Table of Contents for our Analysis of SEMrush’s SEO Ranking Report:
- Part 1: Introduction, methodology, and key ranking factors.
- Part 2: How website security affects SEO.
- Part 3: How backlinking and referring domains influence SEO.
- Part 4: Content length and its ranking factors.
- Part 6: How site traffic and behavior cues affect SERP ranking.
Welcome back! This is part 5 of our analysis of the highly-useful SEMrush SEO Ranking Report, focused on the influence of on-page SEO.
We’ve spent the last couple of weeks analyzing SEMrush’s report. It’s become an incredible resource for anyone looking to enhance their SEO strategy.
So without further ado, here’s the ultimate on-page SEO overlook and its effect on overall site ranking:
On-page SEO Elements
The significance of on-page SEO has not diminished with the passing of time, like many elements of SEO have.
In fact, if you want to rank higher in search engine results page (SERP), it is always advisable to focus on on-page optimization. While Google strictly imposes penalties for keyword stuffing, it is generally acceptable to include keywords into different on-page elements.
You will typically see these keywords in the title, meta description, and content body.Want to rank high in SERP? Use long-tail keywords.Click To Tweet
However, will the presence of keywords in different on-page elements really influence a website’s ranking?
In this article, we will uncover the answer to this question by using the data we gathered from the most recent study conducted by SEMrush.
From 600,000 search queries, SEMrush calculated the percent of pages that had a keyword in different page elements. Aside from using exact match keywords, they also applied keyword stemming to cover all variations of the keyword.
They segmented the result of their on-page element study into four keyword volume intervals to ensure that the difference between group trends will be tracked accordingly.
Keywords in Title
The title is one of the essential elements of a web page. Generally, you will see the title as a clickable headline on search engine results page. As a general rule, your title must be about the content of your page.
If it is misleading or not relevant to your page content, Google might not index your web page.
Adding keywords in the title helps search engine spiders to understand what your page is all about. Aside from that, it improves your page’s chance of being shown in relevant search queries.
Based on the study conducted by SEMrush, the high-volume keywords group have the highest percentage of pages with keywords in their title. The team also discovered that majority of the pages in high volume keyword group add a keyword to their title.
Using the graph above as a reference, it is clear that the keyword occurrence in the title for all keyword volume group follows the same trend. This only shows that the number of pages that have a keyword in title remains on the same level within a volume interval.
Keywords in Meta Description
The meta description is a meta element found below the clickable headline on search results page. It does not appear on the page content, but only in the page code.
Primarily, the meta description aims to tell search engines what a page is all about. For optimization purposes, SEO experts often include keywords in their meta description. However, Google clarified on their Webmaster Central Blog that they do not use keyword meta tags in site ranking. The results from the SEMrush research study supported this statement from Google.
Throughout all the volume groups, the trend curves remain flat. This means that the occurrence of the keyword in the meta description does not influence the page ranking. Also, less than 50 percent of the pages that rank for high-volume keywords have keywords in their meta description. The percentage is much smaller for low-volume keywords at only 15 percent.
Keywords in Body
Contrary to the result of the study for keywords in the meta description, using keywords in body returns a more positive result.
More than 75 percent of pages that rank for high-volume keyword includes a keyword in the body of their text. Aside from that, the number of pages with a keyword in their body copy is relatively higher for high-volume keywords.
The following are the key takeaways from the SEMrush research study that you need to consider if you want to boost your on-page SEO:
- Include target keywords in the title and body to rank for high-volume keywords.
- 75 percent of the top-20 pages have keywords in their body, and 60 percent have them in their title.
- For low-volume keywords, 25 percent of the analyzed pages have keyword in their body, and only 15 percent have one in their meta description.
SEMrush further advised that if you want to bring relevant traffic to your website, target long-tail keywords. Exact match keywords in your on-page SEO is irrelevant. Work on diversifying the semantic core of your text and make it relevant to the target keyword rather than copying it.