Advanced On-Page SEO
Not too long ago, we introduced the basics of on-page SEO. These are the steps that you should be taking for every single post and page that you have a serious interest in seeing rise in the SERPs.
In this post, we are going to take the next step and offer a number of more advanced on-page SEO techniques that will give you an even better edge on the competition.
Some of these are simple. Some require a little more technical expertise. But they all could be the difference between ranking and not.
1. Optimize Your Images
One easily implemented advanced on-page SEO strategy is optimizing your images to improve the relevancy of your posts. While you may tend to think that your written content is the only way that Google discovers the topics you cover, your media plays a big role as well.
Here are a few easy wins to optimize every image on your website.
Use a relevant filename. When you download an image, the default filename could be something ridiculously unhelpful, like “pixaaf13334567-q3”. Instead, you want to save the image with a filename that is one of your primary or secondary keywords.
Use keywords in title and alt tags. When you upload images to your site, you'll be able to add a title and alt tag. Just like your filename, these should contain keywords. To avoid keyword stuffing, it's a good practice to use different terms for each image on the page.
Choose the right file type. Websites should generally use images in one of three formats: JPEG, PNG, or GIF. However, each is best for different situations:
- PNG images generally offer the smallest file size without sacrificing quality. However, photos do not do well as PNGs.
- JPEGs are known to lose more quality than PNGs. They are best reserved for photo images.
- GIFs have the lowest image quality of the three formats, but they also load very quickly. Reserve GIF files for buttons, banners, image headings, and similar situations in which quality is not as much of a concern.
Reduce image file size. Images can be really big. In fact, they comprise about 21% of the average web page's total size. So it's worth doing everything you can to make them smaller. A simple way to do this is by using a tool like Optimizilla. This allows you to reduce the file size while still having control over image quality. Like this…
The trick is to find the right balance between image quality and file size. In the above example, it's pretty clear that we aren't sacrificing very much in image quality. But we are getting about a 65% reduction in file size.
2. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Recently, Google rolled out its mobile-first index. Without getting too deep in the weeds, this update means that Google considers the mobile version of your website before the desktop version when determining your rank.
In other words, if your site isn't mobile-friendly, it's going to be outpaced by sites that are. This makes sense when you consider that some 52% of all web traffic was from a mobile device in 2018, and those numbers are only going to rise. Mobile-friendly web design is one advanced on-page SEO factor that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Step 1: Test your mobile friendliness. To get started, plug your home page into Google's own Mobile-Friendly Test. This will let you know exactly what Google thinks of your site. You may discover that you are a-okay and don't need to do anything.
Step 2: Build a responsive website. If your site does need help to become more mobile-friendly, the exact fix depends widely on the nature of the issues.
However, the ideal universal solution is to make sure that your website is fully responsive. In other words, that it adjusts automatically to deliver the best user experience regardless of screen size.
If you are using WordPress, this could be as simple as changing to a responsive theme. Most modern WP themes are designed to make it super easy to go mobile-friendly.
Step 3: Use best practices for mobile web design. As you update existing pages, or add new ones, keep in mind these best practices for mobile web design:
- Text should be readable without zooming.
- Flash elements should be avoided, as they do not work on most mobile devices.
- Avoid html tables or other elements that require horizontal scrolling.
3. Increase Your Page Speed
Reducing the time it takes to load your website from 5 to 3 seconds can decrease your bounce rate by almost 60%.
And, since bounce rate is one of the factors that Google uses to judge user experience, figuring out how to increase page speed is one advanced on-page SEO strategy that you can't ignore. The image compression we covered earlier should go a long way towards optimizing your page speed, but there is plenty more you can do as well.
See where your page speed stands. Start by running your website through Google's PageSpeed Insights. This will provide you a score out of 100 to gauge your load time. Even better, it will offer a concrete list of opportunities for making your page faster.
Enable browser caching. Without getting into too many nitty gritties, caching prevents repeat visitors from having to reload your website every single time they come back. An easy way to leverage browser caching is by using a plugin like W3 Total Cache.
Ditch the shared hosting. Although you may have been able to get away with inexpensive shared hosting when your site first launched, it may not do the trick anymore. On shared hosting, resources like RAM and disk space are getting divided among multiple websites.
Check with your hosting provider to see what other options are available. A VPS server may be a little more expensive, but you won't be sharing as many resources, so pages should load faster.
Load above-the-fold first. If your page has a lot of heavy content, such as a recipe with a dozen images, all the compression in the world might not get your page speed to where you want it.
In this case, you can prioritize serving visitors the above-the-fold content first. This is everything users see before they start scrolling, and loading it first can help reduce bounce rates. You can use a plugin like LazyLoad to make this a cinch.
Try These Advanced On-Page SEO Techniques Today
There is a lot when it comes to SEO, but these three advanced on-page SEO strategies can benefit just about any piece of content on any website. So if you've been struggling to rank no matter how many back links you build, try these out and see if they move the needle once and for all.