Several on-page factors help instruct the search engines decision regarding a site’s ranking. These include keyword usage and website URL. Keyword usage is generally regarded as the most important and there are 5 key elements of this.
1. Title tags
Regarded as the most important on-page keyword element. Preferably, as a general rule, the page title should employ the keyword term/phrase as the first word(s)
2. URL structure
Length – Shorter URLs appear to perform better in the search results and are more likely to be copied/pasted by other sites, shared and linked-to.
Keyword Location – The closer the targeted keyword(s) are to the domain name, the better. Therefore, site.com/keyword outperforms site.com/folder/subfolder/keyword and is the most recommended method of optimisation.
Word Separators – Hyphens are generally regarded as fundamental in terms of separating keywords in URL’s. Despite certain theories stating that underscores will be given equal credit, the inconsistency with other methods make the hyphen a primary choice. NOTE: This should not be applied to root domain names, where separating words with hyphens is virtually never recommended (e.g. pinkgrapefruit.com is a far better choice than pink-grapefruit.com)
3. Headings and subheadings
Previously, the H1 tag was often regarded to have a significant bearing within on-page optimisation, however, its importance is now in decline. Nevertheless, despite its reduced importance, it can still influence the search engines – therefore, apply the tag correctly irrespective of its significance because site usability is improved. That is, it promotes easier access for the user, resulting in an improvement within the bounce rate, which ensures visitor rates are maintained and perhaps, increased.
4. Meta Descriptions
Despite its relative insignificance within the rankings, the meta description is an important place to use the target term/phrase due to the “bolding” that occurs in the virtual snippet of the search results. Also, usage has also been shown to help boost click-through rate, thus increasing the traffic derived from any ranking position.
5. Content (Original)
It is important that the content you are adding to a site or page is unique and doesn’t appear elsewhere on the web. If the same content appears multiple times on the web, Google and the other search engines will give preference to the page it thinks posted the content first. Therefore to avoid any chance of your pages being ranked less than they should, be ensure all your content is unique.
There are of course other important ranking factors such as;
• Site load speed/image optimisation
• Internal linking structure/site structure
• Updating (original content)
• Code validation