On page SEO really means the things you do directly to your web pages. This includes adding your target keywords on the page in such a way so that Google can understand what your site is about. NOT keyword stuffing (adding keywords everywhere) as that will get your site penalized.
We will cover content quality shortly but at this stage remember that the web page should be for the visitors (as opposed to search engines)
There are three areas that you need to address on-page. (I have put image and video in their own sections. So although they are technically on-page SEO I will not be covering them in this section)
1. Meta data
3. Content Quality
If you read the Webmaster Quality Guidelines you will have seen things you should not do like create doorway pages or thin affiliate pages etc. So there are a number of things you should not do.
If you look at the actual raw HTML of a web page (right click/view source) you will see that it is separated into two main sections The head section (between the head tags) and the body section (between the bdy tags)
Meta data is contained within the head section. It is never shown on your website so in this sense it is only for the search engines
This is raw information about your web page. There can be many lines of meta data but the three key areas are Title (not strictly meta data but still contained in the head section), Meta Description and Meta keywords.
The title is very important and should contain your main keyword. It is something that search engines appear to use to identify the page content and it may also appear in the actual SERPs.
Titles need to be pretty short and I recommend no more than 65 characters or they will be truncated in some SERP results.
So “1959 Blue Cadillac Deville For Sale” is Good Title
Meta Description is another important area as this two can be displayed in your SERPs and again is used to identify the content of your web page. So consider both the display in SERPs and the Message to Google. That means try making the Description a call to action or very interesting to encourage people to click on the SERP result. Also make sure it is very descriptive of the content (or put another way make sure your content fulfils the descriptions promise so the visitor stays engaged. Of course it tells Google more about the page.
Keep the description to about 150 characters to ensure all search engines display it fully
1959 Blue Cadillac Deville For Sale. Choose from 23 cars in stock at lowest nationwide prices and free delivery.
According to Google this is now ignored by them so there is no need to add anything here. I tell you this mainly as a warning on two fronts.
This was used to keyword stuff and this is why Google now ignore it. However people still try to stuff it and although it may be ignored by the search engine algorithm (program/Google Bot) it may be an indicator of the kind of behaviour you may be willing to indulge in. This may get you more scrutiny that you may want from human reviewers.
Secondly it gives away the keywords you are targeting to your competitors
So best just to leave that area blank.
Within the actual body of the web page will be everything that a visitor will see. That includes navigation bars, ads, articles, images, videos etc.
All these items can be optimized for the search engines.
Just a warning that over optimisation is now a real problem. Keyword stuffing is the main offence so simply using your keyword across everything may have worked a few years ago but today will find you in penalties.
Don’t add your main keyword multiple times in the body text. Use in the article tile and maybe even in the opening paragraph.
Think about variation on your keyword and LSI keywords. Be carefully with variations as they may be seen as the same thing in Google’s eyes and count as keyword stuffing. Google is much more about understanding content these days than individual keywords.
If you write an article on “Mountain climbing In China” then consider what LSI (semantically related) keywords you would expect to find in the same article.
i.e. the names of mountains in China, climbing equipment, mountain climbing vernacular etc.
This will often appear naturally if you write for the reader and not the search engine. Google will still work out what you are targeting and reward you even more for the (LSI) diversity in the text.
Avoid a lot of bolding, highlighting and italics etc. Use emphasis when it would help the reader but just emphasising keywords will lead to grief.
2013 SEO is all about quality content and natural backlinking profiles (more about that later).
Up until very recently a lot of content was auto generated, spun or written by non- natural language speakers. That meant regurgitated rubbish, unreadable rubbish, or terrible grammar. All of which results in a poor visitor experience. That didn’t matter too much though as the search engines lapped up the content base on the keywords.
Panda and Penguin have changed all that. More recently Penguin 2.0 came out and there will be more in the future for sure.
Google is hammering hard a what it sees as spam content and spam linking and is developing the technology to identify it and punish it.
So best thing to do with content is simply write it the best you can. Don’t worry about targeting the search engines just target the visitor. Write content they are looking for.
Also make sure it is the type of content that fulfils the visitors requirement.
When they typed in “ cheap wet fish suppliers” the did not want an article on wet fish or wet fish suppliers. They were looking for actual wet fish suppliers. Make sure you deliver them wet fish suppliers. If your web page doesn’t do that the best article in the world is useless, does not fulfil the users requirement and so is poor or low quality content.