How To Do On Page SEO
On page SEO is the process of formatting your content in a way that is search engine friendly. Search engines like Google need to be able to look at your content and quickly understand what it is about. By implementing some simple on page SEO techniques you will be able to better rank for your target keywords because Google will be able to more easily determine what search terms to index your content for.
Before we talk about the actual on page seo techniques, it’s important to note the importance of original, quality content. Google is always refining their algorithms to reward those who genuinely contribute to the web and penalize those who only seek to manipulate it for profit.
For your personal blog I would recommend only publishing original content, rather than spinning other people’s work or copying content from article directories, like some people do.
There are a lot of places on the web where you can get free website content and you can even pay people to write articles for you. But in my opinion, there’s really no substitute for writing your own content.
A personal website is about more than just traffic and opt-ins, it’s your personal space on the web. It represents your business and it represents you. It should be treated accordingly.
On Page SEO Checklist
Once you have your keyword selected (which was covered in a previous tutorial) it is time to write your SEO post. You can use the following checklist to frame your content while you are writing or you can use it to go back over your content and make some SEO edits after your post is done, which ever fits your style of writing better.
1) Title – Make sure your full keyword is part of your title, preferably the very first words of the title or the title itself.
2) Slug – The slug is the last part of the url of your new post. If you are using WordPress you should see a place to edit the slug right underneath the title. Make sure your keyword in in the slug as well.
3) Headings – Make sure that you have headings that contain your keyword. WordPress has different size headings. Heading 1 is the largest, then 2, etc. Ideally you want to have your keyword in one Heading 1, and one Heading 2.
You shouldn’t put your keyword in more than one of each heading as it may be seen as keyword stuffing by Google and will only hurt your ranking. Also, your title will almost always be an H1 already so if your keyword is in the title (which it should be) you won’t want to add another Heading 1.
4) First & Last – You will want to include your keyword in the first and last sentences of your post if you can. If not, at least include them in the first 50-100 words and the last 50-100 words.
5) Decorate – Bold the first instance of your keyword, italicize the second, underline the third, and “quote” the fourth.
6) Alternate Text – When you insert an image into your post there will a place to insert alternate text. Include your keyword in the alternate text section for at least on image in your post.
7) Keyword Density – Try to keep your keyword density around 1-3%. This means that for every 100 words you write, there should be 1-3 instances of your keyword.
8.) Hyperlink – You can also include an internal link (link to another post or page on your site) and an external link (link to a different site) in some keyword anchor text (highlight your keyword and click the link button in the visual editor).
Sometimes though, it can be more trouble than it’s worth to try and find relevant content to link to.
9) Meta Data – If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog and are using an SEO plugin you will also have the option of entering meta keywords and a meta description. The meta keywords section is just an extra place to tell the search engines what your keywords are. The meta description is the description that will show up under the title of your post when it is displayed in search engine results.
If you have this option then go ahead and place your keywords in the meta keywords box and in the meta description box write a good description that sells your post, remembering to include your keywords, first if possible.
Don’t Overdo It
While it is important from an SEO perspective to keyword optimize your post, you don’t want to overdo it. Keyword stuffing is when you jam your post full of keywords in an attempt to get higher search rankings. This isn’t good. If your keyword density is too high Google realizes that you are simply trying to manipulate the search engines, rather than writing good content, and it will actually hurt you rather than help.
Balance is Key
There is always a balance that needs to be maintained between writing for Google and writing for people. What’s good for search engines isn’t always attractive to readers, and vice versa. Although you need to keep your on page SEO in mind while writing your posts, if it comes down to a decision between optimizing for search engines and improving user experience, choose the latter.
An Easier Way
Learning how to do on page SEO can be tedious; and even when you know what you’re doing it’s still a bit of a nuisance to always have to remember to do it for every post.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, there’s a plugin I recommend checking out called Easy WP SEO to automate your on page SEO efforts. When you publish or save a post, this plugin will check it against a plethora of on page SEO techniques and give you a score based on how well you did. You can then easily see what’s missing and make corrections.
For those who are new to blogging, Easy WP SEO is a competent guide to help you along the way. For those who are more experienced, it’s a helpful reminder and a massive time saver.
This is sort of the king of on page SEO automation in my opinion. There are soooo many features, compatibility is excellent, doesn’t slow down your site, and the developer is responsive.