On-Page SEO in 2015: Tips

The most successful online businesses make sure they do two things really: first, they put effort into dominating search engine results, and second, they make sure that effort is continually kept up to date in order to keep up with the fast-paced world of internet marketing. To help your business begin 2015 on the right foot, here is a list of some on-page SEO techniques that will be important in the coming year as well as some newer developments that could considerably improve your current strategy.

1.Optimize Image Alt Text

The ALT attribute text is an essential feature of accessible web design and SEO. Unlike textual elements, which is considered accessible to almost all users and search engines, non-text elements on your webpage such as images, animations, frames, graphical buttons and graphic representations of text, will require more information about its function or purpose.

This means you should be sure to add keywords in the image alt text and file name to make sure search engines have opportunities to link to your website. At the same time, avoid spammy alt text since that may attract penalties.

The best way to optimize alt text is to describe the image. So an image of a big purple sofa should use the alt tag that best describes it, which is alt=”big purple sofa.” Title attribute should be used when the image is a hyperlink to a specific page and should offer information about what will happen when you click on the image. If the image will enlarge, it should read title=”view a larger version of the big purple sofa”

2. Write Quality Meta Descriptions

These are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of a web page. While not important to search engine rankings, they are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page and so, extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs.

These short descriptions are best written in roughly 156 characters and should employ the keywords intelligently, and rationally, but also create a compelling description that will prompt a searcher to click. This is essentially where advertising copy comes in and crafting a readable and appealing pitch is of the essence. Also, direct relevance to the page and uniqueness between each page’s meta description is key, so take the time to optimize each individual page of your website by writing unique meta descriptions.

3. Increase Site Speed

Search engines, especially Google, place high importance on site speed. For instance, sites that have clean codes and download quickly have always been rewarded with high search result rankings and it should be noted that page speed is one of 200 or so signals that Google uses to determine rank and should certainly not be ignored.

Aside for Google’s speed requirements, having high site speed also improves the experience for your visitors. Just think of how many times you have left a website because it was simply taking forever to load?

There are a number of reasons why your web page is taking a long time to load and the first pace to look is with your host—make sure you have one that will be sufficient for your web content needs. Other reasons may be un-optimized pages, widget/plugin overload, incompatible plugins and apps, bulky code, or external embedded media.

Test your site sped using Google or a built-in CMS tool like utilized in HubSpot.

4. Mobile Search Implications

Mobile devices are becoming a major media platform with nearly 40% of organic traffic coming from them. It should make sense for your website to become mobile-friendly in order to ensure you have great ranking on search engines like Google. There are many key reasons why mobile search is different and you need to address those key differences by avoiding faulty redirects, mobile-only 404s, blocked media, and slow mobile load times.

5. Secure Your Website with HTTPS

Should you be concerned with switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes. At the moment, Google has only begun to incorporate the use of HTTPS as a ranking factor and has promised to release more documentation in the future. In the mean time it is strategic to be vigilant and anticipate this emerging factor in order to stay ahead of the trend. Also, site security will continue to be a priority for users and Google in the new year, whether or not its importance as a ranking factor is certain or not.

A Hyper Transfor Protocol Secure ensures that your site is encrypted and cannot be hacked. The following tips can help you adopt this strategy in the new year: • Decide on the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate • Use 2048-bit key certificates • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt

6. Utilize Proper Heading Tags

Heading tags enhance user experience by clearly indicating to them and the search engine about the page’s content and topic. When the heading is tagged by bracketing text in within the page’s HTML, a search engine is able to identify it. Also, using heading tags (H1, H2, or H3) can indicate to a search engine the level of importance of the content.

Remember, avoid using generic terms like “home’ or “products” and be sure to not put important information that would likely be your heading as an image.

The importance of the H1 tag’s influence on SEO as a rank factor has diminished over time compared to the overall picture. However it is still an important factor and continues to be an essential on-page SEO element, even in 2015. Most arguments regarding the usefulness of H1 tags tend to focus on the direct relationship between an H1 tag and its ability to help a page rank by including a keyword. What is not often mentioned is the effect an H1 headline has on other ranking factors and overall user experience.

7. Improve your URL Structure

A URL is one of the key ranking factors that may determine how highly your website will be ranked on search engine results. The goal is to make the URLs for each of your pages easy to crawl. Some good practices include keeping your URLs short (also beneficial for user experience), relevant to your page’s topic and keyword, and ensure that your URLs are useful for helping you categorize your site pages.

Depending on your content management system, the URLs it generates may be SEO friendly like: www.example.com/topic-name but may also be non-SEO friendly like: www. example.com/?p=34593. Though search engines have no problem with either variant, it is better to use the first URL because it contains your keywords and more clearly indicates to the visitor about the content of your page.

8. Use Keyword Variation

Since 2014, AdWords no longer relied on exact match keywords but also co-varieties of a keyword. Though not explicitly announced, this change likely hods true for organic searches as well. What this means for you and your content is that keywords no longer have to be the exact same variation as displayed in your keyword tool. For instance, the plural keyword, “inbound marketing tactics,” is essentially equivalent to “inbound marketing tactic” in singular form. This means you have more flex room in your content and will likely help your content sound more natural and less repetitive—take advantage of this.

9. Optimize your Site Page Around a Single Keyword or Topic

Keyword stuffing has left the SEO scene since early 2014 and will stay that way in the New Year. What you need to also keep in mind however, is the need to keep your site pages optimized around one central idea and keyword. Keywords should appear on important on-page elements like the page title, headings, image alt text, and naturally throughout the page copy. The guiding principle however, continues to be the reader experience of your visitor, and not search engines.

10. Optimal Keyword Density

If you want the best and safe on-page optimization for your website, consider keeping the entire keyword ration in the page between 2% to 4%. Doing so could help your website avoid Google Algorithm penalties. In general, it is perhaps best to approach content creation from the point of view of ease and comprehensibility for your readers. Rather than being too concerned with striking a precise optimal keyword density, aim for a natural style that reads well and you should have no concerns about keyword stuffing.

Shamil Shamilov
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Shamil Shamilov

After years of extensive “hands-on” marketing experience at large multinational firms, Shamil has become a valued partner at Nova. His strive for marketing excellence and his business acumen plays a vital role to new business development and client management. With an MA in International Conflict Studies under his belt, he is a master at finding creative solutions to the marketing challenges.
Shamil Shamilov
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