12 Free Ways to Optimize Your Blog Posts For Better Rankings!

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?

Search RankingsWell, 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.

Keyword Research

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:

intitle:”Keyword”

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!

 

About 

Jesslyn is a JV Specialist who manages Affiliate Programs for SEOPressor, Social Metrics Pro, XTabApps and Pinsomo. She writes with Chak

105 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Thanks Ileane,

    I was mentally thinking of my last blog post today when I read this and realised that I naturally, without knowing about what you wrote here, included most of these ideas.

    What was interesting for me in particular was the use of synonyms and words related to the keywords as well. Mental note! Thank you.

    All the best, Roz

  2. Nice tips Jesslyn on using the keywords in sub headings and in bold and italic fonts. Is that fairly new? I’ve been doing that just recently to my product pages on a retail site. Hope it will help too. I don’t read too much on retail sites vs.blogs. I would imagine Google looks at it the same as far as content goes and links with anchor text.

  3. Congrats on the article and how it is really informative.

    I believe having good on-page SEO and building quality links to the post is one of the best ways to rank an article.

    Every point in the article is legit and should be followed.

    • Sure every single point in on-page SEO tactics is essential but on other side you have to promote your website in different blog and forums, like link building strategies no one talk about link building on page is the short period optimization but if your site not compete with others then its useless.

  4. Really great article. Especially I liked the On-Page optimization tips.

    Some of them are really great to rank high. But after the Hits of Google Animal, I do not think we should use keywords this much.

    I mean keyword in first sentence, second, ALT, H1, H2 and many more.

    Also we should also Bold or Italic keyword very rarely.

    By the way I got some very nice tips from here. Thanks

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Jafar,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, keywords should definitely be used sparingly especially since Google Panda and Penguin came along. I probably should have mentioned in the article that any written content should have the most natural flow when it comes to incorporating keywords, bolding and italics and not doing so for the sake of higher rankings. Also thanks for pointing that out, Jafar. And I’m glad you liked it. Hope it helps!

  5. It truly is the easiest changes that you can make to really optimize your content. Believe it or not I often don’t hear about bold, underline and italicize when people are writing about how to optimize their websites, but in my experience has ALWAYS been a must. I’ve never tried using my main keywords in the last part of my post, always the upper fold though. I will give it a shot.

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Gabriel,

      I would say that bolding, underlining and italicizing aren’t the most important in SEO but are fairly useful when trying to emphasize on certain words in a text. Google likes to see relevance so if a keyword can be found almost anywhere in an article, it’ll be more inclined to think that your article is truly focused on that keyword topic. What I do recommend however, just like a few of these other comments, to focus more on LSI and synonymous keywords. I believe these will play greater roles in Google’s future rules for search.

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Gabriel,

      I would say that bolding, underlining and italicizing aren’t the most important in SEO but are fairly useful when trying to emphasize on certain words in a text. Google likes to see relevance so if a keyword can be found almost anywhere in an article, it’ll be more inclined to think that your article is truly focused on that keyword topic. What I do recommend however, just like a few of these other comments, to focus more on LSI and synonymous keywords. I believe these will play greater roles in Google’s future rules for search. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Aasma

    Hi Jesslyn,

    Really informative post, Meta Description doesn’t play any importance in ranking your keywords but still many people are unaware of it. They tend to do keyword stuffing in meta description and end with 500 characters.

  7. Hey nice review for pro bloggers and newbies alike. You have mentioned that keywords should be present in first and last line. I want to know is there any penalty if I am using keywords at the beginning of each paragraph? Is it an unhealthy practice?

    • Jesslyn

      Thanks Vicky, glad you liked it. Since the introduction of Google Penguin, the negative effect of using too many keywords is apparent. It is not exactly advisable to use keywords at every beginning paragraph. The best advice that I would offer anyone is to keep your content as natural and smooth-flowering as possible, rather than intentionally putting keywords everywhere just to rank higher on SERPs. Hope that helps!

  8. Few few people know about LSI ,so its a great point to point out here. I hope all the newbies gain this insight for the betterment of their blog :)

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Bishwajeet,

      Thanks for the comment. I hope everyone will gain some insights about on-site optimization by reading this post too :)

  9. This is a great easy-to-understand guide on how to optimize your content.
    These SEO tips are basic, but essential to implement for every blogger.
    Thanks Jesslyn!

  10. hi – Jesslyn, these are the awesome tips to rank in google. i really appreciate your work. the whole post is very informative for me. thank you so much for sharing. God Bless you.

  11. hello Jesslyn Pryde, i am new in blogging, i do not know much about page optimization and how to rank etc, but the above post is really helpful. thank you

  12. I use SEOPessor to optimize the blog posts (most of the time). But it’s REALLY a tedious task to keyword optimize the post all the time.

    However it’s important to know whether you want to write for readers or search engines.

