You’re a blogger and you know that you’re pretty awesome at blogging — but why aren’t you getting better rankings and more traffic to your site?
Your friends like your articles and you’ve had several people leaving positive comments on your posts but why aren’t your social signals shooting through the roof?
Well, are your blog posts Search Engine Optimized?
If they are, then you should probably be focusing your efforts elsewhere such as Social Media Marketing in order to increase traffic, but feel free to continue reading to see if you’ve missed out any of these 12 optimization tips.
Search Engine Optimization (which is the process of getting your website ranked onto a search engine’s first result page) can be easily broken down into 3 parts – on-site optimization, off-site optimization and social media marketing.
Today, we’ll focus on the cheapest methods of SEO and that is, on-site optimization.
To start with, you’ll need to know your keyword – the word or phrase you’d expect someone to type in when looking for your post.
How do we know what keyword you should be targeting? Through these 2 ways:
i) Use Google Adwords tool to see how many people are searching for your keyword, so the more searches, the better! (25,000 searches a month is decent)
ii) Find out if many people are trying to rank the same keyword by going to Google, and typing:
into the search bar to see how many results pop out. The more results, the more competitive it is so you might want to consider a different keyword instead.
12 On-page Optimization Tips for Improved Rankings
1) Include Your Keyword In The Post Title
Your headlines capture both your audience and Google’s attention. These are the first thing that people would see on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), grabbing their attention long enough for them to decide whether they want to click on it or not. So apart from just putting in the keyword, a great fool-proof strategy here is to keep the text in the tag short, yet descriptive and eye-catching. Research has shown that 60-70 characters is optimal for a headline.
2. Include Keyword Into Headings and Sub-headings for better rankings
The next most obvious place to include keywords would be the other headings. These are the next most heavily weighted ranking factor. Aside from segmenting a page into easily digestible portions, it also makes everything crawler-friendly (crawlers, aka spiders, bots or indexers – miniature computer programs that “crawl” the World Wide Web for data to supply to search engines). These headings also make it easier for them to index and gather data for search engines.
3. Bold, Italicize and Underline Keywords
In the past, SEO experts placed great emphasis and thought these were major ranking factors for SEO. Since Google updated their Search algorithms (Google Panda and Penguin), whether these are still significant is somewhat debatable, so to be safe side, these should be done sparingly. The general guideline would be to use these for the purpose of enhancing the overall visual impact of a web page, as well as your visitor’s reading experience.
4. Include Keyword in first and last sentence
These also do not affect rankings directly, but since web crawlers lift crucial data from the title and the first sentence, it is a strategic move to not only include keywords but to make these sentences as descriptive and informative as possible. But remember, your content must first cater to human readers, not to crawlers or robots, so it's still top priority to have content that’s fun and easy to read. You might notice that when your post is shared on Facebook and Twitter this information is pulled and used as part of the text for the shared content. Social signals play a vital role in your blog's SEO.
5. Include Keyword in Image ALT. text
No one can argue that visual content express a lot more than words can, but since Google crawlers can only lift textual data, images are quite redundant. This is where we use ALT text and attributes for images. ALT just means “alternative” so it’s the default text displayed instead of a blank icon when a user disables images on the browser that he or she is using. Google has long confirmed that they do pick out data from alt captions to determine an image’s properties, so you have to make sure that important keywords as well as relevant information are inserted into an image ALT text and attributes.
6. Do Not Overpopulate Post With Keywords
Over optimization and keyword stuffing are the reasons why Google updated their systems to penalize websites. Keep your keyword density percentage between 2% to 4% of your page's overall content, because anything above that range becomes annoying to readers and could get your site penalized by Google.
7. Use Words That Relate To Keywords
Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which basically involves extracting the essence of a text by identifying and contextualizing the common keywords and phrases that appear in it. For example, a web crawler would expect to find words and phrases like “smartphone,” “Android Jelly Bean,” “Super AMOLED” and even “iPhone 4s” for an article that has “Samsung Galaxy S4” as a main keyphrase. This just means posts should have a smooth and natural flow and contain relevant and meaningful content, not something achievable by repeating keywords and using article spinners.
8. Use Synonymous Keywords
This practice is associated with the LSI since web crawlers will be looking for synonyms and closely related phrases that are commonly found in your article, so it is good practice to mix in a variety in the wording of keywords so that the crawlers would have lots of indexing options. For example, the keyword “e-book” could be reworded as “online guide” or “Internet manual.”
9. Links with keyword as anchor text
Linking to other pages on your site or to different parts of your web page is a great way to improve your site's bounce rate and increase overall website traffic. Well-written links improve site-navigation and user experience. Visitors save time and are able to easily find what they’re looking for all on one page. A great example of a website that does this well is Wikipedia.
10. Optimize the words in your Meta Description
This is the next thing you see underneath a website’s title on the search engine result pages. Though it is not a major ranking factor, this greatly influences user behaviour as it is essentially the short preview of the website that they are about to enter. This brief summary proves to be quite important so the best way to optimize it is to keep that description under 200 characters.
11. Include Keywords in Page URL
Try to refrain from using random letters and numbers in URLs (such as www.mywebsite.com/18ruf83294/aasd) as these don’t make any sense to anyone – not even to Google crawlers. URLs should be customized to include a descriptive phrase or keyword so both visitors and Google know what that page is about even without the benefit of a meta description or anchor text. This also makes it easier for people to remember your website.
12. More Words, Better Navigation, Less ads
A web page's rankings depend mostly on textual content, so crawlers focus more on what is written as opposed to all the unnecessary images and annoying advertisements that can be found on it. Keep your word count preferably around 800-1500 words. More written words means more keywords and important phrases being thrown around for web crawlers to collect and index. You just have to make sure that your content is relevant and meaningful enough so it’s all worth reading – which I’m sure it already is.
Hope this helps and if you find this process too tedious, feel free to check out the automated on-page personal advisor, SEOPressor (Ms. Ileane's affiliate link). This WordPress plugin is literally like having an SEO consultant right beside you, informing you of every on-page factor you need to do and the ones that you have missed out.
Until next time, happy blogging!