On-Page SEO is ridiculously easy.
I have seen a lot of website owners frustrated for not being able to elevate their site rankings and also SEO experts making it really tough. But it is really simple as I said it earlier. It is mainly about keywords, website UX, link structure, and most importantly the quality of content. This post is aimed at making a comprehensive On-Page SEO guide for the beginners.
On-Page SEO is making your web pages friendly to the search engine bots in order to rank higher in the search engines. It is the process of optimizing your site content to ensure maximum visibility on the web.
There are actually many points to be noted while taking care the SEO of your WordPress site. We have to look at various ranking factors that determine the position of your website on the search engine result pages (SERPs). Among them, keywords are the most crucial one i.e. selection of a suitable keyword, keyword placement, density etc have a greater role in search engine rankings.
In addition, Google algorithm updates are the most important things to consider. Being up-to-date with the algorithm changes doesn’t only keep your site safe from the possible penalties, but also provides you the insights to improve your site SEO.
Google has updated mainly three major algorithm changes, viz. Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird. Since it is essential to know, below are the major points of those Google algorithm updates which can give you a quick overview of doing a penalty free SEO.
Google Panda Update:
- Google Panda is launched to prevent the websites with low-quality content from ranking higher at the search results. There used to be thin and low-quality content ranking at the top of SERPs before Panda update.
- What you have to do: Create lengthy, in-depth and high-quality content that adds value to the readers.
Google Penguin Update
- Google Penguin Update is focused on preventing spamming through unnatural link building. Since, links are vital to improving the search engine rankings, webmasters had started manipulating search engine rankings by unnatural link building; spamming or buying links.
- What you have to do: Try to earn natural links b creating trust on the users, link your blogs to the high quality and relevant blogs only, and avoid duplicate content.
Google Hummingbird Update:
- Unlike other Google updates, Google Hummingbird Update is not penalty-oriented. It is focused on delivering the search results in a better way for the users. The logic is to prioritize high-quality content that is able to solve the users’ queries than the ones using the exact keywords aggressively to rank better. Use of long-tail keywords and Latent Semantic Keywords (LSI) earned value after this update.
- What you have to do: Focus on giving the best answer to the users’ queries than using the exact keyword everywhere. Creating a user-friendly and resourceful content is all which can help you rank better.
Besides these three updates, Google Pigeon update and various other unnamed updates have been made and it continues to change. However, it is quite sure that users will be at the centre of every algorithm update.
Keeping the Google algorithm changes in mind, you can start optimizing your WordPress blog for ranking better on SERPs. Below are the major on-page SEO techniques to carry on for standing out of the crowd and driving high search traffic back to your site.
I have mentioned them in mainly four major points, which I broke down into result-oriented small techniques further. Let’s explore them:
No doubt, keywords are the first and most important part of your SEO job. A keyword is a single word or a phrase which defines a subject or information. In general terms, it is the word or phrase users type on the search box to find information.
The first task is to figure out the best/ most appropriate keyword for your page or post. You have to be clear on the content of the page or post for keyword selection process. There are different types of keyword research tools which can help you chose the valuable keywords for your posts. However, you can always start your keyword research campaign with Google Keyword Planner which provides the number of real-time searches per month and enough LSI keywords as well.
a) Include keywords in page title
One of the most important places to feature a keyword is the page/ post title. The post title is often in H1 tag (Heading one) by default, which is easily indexed by the search engine crawlers. Make sure to use your target keyword and create an attractive headline for your post. The ideal length of the page title is 55 to 60 characters since most of the search engines display so.
b) Include keywords in permalink
Another place to insert your focused keyword is page URL or permalink. To make the permalink SEO-friendly, you have to use the keyword in the permalink. Using ugly URLs with date, post number, long URLs with the whole page title will deteriorate your on-page SEO.
c) Meta description
Meta description serves as the summary of the blog post, which is displayed just below the page title and URL in the SERPs. Since search engine users can read the meta description without opening the page, it has to be properly written including your target keyword. Researches suggest that a large portion of users depend on meta description for entering a web page.
d) Keyword density: Keyword in the first 100 words
Using the keyword properly in the body of your blog can help you improve your SEO in a great deal. It is ideal to use the target keyword compulsorily in the first 100 words (First line if possible) and the last paragraph. The use of target keywords in the every 700-1000 words along with the long tail and LSI keywords can improve your rankings.
e) Heading tags
Heading tags like h1, h2, h3, etc are also very important for your site SEO. Since h1 tag is used for the page title, h2, h3 and other tags must be wisely used for the body part of a blog. Using keywords in the headings and subheadings also boosts your site SEO. However, you should always be careful while using the keywords. Using keywords aggressively and repetition of heading tags irrelevantly can also lead your site to penalties.
