Up until few years ago, Google’s algorithm was pretty rudimentary really. 5-7 years ago you could tell google a page on your site was about the keyword ‘best dog training’ by doing things like repeating the phrase ‘best dog training’ over and over in your content. Google would then consider that webpage highly relevant to training dogs and rank it accordingly. You could then create a new webpage on your site and tell google this section was about ‘best dog obedience classes and google would consider it a totally different topic and rank the separate page for ‘best dog obedience classes’ too. Those days are long gone. It’s time to change your on-page SEO techniques.
These days google has developed into a more sophisticated person who perhaps need prescription glasses but isn’t blind. Nowadays google would treat ‘best dog training’ as almost the exact same keyword phrase as ‘best dog obedience classes’. The searcher intent behind both searches are nearly identical.
So what does this mean to us? Well it simply means that we need to work hard on our on-page SEO in order to rank well in the google SERP. In this post I am going to tell you about the three pillars of on-page SEO that you can perform on your WordPress site. This post is an ultimate on-page SEO guide Without Wasting time let’s start. (Have a look at Determining low quality content on your WordPress Site)
What is On-Page SEO?
On-Page SEO is a process of optimizing your webpage so that it ranks higher in the search engine result. It includes both content and HTML code that can be optimized. The beauty of On-Page SEO is that, if you do it right, it is usually one time activity. Once its done, its done. The most important point to remember is that you are in full control when you are performing On-Page SEO. Let’s move on to the Three pillars of On-Page SEO.
Pillar 1 – Page Relevance:
Page Relevance is the very first pillar of on-page SEO. Page relevance simply means that we have to make our text and media as relevant as possible to the profitable target keyword. Think of your site interaction with Google as an elevator pitch. In a very short time your webpage has a small window of opportunity to show google what topic or keyword it’s about. You won’t be able to get your site to the very top of the search engine for phrase unless you make it unmistakably clear to google algorithm that your web page is unequivocally relevant to that keyword. How you are going to make your page relevant to our target keywords? Simple. By worshiping the 8 tablets of On-Page SEO
- URL’s: Uniform Resource Locator (URL) specifies where any webpage is located on the internet. For SEO it specifies where the page is located in the architecture of your website. For most small to medium authority websites, you should place your pages maximum of 1 sub directory away from the root domain. e.g http://mysite.com/subdirectory/page.
- Page Title Tag: To understand how relevant your page is google scans the title of your webpage. Make sure your primary keyword is in the page title tag as near as possible(ideally the first word).
- Header Tags: In the same vein as title tag,Google uses header tag to quickly identify the relevance, content and structure of your page. Basically header tags are the universal way of denoting headings and subheadings in a way that google can understand when it crawls your site. So make sure you use your primary keyword in H1 tag and include synonyms of your primary keyword in your H2 tag to really cement the topic of your page in Google’s eyes.
- Keyword Use and Density: Keyword density is the amount of time a keyword or phrase appears in the content of the webpage; compared to the total amount text on the said page. Go too hard with the density for a particular keyword and you’ll become over optimized for it. Go too soft and google won’t think you’re particularly relevant to the phrase. Just have a look at the keyword densities of the top five webpages that comes when you type in your primary keyword in the search engine. Find out the average and that will be your keyword density.
- Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI): Having crawled billions of pages across the internet, Google knows exactly what types of words and phrase it expects to see a page peppered with for any given topic. So if you use synonyms and related – phrases for your primary keyword, you can hammer hone the relevance of your page to your target keyword. This is know as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). You can use the tool lsigraph for finding the synonyms for your primary keyword.
- Image file names and alt tags: When you hover your mouse over an image on any website and a little text box pops-up describing that image, you are reading the alt tag. Make sure your filename is same as your alt tags. Make filename and alt text for the first image on your page the exact target keyword you are trying to rank no.1 for.
- Outbound Links: If a webpage is truly trying to add value and help the google user, then you’d expect it to share content and resources on the web that isn’t just its own. Outbound links are a great way to reference external web resource that can help expand or elaborate upon a webpage’s content. At the very least include 1 or 2 outbound links to highly authoritative websites related to your content topic.
- Topic Relevance: Imagine two website with the same level of SEO. Both are targeting the same keyword. If one was broader and the other was dedicated solely to the topic then the latter would win in google. It’s just more specific. Create 3-4 high quality articles on topics surrounding your primary keyword then publish them on separate pages. Create at least one internal link on each of these supporting pages to your primary page.
