In this post, you are going to learn 17 powerful techniques for better On-Page SEO step by step.
“An infographic for the known and speculated SEO ranking factors is given below:
Simply click on any of the links below to jump on to that section.
17 On-page SEO Steps You Can Take to Boost Your Rankings in SERPs
1. Make Your URLs Neat, Short and User-Friendly
The very first thing is link structure optimization. Optimizing links or the URLs of your posts will give you an edge over those who don’t.
The more your URLs are longer, the harder it will be to understand, For both the user and the search engines crawlers. Keep it simple and easy to understand. Untidy URLs look like “www.bforboggers.com/2018/06/seo/seo-checklist-for-2018-to-boost”. It’s seriously too long.
A better version of this which we call SEO friendly is “www.bforbloggers.com/seo-checklist”.
This needs to be done in a two-step process. One is set and forget while other needs to be done everytime you write a post.
Here’s how you do that:
Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on your settings tab. Go to permalinks and change it to post name. This will make all your URLs look good.
That was the first part. Next, every time you write a new blog post, or a page or if you post a video/podcast, remembers to do this:
Under the title, There is the permalink setting. This needs to be optimized and we need to do three things:
- Remove Stop Words
- Include your focus keyword
- Remove numbers & extra characters (keep it short)
The main thing you need to do is keeping it short. The slug of your URL should be as short as possible. Consider adding your target keyword and leave it as it is. Since the post you write will be updated in near future and will be still relevant, there’s no need to add a number to it. This is a list of stop words you need to avoid.
Quick Note: Permalinks setting is a part of On-site SEO. However, without doing this, achieving SEO friendly URLs is not so easy and consistent.
2. Optimize your Site Structure
One of the very less attention-getting parts is the structure of your website. Almost every WordPress blog these days are mobile friendly and they look just perfect. Better navigation is bound to increase the time spent by a user.
However, not every theme is SEO friendly. While your page is a part of your theme it is not very hard to understand it plays a significant role.
Having an SEO optimized theme is essential and its main qualities are:
- Pre-added Schema.org support
- Proper format of post title with the H1 tag
- Clean code for faster performance (Speed is an SEO ranking factor)
- Proper site navigation
- SEO friendly design in cache version (more on this later)
There are various free themes that are already using the latest schema and other SEO standards so no worries about getting broke!.
Tip from an experience: When you change a theme, make sure the new one you are suing looks exactly the same as it looks in live browsers. Sometimes cache versions are a piece of codes that cover ruin user experience. This may affect your rankings for your site being not-so-user-friendly.
3. Use H1, H2, and H3 tags, Respectively
Make sure the theme you are adding your post and page titles into H1 HTML tags. Using the improper structure of headings once is not so bad and while using them the proper way is pretty good. Here’s a video by Matt Cutts which explains the topic pretty well:
To inspect if your theme is using your post title in H1 tags, go to any of your blog posts, copy the title, right click from your mouse anywhere on the screen and click on the view source code. Then press CTRL+F and enter the blog post title. You’ll end up seeing something like this:
The following post title is wrapped between H1 tags. If you saw an H2 tag instead, you can either change your theme and choose a better one or simply add a line PHP code. Simply Open includes, go to helper-post-format.php, then find this code on line 52:
$heading = is_singular() ? "h1" : "h2";
Replace the above one with
$heading = is_singular() ? "h1" : "h1";
This will change the title tag of your posts from H2 to H1. You’re all set. One thing you need to keep an eye is multiple H1 tags placement. If you find multiple H1 tags in your page’s source code, make sure to change it into something else.
4. Write a Compelling, and CTR Optimized Headline
Below a video which explains why you need to optimize your post headlines for maximum click-through rates and user attention:
Here, Matt Cutts is giving a strong signal to what we know as “RankBrain”. RankBrain, the “machine-learning” artificial intelligence algorithm is used by Google to analyze how the user interacts and reacts to a site it refers to. This may include CTR, bounce rate and Pogo-sticking and other metrics as well.
One of the biggest signals to the quality of your website is how often it is clicked when shown on Google. If your impressions are high but no one is clicking on your posts, there’s something wrong and Google may not like that at all. After all, it wants to give the best results to its users.
So, optimizing your title strategically by including numbers, Brackets and most importantly adding the focus keyword into it (preferably at the beginning) will help in boosting the CTR.
5. Include & Optimize Images
Include Images in every post you write. Make your posts interactive by adding appropriate graphs, charts, videos and GIFs but make sure you do not overdo it. Images need to be representative of what you write about.
