Let us discover together everything under the sun when it comes to On-Page SEO!
Whatever you can do to make your website optimized on location, i.e. on your website for the search engines is called On-Page SEO.
Which further means that whatever you can improve, upgrade, renew, optimize whether it is by creating high-quality content, build more internal and external links or perhaps by simply removing dead links, or it could just be about choosing and using the right keywords in the right places within your article, by writing highly effective meta data (title, description), is called on-page SEO.
Lets begin with the number one factor when it comes On-Page SEO: Content!
- 1. Create Good & Unique Content
- 2. Optimize Meta Data (Title, Description etc.)
- 3. Improve User Experience
- 4. Link Internally and Externally
- 5. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
- 6. Incorporate Social Media Share Buttons
- 7. Incorporate Multimedia
- 8. Improve Site Speed and Performance
- 9. Keep Your Site Updated
- 10. Create Longer Content
- 11. Build a Brand
- 12. Create Engagement
- 13. Give it Time (Indexed Age)
- Valuable SEO Tools
1. Create Good & Unique Content
Good and unique content is crucial, perhaps the number one most crucial factor when it comes to long-term SEO. This is a point many will no doubt point out. That being said, one inevitably is bound to come up with the question: How on gods green earth does a search engine decide what content is good or bad? Isn’t that an entirely subjective experience that a machine can’t possibly have, at least not in todays age?
Yes this indeed a perfectly fitting question, and the answer is that of course, the google search engine doesn’t have a personal taste when it comes to content but that there is a set of complex algorithms that decide whether the content is quality or not. These algorithms include for example
- How many websites link back to your site, (backlinks)
- How long visitors happen to stay on the page. (session time and bounce rate)
- Amount of internal linking to the specific content.
- Social cues and signals
These are invaluable indicators for the search engine to what constitutes a high-quality content and website.
So now that we know what the search engine behaves towards content, more specifically good content, how can we go about creating it?
Creating High-Quality Content
The number one thing to do when it comes to creating great content is to write something you have experience in. If you write about something that you’re not somewhat knowledgable and passionate about, it will be quite evident for the reader rather quickly. Now you don’t necessarily have to be a grade-A expert in that given field, but it should at least be something which you’re familiar with and open to learning more and diving deeper.
This is in fact why I created this website OnWebTraffic, to “Learn while I teach”, as the great Stoic philosopher Seneca once proclaimed.
Number two is to offer a unique yet helpful perspective on a certain topic. Try to avoid rehashing the same information that is already out there on other websites. If you are going to provide with content, let it be informative, creative, helpful and unique.
Number three is to seek feedback and be open to reflections by your readers. This can prove to be a very healthy habit for the overall quality of your content. You can do this by a “call to feedback” if you will, at the bottom of your content or at the sidebar. Engage the reader, something which we will discuss more of later on.
Number four is to simply read and write a lot, creating good content is the same as many other things, i.e. arts, music, sports, etc, The same as in the more time you give it the better you get at it. To write good sh*t you simply have to read and write a lot, or at least enough. I myself read a lot a couple years ago but not so much lately, while I’ve written truckloads this past year. However I now feel that I need to somewhat balance it out by reading and learning more about those things that interest me and perhaps start writing again when I’m all charged up!
Extra Tip: Solve problems and offer solutions! Try to solve some of the readers problems or at least answer some important questions in the content your providing, this makes the information much more valuable.
Bonus Tip: Use the right words! Though I mentioned that one need not be the best expert on the topic one is covering, having some awareness of the nomenclature or vocabulary of the niche your in is indeed rather valuable for SEO purposes. Which furthermore means that your content shouldn’t be too thin, flat and superficial, but should have considerable and necessary depth to it.
Extra Bonus Tip: Avoid duplicate content, let each article be a light unto itself!
2. Optimize Meta Data (Title, Description etc.)
The number two obvious thing to do is to create and optimize your meta data. Meta data is simply that information which tells the search engines what your website page is titled, what its about, url-tag,
For starters try to write a good title, description, URL-tag of the page which contains the fundamentals of your content.
The Title Tag
The title tag is undeniably the second most important on-page SEO factor, the first being which we covered just above, namely the content.
