We discussed in our previous blog, “A Shopify merchants introduction to SEO and SEO Tools”, on-page, off-page SEO and technical SEO and how they play significant roles in boosting a website's visibility and performance. While off-page SEO and other marketing tactics are important, on-page SEO is literally the first and arguably most important step in improving search engine visibility and attracting targeted organic traffic. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key aspects of on-page SEO and best practices to implement. Whether you're a seasoned SEO professional or a beginner looking to enhance your website's online presence, this guide will provide valuable insights to improve your on-page SEO efforts.
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing parts of your webpages so they rank higher on search engines and get more search engine traffic. This includes updating on-page content, title tags, internal links, and more.
Search engines like Google look at keywords and other on-page SEO cues to check whether a page matches a user’s search intent. And if the search engine decides the page will be useful to the user, it will display it higher in search results. On-page SEO gives you the following benefits:
• Improved Search Engine Visibility:
When the on-page SEO elements of a website are properly optimized, the site becomes more visible to search engines. This could mean an improved chance of appearing on the first page of search engine results, leading to higher traffic.
• Higher Organic Traffic:
Search engines consider factors such as keyword relevance, content quality, user experience, and technical optimization when determining rankings. When your webpages are optimized for on-page SEO, they have a better chance of ranking higher in SERPs. This means a higher quantity of users who are actively searching for your content or services will visit your site.
• Improved User Experience:
Many on-page SEO techniques, such as improving page load speed, optimizing images, or creating mobile-friendly designs, result in a better user experience. This can make users more likely to stay on your site, return in the future, and share your content.
2) What are the essential tasks involved in on-page SEO, and what actions can you take to implement them effectively?
Here's a breakdown of the most important key tasks or key factors to keep in mind for a successful on-page SEO.
a) Keyword Research Analysis:
Keyword research involves identifying the words and phrases that your target audience is using to search for information, products, or services relevant to your business. The goal isn’t to increase traffic but to increase the right kind of traffic.
i. Generating Keyword Ideas:
Consider your target audience, industry trends, and the products or services you offer. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to generate keyword ideas based on your initial topics. These tools provide keyword suggestions, search volume data, and competition insights to help you refine your keyword list.
ii. Analyzing Keyword Metrics:
Once you have a list of potential keywords, it's crucial to analyze various metrics to determine their value and competitiveness. Pay attention to the following metrics:
- Search Volume:
This metric indicates how many times a keyword is searched for in a given period. Focus on keywords with a decent search volume to ensure there is enough search demand.
Evaluate the level of competition for each keyword. Higher competition may make it more challenging to rank, especially for new or less authoritative websites. Strike a balance between competitive and less competitive keywords to optimize your chances of ranking.
Ensure that the keywords you select are highly relevant to your content and target audience. Relevance helps search engines understand the purpose and context of your webpages.
- Long-Tail Keywords:
Long-tail keywords are more specific and have lower search volume but can drive highly targeted traffic. Incorporate long-tail keywords that align with your content and address specific user queries.
iii. Prioritizing Keywords:
Based on the metrics and relevance, prioritize your keyword list. Focus on keywords that have a reasonable search volume, manageable competition, and strong relevance to your content and target audience. Consider the intent behind each keyword and how it aligns with your business goals.
iv. Creating Keyword-Focused Content:
Once you have a finalized list of keywords, strategically incorporate them into your content. Avoid keyword stuffing and focus on creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that naturally incorporates your target keywords. Use keywords in the areas like Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, Headings and Subheadings, URL Structure, and Content Body (including intro, body paragraphs, and conclusion).
b) Title Tags:
Title tags play a crucial role in on-page SEO as they provide search engines and users with a concise and accurate description of your webpage's content. Title tags are HTML elements that define the title of a webpage. They are displayed as clickable headlines in search engine results and act as a first impression for users. A compelling title tag can attract users' attention and entice them to click on your webpage in search results. By creating compelling and relevant title tags, you can increase click-through rates and drive targeted organic traffic to your website. Guidelines for Creating Compelling Title Tags:
- Keyword Placement:
Include your target keyword or key phrase in the title tag to signal the relevance of your webpage to search engines. Place the keyword closer to the beginning of the title tag for better visibility.
- Length and Relevance:
Keep your title tags concise, typically between 50-60 characters, to ensure they are fully displayed in search results. Make sure the title tag accurately reflects the content of your webpage and matches user intent.
- Compelling and Click-Worthy:
Craft title tags that capture users' attention and encourage them to click on your webpage. Use persuasive language, power words, and calls to action to make your title tags more compelling.
