What Is On Page SEO for Digital Marketing

Hello again! I have been very busy the last six plus months optimizing the SEO strategy of many ecommerce websites. I feel I have acquired so much valuable experience. I have also been working as search engine evaluator so I got to read a bunch of technical manuals about search engines which helped me understand so much more about how powerful algorithms like the one of Google and Bing work.

Currently I’m on vacation so I have a little time to write another post. This one is all about On Page SEO strategies you must use in order to succeed online. This information works for ecommerce websites in any industry, niche blogs or microsites. I hope you find value. Also I’m wishing you Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and I’m hoping 2021 will be a better year where we will once again be free to travel the world and meet our wonderful friends and family members openly. 

What is On Page SEO

Onpage optimization (On-page SEO) is a set of strategies and measures a website owner has full control over in order to impact the search rankings of a given page on the internet.

Here are some of the best On-page SEO actions you can take. These are ranked in order of importance:

1)Target keyword should be in domain/page URL (also known as slug)

2)Keyword in Title

3)Keyword in H tags

4)Keyword in description/meta description

5)Keyword in content

Note: if you follow these tips you are more likely to be able to match the query the visitor is searching for with the search intent Google has set of the keyword. You should always search the query in Google and see what is ranking on top and emulate that and make it better if the topic you want to write about is the same one that comes up for the query.
 
Tip: For example, if you search for the word “bat” on Google it may show you, bat – the animal. But there is also the bat people use to play baseball. In this instance Google gives more importance to the word when is used to describe the animal, so that is the user intent it has for that keyword. Since we live in a dynamic world where many events are happening user intent for a keyword may change so due to covid-19, bat the animal, became more relevant in the search.
 
Those above are the five most important you should focus your time on. If you have more time you can also implement more strategies like adding SEO optimized text to image alt tags which can help the images rank and be found within Google images. I will include more strategies and extra resources at the end of this post.
 
Also if you are wondering how to check on page SEO you should start with the five items stated above and then there is some more tips at the end of the post. A premium tool I use which can help you check your on page SEO is semrush and if you have the budget for it Oribi can be great tool for website data analytics.
 
Now let me tell you why the five on-page SEO techniques above are so important.
 

Why on Page SEO is Important

Recently I have been very busy at 3dcart working in the marketing/SEO department. The agency continues to grow rapidly so I’m getting access to more websites, data and I’m also able to test a lot of what I have learned in the last three years.

For those wondering 3dcart has become Shift4Shop. Now we have a lot more resources we can use internally to keep on testing SEO strategies and also to help our customer who purchase hosting packages or marketing services succeed in the world of ecommerce!
 
I have seen first hand that the more authoritative and generic websites with thousands of pages of content usually rank better and are more competitive for high difficulty keywords that have the most traffic and earning potential.
 
However, I have also seen that Google has made a shift and they are giving an opportunity to smaller niche sites to rank for their target keyword especially if the keyword is targeted directly within the domain. In fact the other day I was analyzing a website of the competitor to one of our clients within the industry of electronic appliances.
 
This competitor to our customer clearly did not have great SEO. The backlinks to the website had anchor text which were mostly vulgar keywords of sexual nature. Some of the text of those links also mocked Larry Page, co founder of Google and one of the biggest computer scientist that greatly influenced the Google algorithm. To me it was clear this website had been attacked with negative SEO in order to lower its rankings.
 

I choose not to include pictures or more data to keep the privacy of the customer and his competitor undisturbed. The fact is if the competitor would take some time to disavow all of the spam links pointing to the website with vulgar, overly sexual keywords, he could even get more #1 page positions making my work even harder to overtake him in the ranks!

The fact is they did not have very many referring domains that were not from spammy sites. And yet, they were ranking very strongly in position #1 and #2 of Google for all the electronic appliances of the brand name they had included in their domain name.

This is strong evidence that if you include your target keyword in the domain when you first create your website you are already a lot more likely to succeed even if the other parts of your SEO are not the best. Read that again because is worth a fortune!

Based on all the data I have seen and the websites I have analyzed the last year, it appears to me  strongly that Google is starting to give more of an advantage to very niche sites and microsites that focus around a very specific topic or product line.

