Would you like to make it easier for search engines to understand what keyword(s) your website or blog should rank for?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, then you are about to learn the secrets of making your blog post keyword-targeted.
When it comes to optimizing a website or a blog post, there are two main factors at play:
- On-page optimization
- Off-page optimization
Today’s article will focus on on-page optimization, and I will be sharing lots of good on-page SEO techniques you should implement while working on optimizing your website.
On-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of optimizing the content and the source code of web pages for them to rank higher in search engines and earn more relevant traffic.
Improving on-page SEO is not a straightforward process. There are so many factors that go into it, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. In spite of that, I hope that these techniques help you take your SEO to the next level.
Internal links pointing to the page
When the webpages of your site are interlinked, it helps both users and the search engines navigate it. Internal links with appropriate anchor texts have a big impact on a page’s position in the SERPs. However, be careful not to overdo – your internal links should look natural to the search engines.
HTTP response code errors
A reliable hosting provider is crucial to your website’s success in the SERPs. If the server your site is hosted on is often unavailable or takes a long time to respond, the search engines won’t hold much for your Web resource.
Not to mention that, if your site is unavailable, the users will simply not be able to access it. Therefore, we consider this factor to be of utmost importance.
Improve Your Page Speed.
Aside from the obvious benefit to your visitors and their experience in your site, site speed is a ranking factor for Google. Improving your site speed will help you get a small but important advantage over equally relevant but slower sites.
Use tools like PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix to assess the current speed of your blog and see which elements are slowing down your blog. Some of them may be too complicated for you to handle, but there are still some aspects that you can do something about.
Review your plugins and only keep the ones you actually use. Each plugin requires processing power, and the more plugins you have, the more processing power they eat up and the slower they make your site.
Try to learn basic PHP and CSS so you can eliminate plugins that perform a simple task that can be achieved by typing in a simple code. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do that, try to at least find plugins that do the work of multiple plugins.
Optimize media (i.e., images, video, audio). Loading media files takes a significant amount of processing power, especially for mobile devices.
It’s possible to reduce image size without losing quality, so look into image compression tools to do just that. Video size can also be reduced while retaining the quality, and there are a number of video compression tools as well.
Upload with the right dimensions as well. Find out what the display width of your page is and try to limit the image or video dimensions to that width. For instance, if your display width is 800 pixels wide, there’s no point in uploading a 1600 pixel-wide image.
Just like perfect HTML, valid CSS is not a must, but rather an additional asset to one’s recipe for successful SEO. Besides, you’d want to pay more attention to your CSS if you’re optimizing for the mobile Web and using special mobile style sheets for mobile users.
And, as W3C offers a CSS validation service as well, you can use it to check for CSS errors and warnings.
Perfect HTML Code
Although the quality of your markup is not an insanely important factor, sloppy HTML code does diminish your chances to rank higher in the search engines. It’s best to make sure there are no errors on your webpages using the W3C HTML and markup validator. Besides, there are on-page SEO tools (like our WebSite Auditor) that come with a built-in markup validator as well.
Correct rel=”canonical” Use
Canonical tags help one eliminate duplicate content WITHIN their own site. Let’s say you have several versions of your URL indexed (for instance, www.example.com, example.com and www.example.com/home.htlm), in which case Google may treat them as different pages with duplicate content on them. So, using the rel=”canonical” attribute would solve the problem.
Post Permalink Structure
Making sure your URL is displayed correctly is an important on-page metric. Again, you should use your target keyword in the URL, and avoid using special characters, symbols, brackets, commas, etc. within the actual URL.
Use dashes to differentiate the strings in your URL structure. These are called “pretty” permalinks and are supported by most web browsers.
Example of a good permalink:
Keyword in URL
Everybody in the SEO industry knows that exact match domains tend to perform extremely well in the SERPs. If so, why doesn’t everyone just buy a domain name that also happens to be their keyword and hit Google’s top?
Well, there certain cons here. First, the desired domain name is often taken. Second, for branding purposes, it is better to go for a brand name as your domain name. And, third, we believe that the impact that exact match domain names have on rankings will most likely decrease in the future.
Keyword in Page Title
Unlike in the case with domain names, it’s much easier to stick your keyword in a page title. Just make sure that your titles also look natural, since real people are going to see them in the search results. For example, out of the two page titles
- Holiday Gifts New York|Gifts Brooklyn|Free Delivery|Gifts
- Holiday Gifts for All Occasions – Brooklyn New York – Free Delivery
The second one is definitely more attractive.
