The Internet loves making a big deal out of SEO; truth is, it is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, SEO is pretty intuitive—and even a little creative! Plus, optimized pages are more likely to…
- Have higher positions on search engine results pages, or
- Be seen and shared by more people, including respected influencers!
- Drive more traffic your website, resulting in more leads and ad revenue.
Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, density quotas, and old techniques that Google hates. Now, it’s all about delivering quality to your visitors. To rank these days, you need a combination of fantastic content and a few Google-approved optimization tricks.
So, if you’re wondering how to start a blog or a website that dominates the search rankings, listen up. Let’s explore how to construct a page that search engines and humans will love.
Choose Keywords to Rank For
Why do you use search engines? To find movie times, recipes, software, or maybe blogging tutorials? Whatever the reason, you want an answer to your question. Optimized web pages work the same way. Since your web page is the answer, your SEO keyword is the question.
To illustrate, suppose you sell solar garden decor online. What questions would one ask to find a site like yours or learn about solar garden decor? Possible questions may include:
- What are types of solar garden decorations?
- Where can I buy solar garden gnome online?
- Where can I get solar garden sculptures in San Diego, CA?
From just looking at these questions alone, you can form multiple long-tail keywords like these:
- Buy solar garden sculptures
- Types of solar garden sculptures
- Solar garden sculptures San Diego
- Buy solar garden gnome
Long keywords have less competition in search engines, plus, they’re better at reaching people specifically looking for what you have.
If you really want to give yourself an edge, try to choose a premium domain name that incorporates your main keyword into the URL. Having an exact match, keyword rich premium domain name could help you rank better in the search engines.
Tip: To avoid using awkwardly worded SEO keywords, you can break up your long-tail keyword, just as long as you use it in the same phrase and with relevant intent, like this:
We carry one of the best selections of solar garden sculptures in San Diego.
If your SEO keyword is irrelevant to the content on your page, it won’t rank, and may even be penalized by search engines. You can also use keyword research tools, like Keyword Planner or Moz tools, to help you find more quality keywords in less time.
Optimize Your Metadata
You know that short description under a search result? That’s your meta description, and your opportunity to pitch your site to search engines and potential visitors. Your meta description should include:
- An SEO keyword
- The purpose and intent of the page
- An appropriate call to action
- A 150 to 160 character-long description.
Your page or blog post title should be even shorter, coming in at just 70 characters max, and include the keyword you’re targeting. Other metadata optimization tricks include:
- Optimizing your page images. Every image has an alt tag; there, you can describe what the image is about and include a relevant keyword for the image too.
- Adding an <h1> headline tag to your SEO optimized page title.
- A short and clear URL, with keyword, that matches the intent of the page.
Tip: The majority of pages listed first in SERPS feature at least 1,900 words of crawlable content. Keep this in mind when formulating your pages and posts.
Integrate with Social Media
Social media pages are crawled and indexed just like any other website. Given their massive traffic intake, it’s no wonder that company Facebooks and Twitters land first in SERPS—each and every time. Registering for social networks is one thing, but fully integrating social media into your website is an even bigger boost for your on-page SEO. The more your content is shared on social media, the better the rankings. Keep the following tips in mind when incorporating social media:
- Include easy-to-find social media sharing buttons in your content.
- Occasionally include call-to-actions in your content encouraging readers to share posts or follow on Facebook.
- After publishing your content, immediately share it with social media. You can also sync your blog with social media to enable automatic sharing.
- Embed your own Facebook posts, Tweets, and Pins into your content.
Internal and External Outbound Links
When search engine spiders crawl web pages, they also crawl any links you include as well. Two types of links affect your search engine ranking—inbound links and outbound links. When another blogger links to your site in their post, that’s an inbound link. When you link to another external website, or even your own internal web page, that is an outbound link.
Your on-page SEO is only concerned with outbound links, so it’s important to keep these tips in mind when choosing outbound links:
- Links should be relevant to the content or provide further elaboration.
- Include outbound links as anchor text. Anchor text is a highlighted or bolded section of text that directs to the link. For example, to direct your readers to a related video, your anchor text could read, “Dr. Matthis expanded more on this theory during his 1997 lecture at Harvard University.”
- Outbound links must be high-quality. When poor quality sites link to you, and you link to them, you risk being penalized by search engines. Use reputable websites like .gov, .edu, New York Times, Time magazine, and other credible, high-authority websites. To help, you can use MOZ tools to check domain and page authority scores.
- Link to your internal site pages when appropriate. This generates more hits and shares for your content.
Content Creation Basics
Content quality is a huge part of your on-page SEO, and it has never been more important than now. Since intent is now prioritized over singular keywords, it’s important for your content to be high-quality. When crafting your blogs and articles, follow these tips to stay as search-friendly as possible:
- Make sure that your content is original and unique. Search engines will penalize you for duplicate content!
- Research what’s out there to avoid rehashing stale content. Brainstorm unique ideas or present old ideas in a fresh way.
- Content should be human-friendly with good grammar, correct spelling, and clear ideas.
- Keep paragraphs short, limiting them to 100 words each.
- Content needs to be scannable. Break up text with bullet points, lists, multimedia, and white space.
- Include multimedia such as images, videos, infographics, presentations, and embedded social media posts.
Don’t Forget the User Experience
With so much attention to keywords, links, and content, one of the most important aspects of on-page SEO can fall through the cracks—user experience. User experience is just that, how your visitors interact and react to your website. While everything discussed thus far strengthens user experience, be mindful of the following UX points when optimizing your page:
- Navigation: websites only have a few seconds to impress. Easy, intuitive navigation makes it easier for visitors to discover all your great content.
- Load time: People are in a hurry, and the majority of them expect web pages to load in just a couple seconds. The slower your load time, the fewer your conversions.
- Technical support: Poor technical support options are a turn off. Include a highly visible knowledge base, contact page, or support tab to accommodate your visitors.
- Design: A poor design chases off visitors. People can be positively or negatively swayed by colors alone. Choose colors, fonts, and templates that represent what your brand and intent is about.
You got this. By now, you should have a much better idea of what on-page SEO is and how to incorporate it into every piece of content you create. Remember that keywords, metadata, social media, outbound links, content, and UX all work together to produce stellar on-page SEO. Bookmark this guide and use it as a checklist to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all these SEO tricks.