An Updated Guide to On-Page SEO

An Updated Guide to On-Page SEO

Mary CatalfamoMar 7, 2024

You’re not imagining it: Search engines are getting smarter. Google’s SGE (search generative experience) can answer queries by pulling text directly from the top-ranking search result. No clicking necessary.

But that doesn’t mean search engine optimization is on its way out.

The Current State of SEO

SGE and “no-click” searches aren’t exactly new. In 2022, a study from SEMRush found that organic search results still make up 45% of desktop search results while no-click results made up 25%. And, as noted by a 2023 SEMRush article, AI-generated answers still prompt users to click links.

It’s safe to say that SEO is still very much alive and worth investing in. Whether you’re learning the basics or refreshing your strategy, keep reading for a step-by-step guide to on-page SEO in 2024.

A Brief SEO Overview

On-page SEO refers to optimization efforts that impact website pages directly. This includes blog or page content, keyword use, headings, metadata, title tags, and URLs. SEO also includes off-page factors, like loading speeds, that indirectly impact CTR (click through rate).

But this is an on-page SEO guide, which means we need to start with keywords.

1. Pick the Right Keywords & Phrases.

Brainstorm some words or phrases someone might search in order to find your brand.

Whatever comes to mind first is probably pretty broad, meaning it will likely have too much competition to rank for. It’s best practice to target more specific keywords. For example, a better version of a high-competition keyword like “nonprofit” might be the phrase “nonprofits run by women.”

Once you’ve refined a list of potential keywords and phrases, use a competitor analysis tool like SEMRush to see how difficult it will be to target each one.

2. Create High Quality Content.

Quality content is still essential to CTRs and – by extension – SEO ranking. That’s because search engines decide which websites to rank based on what user behavior tells them.

If a page’s bounce rate is high or little time is spent on it, search engines will assume the content isn’t relevant to its keywords. That content won’t be shown to other users. However, well-written and informative content will keep users on the page or even prompt them to explore the rest of the site.

Positive engagement like that tells search engines that your content does a good job responding to search queries.

3. Optimize Your Content.

SEO content needs to be formatted so people (and search engines) can quickly make sense of it. That has a lot to do with optimizing for readability.

Break written content up into short sections with headings that include your keywords. This helps search engines easily recognize what the content is about. Using bullets, infographics, or high quality photography also make the piece more readable, which makes people more likely to stay on the page.

Titles that tell people exactly what they can expect – such as “5 Ways to Brighten Your Home for Spring” – is another tried and true formula for more clicks.

4. Don’t Forget the “Little Things.”

There’s one more element of on-page SEO to account for: the small bits of text that describe your content to search engines. Otherwise known as “metadata.”

Make sure to add clear, descriptive meta descriptions and meta titles to every page of your website – including the content you write specifically for SEO purposes. Don’t forget about site tags, either! Adding internal site tags will help search engines find content as it crawls your site. On that note, it also helps to make the structure of your website navigation more logical.

5. Strategize for Zero-Click Searches.

Remember those “zero click” searches we were talking about earlier? It may be too early to tell exactly how zero-click snippets are chosen, but there are some ideas.

Google’s AI-powered SGE seems to promote content that offers new or “novel” information on a subject or can offer an expert point of view. Formats that make copy very straightforward, such as bullet points or question-answer formats, may make it easier for Google to recognize it as a potential snippet.

6. Look Beyond Google.

When it comes to some topics, “Googling it” may not be everyone’s first choice.

In some ways, social media is a new type of search engine. Reddit, for example, is great for finding first-hand information on niche topics. People turn to TikTok and Pinterest to answer everything from “what should I make for dinner?” to “where should I vacation next?”

Now that people are starting to use social media for specific questions, consumer brands can apply some SEO principles to their social media posting. Content can be tailored to answer specific questions or give new information on topical subjects.

Turn to the SEO experts at Idea Kraft.

Idea Kraft is a boutique creative agency that specializes in marketing and web development for nonprofit, B2B, and manufacturing brands. Our web and marketing team helps organizations across the country develop SEO strategies that help them find and connect with their target audiences. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

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