On-Page SEO helps Google understand content on your page so it can rank the page for relevant keywords. Use this reference guide for creating new pages or optimizing existing ones.
On-page optimization affects both technical and content elements. This section describes typical actions needed to optimize technical elements on the page:
- URL Structure
- SEO Title
- Meta Description
- Canonical Tag
Use Keywords in page URL
You must include the main keyword you are targeting in the URL of the page. It is one of the most important factors affecting on-page SEO.
If you are using WordPress, use the Post Name type Permalink and give the Post / Page a title that includes the keyword. WordPress will automatically create a URL from the page title. If the page is already created, edit the permalink you see below the page title to include the keyword.
Note: If you change the permalink of an existing page, make sure you add a 301 Redirect from the old URL to the new URL (permalink).
Add SEO Title
Every page must have an SEO title tag. The title tag should include the main keyword. Ideally, you should start the title with the keyword you are targeting on the page.
If you are using WordPress, the best option is to install SEO by Yoast plugin and use it to set the SEO Title for the Post / Page.
The SEO title length should have at least 40 characters. The maximum recommended length is 66 characters. Over time, its significance has come down but it is still an important factor in optimizing your page for SEO.
Add Meta Description
The goal of Meta description is to provide a short insight into what the page is about. It is displayed on the search results page below your page URL. A well written meta description can increase the percentage of people who click through to your page from the search result.
Meta description does not directly improve your search ranking. However, the increased click through rate on your page as a result of well written meta description is a signal to Google that your page is more relevant to the search query. Over time, this signal will help improve your search ranking.
Include the keyword in meta description. The maximum suggested length of meta description is between 150-160 characters.
If you are using WordPress, use the SEO by Yoast plugin to add the meta description.
Add Canonical Tag
If the current page is a duplicate of an existing page or post, add a canonical tag to the page to identify the original page. A canonical tag will avoid duplicate content penalty from Google and also pass on the SEO juice from the current page to the original page.
If you are using WordPress, use the SEO by Yoast plugin to set the Canonical tag.
Page load speed is an important parameter in page ranking. A fast loading page is more likely to rank higher in search results compared to a slow loading page.
The first step in optimizing page load speed is to test how long the page takes to load. Use tools like Page Load Time Chrome extension to measure how long the page takes to load and why. For an existing page, you can look at page load time in the Behavior reports section of Google Analytics.
This section describes typical actions needed to optimize content elements on the page:
- Page Heading
- First Paragraph
- Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
- Outbound Links
- Optimize for Social Sharing
- Increase Engagement
Some SEO experts claim that writing longer Posts with more than 2000 words helps improve search ranking because they found that many of the top ranking pages have long content. But this only proves correlation, not causation. It means the posts that rank tend to be longer but your post will not rank just because it has more than 2000 words. The likely reason why these long posts do well in search is because the length of the article allows you to create more in-depth content and also target Long Tail keywords more effectively.
Headline has a huge impact on both SEO and the click through rate on your search results. An ideal headline marries keyword with emotions to get both ranking and clicks.
Use keyword at the start of the heading and enclose it in H1 tag. Keep your headline length to 70 characters for best SEO performance.
Use the headline analyzer to create a high impact headline. You should aim for a score or 70 or more on this tool.
From pure SEO perspective, you should include at least one image on the page. Add keywords to image name and Alt-tag.
Add more images to increase engagement.
Images increase engagement and reduce bounce rate – two important factors Google takes into account when ranking your page.
Include your target keyword in the first paragraph, ideally within the first 100 words.
Latent Semantic indexing keywords to increase search relevance. LSI keywords are words or phrases that are similar in meaning to your main keyword. Using LSI keywords avoid keyword stuffing problem while helping Google understand what your page is about.
For example, Guides and Manuals are LSI words. If you are creating a guide post, you can use manual in place of guide and improve your SEO.
Search Google with your target keyword and look at the words in Bold in the search results. If you see a word or phrase in bold that is similar in meaning to your keyword, it is a LSI keyword you should use.
Break up your content into sub-sections to make it easier to read. Increased readability = lower bounce rate.
Add a title to each sub-section using H2 / H3 tags and include LSI keyword / Long tail keyword in the title.
Google prefers if you link to other sites. You should include at least 2-3 outbound links, preferably to higher authority sites in your niche / topic.
Videos, like images, increase engagement and reduce bunce rate.
Included keyword in the video meta data when embedding a video in your content as Google use the meta data to understand what is in the video.
Optimize for Social Sharing
Add social sharing buttons to the page.
If you use WordPress, install ShareThis plugin to add the social sharing buttons.
You should also use the Facebook Open Graph tags to control how your content looks when shared on Social media. You can optimize title for social sharing using these tags. For example, keep the headline to 40 characters or less for sharing on Facebook.
While engagement does not initially impact SEO, it will have an impact once people start visiting the page. If you use Google Analytics on your site, Google will know the engagement levels on your page and your site. Google will use this information to improve or degrade your organic search ranking.
To improve engagement, write smaller paragraphs and shorter sentences as it increases readability. Use “You” and “Your” a lot as it helps personalize your content.
Use positive emotions in the content to increase engagement.
Use bullet lists wherever you can.
Use bold and italics to draw attention to important points / sections.
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