On page Optimisation
The SEO optimisation of your web page vs the target search term is very important as it helps search engines understand your website and content, and it helps search engines identify whether your website is relevant to a searcher’s query.
What is On Page Optimisation?
Search Engines use programs called “crawlers”. These crawlers not only follow all the internal links on your website, they also index (copy) all of your websites content and store it in their database.
When a user queries a search engine like Google, the search engine looks up your query against the billions of sites in its database and returns the search results based on a number of different factors.
Two of these ranking factors is relevancy, another is authority.
Relevance (also known as on page optimisation) is the art and science behind optimising all of the factors a search engine evaluates to maximise relevancy.
It’s far more difficult than just copying and pasting keyword, keyword, keyword on a page and hoping it ranks. Search Engines are so much more sophisticated when it comes to understanding content on a web page.
We’ve been optimising sites since 2001, and have evolved our strategies along side search engines.
Frequently asked about On Page Optimisation
Relevance, also known as “on page optimisation” are the ranking signals on a page that influence your rankings. Relevance accounts for rougly 20% of the weighting factor in search engines optimisation. It’s important to always focus on the user first, and search engines second.
In reference to web development and SEO, a title tag (also known as a meta title) is a HTML element that appears in the <head> (header) section of a web pages HTML code. It does not appear on the page it self bar the tab.
The Title tag can be seen on:
- The browser tab
- As the headline in Search Engine Results
- At the Title when sharing a page on Social Media (when opengraph tags do not exist)
The title tag is an important tag to optimise for SEO, it should be perfectly crafted to be the right length, contain the primary and secondary keywords, brand name and a suitable call to action.
The title tag looks like this in your source code:
<title>My Page Title</title>
Some older CMS systems will automatically output a Title tag based on the page name, however most allow you to customise the Title tag per page.
Whilst you may use a custom title tag, Search Engines like Google may re-write the Title tag for users, especially if they are overly optimised.
The meta description is a HTML attribute that appears in a web pages source code. It appears within the <head> section of a HTML pages source code.
The meta description acts as a brief description of what the page is about, each meta description should be unique and written in a way to accurately describe what the page is about.
Meta descriptions appear in search engine results pages and influence CTR (Click thru rate).
Half an SEO’s challenge is getting you to rank prominently, the second challenge is getting a user to click on your website vs other results competing for that searchers attention.
If you don’t include a meta description on a web page, search engines like Google will create one based on the web pages content. This is machine generated from your existing content and often doesn’t make any sense.
Meta descriptions should be no longer than 155 characters.
If you want to see what the meta description is on your web page, right click anywhere on the page, press view source, and look for the following:
<meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description”>
Meta Keywords is a very outdated HTML attribute used by SEO’s and Webmasters in the late 90’s. Target keywords would be inserted into this section of the web page to improve its ranking/relevance in search engines.
This was susceptible to spam and keyword stuffing. It’s a largely outdated practice. In 2009 Google stated that they do not use meta keywords or descriptions as a ranking factor.
We would not recommend using Meta Keywords, and if an “SEO” suggests using them, we’d suggest running a mile.
Keyword research consists of first finding topic-relevant keywords then using a tool like Google keyword planner to understand an estimated number of searches a month alongside the competition for the keyword. If a keyword is highly competitive it may be better to lower your expectation and target a more realistic level as you may not rank at all.
Performing a good level of keyword research is one of the keys to a successful ranking page.
Many people underestimate a good keyword research piece and assume everyone searches the internet as they do and this is rarely the case.
“Keywords” or “Keyword Phrases” refer to the search queries used by users on search engines.
The terms broad/phrase and exact match are often used in Paid search, however they are also used in Organic SEO, especially when discussing linking strategies, whether internal or external.
