The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is when you blend the art of writing with the science of SEO to rank individual pages for specific keywords. On-page SEO includes everything from meta tags, content format, and keyword optimization to get your content found by search engines and move your audience to convert with you.
While it’s only one part of the equation, on-page SEO guides your content to match customer intent, user engagement, and tactics to increase conversions.
You need to have a map on you before you head out to the forest if you don’t want to get lost. Just like hiking, you need to have a good idea of where you’re going if you want to stay on track to your destination.
The same line of thinking can be applied to content production, because you should know how to structure content on your site to help sculpt search results and meet the needs of your customers to drive more conversions.
It’s not easy to write content that ranks in Google and drives conversions, but if you follow a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to ranking, driving more clicks, and appealing to customers on all types of devices. Let’s take a look at three on-page optimization tactics that you can use to get the right message to the right people at the right time.
1. Format content for readers & robots
An SEO strategy has to be built around the needs of your customers to hit ranking factors and get your readers to engage with your content.
It’s tough to serve these two goals, but you can get the best of both worlds by formatting your content in a way that helps robots and readers scan content and focus on information on different devices.
While you can spend time with “SEO hacks,” the best way to improve your online visibility and increase conversions is to format content for readers and robots. Let’s take a look at how breaking up text, keeping paragraphs short, and bullet lists will make your content easier to read and boost rankings today!
Break up text with H2 tags
One of the first things you can do to improve on-page SEO is to break up text with H2 subheaders. These headers allow you to insert keywords to fuel the technical side of SEO, and these headers also help your readers scan through your content when they first reach your site.
Here are a few quick notes to make the most out of your subheadings:
I like to add H2 subheadings every 300 words or so.
Insert H3 headers with an additional 50 words of content for each section when appropriate.
Use target keywords and exact-match questions in subheadings whenever possible.
I have found a lot of success with Google Search Console (GSC) when optimizing existing on-page content. You can open up a page in GSC to find first-party data on what Google is ranking your content for and then add keywords in the H2 and H3 sections of your site to see a good boost in rankings.
Make your content easier to read for humans and search engines by breaking up your content with H2 and H3 subheadings. Don’t forget to get the most out of this on-page SEO tactic by including keywords and exact-match questions in the section headings for maximum results!
Keep paragraphs short
If you want to engage your readers and drive more conversions, then you have to optimize every inch of your content based on the needs of your target audience. Large blocks of text are difficult to read, and this is especially true on a phone or tablet.
I like to limit paragraphs to only 2-3 sentences each to ensure content looks good on mobile devices and does not overwhelm a reader as they read through my content.
Use bullet points
Bullet points are a powerful copywriting tool because they allow you to summarize information in a concise manner while also drawing attention to important data in a punchy format. Here are a few reasons to use bullet points in your content to boost on-page SEO:
Break content up and make blocks of text easier to read on mobile devices.
Highlight valuable points to increase conversions on service web pages and product pages.
Add internal links to bullet points to help guide customers through the buyer’s journey.
Try to keep bullet point lists between 3-7 bullets each. Shorter lists look goofy, and long lists are difficult to read.
I like to include a bullet list in the first paragraph of each blog post to help readers understand my content, plus this bullet list can help secure a featured snippet (more on tha later). I also like to add a bullet list near CTAs to draw the attention of readers to drive more conversions.
Bullet points are just one example of how you can format content to help your readers and search engines- they are the perfect balance between content marketing and technical SEO tactics.
2. Optimize for featured snippets
As online search changes, Google is constantly updating its algorithms to provide the right information to searchers as quickly as possible. A featured snippet is a bite-sized snippet of information that Google places above organic listings based on specific search queries.
Featured snippets are your best friend if you want to establish your brand’s authority and drive more organic traffic to your site. Here are a few reasons to format new content and optimize existing content to trigger featured snippets:
Dominate “position zero” above paid ads and other organic search results.
Build your brand authority by ranking at the top of the Search Engine Results page for target keywords.
Drive more qualified traffic to your site.
Build more backlinks as more people click on and link to your content.
Push your competitor’s online listings down in SERPs.
There are several types of featured snippets that Google can display based on search intent, search query, and search history. Let’s take a look at how you can format your content in specific ways to help secure the three major types of featured images.
Paragraph featured snippet
Paragraph featured snippets show 40-50 word explanations based on a search query with a link to the source content. This type of featured snippets can be secured with proper on-page SEO and content formatting.
I like to summarize the answer and main point of my content in the first paragraph of my blog posts and online content to secure more paragraph featured snippets. I also like to create a concise summary of different sections to help trigger more featured snippets throughout my content.
List featured snippet
You will notice that most types of “how-to” search queries will trigger a list featured snippet. This information is presented in either a numbered list or a bulleted list, and is a powerful way to generate more traffic for recipe sites or process-oriented content.
I like to add a bullet list or numbered list before I list out detailed sections to secure more featured snippets.
Table featured snippet
Google may include a table at the top of SERPs for search queries about pricing options, comparisons, and data. Most table featured snippets are 3-4 columns wide and 6-7 rows long.
I like to add a HTML table to my blog posts to summarize a process, show price comparisons, or just to provide a summary of different types of data. I’ve noticed that Google prefers HTML tables compared to tables made in CSS or other languages.
3. Add an FAQ section & FAQ schema
Structured data are bits of code that you can add to your blog posts and web pages to help Google understand your content. You can format your content along with markup language to spoon-feed search engines information about your content and shape your appearance in SERPs.
Once you add an FAQ section to the bottom of your content, you can get even more bang for your buck by adding FAQ schema to the backend of the content. FAQ schema offers a number of benefits for your SEO strategy like:
Boost impressions: FAQ schema will help drive more organic impressions, which can lead to a higher Click Through Rate (CTR).
More website clicks: As your pages get more impressions you will start to see more clicks to your web pages and blog posts.
Interlinking: You can add a link to each answer in your FAQ schema. Only point internal linking to non-sales content (like a blog post) to help drive more engagement.
Improve online visibility: FAQ schema makes your content more visible because it pushes your competitors lower on SERPs.
I like adding 3-4 common questions and answers at the bottom of each blog post and web page to help customers and search engines. I’ve found that FAQ sections at the end of my content helps with keyword rankings and allows me to implement FAQ schema to get found in search engines.
Supercharge your on-page SEO game today!
A winning SEO strategy is rooted in getting your message to the right people at the right time, and on-page SEO tactics can help you get found online and drive more conversions.
Use the tips in the above sections to make your content easier to read, easier to scan, and even sculpt your content in SERPs today!