Why is the title tag so important?
Well simply because it is the FIRST thing both the search engine and the searcher sees and registers.
Therefore writing a good, enticing and captivating title is crucial for SEO success.
A good title is one that includes your focused keyword, ideally at the beginning of the title, which really hints to the search engines that your content is mainly about that specific keyword.
The length of the title is also important, because if one makes one that is too short it loses dominance in the SERP while making the title tag too long makes it susceptible to being trimmed by Google. In other words don’t make the title tag too short nor too long. (Try to keep it above 50 and under 70 characters)
Good Title Tags Example
Lets say your article is about relaxation products for homes, you could write the title tag in many different ways but for the sake of practicality, I’ve listed three examples below:
- Relaxation products
- Best relaxation products for a serene home
- The ultimate best relaxation products for your home that you can relax and calm yourself and your family.
Among these examples, number two is definitely the way to go.
The first one is to short and uninformative, and the second is just about the right length that describes enough of the article, while the third is too descriptive and long for a title tag. The last one could almost be used as the description tag.
Speaking of those..
The Description Tag
A great description for your webpage and content is also one that includes your keyword, and one that is natural, clear and to the point. Try to summarize the content in below 160 characters worth of text. Why 160 characters?
Well chiefly to avoid that Google (mainly) and other search engines to automatically cut it short (create a snippet of it) because of its extensive length.
Though the description tag in it self may have no ranking value for the search engines, it does have SEO value indirectly for the visitors browsing the search results.
Along with the title, the description tag is like your second chance to attract a potential visitor. It could even be seen as a form of advertising to the searchers.
When creating many pages, make sure that you avoid duplicate descriptions, even if the articles are in the same category and quite similar.
Simply take your time and create an unique description for each page.
The URL Tag
To have the focused keyword in the url of the content page is also a good SEO habit.
For example if you have an article about meditation called: How to Meditate for Relief of Anxiety, you could use take the richest and most relevant keywords in the title to the url tag, which would end up looking something like this:
In other words try to
Stay away from ugly URLs: onwebtraffic.com/p=x59 and
Long URLs: onwebtraffic.com/11/12/2017/topic=SEO/what-is-seo-how-to-improve-your-results-best-ways-doing-this-optimizing-keywords
Well yeah you get the point!
Keep it clean, concise and natural.
In conclusion when it comes to optimizing meta data, clarity and conciseness in your message is key. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid unnecessary repetitions and spammy language, which means to try to keep it as natural and genuine as you can when writing them.
Tricks of the Trade # 1: if your using WordPress or another similar CMS, make sure that the categories and tags don’t overlap, meaning that don’t create duplicate pages to the same keyword. In other words, if you have a category called “Passive Income”, avoid creating an tag also called “Passive Income”. This can to some degree confuse the search engines when crawling your site.
3. Improve User Experience
Number three on this on-page SEO list is to simply work on optimizing the user experience on your site. This means among other things, to have a responsive site, reduce the amount of broken links and always keep optimizing the overall experience of your site.
Well among other things, if you can’t keep the attention and interest of a visitor and potential customer, you can be quite sure that search engines will take notice and register that.
In other words, user experience determines how long the visitor stays and the likelihood that they’ll come back.
Things to mostly keep in mind when analyzing and trying to understand your websites user experience is bounce rate, session times and click through rates.
Bonus Tip: Try to figure out what works and suites the theme of your site. An good example would be websites that are about minimalism, which I’ve noticed them often avoid having sidebars, as is the case in OnWebTraffic. When it comes to the minimalistic sites, I’m guessing they remove the sidebar as an attempt to stay true to the philosophy minimalism, which I feel rather makes sense.
Try to figure out what makes your site the best it can look and simultaneously offer the best interface you can offer.
4. Link Internally and Externally
Another great way to make google crawl and index your site all the easier is through internal linking. Many people forget this fact, as they can be just as important as quality backlinks, which we will discuss later on.
I would say that a general rule of thumb is having about 3-6 internal links per 1000 words in your content. This makes your content and your site highly interlinked which is awesome for search engines (Google digests your site better trough proficient internal links) and it also makes the experience intuitive, accessible, and effective for the user.
