One of your most important task as a content marketer is by helping your readers and search engines crawlers to better understand what question/problems the content on each of your web pages provides answers to.
Every page on your website must provide an answer/solution to a particular question your audience is asking or an issue they’re looking for the solution.
Unlike your human visitors, search engines spiders can’t read text on a page. They follow many patterns or signals to determine the relevancy of a page to users queries in other to present her with the most relevant information.
To help search engines crawlers better understand what each of your website pages stands for. You have to incorporate structures, patterns, and clues into your content creations.
This will help provide the relevant on-page SEO best practices elements that search engines spiders’ uses to return relevant information to user’s queries within a fraction of seconds.
Over the years, many smart self-acclaimed SEO experts and content marketers have come up with what they called “the complete list of Google 200 ranking factors”. One of the most successful and well received among these lists is the one written and published by Brain Dean of Backlinko.
This lists of 200 ranking signal no doubt create a lot of buzz in the SEO industry. Many content marketers take it close to the heart and carried out the implementations of these signals religiously.
But recently, I stumble upon an article written by Gianluca Fiorelli for Moz which pointed us to a different direction on the 200 ranking signals to what could just be another myth in the SEO industry.
Irrespective of what any SEOs says or claim about Google 200 ranking factors. One thing is sure and certain – Google never reveals exact details of their search algorithm to anyone.
But what we do know is that content and links signals stands at the very top of the search ranking factors as revealed by Andrey Lipattsev, a senior search quality strategies at Google in a question and answer section.
Based on research by hundreds of SEO firms, agencies, experts, marketers, observations from different reputable sources. We are able to explore the process of successful or working elements of on-page optimization. And come up with working SEO strategies that have the potentials to influence the ranking position of a giving web page.
Base on these, I present you with an advanced guide to a better on-page SEO optimization best practices that work.
Bear in mind that like the 200 Google ranking signals, this list of seven on-page SEO best practices is not a complete or absolute list. They’re just “part” of what is working. And not in any way the only determinant factors that Google uses to determine on-page relevancy of any web page.
Use them to modify your web pages at your sole discretion.
1. Keyword Usage and placement.
It all starts with knowing what you want to rank for – focus keyword. If you don’t know exactly what your ideal customers are typing into search engines to find information related to your niche market, you’re dead in the water.
Figuring out what your target audience is searching for is the first step to a successful on-page optimization. With the help of free keyword tools like Google keyword planner…this task is made easier and achievable.
The next step is to have this focus keyword placed strategically in some ideal places on your web page. But while this practice still remains one of the most inform best practices to on-page optimization, its influence on search engine ranking has been known to have fallen in recent years.
This does not mean you should ignore its importance completely…NO! Is just that keyword placement alone has little or minimal effects on how web pages are ranked in search engines.
For instance, if your focus keyword is “SEO Ninja“, below are the ideal places to have your focus keyword appeared.
- i. Article Headline.
- ii First paragraph.
- iii. Last Paragraph.
- iv. Sub-headings in “H” tag.
- v. Meta Description.
Placing your focus keyword in these areas is not only good for improving search visibility, but it also provides users with a better understanding of your content topic and ensures maximum user experience.
2. Heading Tags.
Heading tags are part of your on-page SEO strategies, and you shouldn’t ignore or misuse them.
Heading tags are used to differentiate sub-sections or sub-headings on a page. It lets the users quickly know that ok! here is another important section in this document.
The most important being H1, and your site HTML coding should automatically wrap up your page title in this tag to help simplify the process each time you publish a new blog post.
The industry standard for using H tags on a page is to start from H1, followed by H2 and on like that it goes down to the least important of them all – H6 – they should follow a hierarchy.
This means and that if your page title is introduced in the H1 tag, the next sub-title or heading on the page should be wrapped up in an H2 tag. Not following this rule is not an ideal option for better on-page SEO practices.
From both users and search engines point of view, proper implementation of H tags has a positive impact on your on-page SEO.
- Keywords included in H tags gives search engines spiders the signals to understand the consistency of keyword usage on a page with the rest of the content.
- Your focus keyword SHOULD be included in your page H1 tag which is very important for SEO benefits as search engines spiders pay utmost attention to this section on a page.
- Breaking up your content with heading tags give users a better experience as they can quickly scan through content to the most interesting part of the content.
- The practice of using styling text or fancy font for H tags is not accepted and should be avoided completely.
- Stuffing keyword in H tags could result in Google penalizing your site for keyword stuffing, so be cautious on how you use it.
- Headings tags should be clearly visible on a page, hidden text in H tags could land you in Google’s court.
While writing your content, is important not to focus alone on the usage of your focus keyword if you’re going to reach wider targets audience.
Users themselves generate keywords that content marketers target in their content, and these words vary in their usage or language but may also mean the same thing in their concept.
For instant, “PPC’ which may also mean Pay-per-click if we’re talking in content marketing concept – so using other variation of your target keyword is a good on-page SEO practices as search engines spiders possess billions of synonyms or variations of words to match users queries even if the user didn’t use exact word to find your content.
Instead of repeating or using same target keyword throughout your content, use other related words that users might use to find you.
4. Word Placement.
Every web page is divided into different sections such as header, footer, body, sidebars, navigation, etc.
Your most important words shouldn’t be placed in an area that is not easily visible to your human visitors e.g sidebars or navigation menus if you want them to rank or compete in the search engines.
The body section of your web pages should be and in my opinion is the only text area that should contain your most important words that matter most to your readers. Take for example, how many of your blog readers take note of those banner ads on your sidebar?
Few, right? I guess.
