On-page SEO has sort of become a buzz term when it comes to building traffic on the interwebs. No longer can you just write good stuff and throw it out there – if you want organic traffic, you have to work for it.
Thankfully, when it comes to on-page SEO, you really don’t have to work too hard. With just a few tweaks and good practices, you can optimize your content to drive more traffic to your site!
So, without blah-blah-blahing, let’s get into what on-page SEO is and how you can apply it to your site:Why is SEO important? Google looks at your page's content to determine where it should land in the search query. How often do you stray from page one of Google's search results looking for an answer? Probably not often. Click To Tweet
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO, or on-site SEO, is a way of optimizing your page so that they rank higher in search engine results.
Well, Google does. Google looks at your page’s content to determine where it should land in the search query. How often do you stray from page one of Google’s search results looking for an answer?
Not many do.
So in order to gain traffic through search engines, you need your stuff to land close to the top – and on-page SEO will help you with that!
Once upon a time, keywords were all you needed to get Google’s attention. However, Google has evolved to looking through your content to see if your post is good enough to appear on the coveted first page.
Google wants to present relevant content so that its users find what they were looking for right away. If not, people wouldn’t bother with Google. They may (gasp!) use Bing instead.
On-page SEO will help you join the ranks of high-quality search results.
How to Optimize Your Content for SEO
The key to good on-page SEO is, well, keywords!
Use your main keyword once within the first 100-150 words of your post. Google is quick to pick up on keywords used early in your content.
When it comes to keyword frequency, you want to make sure you are adding your keyword throughout your article without doing what’s called “keyword stuffing”.
Google wants to know that your content will provide the information its users are looking for. If you only include once, Google will not be confident that your post will deliver.
If you use your keyword 6-10 times in a way that is natural and organic (not just shoving it in there for the sake of having it there), Google can be more confident about your post’s topic.
2. H1 and H2 Tags
The H1 tag is the highest-tiered heading tag and is mostly used for the title of your post. Having an H1 tag helps Google understand the structure of the page.
In most cases, WordPress will automatically designate the title of your post as an H1 tag.
You should also include your target keyword in at least one H1 tag. For this post, my target keyword is “on-page SEO”, so you can see it is included in the post title.
You can also use H2 tags to optimize your on-page SEO. That’s why I tend to title lists using an H2 tag and then use H3 for each list item.
Again, this post is a great example!
3. Outbound and Inbound Links
Using outbound (a.k.a. external) links also helps Google figure out the topic of your post. It also shows Google that your content contains quality information backed up by outside sources.
Internal linking is also important for on-page SEO, especially when you link to high-authority pages on your site that need a traffic boost.
You can use a tool like Ahrefs to search your site’s pages and posts (as well as other people’s sites) to see which ones have the most link authority. Add a few internal links in those posts to high-priority articles that need some attention.
Changing your permalinks is perhaps the easiest way to boost your site’s on-page SEO.
If you look at the address bar of your browser, you will see the URL of this post. I can control the way it is structured along with the words used in the address.
You want to stay away from long and complicated permalinks. To change this, go to your WordPress dashboard and click “Settings” in the left-hand menu. Then click on “Permalinks”.
You can see that I’ve selected “Post name” for my permalink structure. You can also use the “Custom Structure” option to add in the category name.
To change the actual URL of your post, look at the top of your WordPress post editor.
Right under the title, click the little “Edit” button to change the URL of your post. Here, I used my keyword and separated the words with dashes (which is necessary).
Be sure to keep your URLs short and include your main keyword. If your keyword is only one word, add a few more words relevant to the topic of your post.
5. Title and Meta-Descriptions
The title of your post can also impact your on-page SEO because it gives Google a high-level overview of what your article is about.
Try to keep your keyword close to the beginning of the title (if it makes sense to do so) and use modifiers such as “best”, “guide”, and “checklist” to round out the title and provide more information.
You also want to ensure that your post has an optimized meta-description. If you have Yoast SEO, you can change your meta-description under the content section of the Post Editor:
A good meta-description, which should include your keyword, will help your post stand out in search results and boost your organic CTR (click-through rate).
Your description doesn’t have to be a work of Shakespeare – as long as it’s short, includes your keywords, and gives the overall flavor of your post’s topic.
6. Unique and Valuable Content
Google’s whole purpose is to provide search engine users with the absolute best results right away. This is why getting to the first page of Google is so important! (And, actually, the whole crux of SEO optimization.)
To do so, Google wants to see unique content – not content that is duplicated or regurgitated a million times.
While you’re not going to be able to come up with amazingly unique post ideas 100% of the time, it’s useful to try and focus on presenting something new or an old idea in a new way from time to time.
If you can’t post content that is super unique, then focus on posting something super valuable!
In order to write valuable content, try these tips:
- Add images, screenshots (guilty!), infographics, charts, etc.
- Write content that is concise and not too wordy.
- Present brand new strategies, steps, and examples.
- Offer first-hand experience so that readers know you are the real deal.
7. On-Page UX
UX is just shorthand for “User Experience” and defines how your readers experience your page.
If your content is clunky and your layout hard to stomach, readers are going to “nope” from your site real quick.
Apart from having a beautiful and eye-pleasing layout, you need to write your content in a way that grabs a reader’s attention. Because, to be honest, most are just going to skim and peace out anyway.
To do this, break up your content using subheadings, images, bullet points, quotes, call-to-actions, ads – whatever you can do to space out your words and give your reader’s eyes a break.
Check out my post on how to write readable content!
On-Page SEO Checklist
Now that we’ve gone over how to improve your on-page SEO, here’s a checklist for on-page SEO you can follow every time you post an article on your blog:
- Include your main keyword in your title, H2 tags, permalink, meta description, and content (within the first 100-150 words plus 6-10 times throughout the article).
- Write original and valuable content.
- Make your content easy to read (H2 tags, short paragraphs, images, bullets, quotes, etc.)
- Add high-authority internal and external links.
- Make your permalinks simple.
- Add a meta description.
There you go! On-page SEO sounds like a complicated concept but it really isn’t. With a few tweaks, you can noticeably boost your site’s traffic!
That’s all from me – short and sweet and to the point.
If you have any other SEO tips, share them in the comments below!