On-Page SEO means optimizing your page content as per the best fit for search engines. That sounds simple but many of us often make delirious mistakes when it comes to on-page SEO.
I wish someone had told me these tips straightway when I started my blogging career. But I had to find all these in hard ways and by constantly learning and self-educating about them. I am extracting the juice of my learnings of doing on-page SEO and I sincerely hope it helps you.
So, welcome, it’s your guy Vipin here. This on-page SEO post is targeted to beginner bloggers and website owners. I recommend you read the full post to thoroughly understand why these things are important SEO factors.
SEO is huge and on-page SEO is one of the most important parts as the majority of search engines use these metrics to flag your content, whether it is valuable and worth presentable to the user or not. Well, the majority of searches are performed on Google only. So if we refer to Google here, you assume it for all. Let’s first discuss why on-page SEO is important?
Why is On-Page SEO important?
Simply put, optimizing your blog post/page will enable you to get more eyeballs and eventually more traffic. When Google crawls your page, the optimization you did allows it to better understand what your page is about, the relevancy, context, images and so many other things. This helps Google understand your page better and helps you give ranking in Google search results.
But remember, content is still the king. You can’t talk about pizza in half post and green apples in the other half unless they’re related somehow. You may win Google for a moment but if the reader is pissed and hits back button too soon, it’s gonna send a signal to Google that something is wrong and eventually it’ll lower your rankings increasing bounce rate.
Treat your readers as above all, no matter what. Treat them with respect, they’re the ones sacrificing their time to read your blog post. Don’t fake or phish.
Guide To Do On-Page SEO Flawlessly
Now let’s do, in an easy, step-by-step method on how to write SEO optimized blog posts or a page.
H1 Title Heading and Focus/Main Keyword
Language HTML has H1-H6 headings (tags). Google sees them as H1 being the most important and H6 being the least important heading. Generally, the SEO community recommends not to go beyond H3.
Your title or main heading is the most important part of your blog post, so it should be wrapped in H1. Makes sense, right?
But where should you get to know what heading tags your WordPress theme has for a title/main heading?
This can generally be found in Customizer -> Typography/Blog/Headings.
WordPress uses H1 by default but some themes may overwrite it. When I can’t find it, I usually Inspect via Google Chrome to know. You can do that too by right-clicking on the title of your post and find the tag in the code. See:
Now, the focus keyword. It’s the word that your blog post/page content should be centered around. Say for example you are writing a post on types of pizza people can make at their homes. In this case, your keyword may be ‘home pizza recipes’, making pizza at home’, ‘home pizza’ etc. Don’t forget to see the keyword difficulty before you choose a focus keyword.
You can manually write your focus keyword in Rank Math and Yoast SEO plugins. Use one of them. To find the best keywords, you can use Ubbersuggest or Google Keyword Planner.
Simple Permalink or URL
Permalink or URL of your blog post should be the simplest. Don’t make it long and hard to understand. So catching from the aforementioned example:
https://yoursite.com/home-pizza-recipes/ is better than https://yoursite.com/types-of-pizza-you-can-make-at-home/
Don’t forget to include your main keyword in your permalink.
That’s why top pages ranking in Google have the simplest URL. For WordPress users, you can change your permalink in Setting > Permalinks or directly while editing the post/page.
Include modifiers in your title. Modifiers in your title not only increases click-through rate (the want to click on a page/link) but also helps the user understand key factors related to your post. That maybe year you published, something you’re giving away or the number of steps you have in the post.
Here are a few examples:
“How to make delicious pizza at home? (+ 5 Unique Recipes)” – whoah, I am getting 5 recipes as well.
“Home pizza recipes that make you forget about life (2020)” – this post seems to be the latest.
“How to make pizza at home in 12 easy steps (Guide)” – I don’t know anything, the guide will help me.
One thing you should always remember that you don’t have to sound pushy or fake. No one likes these things. So make sure you deliver what you promise in the title of the post, otherwise, users will be pissed.
Right Way to Write Meta
By meta, I mean the title and the meta description. Make sure your title is no more than 50 characters and meta description is no more than 160 characters. And include your main or focus keyword to both.
The meta description is the description you see under the title when your site appears in Google search results. See the pic:
A good way to ensure you do this right is to use SEO plugin – RankMath or Yoast SEO.
Include Engaging Media
Our brain thinks in visuals. Good visuals attract attention and make your readers keep reading till last. So it is a good idea to include engaging images that stand out. But what is an engaging media after all?
I am telling you a little secret here. And this really helps if you write how-tos and guides. Make a video of your guide, upload it to Vimeo or YouTube, and embed it in your blog post. That way you’re actually helping people who don’t have much interest in reading.