This is because it does not matter most to them but maybe only you, due to the monetary reason behind it. So also search engines spiders take into consideration in a smaller amount the less important sections on your blog.
To get the most out of your on-page SEO benefits, I suggest you have your primary keyword in the first paragraph of your document or as early as possible and somewhere very close to the end of the document. Other variations of it may come anywhere in the content as far as they are used natural and not forced to fit in.
There is a method of indexing and ranking that search engines spiders use to group web pages called Phrase-based indexing. It is a process of indexing web pages based on complete phrases and ranking them on the relevancy of that phrases.
Using co-occurrence concept, it makes it easier for search engines spiders to return the most relevant information to users queries based on the co-occurrence of your target keyword with other closely related or often mentioned terms or phrases.
For instance, if we’re talking about “best affiliate network programs”. There is the possibility of mentioning “Share-a-sale“, “ClickBank”, “Commission Junction” etc.
A page that target “best affiliate network programs” has its main focus keyword could possibly rank higher for any or all these related search terms. Especially if it gain incoming links from a related website than a page that targets the same keyword but with little to no mentions of any phrase related to affiliate network programs.
In the eyes of search engines spiders, such page could possibly not all about affiliate network programs.
This is why you should leave nothing out when writing your content, go deeper and have all the meat and potatoes that content deserved included in your document. You never know what keyword(s) in content will bring you the most organic traffic.
6. The depth of the content.
The length of an article itself is not a direct influence on ranking. But what makes this work is the fact that lengthy articles give room to express yourself further and clearly. It allows you to touch on every aspect of the subject without leaving readers hanging.
At 1000 or more word on a page, a topic can be explored further. Your target keyword can be fully utilized and occur at a good ratio to overall word count. This is not really keyword density. More content on a page provides enough room to fuse in other related search terms you want to target within your content.
Studies show that the average content length of top 10 Google ranking is 2000 word count according to SERPIQ.
However, it is important to remember not to create long-form content just because you want it to be 2000 or more words. Thereby resulting in rambling all over the places without any meaningful facts, education or entertainments derive from reading the content on the part of the users.
If you’re aiming to attract organic traffic, then consider writing long in-depth articles that are full of fact, case studies, education, tutorials, quality reviews, and drop jaw entertainments.
7. Topical Targeting.
It is a good and ethic practice to base your content on “a” particular topic.
So that both search engines crawlers and your human visitors could identify and understand what you’re talking about. But we can help takes this further by going all out on the subject and target more related keywords within a single piece of content.
Let’s assume you’re writing about “what is blog commenting?”.
Normally, once you have defined what blog commenting mean….you have definitely answered the question. But you don’t have to stop there. You can in the same content provide answers to “how to leave an effective comment on a post”, “how to find do-follow blogs to comment on”, “why short one-liner comment might hurt you” etc.
If you follow this approach to writing your content, you’ll surely end up with creating something that looks like an ultimate guide to an xxx topic because you’re leaving nothing out of it. And writing 2000 or more words will become a pretty simple task.
Also, you could possibly rank for keywords related to those other topics too within that same content that talks about what is blog commenting.
What you’re doing, in essence, is covering a blog theme instead of just writing about a sub-section of it.
This topic won’t be complete without leaving you with some of the finest tools on the internet for achieving better on-page content optimization.
8 On-Page SEO Tools to Ease Your Task.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast.
This is a must-have tool for every WordPress blog owner and the better part of it is that – this tool is FREE.
Yoast SEO plugin will let you know while writing your content if everything is well set-up. If there is something wrong with your on-page SEO optimization, you’ll see a notification like color indicating where the problem is.
First, if things look good, you should see all fields in the image circled red turn “Green”. Then, to further explore your on-page analysis…click on the tab titled “Page analysis” and you’ll have all the details of your current page to read.
Though, not every aspect covers in this post you’ll have the benefits to evaluate with Yoast SEO plugin. But you have the luxury of measuring your content on-page optimization progress with this SEO tool.
2. Google Keyword Planner.
Keyword research and popularity contest is still the base of content marketing. With Google keyword planner you can search for keywords with better ROI, add group ideas, determine the performance of each keyword in the market, and create a new keyword list.
For more on how to use keyword planner, take this short 3 minutes video.
SiteLiner is one tool I really find useful. Just enter your site URL and let the tool do the job of finding broken links on your site, duplicate content, internal page rank, errors on the page etc.
4. SEO Browser.
SEO browser is used to see a page just the way a search engine spider will see it. It shows you the page without the stylings or other graphics on the page, good for checking:
- Internal and external links.
- Text to page weight ratio.
- Java script elements.
5. Google Web Master Tool.
There is no better place to check your site healthy than Google tools itself.
With Google Web Master tool, you can easily check for your site structure data markup, site speed, keyword insight, crawler errors, schema.org validation, search queries, Google index status, etc.
6. SEO Chat.
This tool does a lot of work.
From SEO tool to generating schema.org code, content marketing tool such as pay-per-click, to web design tool etc. You have lots and lots of valuable tools within this one special on-page SEO tool.
SEO Chat is one must use tool for all SEOs.
7. Anchor Text Over Optimization tool.
This is a tool for checking your anchor text diversity. It let you know if you’re over optimizing a specific anchor text and highlight the area you need to modify.
Just input your blog URL and let the tool handle the rest of the task and offer you a detail report for manual review.
8. Title and description Optimization Tool.
This title and description optimization tool will give you a great insight into what top 8 Google search ranking for your choosing keyword are doing to optimize their articles. Enter your keyword, choose the country and let the tool shows you what your competitors are doing.
I found it useful.
What other on-page SEO optimization tool have you used and find useful? There are lots of them out there…let’s hear your experience in the comment section.