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Guide to On-Page and Technical SEO

Written by Aaron Jacobstein on 04.28.21

Succeeding in organic search requires optimizing your website for a combination of factors that search engines consider important, including on-page and technical SEO. 

In this blog, we will cover on-page and technical SEO, and why they're both important to your website’s search engine rankings. 

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to improve a website’s search engine rankings and earn organic traffic. If you look at the source code of a website page, you will find HTML code made up of hundreds of tags such as this:

<h1> Page Header</h1>

On-page SEO practices help you tweak these tags with information–such as important keywords—that will rank high in the searches for your intended audience. Common on-page SEO practices include optimizing meta tags, incorporating important keywords into your content, internal linking, and optimizing URLs.

What is Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to improvements and optimization of behind-the-scenes code on your website. Search engines give preferential treatment in organic results to websites that display certain technical characteristics, such as a secure connection, a responsive/ mobile-friendly design, and a fast-loading time. Technical SEO is the work you do that allows search engine spiders to crawl and index your site more effectively. 

Important Elements of On-Page and Technical SEO

On-Page

Incorporate important & relevant keywords into your content. Instead of stuffing your website with random keywords, be strategic and specific with your keyword choices and the content that supports them. This will help ensure that you get quality traffic, and in turn, quality leads. Wrong keywords will only misguide users, increase your bounce rates, and decrease your overall rankings in SERPs.

Title tag. The title tag, which exists in the head section of each webpage, provides search engine crawlers with context as to what the subject matter is of the respective page. These are what show up in search engine results and is the hyperlink that searchers will click on. They also show up on your browser tab.

H1 tag. There is a bit of confusion between the title and the H1 tag. Both tags serve similar purposes, but the main difference is where they appear. Unlike title tags, the H1 tag is what users will see on your webpage and act as the title for the page. They do not appear in search engine results. While it might be helpful to use different Title and H1 Tags, it is also completely acceptable to have them be the same as long as they convey to search engines the intent of the webpage. 

Optimize the other header tags (H2-H6). Header tags are used to classify headings and subheadings within your content. They make the content easier to read and provide search engines with context into what each subsection about. 

Meta Descriptions. This is a blurb of information that supports the meta title and provides a summary description for the content on the page. It is displayed under the title of the page in SERP. Optimizing meta description correctly can help improve click-through-rates (CTR) and the quality of the search result. 

Use short, but descriptive URLs. Your URLs should offer insight into what the user can expect when they click through to the page.

Internal and external linking. Links within your content to related pages help Google figure out your page’s topic. It also lets Google and other search engines know that your page is a hub for quality information and content. 

Optimize your images and other non-text files. Search engines normally attempt to crawl and index every URL and content piece they encounter, including non-text files such as images and videos. However, since crawlers can't read the content of these files, they can only extract a limited amount of information such as filename and metadata. Before you upload the image, name the file with a phrase that includes the primary keyword for the page. Add alt text tag to the image so crawlers can understand what the image is about. 

Technical SEO

Use SSL. Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, creates an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. You can spot a site using SSL easily by seeing if the URL starts with "https://" rather than "http://." HTTPS websites are given preference over non-secure ones in search results.

Make your website responsive and mobile-friendly. In the age of smartphones, you must use a responsive website design so your website automatically adjusts to any device size allowing your content to display in the best format possible for mobile, tablet or desktop users.

Check your page speed. Your loading speed is an important factor in website ranking. There are a few things you can do to speed up your site, including using a faster hosting service, compressing your image files as small as possible, and minifying your site’s code to remove unnecessary spaces and line breaks. 

Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a project launched by Google that aims to speed up the delivery of content on mobile devices. AMP versions of your web pages load extremely quickly on mobile devices by stripping your content down to just the text, images, and video but disabling any other scripts, comments, and forms. Additionally, Google sometimes highlights AMP pages in prominent carousels in search results. 

Use an XML sitemap. Sitemaps are a list of URLs created by a website to provide search engines with a list of pages to be crawled. One of the easiest ways to ensure Google is indexing all your website pages is to submit your sitemap through Google Search Console. You can also use this tool to submit individual pages as well. This is normally done when new content is published to a site, or recent changes have been made.

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