Whether you have a blog that isn’t growing for the lack of proper optimization or you’re starting a new blog and you need to optimize every blog post properly, you’ll find this guide this guide incredibly useful.
The strategies I’ll share with you are the exact ones that I use to optimize my blog posts, and the results often exceed my expectations.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-site optimization is the continuous practice of optimizing the posts and pages on your blog for search engine visibility, better user experience, and higher rankings.
From my experience, on-page SEO isn’t difficult to figure out. After all, you’ll be dealing with elements within your control to make your website more accessible and authoritative in your niche.
Unfortunately, many bloggers simply don’t reap the benefit of onsite optimization because they don’t do the optimization in the first place.
In other words, if you want to gain more keywords, move up in Google rankings, and bring a ton of visitors to your blog, you need to supplement your content creation efforts with proper on-site optimization techniques.
Why is On-Page SEO Important?
On-page SEO is important because it assists search engines in analyzing your website and its associated content structure to determine whether a search query is relevant to a post or page that you’ve published on your blog.
It is crucial to have your site’s content optimized based on the most up-to-date techniques employed by search engines – and Google especially.
By following up-to-date on-site SEO practices, you can make it easy for the search engines to find, crawl, index, and update your posts and pages in search results.
On-page SEO gives the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to practically every other digital marketing technique due to its relatively cheap cost and long-term advantages, which may help websites expand and attract passive visitors for years.
12 On-Page SEO Elements You Should Know About
Before I show you how to optimize every post and pages on my blog, we need to make sure you know and understand all the on-page SEO elements.
Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, or E.A.T, is the notion that Google employs to rate the quality of web page and website content.
In terms of on-page SEO, this implies that you must convince Google that the information on your website is trustworthy enough for them to not only include in the search result but also rank higher.
Google's goal is to provide people with the most relevant content. So to get higher ranking, you have to demonstrate to Google that you’re an authority in your subject and use your knowledge to generate high-quality content.
2. SEO Title
The title tag serves as the page's primary indicator to search engines and users on what your pages or posts are about, so it’s important to optimize this element very well.
For instance, if you are optimizing a location page for your business, you must provide the location's city. Or, if you are selling a product, you should include its name in the title tag.
More often than not, these are simple and straightforward optimization wins.
3. Meta Descriptive
Meta description is the content that shows beneath the title tag in search engine results.
A metal description may not be a fundamental element by itself. But if you write a compelling description, visitors will find your Meta description click-worthy and click your title tag to read your content.
The URL structure of a page is another indicator to search engines and users of the page's content. Similar to the title tag, it should be brief and contain the primary keyword.
5. Title Tags
Heading tags are a piece of HTML code that helps search engines and people quickly identify the page's content.
Each page should contain one H1 tag and use H2 to H6 tags to highlight the primary information categories.
6. Alt Tags for Image Optimization
Alt tags are a portion of HTML code that enables search engines to recognize images, videos, and other media types on a website.
The problem is that while search engines can read and comprehend text, they cannot yet discern the content of a picture or video. So, if you put multimedia on your website, you must use an alt tag.
It's just another little approach to assist Google in understanding your page's thematic emphasis. It's also a means for those with vision impairments to understand what's on the page if they use screen readers.
Anyone familiar with SEO is aware that keywords are crucial. They help you to write content on specific topics that people are actually searching for on the web.
If done right, keyword research can help you find a ton of valuable keywords to target in your blog posts, which will go a long way to help you improve the quality of your site, become an authority in your niche, and get more traffic.
8. SEO Content
All of the aforementioned aspects are beneficial, but ultimately, the content is the most crucial on-page feature that will affect your results.
Good content, whether for organic traffic or local SEO, must be more than authoritative and reliable. SEO-optimized content should:
- Be engaging and provide content that people truly want to read.
- Encourage reader interaction so that they interact with the page or click over to other pages.
- Be something that social media users would want to link to and share.
9. Internal Links
Having internal links to other pages on your website is a crucial on-page SEO element because the links help Google crawlers to discover information on your website. Furthermore, internal links make it easy for Google to understand the overall theme of your website.
