These days, on-page SEO can be a challenge, but there are some steps you can take to effectively optimize your website for peak performance.
This guide will cover all of the ways to superpower your website using on-page SEO in 2020 to stay ahead of the competition and attract people actively looking for what you have to offer.
What Exactly Is On-Page SEO and Why Is It So Important?
On-page SEO entails optimizing the individual pages on your website to perform well in search engines, while on-site SEO will optimize the site collectively. For example, one aspect of on-page optimization may involve changing a single page’s URL, while on-site optimization could entail installing an SSL certificate, or Https, to keep your site secure.
Together, both on-page and on-site SEO can maximize your website’s visibility and help you attract more visitors.
Without on-page SEO practices in play, Google and other search engines may not understand what your pages are about and rank them highly to get people to see them. On-page optimization can also allow for a better user experience across your website, improving navigability.
Many aspects will continue to go into on-page optimization in 2020, including keyword research, copywriting, conversions, media, linking, and website design. All of these can help you rank higher in search results and hold visitors’ attention.
How to Perform On-Page SEO in 2020
If you want to effectively optimize your website and increase visibility, there are certain steps you can take that will help boost both rankings and usability.
Make Sure Your Website Is Crawlable and Indexable
One of the first steps to optimizing your website via on-page optimization is taking note of all currently indexed and crawlable pages. Tools such as Screaming Frog and others are either free or affordable and can let you know which pages are visible to search engines.
Three key components of your page to extract from a site crawl will include your URLs, page titles, and meta descriptions. Optimizing these will be crucial to building on-page SEO.
Perform an SEO Audit and Define Your Site Architecture
Another way to find out what needs to be optimized on your webpages is through an SEO audit.
Using tools like SEMRush, you can find out what’s working on your webpages and what could benefit from improvement, including any errors or instances of missing meta descriptions.
Fix All URLs, Titles, and Descriptions
Once you have gathered a list of all of your webpages’ assets, you can then begin to make fixes, updating URLs, titles, and meta descriptions with relevant keyword phrases and calls to action.
Keep in mind that all page titles that appear in search engines will need to be around 55-60 characters at a maximum, as Google will cut them off if they’re too long.
Meanwhile, your meta descriptions should be somewhere between 155 to 160 characters. Note that these won’t affect rankings, unlike your titles, so try to avoid keyword stuffing in your descriptions and instead use them to entice people to visit your website. Discuss what’s on the page in a short sentence or two and include a call to action such as “learn more here” or “request a quote today!”
While Google has been known to change pixel width limits for titles and descriptions, these long-standing maximums will likely still be the standards for on-page SEO in 2020.
Figure Out Who Your Audience Is
If you want the right people to find you, it’s important to know your audience well. Each page may even target a different audience, depending on the variety of products or services offered and the different steps of the buying process.
You may want to target a single persona or several, whether you’re targeting parents or teens, men or women, or other demographics.
Once you have determined who you want to target, it’s time to optimize your pages accordingly. You should always optimize pages for your audience rather than search engines, as platforms such as Google will reward you if your webpages are user-friendly.
Update Page Titles
With your list of page titles and a good understanding of what each page is about along with your target audience, you can update titles that could benefit from improved optimization.
Page titles should include relevant search-friendly keywords while also giving users a good idea of what’s on the page. If there’s ample space in the title, you could also include your company name after the keywords, separating it using a pipe, as such: “[Keyword Phrase] | [Company Name]”
It may seem like a simple task to write page titles, but they can prove invaluable to your SEO campaigns.
Update Meta Descriptions
In addition to your titles, you should update your meta descriptions, as your audience will see these directly beneath the title in search results. Keep it succinct, clear, and persuasive, but remember that this description will not have a bearing on ranking. Instead, it can supplement your SEO by encouraging users to click through to your page.
Track All Keywords and Topic Relevance
In many cases, the main keywords you’ll use for your pages will be the specific topic the pages cover. Thus, defining a single topic for each page should be your initial step before keyword research.
Make sure you have pages that go into detail regarding each topic to inform viewers while enriching your content with naturally incorporated, relevant keyword phrases throughout.
Other pages may contain shorter content, in which case you should ensure that a specific keyword or set of them is incorporated and tracked.
Perform a Content Audit and Make Appropriate Changes
All of your content should be consistently helpful, useful, comprehensive, and consumable for your audience.
One of the best ways to determine whether your content is helping or hindering your marketing efforts is to conduct a content audit. This should entail making sure your content is written for people, not search engines, with content that effectively guides potential customers along through the buyer’s journey to a sale.
Content should also be free of any grammatical errors and clunky text that’s difficult to read. However, long-form content that goes into great detail is favored and still will be for on-page optimization in 2020. This means that if you want a better chance of ranking in today’s SEO environment, you’re better off writing pages exceeding 1,000 words featuring rich, fresh content. Apart from helping with rankings, long-form content can also answer any and all questions your audience might have, generating more marketing- and sales-qualified leads in the process.
You should also split up your content to make it easier to digest, with headings, subheadings, and even occasional bullet points to help break things up.
People don’t want to face a solid wall of text, preferring a layout that’s easier on the eyes while allowing them to efficiently navigate the page and find the information they need.
Don’t Forget About Visual Content
Text isn’t all that matters when it comes to content and SEO. In fact, many users who don’t have the time or patience to read through lengthy blogs or pages may prefer more visual content such as infographics, images, and videos to provide them with pertinent information.
In many cases, you can supplement written content with visual content to create a page that’s truly optimized for the ideal user experience. Videos and other embedded content can help improve your webpage’s visual appeal and further break up your text.
Implement an Interlinking Strategy
You can make your website easier to navigate while boosting other pages’ rankings by practicing interlinking on your pages.
Interlinking will entail connecting a page to others by using hyperlinks and relevant anchor text to lead users to various parts of your website for more information. This will help you out SEO-wise by associating these linked pages with high-quality content and the relevant keyword appearing in your anchor text.
Regularly Measure Your Pages’ SEO Performance
You won’t know how well your pages are performing if you don’t look at the data behind them. This is why you should always measure performance using Google Analytics and other platforms that can give you a full understanding of how your website is doing.
Take a look at all metrics such as visitors, conversions, and bounce rate to determine which pages are getting the results you want and which ones you’ll want to modify.
Doing so will help you make better decisions around content optimization and figure out which techniques are worth continuing or trying.
Superpower Your On-Page SEO in 2020
Taking all of these steps can help you get the most from your on-page optimization in 2020 as the year progresses. Although many changes in the digital marketing world are likely to occur throughout the year and into the future, these common practices are still tried and true and will likely remain relevant as we enter the next decade of SEO. If you need help or have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.