What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO is a search engine optimization technique to help search engine bots understand, what your page is all about. By tweaking and optimizing features like Meta title, description, Heading tags, Internal links, you could increase the chances of achieving a higher rank in search engines.
When it comes to optimizing a website or a blog post, there are two main factors at play:
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
Off page optimization deals with optimization of signals which are outside your website. For example Backlinks.
Today’s article will focus on on-page optimization, and I will be sharing lots of good on-page SEO techniques you should implement while working on optimizing your blog posts.
Best On-page SEO tools:
There are a few popular On-page SEO tools out there that will help you analyze the top 10 results for your query.
Some of these tools will also compare your page with the top pages and give you data backed up recommendations for improving the on-page SEO.
Here is the list of tools:
Using any one of these On-page SEO tools will ensure that you are using the Search data to optimize your article for modern on-page SEO requirements. They are easy to use and could be used by you or your team of writers. This is something I have been extensively using and that’s how you have found my website in Google search.
Now, let’s not confuse on-page SEO-optimization with onsite SEO-optimization.
- On-site SEO refers to the optimization of the entire website with things like Sitemap and setting permalink structures.
- On-page SEO optimizes content for a target keyword within a single blog post. This includes using proper headings, proper keyword placement, ensuring content quality, and paying attention to many other factors.
Why Do You Need On-Page SEO Optimization?
Now, when some SEO’s hear the term “SEO-optimized articles”, they think this is some kind of bad practice.
But it’s not only bad, but it is necessary.
Here is some food for thought:
- Why are you not ranking on the first page of search results?
Well, there are likely a lot of reasons, but if you aren’t paying attention to SEO, then that’s probably the biggest reason.
So when we do SEO-optimization of a post, we follow a certain set of proven methods to rank it higher on a search engine.
Now, Google doesn’t only consider on-page SEO score when ranking an article. It also takes into account many other factors like social media signals (shares, likes, tweets, follows, etc.), backlinks, domain authority, and many other off-page metrics.
Our goal with on-page SEO is to optimize an article in a natural, but smart way, so that search engines can easily pick out the target keyword and bring our website targeted visitors.
Before you read more, I assume you know about keyword research and how to find keywords to target. If not, check out these posts:
- The Importance of Keywords in SEO: A Beginner’s Guide
- SEMRUSH Review: A SEM Tool to Research Competitors’ Keywords
- Best Keyword Research Tools For SEO: 2020 Edition
A lot has changed over the past several years. While off-page SEO is important, on-page SEO should not be neglected.
In particular, the golden rule still applies:
- Content is king.
One thing which I would recommend you start doing is adding in videos to your blog posts.
Videos will not only increase the amount of media on your posts (which will engage users), it will also make your posts that much more informative and content-rich.
You’ll see an example of what I’m talking about in a minute.
11 On-Page SEO Techniques For Better Ranking in 2020
Before I share some specific tricks, here are a few non-technical things that you can incorporate today:
- Improve the user experience.
- Ensure that readers coming from search engines spend a lot of time on your site. If they hit the back button quickly, your ranking will drop quickly too.
- Make sure your site is maintaining a standard of professionalism.
- Use proper copywriting techniques to make people stick around.
- Create good content.
So now I’ll share with you the 10 on-page optimization factors you should keep in mind while optimizing your blog posts.
1. Meta Title
This is the most important on-page SEO factor. The reason for this is because the more attractive and optimized your title is, the more people will click. And in general, the more clicks your post gets, the higher it will rank.
You should try to use the targeted keyword or Keyword phrase toward the beginning of the title (H1) tag, but if that’s not possible, make sure it’s atleast in the title.
You should also not repeat the same keyword more than once in the title tag because you think it will help the article rank higher. It won’t. It could actually hurt your ranking. Don’t do it.
And keep the title length to under 65 characters.
For more on how to write a great title, check out:
- 7 Free Blog headline Generators & Analyzers for More Traffic
- How To Write Catchy Headlines And Blog Titles Your Readers Can’t Resist
Making sure your URL is displayed correctly is an important on-page metric. Again, you should use your target keyword in the URL, and avoid using special characters, symbols, brackets, commas, etc. within the actual URL.
Use dashes to differentiate the strings in your URL structure. These are called “pretty” permalinks and are supported by most web browsers.