Internal links aren’t just for SEO purposes. They also help visitors by making it easy for them to find related articles, which they can read to learn more about your product, niche, or services.
By doing internal links, you tend to keep users on your site for longer, and dwell time is an on-page signal that shows Google how trustworthy your content is.
10. Page Speed
Google now uses page speed as a primary ranking factor, and they incorporate this into the user experience.
Having been in the blogging business for well over a decade, I can tell you for sure that Google can demote slow sites.
And while it’s highly unlikely that they reward fast websites, you do want to get the site speed metrics of your site right for the sake of user experience.
11 Mobile Friendliness
The mobile-friendliness of a web page is another significant ranking criterion.
Take it from me when I tell you that it doesn’t matter how good your content is. If your pages are not mobile friendly, it’s highly unlikely that Google will reward you.
Because we are in the age where, in the wake of Google search improvement, the search engine giant now uses mobile first indexing instead of the desktop version.
12. User Engagement
Google analyzes behavioral data to determine how engaged your page's visitors are. Engagement indicates to Google that your content is of high quality, entertaining, and trustworthy to actual people.
On the other hand, if it fails to interest your audience, Google will conclude that what you’ve published is of poor quality or not what people for a certain search want to read. They will decrease the page's ranking over time if the issue is not resolved.
In general, the bounce rate of a page may determine how engaged visitors are with that page. If a significant number of users leave the page without clicking to another section on the site, there is a high chance that your content isn’t adding value and it’s time to do further investigation.
The Complete Guide to Doing On-page SEO for Your Blog Posts and Pages
Now that you know all the current on-page SEO elements, it’s time to learn how to do on-page optimization for your website.
My intention here is simple:
I want to make this guide as thorough as possible, so that you have a resourceful guide that you can use to optimize any page or post that you publish on your website.
I’ve tried and tested these techniques on several blog, and I can tell you with confidence that implementing them correctly will indeed yield the best results for you.
1. Get Your Keyword Research Right
Keyword research is the act of discovering and evaluating search phrases that people type into search engines with the intention of utilizing that data for SEO and general marketing.
By conducting keyword research, you will know about the exact queries to target, their popularity in terms of search volume, and how difficult the keyword can be to rank in the top 10 results of Google search.
Keyword research is important because it gives you a significant insight into the real Google searches conducted by your target audience, which can help you create better content and take your marketing plan to the next level.
In addition, according to the inbound technique, we should develop content based on what people want to find, not what we want to tell them. In other words, our audience actively seeks us out.
Effective keyword research may give insights into current marketing trends and assist you in focusing your content on topics that your audience is likely craving for answers to.
If done right, keyword research can help you identify the most relevant terms to use in your post, thus increasing your chances of ranking higher, attracting more visitors, and converting targeted traffic to money.
Even in an age where search engines have improved so much that they give more weight to topics instead of keywords, I still believe it’s important to account for keyword research because it helps you to discover the topics that people care about and how popular those topics area.
What’s more, keyword research can help you with query grouping from where you can create significant topics to target in your blog post.
Check this guide by Ahrefs to learn more about how to do keyword research the right way for your blog.
2. Create a Topic Cluster Map for Topical Authority
Modern SEOs have been saying, for a while now, that topical authority is the new keyword research, and they’re right on that.
Don’t get me wrong.
I know I suggested starting with keyword research, and I did that because it is from keywords that you can actually develop a topical cluster map for your niche website. And if your topical authority is tight, you can be sure to rank higher in search engines with minimal off-site SEO efforts.
Topic clustering is the process of organizing content to address all pertinent questions about a topic. The cluster features a pillar page that addresses a broad topic and cluster pages that focuses on more focused terms.
Using the pillar page as an umbrella for all cluster pages, you must ensure that each cluster page contains an internal link and that each cluster page links back to the pillar page.
The pillar page should address the overall theme and introduce each cluster page with few words. Then, if readers need further explanation, they may follow a link from the pillar page to one of the cluster pages.