 
Another example I found which clearly showcases the power of including the keyword in the domain name is the SEO agency miamiseobitch.com. They used the same astra theme and template I’m using and they did not had many backlinks when I first found the website.
 
However, they still ranked for powerful and competitive keywords like “miami seo”. At the time they were #1 in the rankings. The main reason this agency ranked so well for local keywords even though their link profile or content was not all that great is because they included the target keyword in this case “miami” directly in the domain name.
 
Currently when I search “miami seo” I see they have moved to spot number 4 under webris, suggesting that off page factors like building backlinks and citations are still very important but is still very interesting how this website ranked so well despite not even being secure with SSL encryption!
miami seo
 
I did the same search on an incognito window and miamiseobitch popped at #3. Since browsers can store cookies and track your browsing activity, Google and the other search engines could use this to rearrange the results shown to you. 
 
Often you will see the websites you visited previously come on top – this may include your business website or ecommerce store. Incognito window (Chrome) or private window (Firefox) are supposed to give you results where no tracking or cookies are taken into consideration so this is a more accurate representation of the real results for most people out there in your shared geographic location. For example, results in China won’t be the same as in USA. You can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to change geographic locations and see results for queries in other places of the world.
 
Note: If you need help with offpage SEO like getting guest blogs promoting your products and services on authoritative websites or building backlinks I can recommend you to call 3dcart sales department and ask about these services. 3dcart has put together a great outreach team that can build great links that produce results and now that shift4 became the parent company we have even more resources to help customers succeed in the world of ecommerce.
 
If you did not include the target keyword directly in the domain (most powerful), adding it to the URL path is still very powerful for many reasons. One of the greatest reasons is because when another domain links to your page the anchor text will already include the important descriptive keywords you want to target and this activity or signals will help the Google algorithm boost the ranking for that page for that very keyword.
 
For example this blog has the following URL path: www.reyrrodriguez.com/what-is-on-page-seo/
 
Notice how I included “what-is-on-page-seo”. This would be the root query I’m targeting. 
 
But there is an even more important secret I have come to learn since I also work as search engine evaluator for the big platforms like Google and Bing. It turns out human beings like myself can look at the top 10 results for a specific query and give opinions as to which page should rank better based on the content of the page. The videos included and how good the information is overall to satisfy the keyword or user query.
 
A little secret is that pages for which the URL matches the query we are reviewing, more often end up ranking better if the content is high quality. And this, if you think about it makes sense, because when regular search engine users browse for a query when they read through the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) it will be that page for which the URL echoes the query they just made that will more likely stand out to them and which they will click on unless they click straight to the first answer at the top which is also a common practice which has also changed, because when Google places ads on top, people tend to click on the first free organic listing and ignore the paid ads most times.
 
Tip: The same strategy described about echoing in the search results what the user just typed in Google works great for paid search, especially for queries where the user has buyer intent and they are looking for a brand or company to purchase from.
 
However, properly optimizing the URL for the target keyword can give Google the signals it needs in order to push the rankings based on the activity of those who read the SERP’s and click on the results they most likely need. So eventually the page which is best optimized will become number one and get most of the traffic for the query in question.
 
In regards to what I stated above this also relates to #2 in the list because when the target keyword or query is included in the title this text shows in blue in bigger letters which makes is easier for the visitor reading the SERP’s to identify the query they are looking for and to click on that entry.
 
As of recently you may have realized that sometimes when you click on a Google result it will bring you to a highlighted portion of the text which often times has the answer to the question or query you are looking for.
 
The section of the text which is highlighted often times is identified and verified by search engine evaluators but Google is also using artificial intelligence for this purpose. By properly using H tags, you are able to label each section of an article with larger font. Essentially telling what each section is about. Ahrefs made an study which shows exact match keywords used on H tags, like the title does help increase rankings.
 
Talking of Title tags here is a good informative and very descriptive video Sam Oh from ahrefs made which can help you understand some of what I have written about in this post.

So the search engines can mine this information to know what each section of the post is about and more importantly it can help search engine evaluators more quickly determine what section of a post should be highlighted for a particular query. It is then that this answer can appear directly within the Google SERPs or as rich snippets that come up at the very top of the search and can result in most of the traffic for the given target query.