The data from SEOmoz (the image above is a part of it) shows relevant images have a direct impact on how a page will rank. Google has known to promote pages with one image over those who didn’t have at all.
Anyways, using images is crucial for both user experience and SEO.
The next step after adding an image to your pages is optimizing them for speed as well as Google image bots. You can do the following ways, Its simple:
- Install an image compression plugin
- Add an alt text to every image on your post/pages
Now to add alt text to your image, I have got a detailed tutorial on how to add alt text to images you can follow to automate this process. Alt tags are used by search engines bots to know about what this image is showing to the user and by adding them into your images you are actually helping them in a better understanding of your content.
This will help you get more traffic from Google image search.
Pro tip –
6. Optimize Your Title and Meta Description for SERPs
Want a boost in your click-through rate and impress RankBrain? You need to write an attractive meta description and SERP optimized title, but what does that mean anyway?
A title more than 70 characters is like to be shown with an ellipsis at the end and it looks something like this:
Notice how it eats up the rest of the title.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to your titles, you need to keep it close to 60-65. characters. You can remove the separator and blog title from your SEO title if you need more space, Simply edit with Yoast plugin (Hover your mouse & more on this later) and remove:
Doing so, you’ll get more extra space to write your title.
The same thing goes for meta descriptions as well. This is the first piece of content a user will see when your posts are shared or shown on Google SERPs. To make most out of it, give a clear description of what a user will get through your content. It should not be deceptive but creative.
Always Include your focus keyword in your title and meta description.
7. Anchor text Internal Linking That is Content Driven
One of the most underlooked factors is internal linking. If somehow you are having a hard time getting more backlinks, make sure you make most out your internal pages by connecting them.
In every post you write, make sure to include at least 3-5 internal links to some of the most relevant pages, not just any. For a post you write in SEO category, try to link between some of your good content on SEO. This will show Google and other search engines that your interest is in SEO and that you have similar content.
Do not use same, single text anchor to link to a particular post or page multiple times. Always link to words that are two to three characters long or else Google will penalize you.
Use content driven internal link building. try to link between one of your best content to other content with similar content. Avoid linking to thin content or irrelevant content.
Internal links help search engine spiders better crawl your whole site and your blog’s content.
Head over to the post to learn how to automate your internal linking the right way.
7. Minimize Broken Links, Soft 404 & Broken Redirects
Once you start writing blog posts, over the time when you have 100 or more posts to manage, some links you mention in them may get broken which means they may show a 404 error when clicked. Having
A few 404 pages are okay but having a bunch of them is really bad for your UX, server, and SEO.
Always monitor broken links and broken redirects once in a week. When you find one, immediately fix it. You may use broken link checker WordPress plugin or screaming frog for regular checkups. When you need to do this on large scale, you can use the screaming frog as well.
When you redirect a URL to another one make sure to test it beforehand. This will also help you reduce bounce rate and increase user engagement.
Go ahead to your Google search console. Click on this link to go straight to your 404 error information page in search console. Click on the “not found tab” here. It will show you all your 404 errors like this:
It’s going to take time to fix all of the errors but it helps like heaven. Download all of your 404 error URLs and use a 301 redirect to send the traffic to a relevant page instead of showing them a dead one. Now this will also show you all of the soft 404 error pages which show a 200 error instead.
8. Keep a Proper Keyword Density
Pages with a high keyword density are not so easy to read. It is something you can easily go wrong with. There’s nothing like an ideal keyword density for a page but anything between 1% to 2.5% can be considered as good while you need to make sure you are using the LSI and semantic keywords in your content as well.
Here’s what Matt Cutts has indicated as an ideal keyword density of a page:
Yoast SEO makes it easier to maintain the keyword density. Simply install it and every time you write a post after that, Yoast will show you the density of whatever focus keyword you set. In comparison to word count, Yoast analyses the number of time keyword is mentioned in the article and based on results shows you its density.
That is pretty neat and simple. Let us move to LSI and semantic keywords which help Google better understand your content and rank it for multiple keywords.
9. Use LSI and Semantic keywords
LSI or latent semantic keywords are the synonyms of a seed keyword you target. One of the very famous and easy to understand example is about the word “Apple”. Apple is a fruit and a very big & famous brand too. When you hit ad search the word “Apple reviews” into google, how does Google’s algorithm understands the difference between an article on Apple product reviews and apple fruit basket review (If someone has done that)?