Example of a good permalink:
For more on permalinks, check out:
- Which Is The Best WordPress Permalink Structure For SEO?
- How To Change WordPress Permalink Without Losing Traffic
3. Use Proper Heading Tags
You should use heading tags to highlight various headings, sub-headings, and important points.
In WordPress, the title tag is set at H1. You don’t really need to use any more H1 tags anywhere in the article. One is enough. For section breaks, stick to H2 and H3 tags.
Also, don’t use too many H2 or H3 tags as Google’s algorithms won’t like that.
Here is what Google’s Matt Cutts has to say about repeating heading tags:
If you are using WordPress, you can click on content structure at the top to see if you are using proper heading tags or not.
4. Use Table of content
As it has become important to write a detailed article, and some time the articles are as long as 5000+ words.
By using a table of content, you could help users to navigate your long article better, but it also helps you to earn jump links in Google search.
I have explained about this earlier in this video
5. Keyword Density
You should keep the keyword density around 1.5% percent with a mix of LSI keywords. But as Matt Cutts explains in the video below, there is no real magic formula. My recommendation is to use semantically related words to help the search engines understand more about your content.
Use your main keyword once in the first paragraph and again in the last paragraph. And use it in the content where it makes sense.
6. Meta Tags
You should add a unique and relevant meta description with each blog post.
Again, you should use your use targeted keyword in the meta description. I have seen a lot of SEO’s advocate that meta description is not a ranking factor which I believe is not correct. I have seen a great co-relation with optimized meta descriptions and ranking.
While search engines pick up on keywords, it’s also important for users to click on the post. You need to write user-friendly meta descriptions that make sense and are related to your post.
With regards to meta keywords, Google has made it clear that they don’t care about them. But some search engines, like Bing, may still care a little.
Here is the official statement from Google regarding meta keywords:
7. Images with Alt text + Meaningful name
Image optimization does help a lot in driving traffic from image searches.
Keywords in the “image title” and the “alt text” help to make your blog post more focused and targeted.
Make sure you give a meaningful name to image before uploading. And, after adding an image to a WordPress page or an article, add alt text.
Another advantage of using images are:
Images create engagement.
And the more engaged a user is, the more likely they’ll stick around, thus increasing your overall rank.
But there’s one very important point to note.
Large images will slow down your site, and having a slow loading site will decrease your Google rank. So it’s very important to:
For more about how to speed up your site, check out:
For more on images, check out:
- 20 Awesome Tools For Creating Engaging Visuals
- 10 Absolutely Free Websites To Download Stock Images
- 5 Best WordPress Plugins For Finding Images From The Dashboard
7. Word Count Per Post
Blog posts that don’t have a lot of words typically don’t perform well on search engines. That’s because they’re usually seen as being “less informative”.
Of course, there are exceptions, but for a general information-based blog, creating posts with at least 1300 words is the new standard.
It’s always better to be well-researched and overly informative than it is to not provide enough information. This is especially true if you’re targeting highly competitive keywords.
Here is how the find idle word length for perfect ON page SEO:
- Head over to SEMRush
- Create an account, click on SEO content template (Left sidebar)
Enter your target Keyword, and location for which you want to optimize.
Now, on the next page, you will find the idle word limit for your target keyword, like this:
It also shows other data like “Semantically related words” and “Readability” of top 10 search results.
This is the best way to find the word limit for an article that you trying to rank for.
Suggestion: Analyze other posts for your target keyword and see how many words they have.
You can use the below mentioned On-page SEO tools to analyze the top 10 search results for your target keyword.
While there is no “official” count, longer posts tend to rank better because there is typically more information there. For instance, this post is over 2,800 words.
For more on writing informative content, check out:
8. Add Schema
This is underutilized On page SEO technique that you can use to outrank your competitors. By adding Schema (Structured data), you help the search engine understand more about your content.
For example, having your phone number and email address in the footer is definitely valuable for your visitors but the search engine might not make sense of it.
By utilizing schema, you giving context to its relevance.
A simple example is the star ratings (review) you see in the search engine. See example below:
Schema can be used for blog articles as well as on a business website.
If you are not using WordPress, then use this tool to generate Schema markup and add it manually on pages of your website.
FAQ schema is one of the newest schema types, and it could help you improve your content ranking by a great extent.