Pillar 2: Crawlability
This is the second pillar of on-page SEO. Google crawls trillions of web pages. So If we take a look at the bandwidth required to crawl these pages, it would be monstrous. So what google does is it allocates a crawling budget to every website. For example if you have a website which is updated many time during a day like bbc, then google is going to crawl the website every second. On the other hand if you have a website which is updated once a week then google will going to crawl the site every week. So you have to make sure that your website will be as easy and attractive to crawl as possible each time google bot comes a knockin. This is what is meant by page Crawlability. Here are 7 most important factor that increases your page crawlability.
- Mobile Friendliness: Google search will be expanding its use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. Visit google’s website mobile friendly testing tool. Google will scan your website and you will hear straight from the horse mouth whether you site is mobile friendly or not.
- Site Organization: To organize the site according to the keyword based topic is known as siloing. There are two ways you can silo a website viz Structural Siloing (Site architecture) and Link Siloing. Make sure your site is organized according to the topic and the pages which are related to the same topic must be in the same directory. (This is known as Structural Siloing). Also the pages belonging to the same topic should be linking each other. (This is known as Link Siloing).
- Produce Fresh Content: Google favors freshness in the content. After all its logical that newer content about a topic is probably more relevant and useful than old and potentially outdated information. Make sure you produce fresh content every now and then. Also make sure to update your old article.
- Remove Redundant and Duplicate content: Contrary to the common belief there is no common penalty for duplicate content. However two pages on your site targeting the same keyword is going to confuse google and confused google bot = poor ranking. Make sure you have clear keyword targeting boundaries between your pages. There should only be one page of content targeting a specific keyword.
- Going Https: ‘s’ in https stands for secure and google has openly told us it gives a (slight) ranking boost for sites secured with https. Simply said the sites on https are more secure, and google will trust your site a little more if you convert your site to it. Make sure that you uses https on your site.
- Sitemaps and ‘Noindexing’: Through the use of sitemaps and noindexing we can influence which of our website pages google indexes and considers most important. A sitemap is simply a page in a computer language format called XML. On a website, the XML sitemap contains all the URL’s of the pages we want google to crawl and index. We can submit sitemap to google through something called ‘Google Search Console‘.
Noindex meta tags are a different beast. They are little snippets of code included in a webpage header section that tells google which page we don’t want indexed.
- Schema Markup: Schema markup is the universal coding language developed so that all search engine can understand important aspects of webpages. For example we can attach schema markup to something like our business address, making it unmistakably clear to the search engine that this is our business contact address and not some random location. Make sure to include schema markup in your code.
Pillar 3: User Engagement
This is the third pillar of on-page SEO. Google monitors how the users are interacting with the search engine result. It then uses feedback loop so that it can show even more tailored result to the next user who types in the same query to best serve their intention. Data considered by google include CTR(Click Through Rate), Bounce rate (the proportion of people who immediately click off your site once they first landed there), Whether the user search terminates with your website or not. User engagement is becoming more and more important in SEO. Lets look at the list of main factors to improve the user engagement.
- Great Meta Description: Meta description is the brief previewed description of the website page you are about to click through to. It plays a huge role in influencing the click through rate of your google listing. If more people are clicking on your result compared to others on your search result page, google sees this as a huge sign that your website is in the right place and should be pushed up the ranks. Use meta description to make your listing super clickable by including the benefits that reading your page will give the user.
- Site Speed: I’ll be brutal here but there is no reason why your page should be loading in less than 5 seconds. Google user will simply vote with their back button. Make sure that your webpage should load within 5 seconds. If you cannot do ti by yourself then hire a freelancer. Don’t hesitate in spending money. A very good tool that you can use to check your site speed is GTMetrix.
- Good Media: People interact with online content in capricious and scatty manner to say the least. Always include images, videos in your content where necessary.
- Keeping People Reading: If you keep people reading, you keep people on your webpage. If you keep people on your webpage google has unequivocal evidence you’re a useful website and will push you up the ranking accordingly. Make sure you use short sentences which are easier to read. Use white-spaces wisely. Vary your text formatting.
- 1000+ words please: Whenever possible use 1000+ word in your article. Studies shows that the longer article wins the day in search engine ranking game.
- Put a sock in the popups: Have you visit Forbes website. They have a huge number of popups. Do not use pop ups. Pop ups are going to frustrate your users and eventually they all started to go away. This will impact your ranking negatively.
These are the three pillars of on-page SEO which you should follow in your WordPress site in order to rank well in search result. That’s all for today. If you haven’t subscribe for our weekly news-letter then please do it by following the link below