So, engaging media can be anything — but typically, it is infographics and good images. Try to be personal and don’t link stock images unless you don’t have any other choice. Remember you’re building a brand, not just a blog or website.
You can be humorous too. But keep in mind, humor is an art and if you don’t know this art it may end up negatively affecting on-page SEO of your site.
For way too long, I had not followed this stupid rule. And ended up naming my images as 1.png, 2.jpeg….and only to acknowledge it later — WTF man!
Alternative texts are for images and they help crawlers to understand what your image is all about. And the reason is simple – crawler is a bot and it cannot understand images, unlike us humans.
It is also recommended that before uploading images you name them correctly. So a photo of the Taj Mahal should be named so instead of 1.png. And obviously include a caption after uploading them to your blog/page because that’s what your visitors will see.
In short: alt text (or alternative text), captions, and name of the image are all that you’ve to do with the images you upload. Oh wait, there’s one more thing…
Google has more than 200 factors that they use to rank a website in search results. And website speed is one of the most important among them. If you think it carefully, this makes sense. The majority of users browse from mobile and if your site fails to load fast, chances are they’re going to hit back. Google doesn’t want to give users what they don’t like and so this should be the same case with your brand too. User experience is necessary.
What may load fast on a desktop may not necessarily load fast on mobile devices. But don’t worry you don’t have to follow technical jargon to achieve that. Few simple tricks can help you. Compressing images make the page lightweight and level up the load time.
There are many ways to compress. You can use a WordPress plugin like a Smush or a computer tool like ImageOptim.
I’d say website speed has mixed opinions among SEO experts and it is of course not the top factor that you should drool over or overwhelm yourself with but it is one of the important ones – surely.
Don’t Shove Keywords
Keywords are no doubt an important factor. But if you’re going to deliberately push into your content without the context or ‘real’ need, beware you may get penalized for ‘keyword stuffing.’
This is a bad practice. It ruins user experience and hurts your image as a brand. If you are serious about your work, avoid it at all costs.
So, what should be the ideal percentage of keywords (Keyword Density)? There’s no ideal percentage or one-size-fits-all. SEO experts claim that once every 200 words is fine. That means for a 2000 word article your keyword should appear around 10 times. Meaning 0.5%.
I’d recommend making a balance, as much you brutally can and don’t piss people because you wanna rank at the top.
Insert Internal Links
Suppose you’re writing content on ‘How to capture good images via DSLR?’ and you’ve already written a piece titled ‘5 Best Cameras For Capturing Insane Images.’ You can link each piece of content with each other so that it might help the audience if they’re looking beyond.
Internal linking is an on-page SEO factor that many overlook yet it is so simple to do.
Insert Do-Follow External Links
Gone are those days where you could link to an external website and make links no-follow to win the game. No-follow links do not pass the juice. In simple words, Google crawler doesn’t consider the value of the linked site if the link is no-follow. In the do-follow links, it does and link juice is passed.
But this shady technique is no more effective. So if you’re linking to some other websites, make sure that they are do-follow. This will help your on-page SEO in the long run. After all, we are a community here.
Include LSI Keywords
What the heck are LSI keywords? LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. Ideally, these are the keywords that exhibit the conceptual or abstract idea about what your content is. Let’s understand it with a simple example.
Say, you are writing a blog post on apple. But how on Earth will Google or any search engine understand that you are talking about the apple fruit and not the tech company Apple? Simple – you will include words like fruit, red, health, wellness, etc.
It’s understandable on a range of topics and generally is not vague but LSI keywords become a key factor when you are writing on very specific topics. Besides, they do no harm but improves your chance of getting visibility.
You can find LSI keywords for free by analyzing what Google suggests to you. Here’s how:
Also, check for LSI keywords at the last of a Google search where it shows “Search related to.”
Keyword Ideas in Google Keywords Planner is nothing but LSI keywords.
In-Depth & Long Content
Gone are those days where we could fool the search engines writing thin content and stuffing keywords. These are nothing but malpractices now. And here’s how you avoid them.
By long content, I do not mean just for the sake of being long. What I want is that you write in-depth articles and be as comprehensive as you can be solving all the problems that you possibly can. The goal is to make the reader say ‘wow it really helped me.’
Be more thorough and deep than your competitors and this way you’ll not only be valuable but defeat your competitors as well. An ideal blog article at the present time would be no less than 1500 words.
This is one of the best strategies for on-page SEO that has impacted my travel blog Misfit Wanderers growth to a very greater extent.