Here is a good video about rich snippets:

The target keyword should always be in the meta description of the post as this is text which also appears within the Search Engine Result Pages. It’s also very important to craft meta descriptions which entice the visitor to click on that search result and go to your page.

At 3dcart while working on numerous websites that had boring, improperly optimized meta descriptions I am able to track larger click through rates coming from organic search and among the main reasons for this is because the meta descriptions are properly optimized by experienced SEO copywriters. Of course we also do the other optimizations I mentioned as well so that when everything is combined together the results stack on one another and that’s when the customer can see much better results than previously. Many business owners don’t optimize their websites because they just don’t have the time!

I find it important to share this information because the higher the customers rank the more budget they can invest for marketing efforts like SEO. Also, the more clients that rank well within a platform, the more authority such platform commands and the bigger it will become!

The last tip I listed at number 5 is keyword in content. While it has become less important to include the target keyword within the text for 2-3% of the text to boost the keyword density (because it leads to over optimization/spamming/keyword stuffing), I’m still finding is very important to include LSI keywords and to include many words which are related to the topic in question. 

My friend Kevin Indig who recently became the Director of SEO at shopify did an analysis of hundreds of websites and how they had been impacted by the recent Google Core Algorithm update of December 2020. He found the website that lost the most traffic is Wikipedia, resulting in -2.79% or roughly 100 million desktop hits lost. Wikipedia is a prime example of the advantage to writing keyword dense content with a lot of industry specific and topic related words because many of the pages in Wikipedia are really in depth about the subject or interest being written about. 

Seeing they only loss but a little fraction of the traffic is fair to say that Google will continue to reward bloggers and content creators who dive deep on the topics they have chosen to write or talk about. I think since Google is also highlighting the most important information that is relevant to a search result, long form content is still the best approach to rank and to achieve organic traffic in the case of bloggers. Video is still the channel that continues to growth the fastest. 

 

More Techniques to Improve On Page SEO

Optimize alt tags for the images on your website. See this post by Yoast SEO about optimizing image alt tags

Here is also a tweet from John Muller, the senior webmaster trends analyst at Google expressing valuable thoughts about why optimizing alt text on images embedded on a website is important. But I would still tell you to do this only if you have time as based on what I have tested and researched it does not produce a lot more benefit than sticking to the core 5 strategies in the article!  

John Muller Thoughts about image alt text

Use the Google feature “People also ask” in order to find more related topics or relevant questions to answer in your post. By answering the questions you can more easily match the search intent Google has for the query in question and you can also make the page content more in depth with more related words which will help it rank better.

Here is a good video about people also ask google:

When searching for the target query or keyword in Google the autosuggest feature can surface ideas as to other important related searches people are making which you can also include in your content. This strategy was popularized by income school and it has proven very effective because searches that make the autosuggest feature of Google often times have a lot of volume and they can also be long tailed keyword combinations for which there is very little competition, meaning is much easier to rank for the term!

Structured data/schema markup can also greatly help on page SEO especially for ecommerce stores. I’m working on a daily basis with ecommerce stores in all sorts of niches and verticals who signed with 3dcart and one of the most powerful features without a doubt is the ability to easily add structured data to the pages without having to code. 

If you have ever seen search results containing start ratings and including product price information and other important data this is done with structured data. Among the reasons it helps is because the format of structured data on a Google Search Results listing makes the page in question appear more trustable. Also, often times these pages take more space within the search results too, signaling at a conscious or unconscious level to the visitor the page is more important and they should click on it.

One other way to greatly improve On-Page SEO is by using the hemingway editor which will give you a readability score for the information you write about. Is best if you write for 5th and 6th grade level English as your audience will more easily understand and be able to digest the information. I’m guilty of not using this tool but I’m also writing to help business owners and webmasters who I believe can understand this information about SEO and digital marketing.

Those are all my tips for On Page SEO. If you own your website you have full control to make these optimizations. When properly utilized, you can use this information as a great foundation to get your web pages ranked for important keywords and search results!

I will share more important tips later as I find more time. If you find this information useful this other blog may prove useful as well. Be well.

-Rey

 

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