On-Page SEO may sound like a scary and complicated term for a difficult topic best handled by experts, but it’s probably one of the easiest types of SEO for a beginner to get involved with.
What is on-page SEO?
It’s very simple! On-page SEO is simply the search engine optimization techniques you use on your own website, without considering other tactics like getting backlinks or submitting your website to a directory (and things along those lines).
If you don’t know what SEO is, it’s just making your page as readable as possible to a search engine, so that you can capitalize on all the free traffic it will send you by being the perfect answer to a user’s search query.
Whether you have a little or a lot of HTML experience, affecting On-Page SEO is pretty straightforward and doesn’t take long to really understand and get good at.
What you may not realize is that nobody actually knows all the in’s and out’s of ranking high on a search engine. It’s our best guess after experimenting with different things.
The methods I present to you here are a collective result of a lot of smart people experimenting, testing, and analyzing their on-page SEO efforts.
Let’s take a look at the different pieces involved in creating “perfect” on-page SEO for your blog.
Keywords and Keyword Research
Keyword research is too big of a topic for the scope of this article, but can be simply defined as finding the right keyword to optimize for, so that people can find you through search.
One key fact is that you’re probably never going to rank high for a keyword with a lot of competition, or something that’s too broad, so plan accordingly using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.
When writing a blog article, use your keyword as a % of total word count. SEO Hacker recommends a keyword density of about 1-2%.
The basic rule of thumb is to make sure that the page title has your keyword featured, as well as at least one of your header tags.
Using Bold, Underline, and Italics makes your content more readable to the user and is a slight SEO indicator. According to Go Blogging Tips, this means that you should use your keyword in a bolded, italicized and underlined state.
This is an additional vote of confidence to the search engine that the content you had fits the needs of the user. Just make sure not to go crazy, remember readability is your #1 goal.
Links out to Other Sources
Google and other search engines take into consideration the outside research you’ve done to put together an article. As such, don’t be afraid to include external links
Depending on what you blog about, this can be very easy… or extremely hard. Think between the lines.
Just as you should focus your efforts on linking out to other websites with relevant content, you also must also focus on linking the contents of your blog to other pages on your own blog.
When Google sees a site that links to itself several times over, it’s easier for it’s robots to map it out and translates to a better search experience for the user, and being higher on the search results for the blogger.
You should also submit a full sitemap to Google through its Webmaster Tools section. This supports the idea of inter-linking content.
While Google can’t necessarily read what image you used and determine that it fits the bill of the keyword a user is searching for, it can read other things like the title you gave the image (example.JPG), or the alt tag, which describes the image to a screen reader program.
If you use WordPress, it’s easy to change both the title (if necessary) and add in an alt tag without digging into the backend code! Shopify has even more helpful SEO tips for images.
This is an extremely important step that ties everything together. Without it, you’re risking demotion to the second page of the search results or worse – when you could have had a top result.
One of my favorite plugins is Yoast, which helps you accomplish most of these things without giving them much thought!
You feed Yoast your primary keyword and it makes sure that it’s used in all the relevant and necessary places to achieve optimal on-page SEO.
It gives you a red or green light (same rule as cars!) for moving forward and having the piece of mind that you’ve successfully optimized your page.
SEO is becoming easier to grasp, but is constantly changing!
What are some tips that have helped you rank higher in search engines? Let me know in the comments!