It uses LSI keywords to understand the main purpose and genre of your content. This was a huge addition in Google’s algorithm and is known as Hummingbird update.
In this case, LSI keywords for Apple product review may be “iPhone” “iPod” “Processor” “Battery Backup” and others similar keywords. LSso not that Google uses semantic keywords to show better results to its users that are diversified. When you search for Apple review on Google, Google may show you comparisons, Pros-cons, and detailed analysis as well. All of which helps you get better results.
Take a look at these 5 tips for performing semantic keyword research
I love two simple ways to find LSI keywords to use in my content:
- Using LSIGraph tool
- Using Google Suggestions and Keyword planner tool
Simply go to LSIGraph and enter your focus keyword (the seed keyword). In a moment the tool will show you more than 10 different semantic keywords to use.
Use your common sense and pick no more the two to three LSI keywords.
Similarly, Google keyword planner to shows you other relevant keywords to include in your content.
10. Increase Your Content Length (Word Count)
The data, specifically the graph above shows you the average content length of top 10 search results on Google SERPs. The data shows that the average word count for these results where between 2400 – 2500 words. You don’t want to be exact here, but I prefer to write posts that are at least 1700 – 2000 words.
Make sure you elaborate your content where it needs to be. If you write a post which has 5000+ words but gives no value to the readers, It simply doesn’t work. If you are writing on a general topic, 500 words would do the work. But tutorials, How-to, guides etc. need to be written as a resource that solves users problem. If you are creating lots of content that are low quality and cover the same topic, again and again, You may get penalized by Google’s Panda update.
The final factor will be your content quality. Write what’s necessary and avoid useless expressions.
11. Secure Your Website (Move to HTTPS)
Whether you handle sensitive data or not, You should always make your site secured by moving it to HTTPS with a secured socket layer (SSL) certificate.
Google says it’s the future of the web. Indeed it is. The more you work on the security of your users’ data, the more trust you’ll gain. Also note, security is one of the official ranking factors for Google.
Starting from mid-2018 Google chrome browser will start to show a “not secure” label rather than a notification icon in its search bar. That way more users will see that the website they are visiting is secure or not.
Moving to HTTPs from HTTP is simple. Most of the quality web hosts now include a free SSL certificate in their plans. Simply choose a better hosting which can handle your needs that include speed and safety of your data. Never rely on a bad web host just for the sake of a few dollars.
I use HTTPs here on BforBloggers too. I use Nestify hosting with CloudFlare CDN to secure all of your data, just in case you are eager to know.
12. Make Your Website Fast
Google also started to use page speed as a ranking signal. Since it directly impacts user experience and bounce rate, you need to work reducing the loading time of your web pages.
This will help in better traffic retention and conversions as well. Google’s RankBrain follows and learns how users interact with your website and if it takes ages to load, they are going to flee to never come back again.
It’s easy to do but will take a little bit of time. Let me show you how it is done:
- Go to Google Pagespeed Insights and Enter your URL
- Look at the suggestions the tools give
- Each of the plugins listed in this post will solve the specific problem mentioned by Google Pagespeed Insights
To furthermore optimize your WordPress blog, follow this guide.
13. Mobile Optimization
Right from 2015 Google confirmed, mobile searches have kept on increasing and that increment seems to never stop. Making your responsive so that it can fit in all screen sizes can make a huge difference in your rankings and user experience as well.
You can use any of the themes that are based on responsive design. Being responsive means you don’t have to maintain two separate themes for mobile and desktop, instead, the theme changes its size and all of the content shrink without affecting the quality and usability.
Use the Google’s mobile-friendly tester tool to check whether your pages are mobile friendly or not. You can also use Varvy SEO tools to get a complete performance data of your pages in a single report.
14. Add Structured Data
Structured data have very much improved the overall user experience on Google. Rich snippets help users to understand the overall purpose and outcome of your content in a summary. It tells Google how to exactly interpret with your pages. There’s no report that points direct relation between rankings and structured data. However, rich snippets have proven to increase CTR which does have an impact on your overall SEO.
Similarly, Google uses structured data to better understand your content and its purpose. On SERPs it shows a summary and goes beyond by displaying price, ratings, or if its a recipe a time duration, level and much more.
Structured data can be easily implemented on your pages and content by using proper schema.org code. It becomes more simple when you use WordPress because you use a plugin for adding schema rich snippets.