- Avoid Keyword Stuffing:
While it's important to include relevant keywords, avoid keyword stuffing or over-optimization. Ensure that your title tags read naturally and provide meaningful information to users.
- Tools for Title Tag Optimization:
SEO tools like Yoast SEO, Moz, or Semrush to analyze your title tags and receive suggestions for optimization. These tools can provide insights into keyword usage, length, and overall optimization to help you create compelling title tags.
c) Relevant Meta Descriptions:
Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide a brief summary or snippet of a webpage's content. To create effective and relevant meta descriptions, consider the following tips:
i. Encouraging User Clicks:
A well-written and compelling meta description can entice users to click on your webpage in search results. By providing a concise and accurate summary of your content, you increase the chances of attracting interested users and driving traffic to your website.
ii. Concise and Compelling:
Keep meta descriptions within the recommended length of 150-160 characters to ensure they are fully displayed in search results. Craft concise and compelling descriptions that succinctly summarize the content and entice users to click.
iii. Include Target Keywords:
Incorporate relevant keywords in your meta descriptions, especially those that align with user search queries. This helps search engines understand the relevance of your webpage and can improve the visibility of your content in search results. Use SEO tools like Semrush, Afrehs or Moz to analyze your meta descriptions and receive suggestions for optimization.
d) URL Structure:
The structure of your website's URLs plays a significant role in on-page SEO. A well-optimized URL structure not only helps search engines understand the organization of your website but also improves user experience and click-through rates. To create a proper URL structure that optimizes your on-page SEO, consider the following:
i. User-Friendly Navigation:
A clear and intuitive URL structure makes it easier for users to navigate your website. Users can understand the hierarchy of your site and easily determine where they are within the site structure.
ii. Use Descriptive URLs:
Make your URLs descriptive and reflective of the content on the webpage. Avoid using generic or meaningless URLs, such as "www.example.com/page1" or "www.example.com/product123." Instead, use URLs that accurately describe the topic or purpose of the webpage, like "www.example.com/seo-guide" or "www.example.com/product-name.
iii. Include Relevant Keywords:
Incorporate relevant keywords in your URLs, especially in the slug (the part of the URL that comes after the domain name). Choose keywords that accurately represent the content and are likely to be searched by users. For example, "www.example.com/seo-guide" includes the keyword "SEO guide."
iv. Use Hyphens to Separate Words:
When separating words in a URL, use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) or spaces. Hyphens are more search engine-friendly and help improve readability. For example, use "www.example.com/seo-guide" instead of "www.example.com/seo_guide" or "www.example.com/seo%20guide."
v. Avoid Dynamic Parameters:
Minimize the use of dynamic parameters in your URLs. Dynamic parameters, such as question marks (?) and equal signs (=), are often associated with dynamically generated content and can make URLs appear cluttered and less user-friendly. Instead, use static URLs that are more descriptive and readable.
vi. Consider URL Redirects:
When making changes to your URL structure, implement 301 redirects to redirect old URLs to new ones.
e) Heading Tags :
Heading tags, also known as HTML heading elements (H1-H6), are essential for structuring and organizing the content on your webpages. To optimize your heading tags for on-page SEO, consider the following:
i. Use H1 Tag for Main Heading:
Each webpage should have only one H1 tag, which represents the main heading or the primary topic of the page. The H1 tag should provide a clear and concise summary of the content on the page, incorporating important keywords whenever possible.
ii. Utilize Subheadings with H2-H6 Tags:
Use H2-H6 tags for subheadings to organize your content into sections and subsections. H2 tags are typically used for major sections, while H3-H6 tags can be used for subtopics within those sections. Maintain a logical hierarchy and avoid skipping heading levels (e.g., using H4 before H3).
iii. Maintain Readability:
Ensure that your heading tags are easily readable and scannable. Use proper capitalization (title case or sentence case) and maintain a consistent font size and style for each heading level. Headings should stand out and be visually distinct from the main content.
f) Optimized Site Structure:
A well-optimized site structure is not only beneficial for user experience but also plays a crucial role in on-page SEO. Let’s read a few actionable tips to help you achieve an effective site structure.
i. Search Engine Crawling and Indexing:
A clear and logical site structure helps search engine crawlers discover and index your webpages more effectively. When your pages are organized in a hierarchical manner, search engines can understand the relationships between different pages, ensuring that all your valuable content is crawled and indexed.
ii. Establish a Clear Hierarchy:
Create a clear and logical hierarchy for your website. Start with a homepage that provides an overview of your content, followed by main categories or sections. Subdivide these categories into more specific subcategories, if necessary. This hierarchical structure helps search engines understand the organization of your content.
