On Page Search Engine Optimization
An Actionable Guide
This guide is written to be actionable.
Some of the optimizations are low-hanging fruit and can be done quickly and easily. Some will take more time and technical skill . You don’t need to do everything at once. You can keep coming back to this guide to continually improve the optimization of your pages.
Some of the actions listed in the article can be taken before you start composing your content. Some actions can be taken during. And some actions can only be done once you’ve finished creating a piece of content.
No matter where you are in the cycle of creating a particular piece of content, this guide will help you to push your results to the next level.
For the technical actions the guide focuses on the WordPress way of doing things. However all major CMS’s have similar means of doing the same things: this guide is nearly universally applicable.
What is on-page seo?
Search Engine Optimization has two branches: on-page and off-page. The term ‘on-page SEO’ describes the optimization of individual pages in order to those pages more visible on search engine results pages.
Why it matters
Search engines create giant indexes of all content they can find.
The appearance and position of a link on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) depends on:
- how relevant the search engine thinks that the page is.
- how trusted the search engine thinks that the page is.
- how authorative the search engine thinks that the page is.
However, before Google can assess the value that a page has to someone searching for information, Google needs to:
- Know that the page exists.
- Know what the page is about.
- Know who the page is relevant to.
Google is very good at working out these things for itself. However it has become extremely clear that Google rewards pages that have content and markup structure that help Google to understand the page.
Well-structured markup and content can have dramatic effects on search engine positioning.
Good content and structure can be built-in from the start of the content-creation process. Some optimizations are easier than others: some take time, effort and skill. Some are dead easy. And even the dead easy optimizations can have dramatically positive effects on how Google ranks your content.
The Foundations Of SEO: Website Performance
Site Speed Matters
- Use a reputable hosting company
- Remove unnecessary plugins from your website
- Use as few images as possible
- Use image compression on any images you use on your site
- Use a content distribution network for images and scipts
- Reduce 301 redirects on your site
Speeding Up Your Website With Compressed Images
Use A Content Distribution Network To Host Your Images
Make sure that your website works on devices that are smaller than desktop monitors.
This is a lot easier than it used it be. All modern platforms are able to produce content that adapts to small screens. Developers and designers familiar with modern best practices are able to design and build for mobile devices.
Action Step: If you are using WordPress this step is relatively easy. All modern WordPress themes are built to work on small screens. A good choice of theme is the free theme Astra, or it’s powered-up commercial version Astra Pro.
Get in touch with your hosting provider and ask them how you can implement https. Technically it’s called TLS/SSL. It provides a way to ensure a private channel of communication between a web browser and a web page.
Publish Original Content
After The Foundations
Make sure that the URL of your page is human readable, and that the URL closely matches title tag. You want to have a URL that looks more like this:
… than this:
How To Create SEO-Friendly URL’s in WordPress
Put The Keyword in The title tag
In the html source code of a page the title of the document is described by the title tag. The title tag shows up on search engine results page as the clickable link for a result. In Google’s results the title tag shows as the blue text link to the document.
So if the source code shows this:
Use The HTML Tag Hierarchy
In a human conversation some subjects are subtopics of other topics. HTML captures this idea in the tag hierarchy.
Topics and subtopics should be indicated by headings. These headings should be wrapped in heading tags. The headings for the parent-level topics should be wrapped in h1 tags.
Second-level headings should use h2 tags… and so on, down to h6.
You don’t have to use all the heading tags down to h6. Just use what makes sense. Most of the time using h1 down to h3 will be fine.
You don’t have to do any actual coding. All modern webpage editors have a way to let you set the level of heading. The WordPress Gutenberg editor has a headings block that lets you set the heading like this:
In the WordPress Classic Editor you simply highlight the text you want to use for a header and choose the header type:
Keyword in first 100 words
Edit The Page Meta Description
Editing The Page Meta Description With The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin
Google will show up to 275 characters on the SERP. You should optimize your meta description tags to be up to 275 characters long.
The WordPress SEO Plugin will gives you hints if your Meta Description is too short.
Link internally to your own categories tags and archive pages.
If you are using WordPress as your CMS, and you are making use of WordPress archives, tags and categories then it’s recommended that you link to those pages.
This helps visitors and Google understand what your page is about. And it helps Google to promote your page in the right set of results. Basically, doing this helps you train Google.
Link Externally When It Makes Sense To
Turbocharging Content Performance
Create content that is better than the content of your competitors
It’s very likely that other publishers offer content that is similar to the content that you intend to publish. This isn’t a bad thing, because companies only compete in environments where a hungry audience exists.
If you want your content to rank higher on the search engines, then make your content better than existing content. Make it more detailed, more clearly written, more attractively presented. Consider making your articles longform and illustrate them with original graphics. Provide information that is more up-to-date.
The better your content is, the more appealing it is for other sites to link to. And the more high-quality backlinks you get, the better your own content will perform in Google results pages.