15. Use Outbound Links
Outbound links help with better user experience and connections between content marketers. Believe me, not only it helps Google better correlate with your content, It also helps to build a chain for web benefit.
You want backlinks but you are unwilling to give them to people, Is that fair?
Of course not. when you link to a site and when that site links to another, this repetitive process creates a chain of connected similar content over the web. This way more users can find better content easily and efficiently.
Make a habit of adding at least one outbound links per article. Also, make sure you are linking to relevant and genuine content. Optimize your outbound links to open in new tab and make sure your affiliate links are “Nofollow”.
16. Add Social Share Buttons
Social shares are a strong ranking signal when it comes to content level SEO. It gives search engines the hint of people enjoying your content. Users won’t share what they won’t like so simply getting more shares is an effective signal of getting more engagement.
Use share buttons on your posts and pages.
Adding a share button will definitely trigger more users attention. All you need to do is make it very easier for anyone to share your content and floating social icons are just perfect.
17. Remove Thin Content (or MERGE)
Thin content is something you want your visitors to see but search engines don’t. You may have a post that needs to be only 200 words long (a post that may inform something specifically to your readers). However, search engines may not show these in SERPs.
Because they don’t add value. So, Instead of writing a content that’s way too short, add it into a pre-existing post and make it more in depth.
Follow Up Summary & Checklist
Here is the complete Guide On How to Correctly Optimize Your “Articles” to Make them appear At the Top using quick rewind on above-mentioned tips.
Content-Length – Content Is King we Often say. You will find Many Articles Stating To write Articles Above 1500 Words. I Myself Wrote many times about this, although Content-Length Isn’t The Only Thing You Need to Focus. Keep The Quality Standard High. Make it A Whole Source of Information so your readers don’t Have To Go Anywhere else. Extend where you can. Don’t Add Unnecessary Words.
Prefer Writing In-Steps Articles –
What we do when we hear about a Complex Analytical Tool for WordPress, Or when we hear about Installing and setting up of Breadcrumbs (Navxt)? Even installing Plugins and themes in WordPress is a stressing Task for Beginners. They tend to Find “In-steps” articles for better understanding. Explaining them with Step-By-Step Guide will Dramatically Increase Your Website engagement and Ratings. “The more Helpful an Article is, the More it will get Successful”
*Note – Google Also “Features” Articles in the Top position which are written with Detailed In-Steps.
Also, remember to Put Images Respective to the Steps involved. See My Siteground Sign-up Post.
The faster you Write, The Better you Receive –
Always try to find what’s coming up next in your niche. Think upon How your readers are gonna find it? It should be You, be the first one (or at least try) to Write About Newly launched Services, tools, and products. Help your readers find the best one Other than what’s trending in the market. This will help you rank at the top of the google search Results.
Search Engines have a great Respect for Blogs that are consistent and provides fresh content. Schedule your posts on a fixed time either once in a week or Twice in a month and so on. Update your ping list or use tools like ping-o-Matic. Always keep updating your previous articles with new resources and methods. Delete low-quality posts and Keep your Audience targeted to your best articles.
Research Keywords –
Use tools like SEMrush to help you analyze what’s the best keyword for your content. SEMrush also helps you With providing Data about what your Competitor is doing to increase traffic. This is like a Ninja data. something completely different from your regular SEO tools. Keywords trigger your article and on several Things like its density, quality, and value related to keywords, Google ranks the articles.
*I suggest New Bloggers to start using a lesser competitive keyword in the beginnings to help their blog getting a significant presence over the web. Higher the competition, lower the traffic for new blogs. You cannot stand in front of established bloggers in your niche with high-value keywords.
Target long tail keywords –
You need to target less competitive keywords that have a fair monthly search volume. By doing that, no matter if you are new you’ll get organic traffic and rank high. But what if you rank for only one keyword? That’s why you should use long tail keywords based on user intent that will help you rank for multiple keywords.
Interlinks boost up your SEO, Interlinking your articles will provide better navigation and Content Integrations to your audience, so they don’t have to roam around your site looking for the relevant details. This helps to Decrease your Bounce Rate.
Insert Outbound Links –
Outbound links a.k.an External Links Are Just Great And one of the most beneficial Techniques to implement In your Blog posts. External links no only Helps search engine to show your posts in Relevant keyword search but it also helps you to create Relationship with other bloggers. Yes, we do notice when you mention us in your articles and We feel glad. Similarly, you will do when someone links yours.
Images are different from text in case you don’t know yet. Engines can’t crawl them like they Do the text. So what helps them? Alt text and Title Text.
