In SEO, most website owners usually focus more on building backlinks when trying to rank a website or blog, without paying attention to on-page SEO.
I have prepared an infographic that will help explain the essential on-page SEO steps to rank your website higher on Google.
When trying to rank a website for search engines, it is essential to pay attention to both the off page optimization and on-page SEO.
On-page SEO has to concerns every optimization you make within your site, whereas, off page has to do with the external factors that affect your site ranking on search engines; these factors include backlinks, social media and social bookmarking.
Although both off page and on-page SEO are important for good search engine ranking, this post will focus more on on-page SEO only. Perhaps I will talk about off page SEO in a different article.
That said, I will be discussing 16 steps to handle on-page SEO like a pro. Always try to apply these 16 tips in all your website to improve search engine rankings.
Infographic for 16 On-page SEO Steps to Rank Your Website Higher
1. Start Your Titles with Your Keyword
Your focus keyword for every post should appear on your post title, preferably at the beginning of your title. This is because the closer your keyword to the beginning of your title, the higher the impact it will have with your search engine ranking.
See the two sample titles below, with “on-page SEO” as the focus keyword;
“On-page SEO: 13 Tips to Build a Search Engine Optimized Web page.”
“How to do On-page SEO in 2018.”
Considering the above examples, the first example is a better-optimized title and will perform better in search engines since the title begins with the focus keyword “On-page SEO.”
When it comes to on-page SEO, your title tag is a very crucial factor you should consider.
2. Your Title Should Be in H1 Tag
H1 tags tell search engine bots the content of a particular web page. Hence, your title should be wrapped in an H1 tag since your title explains the main content of the page. Not having your H1 tag at the title of your pages might make it difficult for search engine bots to understand what your web page is talking about.
If you are on a CMS like WordPress, by default, your title is wrapped in an h1 tag. So you need not worry about adding an h1 tag to your titles since it already exists.
However, in some case when you install a custom theme, the theme might overripe the default h1 tag present in your title. In such a situation, you will have to add the h1 tag manually.
If you use WordPress, after installing a new theme, always check your websites source code to be sure your titles are still wrapped in h1 tags.
You can do by using ctrl U on Chrome and Firefox.
3. Use h2 Tag in Subheading and Include Your Keyword
At least one of your subheadings should be in h2 tag. Also, ensure your keyword is present in the subheading with the h2 tag.
4. Avoid Long or Bad Looking Permalinks
Your page permalinks is another essential factor to consider when handling the on-page SEO of your website. Always ensure the permalinks are short and clean.
Avoid URLs that resemble the examples below:
Rather, your permalink should be clean and short like this one;
Try to make your site URLs as short as possible.
5. Include Your Keyword in The First Paragraph of Your Post
When creating your site posts, try to include your keyword in the first paragraph of your post. The keyword should appear within the first 50 – 100 words.
You should do this all the time if you want to have a well-optimized page. Also having your keyword in the first paragraph of your post body helps search engine bots better understand what your page is all about.
6. Ensure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
I can’t stress more on the importance of this factor. Google loves and tends to favor mobile-optimized websites. If you already own a site and it isn’t optimized for mobile, then you need to do a redesign.
When building your website ensure you go for a responsive design or you create a different mobile version of your site.
7. Optimize Your Site’s Images
Always optimize your website images for search engine ranking. I usually try to include at least one image with my keyword as its file name. If I’m going to add just one image to a post, then that image must bear my focus keyword as it’s file name.
Another vital factor to consider when optimizing images is the alt text and image size.
Adding an alt text is very easy if you are on WordPress. At least one image on each site content should include a keyword in its alt text.
The alt text also contributes to explaining the content of a web page to Google bots.
Ensure you compress large images before adding them to your website. Images of big sizes tend to affect your site’s load time negatively, and this will have a significant impact on your site’s ranking.
Google frowns at websites with slow load time, and one way to make a site load quickly is to use light images on all web pages.
8. Write Long Posts & Add Multimedia on Your Contents
Content is still king. So applying all the other on-page SEO tips on bad contents isn’t going to produce a good result.
I recommend creating valuable lengthy contents within 2000 to 3000 words. Spice up the post with relevant pictures, videos, and infographics. Not only will these make your contents appear beautiful but will also improve engagement on your website, hence reducing website bounce rate.
