12 On-Page SEO Tips: how to create a perfectly optimized page that google and your visitors will love
Posted by Murray Sye
on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 12:05 PM
Are you aware of the factors that lead to improved search engine traffic?
We can't underestimate the value of good content. That's a given. Yet to elevate your page's performance in search engines, you need to consider all aspects of on-page SEO.
Okay, I know what you're thinking; on-page SEO is tricky stuff.
Luckily all the tips that I'm passing on to you today, are easy. No, seriously. I'm confident that you'll find all 12 of these on-page SEO tips a breeze. So without further adieu, let's get to it.
The following checklist comes to you courtesty of Backlinko CEO, Brian Dean. Brian writes awesome content about SEO and he really knows his stuff. The stuff that will give your content a kick in the butt and head it straight to page one.
1) Leveraging Permalink URLs
What is a Permalink?
A permalink is a URL that points to a specific web page. It can be any page on your website but in the example below, it's pointing to a page on Copyblogger's website. Notice how short the URL is?
According to Google, the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight. So, ideally you'd want your page's URL to be short and keyword rich. However, Dean suggests that keyword-rich URLs are carrying less weight these days as Google gets better at figuring out relevancy using things like Hummingbird. But, search results pages still bold keywords in a URL which still supports the case for leveraging keyword-rich URLs.
2) Your page title tag is key
Above all else, start your page title tag with a keyword. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines. Placing a targeted keyword in your headline is optimal, but there will be times when it's simply tough to do. If that's the case, try to place keywords as close to the front of your URL as possible – like in the sample below.
3) Make a visual impact
Producing content has become a key factor in maintaining a successful brand. But you can't expect to cut through the content clutter and keep your audience interested with just words alone. What trumps text these days is visual impact.
Engaging images including: graphics, photos, videos, infographics and more.
If you want to reduce bounce rate and increase time on site, start leveraging visuals. According to Dean, multimedia helps you boost user-interaction signals that Google has been paying more attention to. And it increases the perceived value of your content: which means that people are more likely to link to it. You may want to check out our recent blog post on this very subject, click the image above.
4) Use outbound links
Outbound links to related pages is a relevancy signal that helps Google figure out your page's topic and suggests that your page is a hub of quality content. Dean shares this 'rule of thumb': Not linking out is a mistake. He usually links out to 2-4x per 1000 words. Keep in mind that the sites you link to are a reflection of you, so you'll need to link to those sites that carry some clout.
5) Include a keyword in the first 100 words
To maximize SEO, your targeted keyword should appear in the first 100-150 words of your article. Putting the keyword early in your content emphasizes that your article's content is about that keyword and that's what Google likes.
Website redesign was our keyword in this recent WhiteSpace post. I was able to (deliberately) place it again early in the first line. You may not be able to place your keywords this soon, but try to include them at the very least in the first 100.
6) Leverage H1 tags
Within a web page, your most important headline should get an H1 tag. Always have one H1 header line on your blog. This will help with SEO. If you're a HubSpot customer using the content management system, the headlines of your pages will automatically be given an H1 tag in the HTML.
If you don't use HubSpot, (WordPress perhaps), just make sure that in the HTML version of your website, you include the following: <h1> Headline Text </h1> and include the keyword that you want that page to rank for in search.
7) Page loading is key
Of course you do not want your page(s) to load slowly. In fact Google has stated on the record that page loading speed is a SEO differentiator. Outside of compressing images one of the safest ways to increase page download is to pay for it. Look for a web hosting company that will provide premium, faster hosting.
Your site has about 4 seconds or less for your page to load. According to MunchWeb, 75% of users wouldn't revisit a site that took longer than 4 seconds.
8) Add modifiers to your title keyword
A modifier is a word that in combination with your core keyword creates your long-tail strategy. Adding a word such as "2015", "best", "guide", etc. can help you rank for long-tail versions of your targeted keyword.
Modifiers are often discovered by chance. You publish an article for your core term and then discover that that was not the keyword itself that generated the search traffic, but it was the keyword in combination with some other word that naturally appeared within the content.
9) Leverage social share buttons
Social share buttons enable visitors and content viewers to easily share your content. Adding social share buttons to your content allows you to expand the reach of your content to new audiences and helps to generate new vistors back to your website.
Social signals are becoming a larger part of search engine algorithms. A study by BrightEdge found that prominent social sharing buttons can increase social sharing by 700%.
10) Content length plays a role
It appears that long content will catch Google's eye over shorter content. According to Dean longer posts usually perform better on every level and that's supported in serpIQ's graph below.
Higher word count typically results in more search traffic. Evidence suggests that the more content your page has, the better chance it has of a top position in Google results. NOTE: all first page results (in the above graph) has content exceeding 2,000 words. The more content you have, the more of it gets indexed, the better it will perform in searches and results.
11) Lower page bounce rate
How effective is your content when someone clicks away?
Not very much.
And that's exactly what Google thinks. Google judges page quality by bounce rate. Dean offers a few tips on how to avoid this. Adding internal links to the beginning of your content is one of the easiest and most effective ways to decrease your bound rate and improve time on site.
He believes that when people first get to a page they're more "click happy" then when they're deeper in an article. That's why internal links at the beginning of your articles tend to get clicked more often... reducing bound rate significantly.
12) What the heck, sprinkle LSI keywords
What's an LSI keyword you ask? Google and other search engines use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to match search results to the intentions of the person performing the search. Using synonyms, related keywords, and grammatical variations is an easy way to make your content more relevant – without stuffing the actual keyword into the copy.
Google uses LSI keywords to determine a page's relevancy and perhaps quality. If you write long copy (point no.10) you probably don't have to worry too much about incorporating LSI into your diet as long content increases the odds that you'll naturally include LSI keywords in your content.
Enough already, now it's your turn
I'll bet you're anxious to implement some of Dean's strategies, like right now! So grab your keyboard and go for it. I've referred to a few of Dean's articles in previous posts, so you know I'm a big fan. Again I want to thank Backlinko for always offering such great advice.
If you have any suggestions or tips and tricks that may have worked for you, please don't be shy, let us know and we'll share them with our readers.
Written by Murray SyeMurray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.