Below are eight guidelines on best practices for on-page optimization of SEO. Let's get started now.

1. Title tags

Assuming you’ve already done your keyword analysis, this is one of the most significant SEO elements on the page. If you don’t, here is a step-by-step guide about how to study keywords. 

The title tag shows the search engines what the page is about and that the page on the website is important to the keyword or keyword phrase. Title tags should be special for each page. In search results, search engines can show the keyword phrases if the user searches for those keywords. This improves exposure and click-through speeds.

Let’s assume that you’re trying to rank for “Chicago Web Design,” your title tag could look like this:

Chicago Web Design and Development | Orbit Media

Best practices:

  • Your title tag should be written as follows: Main Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
  • Using a dash between your keyword phrases and a pipe at the end of your brand name.
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Keep title tags at or below 55 characters in length, including gaps. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest title tag rules, check out this article from Dr Pete.

Example of a title tag in a browser


Example of a title tag in search engine results

2. Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions, while not as important in search engine rankings, are highly important for users to click from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to your website. Meta descriptions should use keywords carefully, but most significantly, they should provide a compelling explanation that the customer would like to click on.

Like title tags, SERPs can highlight keywords that the user has asked for, raising the probability of the user browsing the website.

Best practices:

  • Write compelling meta descriptions
  • 150 to 160 characters is the recommended length
  • Avoid duplicate meta descriptions
  • Do not use quotes or any non-alpha characters (Google, cuts them out of the meta description)

Example of meta descriptions in search engine results:

3. Content with targeted keyword phrases

Your material is about meat and potatoes on your website. For all the Google Panda updates, it is incredibly critical that the content is special and significant. If you have several pages of the same content (or if you have content on other people’s websites), you run the risk of being penalized by Google and your search results will suffer. We want to make Google proud, so keep your content exclusive.

Best practices:

  • Build content that is incredibly important to the phrase in the keyword
  • Using the keyword expression 4 times inside your content (but do not misuse it)
  • Have links from other sites on your website that point back to this page (see internal linking)
  • Build unique content for each channel (press releases, blogs, guest blog entries, etc…). When you send a press release, do not copy and paste the press release on your website. If it is picked up in several publications, search engines will see that you have duplicate material and will penalize you for it.

4. Header tags and keyword phrases

The header tag, also known as the H1 tag, is identical to the subject line on your web page. You can use the keyword term only once in the H1 tag. This should be included on a website that you are seeking to use to push specific traffic. You can also use H2 tags (second header) if there are several sections available.

Best Practices:

  • Use your keyword phrase once in your H1 tag
  • Use H1 tags on pages you are trying to drive unique traffic to (SEO page)
  • Use H2 tags if there are multiple sections

Example of an H1 tag being optimized for ‘web design’:

5. Internal page linking with anchor text

Internal link refers to a link on a page that links to another page on the same website. Internal linking is important since it tends to reinforce certain keywords internally for certain websites, encourages visitors and search engine robots) to move around the website, and informs search engines that the page applies to the keyword term.

Best practices:

  • If you link to another page on the same site from within the contents, pick the right anchor text (keywords) to use in the actual link and do so regularly. For eg, “We offer a wide range of web design services” rather than “Click here for our services.”
  • In the example above, you will add “web design services” to your web design services page instead of linking “click here.”

Example of how to use anchor text in your internal links:

The e-commerce text links to our eCommerce page, mobile links to our mobile page, etc. You get the picture!

6. Image ALT tags and filenames

The alt tag is the name of the image. All photos can use the correct alt tags. Alt tags are not only useful for search engines; they are also good for accessibility. When anyone uses a screen reader, they’re going to be able to hear what the picture is.

If necessary, try to include your keyword term in the name of your picture, but don’t overdo it. Photo filenames can be SEO friendly as well. Image search is much more commonly used than anticipated, so the traffic from there is also valuable.

Best practices:

  • Name all of your images in a way that describes what they are
  • Use dashes between the words, rather than underscores (purple-hat.jpg rather than purple_hat.jpg)
  • Do not use non-alpha characters in your image or file names (so no %, &, $, etc…)

7. Make content easy to read

This is not a big factor in search engine results, but it will help your users quickly review the site and locate the keywords they’re looking for. You should use bolding and bullet points to set the words apart in the text, and this further shows the engines what’s relevant on the web. Don’t go crazy, otherwise, you’ll end up cluttering the website and aggravating the user.

Best practices:

  • Paragraphs can be about three sentences long. Very long sentences will lose the interest of consumers.
  • Use bullet points and bolding to split up broad content blocks. Users prefer to check content in pursuit of keywords
  • Don’t overuse bullets and bold

Example of easy to read content:

8. Meta keywords

Meta keywords used to be popular back in the daytime. Nowadays though, Google (or any other search engine for that matter) does not carry any weight of meta keywords, so go ahead and skip this.

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