This is match type casts the widest net. If we were going to take the keyword “search marketing agency”. Broad match would mean any variation of those three words, in any order, and any words in between. So these would all be true:
- search engine optimisation and marketing agency
- agency search marketing
- marketing search agency
This is when the search term is used in its entirety, in order, but can have words pre/post. For example:
- best search marketing agency
- search marketing agency in london
This is when the keyword matches exactly, with no words in between, in the correct order, and none pre/post. In this case – only one variation is exact match
- search marketing agency
Keyword Cannibilisation is when two pages are targetting the same keyword.
This happens often when a keyword strategy is not in place, or a sites structure causes this.
For example if we were talking about a pharma site which is selling a drug, if the site has two landing pages for the same drug, but one is a different quantity or strength, then these two pages could be competing for the same drug name (therefore cannibilising each other).
SEO’s often talk about header tags when evaluating your on page optimisation.
Effectively when writing say a word document, you would often have a document title, and then several headings to split the different sections.
In SEO terms, these headings are used by search engines to gain a better understanding of what the page is about.
Headings normally have a numerical value attached to them, so a <h1> is normally the biggest heading, followed by <h2>, <h3> etc all the way to <h6>.
A lot of SEO’s will say that a web page should only have a single <h1> this is a lagely outdated thought. It isn’t technically necessary as HTML 5 supports multiple <h1> tags if structured correctly. Google have been open to say they can handle multiple H1’s too. However some SEO tools still report this as a warning.
The main take away from this is to avoid using meaningless Header tags, e.g. “<h2>Contact us</h2>” and repeating this on every page.
A talented SEO will be able to make a web page visually appear the same and utilise header tags effectively to help search engines understand the context and meaning of the web page.
Keyword Density is a largely outdated SEO practice. It describes a percentage of SEO keywords over the entire content.
So if you had a keyword density target of 2.5% and 1000 words, it would mean you’d need the keywords to be included 25 times!
Whilst we will recommend including keywords within copy, they should appear naturally. If you are writing about a subject then naturally the keyword will appear within the copy and variations of the keywords.
So we never provide an exact percentage, but we do advise SEO copywriters to keep the keyword in mind when writing copy and to ensure they include it within the copy whilst retaining value and readability to the user.
In a world where anyone can build a website, Search Engines like Google have an increasing responsibility to show authoratitive sites, especially when you consider sites that impact users financially or their health.
So for example if there was a website selling male enhancement drugs they will often make grand claims, utilising false scientific research and testimonials to make a sale. Now these companies would invest heavily into their marketing and users would fall for their trap.
Search engines especially Google have taken onboard measures to understand expertise, authorativeness and trust. We call this E-A-T (an unfortunate acryonym).
At Bravr we work with brand owners to optimise their sites with trust signals to help search engines understand the site has expertise, authorativeness and trust.
Typically we suggest a minimum of 1000 words per page, however this largely depends on the type of page and search intent.
There has been a lot of research into the correlation between the length of content and the average positioning, longer content tends to perform better in search results than short content, and it tends to rank for more terms, however that isn’t always the case.
We beleive it largely depends on the intent of the search term, if you are looking into a review of a new LG OLED TV, then you’ve probably want to read into a detailed review, vs a few paragraphs from a user review on Amazon.
However if you are looking for something specific like a a book then you probably wouldn’t need a 2000 word article on the book.
Google’s own Pandu Nayak issued this statement:
“Users often turn to Google to answer a quick question, but research suggests that up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic. That’s why today we’re introducing new search results to help users find in-depth articles.” Pandu Nayak, technical staff member at Google
Our five pillars of SEO
With over 200 different ranking signals which influence your visibility in search engines, to make it easier to manage we’ve divided it into five key pillars.
Ensuring your website has a strong foundation, free from technical errors, enabling crawlability, mitigating loss in visibility.
External inbound links, ensuring links are from authorative relevant domains, with optimised anchor text, and a healthly follow/nofollow ratio.
Optimising your websites information architecture, increasing the weighting of key pages. Optimal anchor text and internal link equity distribution.
Ensuring all ranking signals such as page titles, meta data and content is relevant for the target search phrase.
Understanding whats SEO strategies and effective. Visibility is the output of the other four pillars, providing valuable insights and learnings in search engine optimisation.