What is On-Site Optimisation?
On-site optimisation is the improvement of a website to help it come up higher in the search results.
In the overall process of SEO, It is typically the second step taken after keyword research. With keyword research, we identify and map keywords to target on the pages of a website, while On-site SEO seeks to make changes to a website and its pages in order to improve positions in the search results for those pages.
Why is On-Site SEO important
The task of making changes to a website to optimise it is crucial. If a website is not properly optimised, the search engines are unlikely to understand what queries the website covers.
A poorly optimised website is also a poor user experience. Users will usually leave a website that is disorganised and slow, resulting in a potential loss of revenue for the business.
On-Site Optimisation Tasks
On-site SEO covers a range of tasks. Some of these tasks are once-off tasks, others are ongoing. All of them are essential components in creating a highly optimised website that bots can easily crawl and understand.
A website that loads fast is essential for a good user experience. If a site takes too long to load, users will leave and find another site that answers their query.
There are a number of things which can be done to improve a websites load time. The basic ones are:
- Image sizes. Compressing images and ensuring they are the same size as their display size on the website
- Caching. Serving a static snapshot of a web page, eliminating the need for time-consuming computations when a user visits of page on your website.
- Defer java script. Ensure the webpage is loaded first before java script is loaded, so the web page appears sooner for the user, while other scripts can load in the background.
- Lazy load. Do not load images or iframes that are further down the page until the user scrolls to them, meaning the visual part of the site loads faster.
- Minifying. Take all the various types of code and combine them into one document, removing any unnecessary spaces and characters so they can be read sooner.
This is a file which tells search bots which areas of the site they can crawl and index. An incorrect configuration here will prevent your site from being seen by search engines.
This is a map of all the pages of a website we would like search engines to crawl. We create this sitemap and ensure that all the correct pages are on the sitemap to ensure they are found by the search engines.
The sitemap can be submitted to Google search console. This is a tool provided by Google to send and receive data about your website. Here we can get critical feedback about your sitemap and pages we are asking Google to crawl and include in the search results.
This is code added to your website to tell users and search engines when a page has moved to a new address.
There are a number of instances where a redirect could be implemented:
- A page is given a more optimised URL structure
- Two pages are collapsed into one
- Someone links to your website using the wrong URL
A 404 error occurs when there is a link to a non-existent page on a website. If the link is on the same website, it should be updated so that it is correct. If the link is from an external website, a 301 redirect should be set up to an appropriate page.
Meta data refers to code on the site which tells the search engines what your page is about. This code is not visible to the front end user, but may appear in the tab frame of some browsers.
Search engines like Google often display the meta title and description in the search results pages.
The meta title is considered one of the main ways of communicating to search engines the keyword you want to rank for. Inserting the keyword in the meta title is generally very helpful for improving ranking sfor that keyword of the content.
The words on a web page are usually broken up by headings. These headings can be optimised with a blend of keyword targets and related terms. Correlation data suggests that careful insertion of topical terms in both headings and content can help a website to rank well for a particular term.
Internal links are the links on your website which point to other pages on the website. Google takes notice of these links or the absence of them in a site.
If a page covers a topic such as hot water system repairs, other pages on the website that mention the topic should link to the main page on hot water repairs. If the website doesn’t link to the main page on the subject when it’s mentioned, why should google link to it in the search results?
The name, address and phone number (NAP) of a business should be listed in a prominent place on the website. This may be the contact page or in the footer of the site. Google looks for mentions of the NAP of a business across the web to build trust in the existence and popularity of that business.
Schema is a way of identifying the type of data on a website to the search engines. There are many different types of schema.
Some of the most used types are:
- Local business
Google has a huge job processing the data across the billions of web pages every day. Schema makes this job much easier, providing a standardised format to feed data to it.
The about page of your website is an important place to mention qualifications, people and dates. Google’s own internal guidelines document instructs their employees to use the about page to evaluate if a business is real and not a fake business. It makes sense then to build out a comprehensive about page.
Attributing the content on the website to an author is another way Google can trust the information on a web page.
Keyword and Key Term Density
This refers to the number of times a keyword appears in a webpage. The Google algorithm used to favour sites that had the most occurance of a term on a page. This led to poorly written pages and poor user experience.
Now the algorithm looks for a a healthy mix of terms related to a subject. The ideal blend of terms and their use frequency can be reverse engineered from the existing search results and applied to your website using complex tools.
URLs are the addresses of the pages on a website. Tyoicalky URLs will conform to a structure that is set by the website template. This structure by default is not often well optimised. A good url structure will:
Contain keywords without over doing it
Won’t include dates and unnecessary numbers
Are concise with stop words removed if possible
Be organised into sub folders according to the organisation of content of the website
This covers how the information of a site is organised. A site with good IA will ensure each page covers a topic well and there is no double up of topics addressed across the indexed pages of your website.
Where possible, pages should be grouped into topics with sub topical pages under them. This is called content silos and, when done correctly, are very powerful in creating topical relevance for a page.
Monthly On-Site Optimisation Services
As you can see there are many aspects of on-site optimisation. The challenge is organising these tasks into an SEO service that addresses the highest priority items first. This is what we attempt to do in our monthly SEO services.
Each project task set may differ depending on our initial analysis and the depth of the SEO project. Below the tasks are organised into various categories:
Initial Tasks done once but require monthly check
- 404 errors
- Meta tags
- Url structure
- 301 redirects
- Business address
- General Site speed
- Business details
Monthly tasks performed page by page
- Internal linking
- Keyword density
- Page speed
- Schema Implementation
- Page by page analysis and adjustments
We have found that on-site SEO is a critical component to helping a page rank. In fact in recent years we have noticed a shift in the Google Algorithm as it seems to favour sites with good on-site SEO with less of an emphasis on off-site SEO (backlinks).
Off-site SEO is still important, but on-site optimisation seems to be most important at the moment. As the saying goes:
Backlinks will get you noticed, but content will get you ranked.