On-Page SEO Ranking Factors
The following is a list of on-page SEO ranking factors which will add value to a campaign.
It excludes SEO myths and things that are unproven and avoids negligible factors.
Keyword in the Domain
Having your keyword within your domain can help, especially when it comes to off-page SEO ranking factors such as creating backlinks.
However, do not stress too much about it if you don’t have it in your top-level domain (example.com), because you can add a separate which will include it (example.com/add-your-keyword-here).
If you are a well-known business that has a loyal client base, in most cases, you should keep your current domain.
However, if you have recently registered a new domain name and are now questioning whether you made the right decision, you would probably be better off registering a new one.
It is essential to know the history of your domain because if it has a history of being used for malicious purposes, it may impact whether Google will allow your website to rank for competitive keywords.
However, this depends on several factors and will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis.
To review the history of a domain, you can use a website such as Wayback Machine, which is an online time machine for the web.
Enter your URL, and you can view snapshots of it from the past.
Top-Level Domain (TLD) Extension
A domains TLD extension comes after the final dot in a domain, and there are over 300 variations.
Many refer to a specific country, for example; for Finland, it is (.fi), and for Australia, it is (.au).
Google will generally give preference to a local domain (.com.au) as opposed to an international variant (.com).
However, the amount of value a specific TLD extension has is dependant on how valuable it will be to the user.
For example, if a user types in Plumber Gold Coast Australia, it is relatively apparent to Google they are after a plumber based in that area.
Therefore, you could almost guarantee that all page one results would come from domains with the .au TLD extension.
In this scenario, it would be pointless to display a plumber based in Norway.
However, if someone searched for Information on Earth, the value of the TLD extension would have virtually no value, if any at all.
As a result, results displayed on page one will come from various TLD extensions.
In summary, if you will primarily be operating in Australia, you should use the .com.au variant.
Keyword in Title Tag
A title tag is an HTML element which tells search engines the title of the page.
It helps Google to understand what your page is about, so it is essential to include your focus keyword within it.
Keyword in Heading (H) Tags
H tags are HTML tags that visibly outline the headings and subheadings of a page.
They are similar to the chapters in a book which help to break the content up into categories.
Try to naturally integrate your focus keyword in the H tags (H1, H2, etc.) of your website.
Doing so will help give structure to your webpages, and this will make it easier for visitors to find the information they require.
A websites bounce rate is determined by the number of visitors who leave the site having viewed one page only.
If a website has a bounce rate over and above other sites in the same niche, it could give Google the perception your page is possibly not the best answer to a user’s query.
Many factors can impact a website bounce rate, such as:
- How visually appealing it is – does it includes images and videos?
- Is it user friendly, or is it tough to navigate?
- Does the content cover the topic, or is it irrelevant?
Review both your website and your competition and ask yourself whether your page is the best, or requires improvement.
There are occasions where a website may have a high bounce rate even though it is the best result.
It can be common in with single-page websites which is why Google considers a myriad of factors when evaluating whom to rank position one.
Google measures the amount of time a visitor spends on your website.
The longer they stay, the more they like it and this ties in directly with the bounce rate of a website.
Google is all about content creation because it is their goal to provide the best answer to a user’s query.
You should always create as much quality content as possible which will comprehensively cover a keyword topic.
Avoid creating content for the sake of it because this may irritate the user and impact your bounce rate.
For example, someone searching for Chives Gold Coast may be interested in:
- Buying chives on the Gold Coast
- Information on how to maintain them on the Gold Coast or;
- They could be after a combination of the two.
Whenever in doubt, Google would prefer to deliver an answer which covers all possibilities.
Therefore, in this scenario, you could display a page of the chive plants you have for sale and their prices.
However, a better option would be to include this in addition to how often to water them, feed them and keep insects and bugs away from them.
The keyword density of a page is the amount of time a keyword, or variations of it, are included within your content.
You should include multiple versions of your keyword and try to avoid repeating the same keyword over and over again.
Over optimisation of your website may result in a ranking penalty which you must avoid.
It is best practice to include what’s known as latent semantic indexing (LSI) variations of it.
For example, if your chosen keyword is SEO Gold Coast, LSI variations could be:
- Gold Coast SEO
- SEO on the Gold Coast
- SEO consultant Gold Coast
There is no specific number you must stick to but try to keep a keyword density between 2-3%.
People do not like waiting, and the more waiting they need to do, the more likely they will click the back button and leave your website.
There is no secret number, and Google will not give more ranking power the faster a page is.
The most important thing is that overall, a page’s load speed time will not negatively impact a user’s experience.
Try to aim for a page speed load time of 3 seconds or less and use the following link to check your websites page speed.
More and more users are moving away from desktops and preferring to use their smartphones.
Use the following link to determine if your website is mobile-friendly.
Google has confirmed that the security of its users is an integral part of their algorithm; therefore, they use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) as a ranking factor.
However, the type of certificate used (EV, DV, etc.) is irrelevant, and there is nothing wrong with using a free certificate such as Auto-SSL or Lets Encrypt.
Terms & Conditions + Privacy Pages
Adding these pages to your website shows that you take these issues seriously and therefore, helps Google to trust your domain more so than if you didn’t have them.
Site Over Optimisation
Sometimes when people are new to SEO, they lose sight of the bigger picture and try to optimise everything for Google instead of users.
To avoid receiving a penalty for over optimisation, you should always alter your website for the best interests of the user, not Google.