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On Page SEO: 15 techniques & best practices for ranking higher in search engines

On-Page SEO is the cornerstone for achieving top rankings in search engine resuts pages (SERP). It is the process of optimizing the content and code of your website. Read through to find some best practices & techniques for On-Page SEO that will help your website rank higher in search engines.
 
1. Start Title with Keyword

The Title Tag is the most important factor for on-page SEO. A study on moz.com found that pages with the keyword in the beginning on the Title tag ranked higher for that keyword, rather than those with the keyword in the middle or end of the Title tag. So use the keyword that you are optimizing for at least once and as close to the beginning as possible. Keep in mind that search engines only display the first 65-75 characters of a Title Tag in search results.
 
2. Friendly URLs

Avoid using ugly and meaningless URLs, like mydomain.com/pid=12 and use something that is meaningful and rich in keywords, like mydomain.com/on-page-seo-best-practices. Google bolds keywords in URLs in the search results - which can help increase your click through rate, and has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are the most important. Try to use short and descriptive URLs, using hyphens to separate words. 
 
3. Use of target keyword

Use Target Keyword in first 100 words, with variations throughout the contentUse your target keyword in the first 100 words. This complements your Title and helps Google see that your content explains your Title and it’s about your Title. Be careful not to overuse your target keyword throughout the content, and try to use variations of it (known as LSI keywords) in your page.
 
4. Capture your Audience with Multimedia

Create engaging content by using images and videos that will draw your audience’s attention and help them stay in your website longer. This will help increase the visitor’s time on site and reduce bounce rate, both ranking factors in Google. 
 
5. Make sure your Title is wrapped in an H1 tag

Wrap your Title in a headline tag (H1), and check that you are using only one H1 tag per page. In general use proper heading tags (h1, h2, h3) throughout your website, which increases readability and makes your content more structured. 
 
6. Write long and unique Content

Try to write unique, useful and high quality content, with at least 1000-1500 words. Longer content helps you rank higher for your target keyword. This was supported by a recent study at serpIQ.com that found out that higher ranked pages have more content. Keep in mind that you should write content for the users and not for the search engines, meaning that it should be informative, well written and meaningful.
 
7. Use outbound links to authority sites

Outbound links to related pages it’s a way to help Google better understand the topic of your page. A relevant study has shown boosted page ranks in Google by adding outbound links to authority sites.
 
8. Ease of Social Sharing throughout the website

Sharing in Social Networks is increasingly becoming a bigger factor in search engine algorithms. A well optimized page should help visitors share it’s content with the use of prominent social sharing buttons, URLs that are short, descriptive and easy to share, and content that has the potential to become viral.
 
 
9. Use the Alt attribute in Images

Search engines cannot read and understand images, but you can help them do so by using the image’s Alt attribute. Images can show up in image search results, and the alt attribute is used in a similar manner as the anchor text in a text link. It is good to use your primary or secondary keywords where appropriate, and should be descriptive in order to help the visitors understand the subject of the image.
 
10. Meta Description

The Meta Description is the Short Description of your page’s content that the search engines display in the search results. This should be a maximum of 156 characters summary of your page and help to draw the searchers attention. Although this is not a ranking factor for search engines, you should try to write a compelling meta description in order to draw visitors to your page, and also keyword rich, as Google also bolds keywords in the meta description. 
  
11. Google Authorship & Rich Snippets

Search engines often provide Structured Data in their search results, such as in user reviews, products and author profiles. Learn how to incorporate structured data and rich snippets and use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check out your website. You can also use the rel=author and rel=publisher options in your content to associate an article with an Author’s Google+ Profile.
 
12. Canonicalization of Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is one of the most important problems a website can face. Through the years, search engines have improved their algorithms to detect duplicate content and have punished websites with lower rankings and several penalties. Canonicalization happens if your website offers two or more versions of the same content in different URLs (For example a “regular” option and a “printable” option for a page). In this case, in order to avoid search engines marking your content as duplicate, and penalizing your website, you can use the “Canonical URL Tag”, adding this tag in the duplicate page, and pointing it to the original page. You can read more about it here.
 
13. Multi Device Ready

If you optimize your website for more devices, it means that you will have a bigger pool for potential audience. So if possible try to have a responsive website that adapts well to all devices. With mobile usage predicted to surpass desktop usage in 2014, and social sharing a big part of mobile & tablet functions, you should invest in optimizing your website to display correctly in all browsers and screen sizes.
 
14. Page Speed

Page Loading Speed is an important factor for Google rankings. You can use the PageSpeed Insights tool from google to analyze your website’s speed and receive suggestions on how to improve it. In general you can improve your website’s speed by compressing images, minifying CSS and Javascript, using a CDN, or a faster hosting.
 
15. Crawl

This is something that is often neglected and ignored, until someone gets a bunch of error messages (usually in Webmaster Tools). Make sure that search engines can crawl your website and that everything that you want to be crawled is accessible. In order to ensure that updated content is indexed in a timely manner, make sure that is close to content with higher authority, a trick being adding links to updated content to your homepage.
 
There you have it, a quick reference guide to the top 15 on-page SEO factors and techniques for ranking a website higher in search engines. Try to incorporate as many to your website, and with a little patience you will see it climbing through the search engine rankings.
 
 
REFERENCES
  1. http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo
  2. http://blog.serpiq.com/how-important-is-content-length-why-data-driven-seo-trumps-guru-opinions/
  3. http://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors
  4. http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/basics-of-search-engine-friendly-design-and-development
  5. http://moz.com/blog/visual-guide-to-keyword-targeting-onpage-optimization
  6. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101-getting-page-seo-basics/97871/
  7. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/02/20/the-9-on-page-seo-elements-you-need-in-2014/
  8. http://www.bestseoideas.com/best-practices/seo-tips-and-tricks
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