You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it, you know how important SEO On Page optimization is, but how do you do it? Why is that always the most elusive thing that nobody wants to tell you? Because they want to keep the secrets for their own website? Probably. Because they want you to pay them to do it for you? Most likely. But why isn’t there a comprehensive guide to SEO On Page optimization out there, ready for you to use?There is, and you’re reading it. Let’s get started with a step-by-step approach to On Page SEO.
First Things First—Setting Up the Basics of SEO On Page Optimization
To start off with, there are a series of tasks that will set the proper foundation for your website through On Page optimization and best SEO practices. Here is what you need to do in order to be in compliance with best On Page SEO practices.
Link Your Website to Google Analytics.
Not only will Google Analytics help you monitor and analyze your web trends and visitors (i.e. are you reaching your demographic or not?), it is also a big factor in Google’s search engine algorithm. If your website isn’t linked to Google Analytics, all of your On Page SEO efforts won’t be measurable.
Link Your Website to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
Much like Google Analytics, this is just laying the basic foundation for good On Page SEO practices since you’ll be able to judge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
If you don’t have this, it will also hurt you in the search engine result pages (SERPs), further nullifying your On Page optimization efforts.
Use the Webmaster Tools to check for duplicate content, missing titles, 404 and 500 redirect errors, warnings and other technical errors to ensure your site is primed for On Page optimization.
Use Plugins to View Your Browser as a Search Engine.
Starting to Optimize Your Content for On Page SEO Results
After you have your basics set up, it’s time to either create or redo the content that you have on your website with an eye towards On Page SEO. Here are some simple steps that every website master needs to follow in order to get the best SEO On Page optimization:
Start Out With Keyword Research.
The best tools for keyword research are still free in Google’s Keyword Research tool, and despite what anyone tells you about SEO being dead, keywords and phrases still matter. Pay specific attention to the searcher’s intent, meaning the semantic search.
The keywords that you research through the tool should also be paired with a list of secondary or LSI (latent semantic index) keywords.
These provide context to your keywords e.g. if your keyword is “rock”, the LSI keywords “quartz” and “diamond” would tell a search engine that the site is very different from a site optimized around “rock” with the LSI keywords “Rolling Stones” and “The Doors.”
An ideal Keyword Density (KWD) Percentage is between 0.5% and 2%, not over nor under. To find the KWD %, simply divide the number of times you use the keyword by the total number of words on the page.
Optimize Your Content Around One Keyword Per Page.
When you write your content, choose one keyword per page of content and LSI keywords to bolster it. Don’t stuff keywords into the content, but rather let them flow naturally.
If you have a difficult keyword such as “lawyer Los Angeles,” you can use punctuation (as in “when looking for a lawyer, Los Angeles residents should…) or small connector words (as in “lawyer in Los Angeles) without affecting your ranking for your keyword as intended.
Put the Keyword in the URL.
For each page you optimize, be sure that the keyword is right in the URL. For example, if the page is optimized around “goat cheese,” the specific URL for that page should be www.worldcheeses.com/best-goat-cheese.
You can do this in the dashboard or control panel of your site, but because it shows up On Page, it is still considered part of On Page optimization.
Keep your URLs to a three word maximum and be sure to add some geographic indicators here if you are trying to rank locally. URLs should never be more than 100 characters.
If you have an eCommerce site, the product or tracking number should be appended to the end of each appropriate URL. If given the option, always use Absolute URLs instead of Relative ones.
Link building is a long and arduous process that nets great results. Don’t build your links too fast and never build weak links. A great way to check which links you should be building is to go through your competitor’s websites with the above Chrome Link add-on or by putting your competition’s websites into Link Diagnosis, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer.
This will allow you to browse through their link profiles and get some ideas about strong links you should build, as well as reassure you that some of the links you already have are unique. To insert the link, go to your text editor and highlight the appropriate text (stay away from “click here” and opt for relevant text instead).
Insert the link via the link icon in your toolbar and select whether you want it to open in a new tab (recommended) or in the same tab (this will redirect the viewer from the page so be sure it’s not a sales page you are taking them from, but rather, to). Be certain to build both external (links to other sites) and internal (links to pages on your own site) links.
Keep Your Title Tags Under 66 Characters.
The title tag on your page is the single most important tag on your website, so don’t overlook it. 65 is the limit for title tags so make sure that all of yours are 65 and under.
A character is anything that takes up a space, including a letter, punctuation or an actual space between words. Use pipes (e.g. fred | flintstone | cars) to separate keywords (but don’t keyword stuff) and try to stay away from other punctuation such as dashes and exclamation marks.
Be sure that your title tags tell the reader exactly what they are going to get from the page, sort of like a chapter title in a book. Use the keywords from the page in the title tags and always write them for humans, but format them for search engines.
If your title tag goes over 65 characters, it will be truncated. Never duplicate title tags on your site—create a unique one for each page.
Keep Your Meta Tags Under 166 Characters.
Similarly, your meta tags Be sure that your meta tags tell the reader exactly what they are going to get from the page, specifically and in pointed language. Use the keyword from the page the meta tag is describing at least once and try to get some LSI keywords in there as well. Your meta tag will show up on the SERP so think of it as an enticing short advertisment to bring viewers to your page via clicks.