  13. Hi Jesslyn,

    I feel scared and worried for others after reading SEO posts. Tips you provide are great and I can learn a lot from it.

    But there are a lot of people over using SEO and end up with very bad post that’s only focus on keywords but not valuable content.

    Thank you – Ferb

    • Jesslyn

      Yes Ferb, I agree with you. It is unfortunate that there will be people out there who would end up “over-optimizing” but as far as this goes, we can only learn from our mistakes and become better at doing what we do. Hopefully people would realize what you realize and learn to focus on creating valuable content first, and then only optimizing. Thanks for sharing with us :)

  14. ‘ Include Keyword in first and last sentence’ is the new thing I have read in this article, and I would love to use it and check the impact. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Really very informative post.
    But you said, keep keyword density to 2 to 4 percent. I think that’s too much. Instead of just focusing on main keywords, if we try to include related words, LSI words, synonyms and long tail keywords, then you will get much better result.

    That’s my personal view..

    • Jesslyn

      Yes, Vivek. We did mention about LSI and synonymous keywords in the post and I agree wholeheartedly that they’ll give you better results. However, the 2-4% merely serves as a guideline and I did mention not to go beyond 4% or it could bear you undesirable results. I’m sorry if I had given you the wrong impression – I’ll try to write more clearly next time. Thanks for your comment :)

  16. Must have tips for everyone, we should place keywords in prominent place on title and link keywords from old posts are powerful ways.

    Thanks :)

  17. You’re right about seo pressor, it’s vey helpfull. Just one thing, this plugin mentioned to have external link in your article to increase the score.

    What do you think ? Is it better to do external link to an autority website like wikipedia, etc… or to own vidéos on youtube or profile social network or something else… Thanks for your advice.

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Tom,

      External links are indeed part of on-page optimization which is why the SEOPressor plugin would ask you to include it to “increase your score”. However, if you were to compare it with owning YouTube Videos or several social profiles, it’d be like comparing Apples and Bananas.To put it shortly, external linking is just as important as incorporating social media marketing techniques in your overall SEO strategy :)

  18. Sneha

    Hi Jesslyn,

    Great Post..!!!

    These SEO tips are basic but still while doing our SEO we forgot one or the other. Your article has helped me in recalling all and a quick recap if whether i haven’t missed any of them.

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Sneha,

      Yes, you are right. Sometimes, we tend to forget the basic tips while doing SEO. I’m glad that this post did help you. Cheers!!!

  19. sometime it may not be possible to target all points like keeping keywords in first and last sentence or having a optimum keyword density but knowing them is important so that whatever can be covered, should be covered. thanks for sharing this.

  20. That’s really awesome…These much of place we can use the keywords for seo optimization and i am totally new to this subject. For me this this a great post.
    Your way of explaining the content is simple and awesome

    At last Thanks for a great post…

  21. Wow. Thank you for all the advices. Im new into blogging and this just shows me how much i still have to learn. Nevertheless, im going to give myself a good start with all your great tips.

    Thank you!

  22. @Jesslyn

    I have to say that in my experience, KW research is, in fact, the number one aspect of SEO.

    I have personally run upwards of five article directories at once and in doing so, I had the inside track on a host of “sizzling hot” keywords.

    Keywords research masters would take me to school daily and show me keywords that would have zero competition and 50,000+ exact match searches per day…

    Those were Adsense goldmines.

    Touche!!!

    Mark :)

  23. Hi Jesslyn

    I used some of the free services for optimization but found they a have no impact
    thanks for the great tips

    coming to the keyword density most of the times its hard to achieve 2%, so placing Image alt tags and anchor text are great help

    thanks for sharing

  24. What a most excellent post. I can’t say enough how glad I am that keyword stuffing has seen its heyday. Love your clarity and style. One of the best basic SEO for blogging articles I’ve read in awhile.

  25. Brilliant tips, I think you have made it crystal clear what one needs to optimise those blog posts. The tips are exactly what many plugins allows you to do and the use of SEOpressure will make sure you have those things in your blog post and hence you will not miss out on anything. One question; can you kindly explain again about how to find out how many people are trying to rank the same keyword.

    • Jesslyn

      Hi Shalu, Thanks for stopping by. As mentioned in the post, you’ll be able to determine how many people are trying to rank the same keyword by using Google’s search bar. All you have to do is simply type in,
      intitle:”keyword”
      and the number of results that appear are roughly how many people are ranking for this “keyword”. In basic economics, you can think of intitle search to determine the “supply”, and Google adwords tool allows you to determine the keyword’s “demand”. Hope that helps! :)

  26. The third point is the one that many bloggers ignore. Formatting your content to show the importance of certain words or keyword phrases really helps in ranking and better user experience!!