I have made this video to help you understand everything about implementing FAQ schema type for improving On page SEO:
9. Internal Linking
Interlinking of blog posts will help your blog readers spend more time on your blog, and it will also help pass page rank to other pages of your site.
When interlinking, try to use a keyword as the anchor text, but be very careful not to overdo it.
Internal links that are relevant to the original post show search engines that you are providing extra information beyond what is being displayed in the content.
A good combination of anchor text + internal link, will help on passing link juice from one page to another.
There are a few popular internal link plugins available for WordPress.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, I use the Linkwhisper plugin for managing internal links.
Watch this video to understand how to configure this:
But make sure your interlinking is relevant and necessary.
- How To Improve Your WordPress Site Internal Link Structure [SEO Tutorial]
- 3 Best Solutions For Interlinking Blog Posts In WordPress
10. External Linking
Apart from linking to your own blog posts, it is a great idea to link out to external websites as well. Again, only do this if the information on the external website is relevant to the information in your post.
While linking out to external websites, you should link to trusted websites only. And if you have doubts about the authority or popularity of a website, you can use a nofollow tag to avoid passing your link juice to potentially bad sites.
You should use dofollow links for trusted websites and nofollow links for those that are less trustworthy.
But somewhere authoritative like Wikipedia, or CNN, or a major player in your niche, will not only be trustworthy, they’ll likely have relevant content that your readers will love.
This will make your site appear more credible.
11. Write Engaging Content
You should write engaging content. Period.
If you’re trying to get by with low-quality content and “trick” search engines, you will surely fail.
Your post should be a complete manual for that keyword. You should learn how to engage your audience in a way that works for them. Try asking your readers questions and answering them. Understand what they want to read, and then write that.
If you are unable to write engaging content, people will not spend much time on your blog, your bounce rate will increase, and your rankings will plummet.
For more on creating great content, check out:
- How To Write TOP Content If You’re Not A Native English Speaker
- How To Use Creative Writing Elements For A Better Blog
- 5 Little Known Secrets of Writing Compelling Blog Posts
On-Page SEO Checklist for 2020:
Here is a checklist you can use to make sure you are doing everything possible to rank higher in search engines.
Keyword placement Tips:
- Keyword in the title.
- Keyword in the permalink.
- Keyword in the first 100 words.
- Keyword in the image alt tag.
- Use LSI keywords in the body (use SEMRush to find related keywords).
- Use LSI keyword in H2 or H3.
On-Page SEO Ranking Factors 2020:
- Remove all stop words from permalink.
- Add multimedia (video, slides, infographics).
- Find idle word limit using the On-Page SEO tools mentioned above.
- Optimize images before uploading (compress and resize).
- Optimize page load speed.
- Create a meta title of fewer than 65 characters.
- Create a meta description of fewer than 158 characters. (This is a new meta description limit for 2020)
- Internal links to related articles.
- Outbound links to relevant high-quality sites.
- Use Breadcrumbs
- Use FAQ Schema
Other things not mentioned here:
- Make sure to add an image for Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Make sure to have social sharing buttons either at the end or floating on the site of your post.
- Have related posts after each post to lower down the bounce rate.
Things not to do:
- Don’t put more than one H1 tag (your post title is H1).
- Don’t repeat the same H2 and H3 tags. Read about heading tags for SEO.
- Don’t stuff keywords.
Things to focus on:
- Use your keyword in the post title.
- Use long-tail keywords.
- Content length: It should be based on research. Analyze the word length of the top 10 results for your query and create content with the same or more words than the top 3 results average.
- At the end of the blog post, ask users to take action.
How To Do Proper On-Page SEO of any Articles
So these are 10 tips that will help make your on-page SEO much better and more likely to rank on search engines.
But it’s important to remember:
You can’t trick the search engine for long.
Recommended read: How To Write SEO Friendly Content
The things that rank the highest are the things that are the most informative, the most engaging, and the most useful.
So strive to create content that readers love, and search engines will love you too.
Here are FAQ related to On-Page SEO:
The very first step is to know for which keyword you want your page to be optimized. From here, you can use the above-mentioned checklist or use a tool like SEO writing assistant or Frase to optimize a page for SEO.
What are your tips for optimizing blog posts? Share them with me in the comments below!
Like this guide? Don’t forget to share it!
Note: This post was originally authored by guest author “Anil”, and later updated by me to make it relevant for 2020.
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