5 Actionable SEO Hacks to Improve On-Page Optimization
The internet is a noisy place and ensuring your voice is heard above the din can make or break a website. Using savvy SEO hacks to boost your on-page search engine optimization is a great way to ensure your content is living up to its potential.
But where to begin?
Here are five hacks you can implement right now to get you started on the path to SEO success.
1. Pay Attention to your Meta Tags
Page meta tags are a prominent feature on any SEO hacks list worth its salt, and for good reason. They’re the only part of your page content designed to talk directly to search engines. While achieving high search rankings is predominantly about content relevance and user satisfaction, targeted meta tags can help get users to your page in the first place.
While achieving high search rankings is predominantly about content relevance and user satisfaction, targeted meta tags can help get users to your page in the first place.
So what are meta tags?
Meta tags appear in the head of your HTML script. They’re not displayed by the browser but are used by search engines to rank and display your page. The content you see on a Google search results page is the contents of that page’s meta tags.
The two main meta tags you should focus on are the title and description tags.
The Title Tag
The title tag outlines what the content of your page is about. Often it’s the same as the H1 tag (more on that in a bit) but not always. Google ranks pages for specific queries by looking at the title tag and comparing it to the rest of the page.
Experts recommend you include your keyword as close to the beginning of your title tag as possible, though — as always — stay wary of keyword stuffing.
The Description Tag
While the description tag doesn’t play a direct role in search rankings, it’s key in getting users to click through to your content.
A good description clearly outlines what the user can expect to find on the page, and encourages click throughs with targeted calls to action.
A Note on the Keyword Tag
Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in search ranking, so do yourself and your SEO a favor and leave it out.
2. Make Sure Your H1 Tag Pulls its Weight
The H1 tag is the first of six HTML header tags and is considered the most important. It’s used to semantically structure your page content, ensuring ease of understanding for both people and search engines.
H1 tags have long been a staple in savvy SEO strategies- and for good reason. A targeted H1 will give search algorithms a clear summary of your page’s content, and convince readers that your content is what they’re looking for.
But what makes a good H1?
Location Location Location!
The rule used to be that you could only have one H1 tag per page, but the advent of HTML5 changed the game. H1 tags can now be used as many times as needed within the page structure, so long as they’re within their own self-contained semantic elements, such as an <article> element or <aside>.
What does this mean for your SEO?
While we have no official word on HTML5 elements’ direct effect on SEO rankings, ensuring your main H1 tag — such as the title of your blog article — is within an <article> or <main> tag is both best practice, and the most semantic use of the language. Given the way search engines have preferred semantic code in the past, it’s a solid bet the correct use of HTML5 tags now will pay off in the future.
Not Too Short, But Not Too Long
H1 length isn’t as important as it used to be, but considering length when writing your H1 is still a solid tool in your SEO hacks arsenal.
A good H1 tag is between 20-70 characters; long enough not to waste valuable space, but short enough that you’re not diluting your meaning.
An Answer to the User’s Intent
Every piece of content you write should be answering the question: what does the user want by clicking my article? What’s their intent?
By understanding your user’s intent behind searching for a specific keyword or words, you can craft your H1 to speak directly to that intent. In effect, you’re answering the question they asked the search engine in the first place.
3. Optimize Your Images
Image optimization not only helps drive traffic from image search queries, it also increases user engagement.
But how do you go about optimizing your images?
Include Keywords in the Title and Alt Text
Including relevant image attributes isn’t just good accessibility, it can also help your SEO. Ensuring you include your keywords in the title and the alt text of your images aids in ranking by making your post more targeted and focused.
Compress and Cache Your Images
Images can slow the load time of your site considerably and a slow page load will affect your Google search ranking. Ensuring your images are compressed and making use of caching tools are key SEO hacks.
4. Make your Site Responsive
Studies show that internet users are overwhelmingly multi-platform users, meaning we switch between mobile, desktop, and tablet depending on our tasks or needs. Google took notice of the industry statistics in 2015 and now penalizes sites for not being mobile-friendly.
Ensuring your page’s content is user-friendly at any resolution is an absolute priority. Actioning a responsive website design now won’t just improve your user’s experience of your content, it’ll improve your on-page SEO in leaps and bounds.
5. Post Long Content
Studies show that blog posts and articles over 1000 words rank higher in Google searches with the average Google first page result containing 1,890 words.
It stands to reason: Longer, more engaging content increases a page’s dwell time, which in turn increases your page’s reputation with google. Longer content also allows more seamless inclusion of keywords, LSI keywords, and internal and external links.
So remember: content is key. One of the best SEO hacks to be had is writing content that will keep your readers on the page for longer.
A Few of Many SEO Hacks
SEO is a varied and fast changing science, and these are just a few on-page specific hacks to get you started.
If you’re really keen on taking the SEO world by storm, why not take the next step and audit your site with an SEO tool? It’s free, and your search engine rank will love you for it.