Latest updates in the Google Algorithm are mainly focused on improving the user experience. The trend of keeping the users at the centre makes the webmasters create high quality and problem-solving content to the users. The time users spend on your website, bounce rates etc are considered to measure the user experience. UX is a major element to focus for the WordPress development companies today.
Various factors determine the UX including page speed, the design of the website, engaging content, use of multimedia etc. let’s discuss each of them briefly below.
a) Page speed
Kissmetrics blog reports that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, 7% reduction in the conversions dues to 1-second delay in page response. Since page speed is a vital UX factor, it is essential to ensure improved loading time of your website. There are various WordPress optimization tips to speed up your site including the use of speed optimizing plugins, image compression, CDN services etc.
b) Multimedia: Images, videos, infographics, diagrams
Another important way to make your website visitors stick on your site is to create engaging content using multimedia. Embed relevant images, videos, infographics, charts, and diagrams so that users find it easy to learn certain kind of information easily. While inserting the images, make sure that they are compressed or minified. Besides, you must use appropriate title and alt text for the images, videos or diagrams so that search engine crawlers can index them.
c) Use social sharing
Doubtlessly social media is a greater platform for creating communities and being engaged nowadays. We love to share our ideas, news, views and anything we like on the social media networks like Facebook, twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn etc. So to reach out the wider audience and keep the website users engaged, you must use social sharing options for your blogs. Like, comment, share options provide users enough space to express their opinion on your content and ensure the user engagement as well.
Another important part of UX is the design of your website. The recent trend of browsing websites through the handheld mobile devices has made it compulsory to make a website responsive. A responsive website adapts well on both large and small screens and displays the site content beautifully. If the site loads well on all types of devices, you can ensure more happy users. Indeed, the user feedbacks have a great role on your website’s rankings.
Linking is definitely a great way to increase the Domain Authority (DA), Page Authority (PA) and elevate your site rankings. Various link building schemes were practised by the webmasters to rank higher in the SERPs before the Google Penguin update. Creating links unnaturally is discouraged by the Penguin update, however, linking the relevant and high-quality content has a great value in the on-page SEO. Building links with the high authority blogs provide the grounds for the authenticity for your blog as well. Creating a trust among the users and other blogs is the only way to receive the backlinks for your site.
a) Internal linking
Internal linking means sending a link to another post/ page of your own website. It serves as a bridge for the knowledge gap among the users on a certain subject. You can send links to a post/ page with detailed content through an anchor text. It aims at providing the users easy access to learning more on the topic and engage on the site. Proper internal linking is very useful.
For example, I have sent in a sentence above. Let me mention it again below.
There are various WordPress optimization tips to speed up your site including the use of speed optimizing plugins, image compression, CDN services etc.
Here, anchor text is ‘speed up your site’ which sends a link to another post.
b) Outbound linking
Outbound links are the links that direct you to some other website or domain. It is a way of building trust among your website visitors by sending them to other related domains. It works as evidence that your post is based on plenty of research and data. In addition, it opens a door for building a good relation with another blog, and probably a link back to your site.
4. Quality content
Last but not the least, creating quality content is another very important on-page SEO factor. Various Google Algorithm updates till today have focused on improving the quality content which can add value to the readers, provide solutions to their queries, guide them properly, and give insightful ideas. Quality content is the one, which is written from the users’ perspective and to fill the knowledge gap. There are different software (https://www.plagiarismsoftware.net/) and websites to check uniqueness of the content – you can try them.
a) Write engaging content
Like I mentioned earlier, writing an engaging content is very necessary to reduce the bounce rates and ultimately rank higher on SERPs. Articles based on in-depth research and experiences often provide the beginners good read and better ideas for their prospects. Using the comprehensive infographics, diagrams, charts, fact sheets, images, video tutorials etc can enhance the fan engagement of your site content.
b) Post long content
Once there was a time when thin content could rank at the top of SERPs, but the case is no longer so. The content length really affects the rankings and conversions nowadays.
The longer content tends to rank better in the search results as it can provide a greater deal of information that users require. SEO experts advise that the minimum word count has to be 1500 extending to 5000 words. Write a long and insightful article for better SEO.
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Besides these, there might be more on-page SEO techniques to boost your site rankings. I will timely update this on-page SEO guide with more result-oriented tips. So, keep following us.