Keep in mind that the number of cluster pages that you can create depends on how broad the main topic is.
3. Create Quality Content
Now that you’ve done your keyword research and developed your topic cluster, it’s time to put the pen to paper and create some high quality SEO content.
SEO writing isn’t about injecting search phrases and writing general content. Rather, it’s about creating content that converts.
In other words, you have to create the kind of content that people can read and Google wants to rank. To do this, you should focus on four key content elements: relevance, thoroughness, uniqueness, and clarity.
Relevance is likely the most important aspect of on-page SEO, which involves matching your content with the searcher's goal. If you fail to provide searchers with what they want, your chances of ranking are minimal.
It’s because visitors will pogo stick your site. That fancy term refers to clicking the browser’s back button, going back to the search results, and looking for another site’s post that serves the searcher’s query better.
Your content should cover everything that searchers want to read and digest. To better comprehend what your content should address, you must analyze relevant top-ranking pages in greater depth.
Most web pages divide a topic into subtopics using subheadings. These provide rapid insights into what searchers are seeking, particularly if you observe the same or similar subheadings on many pages.
Also, searching for subtopics within the keywords of relevant top-ranking pages is an effective technique to discover potential article topics.
It is essential to provide searchers with what they want, but you must also provide something novel. If you fail to do so, your posts will be identical to everyone else's on the SERPS, which means you’re providing the same value someone else is giving out.
Even if you’ve written a high quality piece that fulfills searcher’s intent, no one will read your content if you don’t present it well.
Follow these guidelines to develop content that people will want to read:
- Use a basic language that everyone can comprehend.
- Use illustrations to break up big walls of text.
- Avoid "walls of text" by using brief phrases and paragraphs.
- For hierarchy, use descriptive subheadings (H2-H6).
- Use a high font size to prevent eyestrain in your readers.
- Use bulleted lists to aid skimmers.
Clarity is about making it as simple as possible for searchers to locate the information they need.
Remember, people will click the back button in search of a page that is more comprehensible and straightforward if they can't discover the information they're looking for on your website.
4. Optimize Your Content
Here’s how to optimize your content to win more keywords, move up the rankings, improve your search result positions, and win more targeted traffic:
Include Keyword in the Title
Typically, titles are included in an H1 element, which is why including your primary keyword here is an important practice. Including the main keyword in H1 is a powerful indicator to Google on what the subject of the post or page is.
Sometimes, though, it won’t make sense to include your keyword exactly as is. In such a case, some tweaks will do. Just make sure there are possible keyword variations while retaining what you actually intended to communicate.
In other words, it is essential that your titles sound natural, so utilize conjunctions and stop words as needed.
Optimize Your SEO Title Tag
An engaging SEO title tag is essential since it appears in search engine results.
Typically, the easiest approach to establish one is to make it the page or post title. This is what I do with a higher percentage of the posts.
There are situations when it makes sense to make minor adjustments, such as when your title is excessively lengthy. Google truncates lengthy title tags in the search results, as it does with URLs, so making some tweaks can go a long way to give you better results.
I can’t stress enough just how important it is to frontload your SEO title tag. That means putting it at the very beginning to give the search engines an immediate summary of what your page is all about.
The bottom line is that the closer the term is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it carries with search engines.
Use Short, but Clearly Descriptive, URLs
Before clicking on a link, searchers may determine what a website is about if the URL is concise and informative.
Setting the URL slug to your target term is sometimes the easiest approach to optimize a website.
We mention that you include your keyword in the SEO title tag and page title. You also should do the same thing here.
Of course, there’s an exception.
I strongly recommend that you add a keyword in the URL in a way that reads naturally, otherwise choose a variant so that readers know exactly what the link they’ve clicked is about even before reading the content.
Killer Meta description for CTR
Meta description is not a ranking criteria. But it’s still significant since they can increase clicks and traffic.
- Be succinct. Keep it to no more than 120 characters.
- Include unique selling points that did not fit in the headline.