Yet another thing to keep in mind is to try to have your internal links mostly in text-format, meaning avoid as much as you can image links to different parts of your website.
If you for some reason, whether it be design, theme, have to keep your image links, don’t forget to accordingly write an appropriate ALT-tag. Which further means that the specific keyword the link is pointing to should be included in it!
Keep your links visible, preferably in text format, and relevant to each page and content.
Why internal links?
Well aside from the obvious SEO factor of the search engines indexing your site more effectively, they are also important to help the visitor navigate around your website’s pages. By internally linking keywords and phrases in your content, you enhance the visitors and readers experience of being at your site. They get the information they are looking for faster and its so much smoother. Think of Wikipedia, now what would wikipedia be without their amazing system of abundant interlinking.
The reason Wikipedia is so great is that you can jump from article to related article in an instant. Their structure is second to none
I’m not saying start internal linking like crazy just as Wikipedia, but rather to understand the user-friendliness factor which good internal linking brings, and how its important for both the search engine and the visitor alike.
Bonus Tip: Try to always have links available to your most popular content on all pages, this is a good habit to develop and keep in mind. You can either put them in the sidebar or below post.
While we are on the topic of links, it is also a good SEO habit to have a couple, at least 2+ outbound or external links to relevant websites to the topic of your content.
Well simply because this really helps the search engines further understand what exactly your writing about.
For example if you are writing a blogpost on the best flower seeds to plant during spring, you could have an outbound link to a page that provides in-depth information about a certain seed, information which you may or may not cover in its entirety on your post.
Tricks of the Trade #2: When linking externally make sure the link is opened in a new tab which helps decrease your over all bounce rate and also keep your website relevant to the visitor/user.
5. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
Things have changed since the humble beginnings and middle’s of the internet, and if you don’t have a good mobile version of your website, Google and other search engines will definitely penalize your over-all SEO for this, especially for the mobile users of your site.
It is estimated that more than 60% than all internet users are now done through mobile means, phones, tablets and the like.
If you are unsure if your website is mobile friendly “enough” for Google, have a look at this mobile-friendly test by Google, it designed to do precisely that.
That being said, most control management systems (CMS), most notably WordPress, and blog themes have now incorporated mobile-friendliness as an inherent feature of their system.
However if you still use a static html website, you could go about making it more mobile-friendly by either creating an unique version of the site for mobile or by making it responsive for different platforms.
Extra Tip: Consider going the step further by installing Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which is designed to improve your websites overall (content, ads, etc.) performance.
The ability for others to share your content is not a feeble thing, and this includes incorporating social media share buttons to help your overall on-page SEO.
Imagine if someone comes across some really helpful and important piece of information, which then he/she deems that many of his/her friends and family would greatly benefit from. If you don’t have a couple accessible share buttons (fb, twitter, g+…), then that person has to do it manually. Which means that he/she has to copy your url address, access their social media page of choice and paste and send. While it isn’t a ton of work, it is some, enough for many to not share it.
Well, we’re lazy thats why!
Moral of the story: Get a social media share plug-in or code for your website.
7. Incorporate Multimedia
Multimedia is huge, and if you don’t have a variety of interactive features on your posts, it can end up hurting your SEO.
To keep the visitors attention and fascination is an important aspect of gaining momentum with the search engines, and what better way to do it, than providing a variety of different outlooks for the visitor to enjoy.
Add & Optimize Images
If you don’t have images on your blogpost or article, you can be quite sure that Google and other search engines notices that. The point is not to spam the post with images but to add a couple quality images with a good alt description.
Remember not to overdo your website with images, because this can significantly influence important SEO factors such as, user-experience, site speed etc.
Have quality photos supremely relevant to the content of your pages, also place them in a structured way not to confuse or irritate the visitor.
Let the alt descriptions be clear and concise and don’t trick the search engines by spamming irrelevant keywords in it, this will end up working against your SEO progress.
Extra Tip: Consider installing a Pinterest share button or another appropriate social media plugin that activates when one hovers over the images on your site. This is a great way of making your images and content reach more people.