Stay Small But Write Big
One of the main reasons why newbie bloggers fail the game of on-page SEO is because they write big paragraphs. There’s nothing wrong with that but it makes your article boring and hence you couldn’t captivate non-reader audiences.
Readability matters and to increase the same, follow these basic points:
- Use subheadings to declutter or group,
- Use bullet points,
- Write short paragraphs (3-4 lines),
- Use tables and illustrations.
At the start of your blog, you can include a table of contents (search for plugin on WordPress) to ease the storm. This helps the user.
Make Your Page Load Fast
I don’t know if it’s a hype or not, but recently it has been noticed that website’s page loading speed has become one of the most important factors affecting your SEO – on-page SEO.
It makes sense because as a user you and I wouldn’t wanna waste our time on a sluggish or slow-loading website. It will frustrate us. And Google just wants to make sure it doesn’t frustrate its users, so it’ll only focus on fast loading websites.
Okay, now how do you and I make the page load faster? First, here’s a tool to check your website speed.
It can be a little too technical but I’ll share the best practices without getting into the jargon. Do these:
- Use CDN – a good one is Cloudfare,
- Lazy load images with a Lazy Load plugin on WordPress.
- Use a good cache plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket.
- Using a good hosting provider – two of them I trust most are Bluehost and Namecheap.
- Use the Smush plugin to remove unnecessary data that image carries.
- Unless its required, make sure your image is optimized for the web – not too high in resolution, not too low so it pixelates.
CDNs are cloud delivery networks, meaning they serve a copy of your page to the user from their nearest location cutting down the load time. So if a Canadian clicks on my Indian site, he or she will be served a copy of my page via a cloud server nearest to him/her. This service is provided by many and one of the popular ones is Cloudflare.
Schema is a logical database. Think of this as a structure whose content can be rendered, and accessed by Google. I know it’s a bad analogy but bear with me here. See these pics:
Observe the questions appearing below the meta descriptions. Saw?
These are FAQ schema aka Frequently Asked Questions Schema. Simply put, you have to answer 4-5 questions centered around in your topic and put it as a FAQ schema on your page. You can add FAQ schema via free RankMath SEO plugin and Yoast Premium plugin.
To find questions use AnswerThePublic or QuestionDB.
I have personally found that this technique helps in the better ranking of pages. So I use them whenever necessary. Please note that you don’t have to be fake or irrelevant. Again, user experience matters.
There are many types of schema such as news schema, article schema, etc, and you can read about them here. Also, RankMath has support for some of these types of schema and you can implement it via their plugin.
Core Web Vitals (Effective from 2021)
Core Web Vitals are the newest addition to the metrics of measuring SEO. They are a part of an on-page SEO strategy and ensures that users get the best experience out of a page he/she visits.
In Google’s own language, web vitals are the metrics for a healthy site. You can read a lot about it here but I will explain it without getting into technical jargon.
Core Web Vitals consists of 3 things – Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
LCP is affected by your page performance. How fast your page loads, responsiveness, etc. For making a page load faster there many factors involved like using a good hosting provider (Namecheap and Bluehost are my goto choice), CDN, etc. At a later stage, I’ll write a full-blown post on it.
FID measures how much interactive your page is. If you use a lot of widgets, plugins, and other jargon that might make your page feel like a full gut, interactiveness becomes an issue then.
CLS is visual stability. Your page has buttons but do they move from its place after you have clicked on it? Congrats you have got a CLS issue. If any visual element is not stable – flashes, moves, disappears, etc, before or after a user interacts with it, you might be bugged by a CLS issue.
But hey, simmer down. I didn’t mean to make you go crazy. These things are not yet effective and will be probably by 2021, so you gotta time to fix them.
You can measure your Core Web Vitals using Google’s PageSpeed or if you have Google Search Console set up, you can do it there.
As you can see, all these metrics focus only on one thing – user experience. And that’s what I have been telling you since the start.
Fixing them won’t be an easy task but it is doable. First, you need to understand and remove stuff that you do not require. One of them is unnecessary plugins. View your website or blog from the point of a user – does it look good to you? Are you happy?
I know I haven’t gone in detail about Core Web Vitals because I’ve to A/B test on these metrics and I’ll be probably coming later with a full post on it. Till then, educate yourself about it.
Conclusion: What did you learn?
I hope you enjoyed the reading and learned something new out of this post. These on-page SEO methods are often overlooked when we are a beginner and cause SEO problems at a later stage.
If you are starting a blog or website, be sure you follow the checklist and share it with your friends looking to start a blog. That would be a big help.
All in all, if you have any questions in mind, I’m here to help. Comment and I’ll be back to you.