Search Engine is a source where majority of popular websites receive traffic from. It is a quality traffic that converts well (although there are several other factors) that is why every webmaster tries to optimise its website for search engine to take advantage of this quality traffic. If we talk about SEO, it is an ongoing process and you need to continuously work on several things to achieve top ranking in search results and to keep the ranking intact for targeted keywords.
On-page SEO is the foundation of this methodology without which it is almost impossible to rank your website in search engines and ultimately result in no organic traffic. In today’s article, I’ll discuss some really important On-Page SEO factors that play critical role in ranking a website. As I said On-page SEO is the foundation, you are unlikely to rank your website until you perform On-page SEO, no matter how much efforts and money you put in Off-page SEO.
On-page SEO factors–
a) Page load speed– Make your website load within 2 seconds !
Google has been continuously working hard to give the best user experience and we have noticed several changes recently in the methodology to deliver the same. Among the important factors why Google wants to put a website higher in search results, “Page Load” time is one of the deciding factors. Matt Cutts explained why the page load speed is important.
A research by Aberdeen group reveals some interesting facts about importance of page load time. For every 1 second delay in page load time leads to 7% loss in customer conversion, 11% fewer page views and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. The key here is to offer better experience to the users and that’s what Google does by giving preference to the websites which load faster.
Below infography by KissMatrics indicates eye opening facts about page load speed.
Some more facts and figures about page load speed
- Innovation Insight reveals – 47% customers want page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- According to aykira 75% customers decide to switch to competitor’s websites if it is suffering from delay.
- Fastcompany explained how 1 second could cost amazon $1.2 billion in sales.
- According to the research, 2/3 of online shoppers in the UK and about half of the online shoppers in the US likely to abandon the purchase due to website slowness.
The tool I generally use for checking page load speed is either Google Insight or Pingdom. Results of page load speed test of my blog blogginganart.com at pingdom indicate it loads pretty faster than average load time of 2 seconds however I can still optimise to make it load even faster. These tools list down all the requests which are taking time to load and causing delay in page load. You can go through each of these requests and see if you can optimise and make page to load faster.
b) Mobile friendly website – Make your website mobile friendly OR no ranking for your website !
Today when great chunk of traffic on the websites is coming from smartphone, you can’t afford to not have your website mobile friendly. Google rolled out Mobilegeddon back in April 2015 and said it will boost the ranking of websites which are mobile friendly. Clickz study reveals about 50% of Google & 33% of Bing visitors engagement is being taken place via mobile. The study also reveals facts about online shopping giant amazon where almost half of the visitors are mobile users.
Also Mediative noticed in a study that 72% customers want mobile friendly websites, 67% customers are interested in buying product or use service on mobile-friendly websites. It is also found that 73% customers feel mobile friendly websites load slow and 74% people are likely to leave the website if the page load time goes beyond 5 seconds.
It is a deciding factor for ranking any website and the websites which are mobile friendly are given higher ranking than those which are not. Moreover it makes sense to have a website which opens well on mobile devices since the use of mobile devices for accessing websites is increasing.
The number of smartphone users worldwide according to Statista may surge to 2659.4 million by 2019 and if you don’t consider this massive audience, you are going to commit a big mistake.
India secure #1 position among top 5 countries in terms of net additions, said Techcrunch.
People use different mobile devices with different screen sizes, we can’t afford to ignore this half of total online population and must make website mobile friendly which opens well on all sized devices. eMarketer believes that an average US adult spends 5 hours and 47 minutes with digital media per day !
There are plenty of free tools to check mobile friendliness of your website however I prefer Google’s developer tool because of it being the most accurate one. You can visit Google Developer tool and enter the URL of your website to see if your website is mobile friendly. Below is the result of my blog that says the blog is mobile friendly.
c) Page Title – Use keywords in Page title for better ranking
Page title is one of the most important On-page SEO factor that every webmaster should consider. It displays exactly same title in search results when somebody searches for your website in Google (and other search engines such as bing, baidu etc). According to the guidelines laid down by Google, the title of the page shouldn’t exceed 70 characters as this is the maximum length that get displayed in search results.
To position well in search results, its important to have a catchy title with your main keyword in it so that Google finds your website relevant to the query and shows it in search results. However you shouldn’t write the title just for search engine but to attract the visitors too as I said in my previous article 8 out of 10 people read the headline and only 2 read rest of it.
d) Meta Description – Write relevant, keyword rich meta description
The another important factor that plays critical role in ranking a website is meta description. This is the text that comes below the Title & URL in search results. It lets the search engine know about the relevancy of the page with the search query. Also it helps people understand whether the search results are relevant to their interest or not. A good meta description shouldn’t be written beyond maximum of 160 characters. There are plenty of tools that you can use to write a good meta description and test before publishing article but if you are using wordpress platform just like me, I recommend, “All in One SEO” which is pretty easy to install and use.
All in One SEO plug-in helps you to have an idea how the title and meta description will appear in search results. The plug-in warns if the title goes beyond 60 characters and description crosses limit of 155 characters.
e) Internal page linking – Interlink your posts for better ranking
Inter-linking relevant pages helps Google figure out the important of a particular page by knowing how many other pages are linking to that page. Big G is more likely to better rank the page which has larger number of other pages linking to it. Also its a good idea to link relevant pages in a particular post as there are chances people are interested in reading about relevant topic as well. For example in below figure I’ve included suggested post “How to find topics for your blog post” for the people reading the article “How to start a new blog with WordPress“.
f) Search Engine Friendly URL (Parmalinks) – Use keywords in the URL
This is one of the most important factor of Search Engine Optimisation. It displays right below the Title in search results and helps you rank your website better in search results. Again, Google is more likely to rank the website having main keyword in the URL hence its always a good idea to include your main keyword in the URL. Take a close look at the highlighted text in below image.
In this example, I searched term “Make Money Online” and these are the results. If you have noticed, all the website links that appeared in search result have the word “Make money online” in the URL. The bold green words are those words which match the search query. So make sure the URL of the post is search engine friendly if you want better ranking ! In case you are using wordpress platform, its pretty easy to set search engine friendly URL. Login to wp-admin and head over to Settings >Parmalinks and select “Post Name“.
g) Outbound Links – Link to authority sites
Outbound links too play important role in Search Engine Optimisation. It is found that linking your website to authority websites such as harvard.edu helps Google believe the page is important and as a results the chances of your website being pushed up in search results are higher. Giving references to the findings of case studies published on authority websites is really helpful however it may negatively affect the ranking if you link to bad/ garbage websites.
h) Content length – Write content over 2000 words for good ranking
The length of the articles that you are publishing on your website should be more than 2000 words for better results. It should be unique and have no grammatical mistakes. The article length is important while deciding ranking of your website. According to the study done by serpIO on 20,000 keywords, it was found that the avg length of content published on ranked webpages was between 2000-2500 words.
Hence it becomes utmost important for you to pay attention to the length of article that you are going to publish on your blog. The other benefit of writing lengthy content explaining everything A to Zee fetches you lots of natural links. People like to quote a well written article in their blog posts that results in earning back links for your blog for FREE and ultimately better ranking in search results. Back in 2014 when digital ad spending was $137.5 billion dollar wordwide, earning something (back links) today for free by writing good content is not bad.
Bottom Line –
Just like how important it is to a have solid foundation before you build a multi-story building, it a must to have On-page SEO done before you start off with Off-page SEO. On-page SEO such as Title, Description, Page load speed are critical for getting your website ranked. Also the growing (almost 50% as of now, growing with faster rate) number of mobile device users using their device for digital activities leaves no option for the webmaster other than making their website mobile friendly.
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