If you can’t keep up with the recommended 2000+ words count as I stated above, you can try to do 1000 to 1500, but I advise you never go below 1000 word count.
There are sites you can get stock images for free. Such sites include Pixabay and Unsplash. Do not make the mistake of copying images from other blogs. Otherwise, you may land yourself in some copyright issues.
9. Link to Your Pages Within Your site Content (Internal Links)
When creating contents, link to your existing web pages. I recommend you link to only pages that are related to the topic you are writing about. Do not give interlinks blindly.
Add at least 2 internal links in all your posts.
10. Link to Relevant External Website Use (Outbound Links)
This is another good on-page SEO practice that a lot of website owners ignore. Some people do not link out to external web pages for fear of losing “link juice.”
Well, just like using the h1 tag on your title and adding your keyword in the first paragraph of your site contents, linking to related external web pages also helps in letting Google understands the content of your website.
So I see no reason why I shouldn’t link out to a site with valuable contents that are relevant to my readers
Also, ensure the sites you are linking to are not crappy. They should be high-quality websites with good contents.
11. Use Social Sharing Buttons
Your social share buttons shouldn’t be missing or hidden on your website. You can put them at the bottom of every post to allow users to share your great contents on social media.
Having a good number of shares on social media tells Google that your site is producing high-quality contents that users love. Hence, you need to fight to get more of such shares to enable you to land on page one quickly.
Huge social share on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ will have a good impact on your website SEO. Always take advantage of every opportunity to get your post shared on these three platforms.
Encourage your readers and friends to keep sharing your contents across the three social media platforms.
12. Improve Your Site Load Time
Like I already mentioned, Google loves fast loading pages so you should always try to optimize your website pages for fast loading. Make use of fast hosting servers, caching plugins, CDNs. Remember always to compress your website images.
Here is an article on Crazyegg that explains how to speed up your site load time.
13. Use LSI Keywords
A lot of website owners are not aware of this factor and some who already know hardly apply it in their articles.
LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords are simply related keywords to the topic you are talking about. Rather than only focusing on exact match keyword, also pay attention to topic match by using these related queries in your article.
You can find them at the bottom of Google’ search result page whenever you search for a particular keyword.
14. Consider User Intent
Have you ever searched for a keyword on Google and notice the web pages displayed on page one follow a similar pattern?
Well, Google pays attention to how users relate with web pages. They take note of the Click through rates and time spent on the site.
For instance, a search query like “Car services near me” is likely to produce search results showing car mechanics listings or car servicing company websites.
Here the user is merely looking for a mechanic to get his or her car fixed and may not necessarily be in search of car servicing tips or anything of that sought.
So optimizing for the above keyword on an informational article talking about car servicing tips may not be a good idea. You might experience a hard time trying to get your site to the first page of Google if you follow that direction.
However, a review of the “best car servicing companies” within a particular location will be a better content to optimize for such keyword.
You need to understand the intention of the searcher.
15. Increase Time Spent on Your Website
The longer the time people spend on your website, the better the result it will have on your site ranking.
A user spending so much time on your website strikes a signal to Google that your site is bearing useful contents. Otherwise, the user wouldn’t have remained.
When users land on your site and leaves immediately, such action tells Google that answers weren’t found on your website, hence, they tend to bring your page down and put up the pages they believe and more relevant to the users.
To reduce bounce rate, always post long contents and make use of exciting multimedia. I recommend more videos so users will spend some more time on your site watching your videos. These videos should be of good quality and relevant to the topic you are talking about.
16. Encourage Comments from Your Users
This may not be a common factor, but from my analysis using multiple keywords, I have come to realize that Google tends to favor sites with valuable contents and much blog comment.
I don’t comment on websites when I don’t get value from it, and I guess you don’t do that too. Any comment made by a visitor on a site be it a question or suggestion shows that the user has read the content entirely. So I think leaving a comment on a blog strikes a sign to Google that your site has contents that are relevant to the user.
However, you should be careful of the kind of comments you approve on your website or blog. Avoid comments that are designed to spam your website with links. Such comments will only bring harm to your site.
If you are on WordPress, you can use a tool like Akismet to get rid of spam comments and keep your website free of spam.
There is a wordpress plugin that helps you apply some of these factors when creating your post. It’s known as Yoast, and I recommend you install it on your blog right away and start doing your on-page SEO like a pro.
If you have any question or a suggestion, please leave me a comment below, and I will respond.