Keyword in Meta Description
If your meta description contains keywords irrelevant to the overall theme of your webpage, this will do little to improve your rankings, and the search engine may even choose not to display the description you specify.
However, if your meta description is semantically in line with the rest of the page’s content, this can give your site rankings a boost.
Keyword in H1 Text
H1 is an HTML tag normally used to mark headings. When your keywords stand in H1 tags, they carry more weight, so to say, and have a bigger effect on your site rankings.
Keywords in Internal Anchor Texts
As I said earlier, internal linking is important for higher rankings. However, simply linking to your landing page from other pages of your site won’t do much. To attain the desired effect, use your keywords in the anchor texts. Also, make them [anchor texts] vary. Links with identical anchors will look unnatural to the search engines and may be ignored.
Keyword Frequency (body text)
Needless to say, you keywords should be present in your page copy as well. However, the exact number of keywords that helps you achieve top rankings would depend on the niche, the search engine, etc. So, there is no ideal keyword density that’ll work for any site.
The general rules that apply here are: it’s best to use your keywords more towards the beginning of your page and to avoid keyword stuffing.
Keyword in Image Alt Text
Image alt text is what gets displayed instead of your image when it cannot be loaded, or when certain functions responsible for rendering images are disabled in a person’s browser. If image alt texts reflect the rest of your page’s semantics, this sends the search engines a signal that your page is relevant to the search query, and they rank it higher.
Use Related Keywords In Your Body Text.
In the early days, Google used to only look at keywords that were an exact match to keywords that their users were using to search, because, at the time, this was the only way they could determine if a page was relevant. Google would count how many of that exact keyword was on a page and then divide it by the total word count. The higher this percentage (called keyword density), the higher they ranked the page.
However, this led to website owners abusing this metric and cramming their keyword everywhere in the page, whether they were contextually relevant or not. This practice is called keyword stuffing.
Nowadays, Google is much smarter and will penalize you for keyword stuffing. Instead, they look at keywords that are synonymous or strongly connected to the keyword instead of just the exact phrase.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords is a term for this type of keywords. They can be synonymous, but not always. They’re words that are closely related to the keyword.
For example, if you’re creating content targeting the keyword “alfredo sauce,” you can expect to find phrases such as “creamy alfredo sauce,” “fettuccine alfredo,” or “alfredo sauce recipe” throughout the content, as well as words such as “parmesan cheese,” “milk,” “butter,” “heavy cream,” which are common ingredients used to make alfredo sauce.
Google will look for those related phrases in your content as well. If plenty of those contextually related phrases can be found throughout your content, then Google will think your page is relevant and will put it higher in the search results for the keyword “alfredo sauce.”
If you’re already writing high-quality content aimed at your readers, LSI keywords should naturally be found throughout your content. However, if you decide you want to boost the number of keywords in your content, you can actually have Google help you.
You should use heading tags to highlight various headings, sub-headings, and important points.
In WordPress, the title tag is set at H1. You don’t really need to use any more H1 tags anywhere in the article. One is enough. For section breaks, stick to H2 and H3 tags.
Also, don’t use too many H2 or H3 tags as Google’s algorithms won’t like that.
You should keep the keyword density around 1.5% percent with a mix of LSI keywords. But as Matt Cutts explains in the video below, there is no real magic formula.
Use your main keyword once in the first paragraph and again in the last paragraph. And use it in the content where it makes sense.
Image optimization does help a lot in driving traffic from image searches.
Keywords in the “image title” and the “alt text” help to make your blog post more focused and targeted.
But more important than that:
Images create engagement.
And the more engaged a user is, the more likely they’ll stick around, thus increasing your overall rank.
But there’s one very important point to note. Large images will slow down your site, and having a slow loading site will decrease your Google rank. So it’s very important to:
– Compress images.
– Use a caching plugin.
– Use a CDN.
Place links to related posts from your blog inside of your website or blog post.
Interlinking of blog posts will help your blog readers spend more time on your blog, and it will also help pass page rank to other pages of your site.
When interlinking, try to use a keyword as the anchor text, but be very careful not to overdo it.
Internal links that are relevant to the original post show search engines that you are providing extra information beyond what is being displayed in the content.
Word Count Per Post
Blog posts that don’t have a lot of words typically don’t perform well on search engines. That’s because they’re usually seen as being “less informative”.
Ofcourse there are exceptions, but for a general information-based blog, creating posts with at least 500 words is pretty standard.
It’s always better to be well-researched and overly informative than it is to not provide enough information. This is especially true if you’re targeting highly competitive keywords.
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