- Include your search term. Google emphasizes terms closely linked to the primary keyword.
- Conform to search intent. Increase your focus on what searchers are actually look for when searching for information online.
Meta descriptions are rather inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. So, don’t spend much of your time here – and don’t try to overthink it either.
Place Keywords in Strategic Places in Content
Using your keyword in the first 100 to 150 words may be an old-school SEO technique, but it works well to this very day.
I strongly advise against overthinking this part. Simply include the keyword as it is, but make sure it fits naturally within the content.
Include the variations of your main keyword in the H2 and H3 tags. You won’t get a big boost in search ranking, but the results are no doubt significant.
As for the number of times a keyword should appear in the body of your content, you should repeat your keyword at least 3 to 5 times. Also, don’t hesitate to include the variations of the keywords in content to make it easy for Google to understand your page or post better.
Please don’t mistake keyword inclusion throughout the article with keyword stuffing, which is bad for your SEO.
Here you’re simply including the keywords naturally several times to demonstrate to Google that your page is about that particular term that you’re trying to rank.
Images can rank in Google's image search and increase website traffic, but that’s only if you optimize them properly.
- Give images file names: Make sure to rename the image so that it’s descriptive and concise. Also, include your target keyword or its related terms naturally – and where possible.
- Add alt text to images: Apparently, Google doesn’t know what the image you uploaded is. And until the search engines become smart enough to figure this out, add alt text to your image so that Google can understand the relevance of the image to the blog post.
- Compress images: Page speed is a ranking factor, so unless you compress your images to small files that result in quick load times, your site’s ranking is highly likely to suffer. You can use ShortPixel plugin to compress your images.
Add External and Internal Links in Your Post
Links to internal and external resources facilitate navigation and information discovery on your website.
I’ve met and spoken with SEOs who argue that linking out to other sites can undermine their SEO efforts by sending out their link juice. But SEO has changed and so is the way Google treats internal and external links.
According to John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, linking to other sites is a great way to add value to your users because it helps them to not only examine your sources but also to learn more than what your blog post teaches.
Obviously, this does not imply that you should link everywhere for the sake of linking. Simply connect to relevant internal and external resources, such as sources, product suggestions, and relevant blog entries.
Optimizing Your Posts for Feature Snippets
Featured snippets are excerpts of your website's text that appear in position zero of search engine results pages (SERPs) returned by Google for specified queries. Often, Google draws the excerpt from a blog posit that gives direct, accurate, and succinct solutions to user questions.
To win featured snippets:
Your post or page must be ranking on the first page of Google. And second, Google's direct presentation of your site's content as the suggested response to a search query should instills in users a sense of confidence.
Types of Featured Snippets That You Can Optimize For
1. Paragraph Snippets
Paragraph highlighted snippets are among the most common featured snippets you may see on Google. This paragraph-formatted snippet gives a concise answer or definition to users' search inquiries.
Most question-based keyword searches, such as who, why, when, how, etc., return paragraph excerpts.
2. Ordered List Snippet
The highlighted snippets of an ordered list are either numbered or bulleted list. In most situations, these snippets occur in response to search queries that request a step-by-step instructions or listicles.
3. List of Featured Snippets in Random Order
The highlighted snippets for unordered lists display a group of things as a bulleted list without numbers or special order.
Google can extract both sorted and unordered list snippets from the material, or it can take the text and generate its own list.
4. Table Highlighted Extracts
Table highlighted snippets are most likely to appear in response to searches that include a comparison or chart.
Google often displays table snippets for web sites that have well-structured material with specifics such as years, rates, prices, and percentages.
5. Video Snippets
Featured video clips are from YouTube, and they show with the start and end locations already queued for the relevant segment.
For example, when you search for a recipe or how-to guide, a video highlighted snippet will likely show at the top of the search results.
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far.
What you’ve read and implemented is the systematic guide that I follow to optimize every blog post that I write and publish.
I’m confident that if you follow this guide to a tee, you won’t get your on-site SEO wrong.