Ah, SEO. That obnoxious little acronym that has invaded most of our lives. Sometimes it can feel like quite a struggle out there, preparing your onpage SEO, monitoring your website metrics, questioning the causes behind a sudden spike or drop in traffic.
While nothing is set in stone when it comes to onpage SEO, the good news for marketers in 2017, is that there’s a lot more information out there now.
You don’t need to have a mega budget when it comes to improving or implementing your onpage SEO. Neither do you need to deal with fancy, expensive agencies using black hat tactics and charging a fortune while they near your website towards a penalty.
There’s plenty of great sources to start from, just by conducting a Google search. And here’s a little tip. The articles that come up first about onpage SEO (under the ads) will be the ones that are optimized well. So you’d be advised to take your tips from them or you can hire a professional seo consultant to do the on-page optimization for your website
But, in the meantime to get you going, here’s a little rundown of how to do onpage SEO in 2017.
Onpage SEO Has Many Faces
You can pretty much break down SEO down into onpage SEO and offpage SEO. Here, we’re going to deal with the first one. That is, the efforts you place on making sure your site ranks as well as possible, in-house. Not the time you spent forging relationships, building links, and submitting your sitemap.
Let’s take this On-Page SEO Step-by-Step
1. URL Structure
When creating killer content and articles filled with keywords (we’ll come to that in a moment), don’t get the basics wrong. Your URL structure is a vital component of onpage SEO.
They need to contain keywords and be short and easy to remember. So, if you were writing an article about 5 qualities leaders should have, a good slug for the end of the URL would be 5-qualities-leaders.
If you use WordPress for your website or blog, add the Yoast SEO plugin. This isn’t exactly the bible on onpage SEO, but it will give you a kind of checklist to make sure you aren’t making any major mistakes.
Yoast will tell you if your intended URL fails to contain a keyword, if it’s too long or contains stop words, which are generally prepositions, like “in,” “on,” and “at.”
Again, little use is it writing the perfect content if you fail to add and optimize the metadata. This consists of a Meta title (or SEO title) and a Meta description.
The rules are constantly changing when it comes to onpage SEO, so be sure to keep an eye out for revisions. At the time of writing this article, Meta titles were recommended to be no longer than 60 characters in length (including spaces). Meta descriptions no more than 156 (including spaces).
When crafting your Metadata, remember these practices. You must put your keyword somewhere in the Meta description, and make the description interesting. This is the small amount of text that will appear under your article in a search result.
Include a call to action, something to encourage the user to click and read. Try to get the keyword first in the Meta title, but if it doesn’t sound natural, sticking it second or third won’t do too much harm.
Why are headers important? Because Google and other search engines scan your articles and focus on the headers. Not breaking your articles down will mean that you have one continuous wall of text.
Bolding the text will not help, you need to use actual H1, H2, H3, etc. headers and make sure that at least one of them contains the keyword for your article. If you want to test this out, notice where I put “onpage SEO.”
Actually, the benefits of using headers are twofold. Firstly, you’ll get ranked better and given preference by Google, for making algorithm-friendly content. And secondly, you’ll make the article easier to read.
Anything that can help readability and user experience will encourage longer time on page. Time spent on page is one metric used to measure how well your site ranks, so if you can encourage readers to stick around, your visibility will improve.
Make sure you don’t write more than 300 words after each header. The laws of search engines dictate that’s too much text to read all at once. So, use headers after every 250-300 words or less.
Not all content has images and that’s OK. Just remember that people scanning the web are not obliged to give you their full attention.
Even if you write like J.K. Rowling, if you don’t make it easier for your distracted web visitors to look at nice aesthetics as they read, they might bounce right off the page.
So, add images if you’re writing a long blog post, but make sure that you optimize them. Onpage SEO? Yes.
To ensure that your onpage SEO is, well, optimized, you’ll need to assign Alt text tags to your images. You can read more about that here, but basically, it’s naming your images with the right keyword.
Going back to your article about leadership, you’d want your image to be called “5 Qualities Leaders Have.” You also need to optimize it for size. This is so that your site runs fast and doesn’t get weighed down with heavy images.
You can do this easily with an image resizing tool and by saving your images preferably as PNGs, as these take up less space.
Now we come to the most important part of onpage SEO. Your content. It probably (should) go without saying that your content must be unique. So, no ripping off other people’s work. Not only is it bad form, but you can get penalized for duplicate content.
The quality of your content will speak for itself. But, if you don’t include onpage SEO techniques, unfortunately, your awesome article may simply never be seen.
So, remember your onpage SEO when you start out writing. Think about what your keyword is. There are several ways you can find out what people are searching for.
You can use a tool like Moz or AdWords Keyword Planner. Find out the keywords that you stand a chance of being ranked for. Something like “web design” may be relevant to your business. But there are also 1 million other websites vying for that keyword.
Long tail keywords can make a big difference, especially if your business is local. Just think of how much more targeted your site visitor will be if your keyword is “web design New Hampshire.”
Not only will you be narrowing the competition down to one geographic area, but you’ll also be targeting local traffic.
If your location is irrelevant, how about trying a long tail keyword like “cheap web design,” or “B2B website design.”
6. No Keyword Stuffing
Once you set your keyword, you should be aiming for a keyword density of between 1-2 percent. 1.5 percent is ideal. Sometimes it depends on the article you’re writing. Onpage SEO is not about keyword stuffing. So, go over this limit and you may run a risk of incurring a penalty.
You’ll also lose site visitors who don’t want to read an incoherent text that is clearly written for search engines and not for people. How do you know if your onpage SEO keywords are enough? Again, Yoast will tell you. Or you can use a page analyzer plugin, like SEO Quake to do the calculations for you.
The general consensus today is that long and informative articles rank well with Google. So, if you can provide articles of over 1,500 words that will help your onpage SEO. But don’t add words for the sake of it, if there really is nothing more to be said. Just keep in mind your minimum to get the page indexed should be around 300-400 words.
7. Social Media Buttons
You want people to be able to like and share your content, right? Tweet it to their followers and share it on Facebook or LinkedIn? Then make it easy to spread the word.
Part of onpage SEO is user experience (well, that’s a whole topic in itself). But how you integrate your social media buttons is crucial.
Make sure that they look good, head to the right links and are not too big and clumsy or too small to get noticed.
Wrapping It Up
Onpage SEO is vital in helping your site look better and rank higher. So, before you consider diving into the waters of off-page SEO, be sure you’ve got the foundations in place.
Write good content that people will naturally want to read, link to and share. Make sure that it’s optimized for search engines and that your images aren’t heavy or affecting your site speed.
Pay attention to your Metadata and URLs, and remember that onpage SEO is all about keywords. So, choose the right ones and make sure that your article has the correct density of them.
Above all, remember that onpage SEO is not set in stone. You may need to go back and update your keywords or change title lengths to fit new guidelines. You may also want to experiment with different formats and calls to action.
But, if you have the basics in place, you’ll be well on your way to achieving an attractive website that soars up in SERP ranking and number of unique visitors.
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