Taking On Page SEO to the Next Level of Optimization
After you’ve started to cover these tasks, your site should be doing better in the SERPs, but it is far from what experts would consider optimized. In fact, we’ve saved some of the most commonly forgotten On Page SEO practices for this section, so if you thought you were done, you aren’t alone. But now, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition because you’ll know to:
Use Heading Tags (h1, h2, h3) on All Pages.
Heading tags help search engines and viewers get a quick look at what your page is about by allowing it to be easily scannable. While the bolded text that automatically takes place when you wrap a header tag around content will suffice for the viewer, it’s the actual header tag that keys the search engines in one what to look for.
Your pages should all have an h1 tag—and only one h1 tag—around the title of the page. For instance, if the main title is “Get Free Sushi When You Sign Up with Facebook,” you would go to your CMS and place <h1>Get Free Sushi When You Sign Up with Facebook</h1> tags around the title.
Break up the rest of your content into easily digestible chunks of information via paragraphs, bullet lists and most importantly for On Page SEO, h2 and h3 headers.
Simply put <h2> </h2> and <h3> </h3> tags around your subtitles and your SEO ranks will skyrocket. Be sure to use bold and italics in your copy to highlight important concepts and keywords.
Alt Text in Your Images.
While most people know that images are important for viewers since they are easily digestible, many forget that search engines can’t read pictures. The only way that a search engine can tell what a picture is about (and thereby rank its relevance), is if you put Alt Text in the images via your CMS or dashboard.
In the back end of your site, access the image and in the Alternative Text (Alt Txt) box, type in some descriptive keywords of the picture and the page it is on. If the images cannot be described with the keyword from the page they appear on, then perhaps this isn’t the best image for that page.
All in all, adding Alt Txt will help Google rank you for relevance, but also give your pictures a chance to be found in Google Image Search, creating another avenue into your website. You can also rename the picture file names to be more in line with the keywords, but some think that doesn’t help On Page SEO too much (better safe than sorry, in our opinion).
Proofread Your Content.
This is a bigger deal than many people realize, which is why we saved it for this section. If you have grammatical or spelling errors—or any errors for that matter—on your website, you lose credibility with your audience.
Think about it this way—which would you be more likely to click on and give your credit card information to? “For sell now pleese click here and get one toady!” OR “To get your goat cheese delivered free of charge, simply contact us here today!” The less that you pull your reader out of the content with poor errors, the easier it will be for them to concentrate on your sales pitch and product or service.
The more they stop to think, “Hey look! They misspelled “grandma,” the more time they have to rethink making a purchase with you. Read your content aloud to catch any awkward phrasings as well.
Social Media Matters.
You should now add all your social media buttons to your site, giving viewers an easy way to keep in contact with you on their favorite social media platforms.
This not only helps your customers and leads stay in touch—or better yet, gives you a way to get your marketing content directly to them—but search engines take social media into account when ranking your website.
If your social media buttons aren’t on the page, your SEO On Page optimization factor isn’t doing its job. Be sure to also attach your Google+ profile for Authorship (though Google has recently dropped Authorship from its ranking factors, it’s still a great idea to have it connected).
A Brief Word About Blogging.
One of the best ways to keep your website relevant through On Page content creation and SEO is blogging. When blogging, keep the basic On Page SEO optimization rules we discussed above in mind as they all still apply.
The main difference with blogging is that you can be a little more informal with your content and copy structure if you so desire. Just remember that the content should be original, informative and as always, properly optimized.
If you are blogging about industry standards or common concepts that others have covered, try to provide a fresh angle on the subject, one that is in line with your brand image.
On Page Mobile SEO.
While you can have a separate mobile website built for your business, the best SEO practices require you to simply have a responsive website design so that all of your On Page SEO work on your site transfers over into the mobile application. Instead of worrying about On Page SEO optimization for mobile, simply switch over to a responsive web design.
On Page SEO optimization isn’t a walk in the park, but when you get done with the entire site, you are sure to see results in both traffic and—if your content is fresh, original and helpful—conversion rates. Since that was a lot of information to take in, here’s the key goals that you want to keep in mind as you optimize each page of your website:
All content on the page you are optimizing should be hyper-relevant to one very specific topic, focusing on one keyword, product, service or object.
Each webpage should have its own unique title tag, URL and meta description, each of which aims to bring the viewer a better insight into what the page is about. Be sure to use the keyword and possibly LSI keywords in the title tag, URL and meta description, without keyword stuffing.
All images should be appropriately named via files, but more importantly, have Alternative Text (Alt Txt) that is descriptive and keyword relevant.
Keyword Density should be between 0.5% and 2% on all pages, without being keyword stuffed.
All content should link back to its category and/or subcategory page. External links should also be incorporated into the website and all links should be checked to make sure they aren’t broken.
Websites should be monitored through Google Analytics and Google Webmaster (and Bing Webmaster as well).
After that, all you have to do is create a sitemap and submit it through Google and Bing Webmaster and all of your pages will be crawled and indexed. In a short amount of time, you should start to see your rankings in the SERPs going up, as well as traffic to your site. Remember, if you still aren’t converting once the traffic increases to your site, the problem might not be the On Page SEO optimization, but rather, the sales copy itself. At this point, consider a rewrite or even outsourcing your copywriting.