page or post URL with target keywords that leave the old URL with 404 error. So, after updating any particular URL, you must have to put 301 Redirection command on the Old URL so that if anyone clicks on it, s/he will land on the current URL means the right page.

This 301 Redirection command is also widely used for dealing with the 404 errors present on the site.

9. Structure Data

This is not a must thing, but from SEO perspective, adding structured data to the site surely help its organic search ranking. Website with well-structured data will stand out among many other fierce competitors.

Here is an image which is the perfect example of a website that grabs all three top positions in the first page of Google SERP just because of its well-structured data.Sample website with Well Structured data - Freelancers HUB

Well-structured data actually creates the rich snippets for a web page and highlight its specialty. It could be a product image, price or reviews, author bio, books, articles or blog posts, video, image or anything.

Instance, the example website marked in the image of the search result for a very competitive two-word keyword i.e. Fruit Cake The website not only grab the top two positions on the search result but also capture a good placement in the Google know-how box on the top.

So if you won’t implement the rich snippet or create structured data for your website pages or posts, then it will not hamper your website SEO performance. But, of course, you’ll surely lose some good opportunity to make the site more SEO friendly.

10. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP Version in search results - Freelancers HUBWith the growing usage of smart mobile phone worldwide, searches on the mobile phone already surpass the search volume than the desktop. To provide the better search experience to its mobile users, Google also declares their Mobile-First Indexing plan on Google Webmaster blog on November 04, 2016.

Although it’s not officially confirmed by Google whether the Mobiel First Indexing already started or not! but, you may already notice seeing different results on your mobile phone than the search results on the desktop.

What’s the exact difference between Mobile Friendly website and AMP version?

You may get confused with the mobile friendliness and AMP version of a website. Let me put some light on it.

Mobile friendly website means the site’s architecture can automatically adjust within the mobile screen. On the other hand, Accelerated Mobile Page is a completely different version of the same website. AMP is something very similar to Facebook Instant Article product.

The main feature of AMP version is, it makes the web page completely for mobile friendly. The site content will load instantly on the mobile screens. No doubt, it’ll give much better user experience if the page contains only text contents. But, it’ll really create problems if you use some critical codes to design the website. Considering this, you may not able to implement AMP version on all types of sites.

Wrapping up

No matter whether you are preparing your own website or your client’s website for digital marketing, you must go through these basic 10 things to check to ensure whether the site is properly optimized or not. However, if you use any paid version of SEO tools like Semrush or SERanking, site audit report will surely detect on-site problems related to above. And, if you don’t have access to any paid tool, knowledge on proper on-page optimization will help you to conduct a thorough website technical audit manually by focusing on the above points.

Personally, I use to consider few more things in on page optimization. Instance creating sitemap.xml file, robots.txt files, setting up Google and Bing Webmaster Tools account for the website, setting up Google Analytic account and interconnect between GWT and GA accounts etc. I will discuss all these in my upcoming posts, so stick with me and learn SEO as like I did by my own.

Shovon Joarder

Shovon Joarder has been working as Freelance Digital Marketing Manager for over three years and manage a team of efficient internet marketing professionals on Upwork Freelancers HUB agency. He provides customized search marketing services to business website owners to get ranking in Google organic search.

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