Add YouTube Videos
Start adding relevant and quality youtube videos to your content. The videos doesn’t have to be your own, but if you do have a YouTube channel with your own unique content, that’s just icing on the cake.
So why is video good for on-page SEO?
Well, videos are great, not only for the premium value of video content, but also that it makes the visitors on your site stay longer. Which is as we’ve covered or will cover, a considerable ranking factor in the eyes of Google. If a visitor becomes captivated by a great video that you’ve embedded on your site, that makes it possible for that visitor to have your website tab open for quite a long time! Which of course, increases his/her session time on your site.
Bonus Tip: The video you’re featuring should ideally contain your main keyword of the article, or at least a synonym or something semantically related.
Another great option while we’re dwelling in the multimedia department of on-page SEO, is podcasting. Podcasting can do wonders for your site, not only by giving it depth, authority and credibility but also more specifically for your SEO. This is especially the case if you transcribe or write down a uniquely written summary of what points were covered in podcast.
Extra Tip: If you can’t be arsed to transcribe your podcast, you could either hire one to do that, or depending on the quality of your articulation have it rendered into text via speech through a software of some sort! I don’t know, I’m just sayin!
8. Improve Site Speed and Performance
To keep visitors at your site is important as you might know by now, and if your website is hellishly slow you can be quite sure that visitors will just exit your site and visit some other cozy corner of the cyberworld, Check your website loading speed at GTMetrix for a detailed report on your websites performance and what you can improve!
While we’re at it I can mention a couple quickies for site speed optimization.
Besides upgrading your web hosting, which is off-page, here are a couple practical ways of optimizing your site on-page.
- Clean and/or delete unnecessary HTMl & CSS code
- Deleting old plugins and unusable themes and etc if you have a blog
- Use a fast-loading effective theme
- Getting a caching system to smoothen the time spent on your site
- Don’t have too many high-resolution images on one page or find a way to reduce file sizes for them
- Reduce or eliminate all forms of advertisement
9. Keep Your Site Updated
Always try to post regular new content and keep your existing content up to date, which means that if you have some old and grey content laying around your blog, see what you can do to refresh and rejuvenate them so that you can provide with the most relevant information to your visitors.
Google likes this very much!
Because think about it, if Google main goal is to provide the user with the best relevant answer to their inquiry, some answers get old. There are constantly new discoveries and developments in most fields and disciplines.
Keeping it updated is good!
However some content do indeed have a significantly longer shelf-life, especially ever-fresh or timeless topics such as history, philosophy, spirituality, religion and the like…
Bonus Tip: To update your old content doesn’t have to be a gargantuan task, the key is to identify what has changed over the months or years and from there rewrite it.
10. Create Longer Content
A couple of different online SEO surveys and studies have maintained that longer content, 2000+ words are showing up more frequently on Google’s first page search results.
What does this mean?
CREATE Longer Content! Of course!
But this doesn’t mean that you should spam nonsensical nonsense, no this means that you have to figure out a way to keep the high qualitative aspect of your content while lengthening it simultaneously.
Try to be creative with what constitutes your content, you could have quality excerpts from knowledgable people in your niche or the like. Always try to vary the content.
How to Create Longer Content
- Outsource content if you’re not already doing this, and/or pay more to the writers you are hiring.
- Publish less often but more content, i.e. be patient and take your time with each article, which means that you shouldn’t always be in a hurry to publish an X amount of articles, give it time…
- Do a podcast and transcribe it to written format. You’d be surprised how much words can come out of ones mouth when talking straight for an hour! If you are tired of writing, you could either do a podcast on your own or have a friend or someone competent enough to have a interesting dialogue with.
- Create a listicle! I find lists to be one of the most fun and best ways of creating longer, quality and engaging content. This massive SEO post is an example of a very, very long list!
11. Build a Brand
To make your site more memorable and enjoyable for the visitors of your site, what you may be lacking is a solid brand that provides your website/blog with a identity.
It makes your site come alive by giving it a recognizable likable face, if you will.
So one of the great ways of building a brand is to have a great logo!
Another way of establishing your brand is to be unique, that is to offer something on the internet which other websites or companies don’t have. It could be a certain product, a cool feature on your site, anything that makes your website stick out a bit. Something memorable and captivating!