Always add your keyword as the Alt and title text. This helps Google to easily understand what your images are about.
Compressing Images –
Google always focus on user-friendly Sites which load Faster. With images having large size your site will load A little bit slower but we know “Every millisecond Counts”. Compressing images have nothing to do directly with your SEO but we are talking about RankBrain here so user experience should be a concern.
Add Images – Try to Add Images on every article, Of course, It isn’t necessary but it does affect the SEO Slightly because you won’t be appearing in Image Results. Moreover, I have Tested both of them, and every time engagement on the image attached article was more.
Recently I started using Ryte, It’s an Insight and Analytical tool which provides In-depth and Detailed information on the status, indexability, user experience, server uptimes, Errors, suggestions, issues and More. You can also connect it with google analytics and Webmaster.
*You can also Checkout details about your Competition website with Ryte, its free.
Analysing helps you to understand what your users do when they land in your specific page, what they look most for, where do they come from, what device do they use, the particular time you are mostly getting views, Bounce Rates and clicks etc.
Use this data to plan your posting time, provide relevant articles, better reach and error corrections. Remember, analyzing will help you keep going and perform better in the long run.
Implement CDN and SSL certificate.
It’s official, Secure and faster website rank higher in search results. Use CDN to make your website faster and easily accessible.
SSL Certificate encrypts the data transferred between server and responder to ensure it isn’t reachable to hackers. Even if you don’t accept payments and sensitive info, making your website secure is still important and should not be overlooked.
Submit A SiteMap
Submitting a sitemap helps search engines to understand where to find your articles by providing them links. This makes your website more crawlable. If you use Plugins like Yoast, Don’t worry about sitemaps, they are Automatically generated. This is a very important step and you should have done it if you haven’t yet.
Always look for Errors and Grammatical mistakes
Proofread your article. Read twice your own article. Compare with your competition. Become your own critic. More error will gradually decrease your Audience and increase bounce rate. Use tools like Grammarly and Ginger, they are free.
Use keywords As Your Slug
Use your keywords as your slug. This helps you get more SEO friendly by Increasing Density of keywords. Also, remember to put your keyword in the First paragraph of your article or Meta description.
Ex- Non updated- www.bforbloggers.com/p=123
Updated slug – www.bforbloggers.com/blog/why-is-it-necessary
*Update your permalinks setting to automate this.
Social Appearance & Presence
social media will play a very important role in increasing your Web presence. Platforms like Facebook, Quora, Twitter, and Pinterest are highly effective in Search engine appearance. Make your account representing your work. Add social share buttons to your posts.
You must do a research on the topic you are going to write next no matter how much you know about it. Keep things straight and explain each and every term.
Time to change your Host IF –
If you’re facing downtimes more than 3 times a month, Change your Host. Upgrade to better services. High Downtimes degrade the quality of your website and search engine start to ignore, and eventually, you may be blacklisted.
I use Nestify to host this blog.
Make Navigation Easier
Make it easier to navigate through your website. Help user to reach where they want to. Drop down menu is the best. Enable breadcrumbs To help search engines see through your navigation and arrange results accordingly.
Use anchor text keywords
Often New bloggers link posts with words like Read more. Or Learn More etc., but this isn’t useful for search engines, try to link more Directly with keywords. Don’t overdo it by linking to one article with the same keyword every time.
Following the steps will help you to gain a significant amount of traffic in 2 weeks of implementation. try not to leave any of the above methods. SEO is not a one-day charm, you have to keep it doing again and again because every minute someone is starting a blog in your niche and you have to be in the Competition.
Keep yourself focused on SEO and Content equally, Publishing Content isn’t going to do everything, you have To optimize your site. Practicing SEO Will always give you more than it takes, and over the time it will turn your blog into a business.
I will keep this post updated to ensure you don’t get behind the world and I suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.
Over to you and Conclusion
All of the strategies when teamed up will genuinely help you get better rankings. Make sure you are following each tip along with the other. Practicing one while neglecting other won’t help that much.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure the content you publish satisfies the user intent. After all, that’s what Google wants. Keep your writing style natural and make your content epic.
Building backlinks are important but it takes time. Meanwhile doing proper SEO will gradually make your content get higher rankings without waiting for years to come.
What is the purpose of your content, What difference can it make? Ask yourself these questions next time you write a post.
I’ll appreciate if you’ll share this post and don’t forget to share your favorite on-page SEO tip in the comments section below.