On-Page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
On-page SEO as expected is the undertaking that focuses on optimising pages on your website to increase your search engine rankings. You may have heard the basic premise within SEO that 'Content is King' and this is very true but there are many aspects with optimising a page that also positively impact on your site's SEO, particularly technical SEO aspects. There are best SEO Practices with on-page optimisation and certainly some SEO pitfalls to be aware.
- Page URL
- Pretty Permalinks and clearly organised URLs should be used but this should be something that is covered by the site structure planning stage of your web build and development. A well-structured website will promote a positive user experience and reap SEO benefits in the long-term. A poorly laid out site can impede a user's journey and experience and leave them frustrated and bouncing off your site.
- Meta Title
- Typically, this should be around 55-57 characters (some sources may say around 70 characters but with MobileGeddon we believe at SEO Consultancy London this reduced the optimal limit). This will need to tackle the keyword of the page whilst simultaneously encouraging a click through.
- Meta Description
- Once again our recommendation would be 150-160 characters in length and should marry up with the users search but can reassure the user the page is what they're looking for.
- H Tag Structure
- This may be an old school SEO requirement but anything that helps a search engine crawler to help read your site is worth doing properly. So do not confuse a page with lots of H1's when really you should only have one. Think of H1 as the heading, h2 as the subheading and then h3/h4's as paragraph headings.
- Content Length
- SEOs will get asked "How many words do I need on this page"; giving an exact word count figure is not the right answer. Some subject areas take more explanations than others but then you have to consider the perspective of a search engine. Deriving context from only a couple of lines of text can be incredibly difficult and does not demonstrate comprehensive and expert knowledge to the website visitor. The Google Panda Algorithm update attacked sites that had duplicate or thin content issues, so be careful to avoid a website riddled with autogenerated content, duplicate content, pages with only a couple lines of text on.
- Search term / Keyword Usage
- At SEO Consultancy London, we do a lot of work actually de-optimising websites. The advice of "Optimise for Robots, Write for Humans" and with the rise of BERT this even more apt. Keyword usage should be around 4% and no more so it's important to ensure you are not over-optimising.
- Internal / External Linking
- Internal and external linking can be an exercise often overlooked but bear in mind this can positively impact on a user's journey and experience so is worth doing.
- Image Optimisation & ALT Tags
- This is another SEO factor businesses can overlook because it can be time consuming but is worthwhile. Also, the term “alt tag” is a commonly used abbreviation of what's actually an alt attribute on an img tag. The alt tag of any image on your site should describe what's on it. Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired will read out this text and therefore make your image accessible. For more info, visit this article on Yoast
- Schema Microdata (Markup)
- Arguably, this is more a technical SEO consideration rather than on-page SEO but it is something you factor into your on-page exercise to ensure the page is optimised for the search engines and can help with featured snippets in the in-page search results page. For more on Schema Microdata Markup, please visit this page on our website.
On-Page SEO & BERT: What is Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing pre-training. Simply put, Google can utilise BERT to better discern the context of words in search queries.
BERT is a pre-trained unsupervised natural language processing model, which can outperform 11 of the most common NLP tasks after fine-tuning, essentially becoming a rocket booster for Natural Language Processing and Understanding. BERT is deeply bi-directional, meaning it looks at the words before and after entities and context pre-trained on Wikipedia to provide a richer understanding of language.
For example, in the phrases “nine to five” and “a quarter to five,” the word “to” has two different meanings, which may be obvious to humans but less so to search engines. BERT is designed to distinguish between such nuances to facilitate more relevant results.
BERT: How do you optimise for it?
Finally, how do you optimise for BERT? Again, you can't. The only way to improve your website with this update is to write really great content for your users and fulfil the intent that they are seeking.
A great resource to help you understand and write better for NLP is Briggsby's On-page SEO for NLP article.