Bonus Tip: If you are serious about growing your website, organization or company, try to give a couple of hours at contemplating, planning what your site is all about and what its purpose is in a larger scope and scale.
12. Create Engagement
By having different features on your site you create a more interactive and dynamic relationship with the visitors. But perhaps more importantly, and this is related to the topic above, you end up effectively building and establishing your brand by creating an online community surrounding the main topics of your website.
Here are a couple of such ideas for your site, ideas which makes your visitors personally engaged with the content your providing, and this can prove to be great for new users wanting to return to your website because of what your brining to the table,
- Opinion Polls
- Q&A Section
- Free Gifts / Coupons
Competitions can be incredibly effective when trying to shake things up i.e. boost the interactivity of users. Though competitions aren’t viable in all niches, in some they can do very well, as for example poetry websites which have a monthly submissions/results.
By opening up the way for discussions, in the form of forums, blog comments, feedbacks, you are effectively creating a stable community where they can fall back to and express themselves whenever they feel like it.
This is related to the above, and can prove to be very effective idea from which you could either gather valuable data on the visitors and users of your website, and also for making the experience of visiting your site more interesting.
No wonder most news websites are fond of utilizing this technique of engaging the reader with the content.
As is for most cases the same rings true for quizzes when it comes to viability. Where some niches could really use one to spice things up while it wouldn’t feel appropriate for others.
Quizzes can be really fun and can do wonders for your site if done correctly.
Q & A
Some niches absolutely need to have a Q & A section while others absolutely need not.
By now you’re probably are getting a hang of the diversity of tools and techniques one can employ depending on the nature of ones site. Try to play with these ideas in your head and see if your website could gain from adopting one or more of these ideas.
Free Gifts / Coupons
Lastly, by regularly creating coupons or offering free gifts to your loyal fanbase, you could make them even more loyal to you. You could also gain more new good-willed users all the easier when doing this.
13. Give it Time (Indexed Age)
Organic SEO most often comes after a certain amount of time and hard work. This is because there are thousands of new sites that search engines are discovering and registering each and every month. Google and other search engine needs to build a certain trust for your website before they can introduce their users to your site.
This is a general rule in SEO, especially Google, as they are keen on the indexed age of your website. Meaning that a completely new website will have it way more difficult than a site that has been indexed for a considerable time in their database.
What does this mean for you new comers?
Keep at it and the tides will change! (most likely)
This is why one some times need to give it time. Keep working hard, creating and publishing great, high-quality content and do everything you can to optimize everything on the articles, and sure enough somewhere along the line the search engines will notice and reward your work accordingly.
Extra Tip: Though being analytical is a good thing in the internet marketing world, one advice I wish someone would have told me is to not be too heavily invested in what appears in googles search results. Do your thing as best as you can, keep a open mind and check when necessary to see what has changed when analyzing the behavior search engines.
Valuable SEO Tools
Without tools for understanding our own sites and their performances, we are effectually stumbling in the dark. It is therefore very important to know what resources are available out there to better understand you site both on-page and off-page.
On-Page SEO Tools
These on-page SEO tools are indeed crucial to understand the mechanics and performance of your website. Most of these on-page are free or have a free version of them available for your usage.
- Google Analytics (Google’s priceless and free analytics tool that lets you investigate many different important metrics and factors on your site)
- Google Webmasters (Another superb free Google tool, that lets you focus on everything search related)
- Beamusup (A simple SEO crawling software/tool to find out what errors and shortcomings may be present in your site)
- Serpworx (A browser extension software that gives you SEO x-ray vision, i.e. you get to see intricate details of the sites that show up on the SERP)
- Yoast SEO (A wordpress plugin that simplifies on-page SEO by pointing out what you need to work on)
- LSIgraph (A site where you can find related and variant words/synonyms/keywords to your main keyword, LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing)
- Keywordtool.io (Another good tool for finding keywords)
- Schema Markup Plugin (Schema mark up is where you can add relevant code and information about your company)
Now that we’ve gone through everything we can do on-page let us explore what we can do off-page.