iii. Implement Breadcrumb Navigation:
Breadcrumb navigation provides users with a clear path back to higher-level pages or categories. Breadcrumbs enhance user navigation, improve the understanding of the site structure, and can help search engines discover deeper pages within your website.
iv. Create a XML Sitemap:
Generate and submit an XML sitemap to search engines. A sitemap provides an organized list of all your webpages, helping search engines discover and crawl your content more efficiently. Make sure your sitemap is regularly updated as you add or remove pages from your website.
v. Check for Broken Links:
Regularly monitor your internal links to ensure they are functioning correctly. Broken links can negatively impact user experience and hinder search engine crawling and indexing.
g) High-Quality and Engaging Content:
High-quality and engaging content is at the core of successful on-page SEO. Lets talk about a few actionable tips to help you achieve content excellence.
i. Conduct Keyword Research:
Perform keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for. Incorporate these keywords naturally throughout your content, including in headings, subheadings, and body text.
ii. Incorporate Visual Content:
Use visual elements such as images, infographics, videos, and charts to enhance the visual appeal and engagement of your content. Visual content breaks up text, makes the content more digestible, and can convey information more effectively.
iii. Provide Valuable and Unique Content:
Aim to provide valuable, informative, and unique content that offers insights, solves problems, or educates your audience. Develop content that stands out from your competitors and offers a fresh perspective or unique value proposition.
iv. Improved Search Engine Visibility:
By creating high-quality content, you increase the likelihood of ranking higher in search engine results, attracting organic traffic, and gaining visibility for your target keywords.
v. Regularly Update and Refresh Content:
Keep your content up to date by periodically reviewing and refreshing it. Update outdated information, add new insights, and improve the overall quality of your content. Search engines value fresh and relevant content, and users appreciate up-to-date information.
h) Fast webpage loading speed:
To ensure optimal on-page SEO performance, it is essential to prioritize and improve your webpage loading speed. To know more about on speed, click here. Let us understand how to improve your website speed and performance for a better on-page SEO:
i. Optimize images:
Your customers engage with your images much more than they do with text. Most merchants know that and spend a lot of time ensuring their images perfectly highlight their product and brand. Unfortunately, oversized images can dramatically slow down your speed. Shopify automatically compresses images and resizes images as well as determines the best file format to serve an image in. All of this helps with your speed.
ii. Implement Lazy Loading:
Lazy loading is a technique that delays the loading of images or other resources until they are needed. By implementing lazy loading, you can prioritize the loading of visible content, allowing the page to render faster initially and improving the overall user experience.
iii. Implement AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages):
AMP is a framework designed to create fast-loading mobile web pages. By implementing AMP, you can streamline your website's code and deliver content quickly to mobile users, improving mobile performance and SEO. Our AMP app creates alternate AMP versions of your regular pages which serve as fast landing pages. Google and search engines serve up your AMP pages and use the speed of your AMP pages to calculate your Core Web Vitals score giving you an SEO bump.
iv. Monitor website speed regularly:
Speed optimization is not a one-time exercise. The first step is monitoring. This can help identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to improve website speed. The importance of speed and performance is why Shopify introduced performance to the merchant dashboard. Tools like GTmetrix and PageSpeed Insights help you get more granular and real-world information and monitor your Core Web Vitals (key metrics that measure your site performance).
i) Optimizing Mobile Friendliness:
With the increasing use of mobile devices for browsing the internet, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial for on-page SEO success. Mobile friendliness refers to how well your website adapts and performs on various mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Here are some tips for optimizing Mobile Friendliness:
i. Optimize Images:
Compress and optimize images for mobile devices to reduce their file size without compromising quality. Use the appropriate image format (JPEG or WebP) and specify image dimensions to ensure that they are displayed correctly on mobile screens. Avoid using images that are too large or take a long time to load.
ii. Mobile-First Indexing:
Search engines, such as Google, prioritize mobile-first indexing, which means they primarily use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it may significantly impact your search engine rankings, resulting in lower organic traffic and visibility.
iii. Local SEO Advantage:
Mobile devices are often used for local searches, such as finding nearby businesses or services. A mobile-friendly website enhances your local SEO efforts, ensuring that your site appears prominently in local search results, map listings, and mobile directories.
In conclusion, on-page SEO is a critical component of a successful SEO strategy for Shopify merchants. By understanding and implementing effective on-page SEO techniques, you can improve search engine visibility, attract targeted traffic, enhance user experience, and ultimately boost conversions and business growth.