  27. Uhmmm.. i just write an article with 1-2 keywords – your article is great ( for education ) but it looks spammy if someone copy every suggest and tip ;p

  28. Nice info which will be prove so useful for all blogger and online marketers. That kind of activities also make very good for google ranking

  29. Not over populating the post with Keywords is very very important. It’s so easy to want to just stuff your posts with the word you want to be associated with the post… But Google is getting smarter and these types of tactics are not working anymore.

    Great stuff!

    Hanley

  30. Nice post, You have listed every point that comes under on page SEO but most of the guys stuff too many keywords in the title, description and even in the content. People think it will not harm but keyword stuffing hurt your site’s SEO to a greater extent. Thanks for posting.

  31. This is my fist visit and I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I was kind of cynical when I read “free” tips in the title. The truth this these are very solid suggestions for people looking to better optimize their blog posts. The only thing I can suggest in addition to these is to implement the new Authorship Markup tag. Have you written about that yet? Thanks for the quality post!

    • Jesslyn

      Thanks for reading! That is a great question, Norm. The thing is that Google will always update and improve itself and I’ll consistently find ways to share what I’ve learnt with people. With Google Authorship Markup, I feel that it will cater more towards “personalized social search” as opposed to generic search. I’m just waiting to see its effects and how much Google will change before including it as one of the optimization tips. Hope to see you commenting the next time I write an updated post then!

      • Thanks. That is what I like about Authorship Markup. It is a great way to give your generic listing, a more socialized feel. There is some discussion as to the real value in terms of direct SEO benefit, but when I see other listings for our keywords with an author picture next to it, it does draw attention to that listing, even if it’s lower then ours. As you said, it’s still a fairly new technique, but as you know, SEO moves and changes quickly.

  32. Wow, this post is full of useful info, I will go over it once more carefully in order to see If I’m using the best ways to optimize my blog for better rankings.

    thanks for sharing Jesslyn

  33. Wade Harman

    That many keywords in each individual post that you do will end up hurting your post. Instead, do a variation of the keyword throughout your post, while linking to other authority sites with the same word.

    You’ll find that this will help you better than just stuffing your post. I understand that you said don’t overstuff, however, when you add the keyword in your plus ALT images, that’s what you’re doing anyway! Do variations and you will find that you rank faster.

  34. I found this post very intriguing. Having just started learning how to use keywords in a post without stuffing them, I believe this post is going to help me further with my sites.
    Thanks great post.

  35. Awesome post! Your post style is very attractive. I got a question, what is your first niche when you start writing blog? I’m start at IM niche but my blog is only review and not having any tip

  36. Super helpful tips! I’m still learning and I just discovered the I’m only implementing half of those tips. Thank you so much for putting it up together so that I can learn faster. Great post Jesslyn!

  37. Great Post with many great tips and reminders on how to optimize blog posts. I look forward to more helpful information. Thanks much!

    ps. love your subject lines – learned something just reading those for related posts. :)

  38. I think it is very important to produce quality content, with well structured document form as the basis of any article. If you’re articles are thorough and based around 1 keyword and topic, you should see some progress.

  39. Jesslyn, you have put together all the technical points regarding search engine optimization. Right from keywords, when used intelligently will boast the traffic to your post many folds.

  40. hi., Jesslyn thanks for sharing this valuable information.,
    optimizing the article for better organic traffic is like a nightmare to me. i don’t know why Google cant find me up.., plz tell me any plugin in wordpress for better seo. i will be highly thankful to you.

  41. I tried some methods you mentioned already. It really works!! Thanks for sharing these methods. Especially the ” less ads”. Ads are always the most annoying things everywhere.

  42. Hi Jesslyn, I didn’t know about including the keyword in the first and last sentences. Thanks for that tip. I will be implementing that ASAP.

  43. Pretty useful set of tips there, thanks! Personally, I wouldnt recommend keeping your keyword density to a set number or between a set percentage (referring to point no. 6 here of course). Especially after Penguin. It is better to write naturally without worrying about using your keyword a set percentage of times.

  44. These are the amazing tips to rock n roll with any website stuff in search engine. I can’t believe that how can I missed this amazing tips section. Well, first of all thanks for posting this stuff. You have really mentioned all the basics / pros of on-page seo that can easily lift website from bottom of SERP to top of SERP.

  45. Tip 1 is one that many don’t take advantage of, you will find you get better results if you put your keyword in your blog post title – so simple, you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. :)

  46. Nice tips. I do place keywords in URL, Title and also headings as far as possible. You mentioned an ideal post length of above 800 words! I usually do not post that long posts, maybe I should improve my habit because I do see a difference when I post such long ones.

    Thanks for the tips Jesslyn.

  47. Thank you for posting helpful SEO tips, optimizing blog post for particular keywords is really important, you covered all the points, will follow it while writing the post.

  48. Hi Jesslyn!

    That many keywords in each individual post that you do will end up hurting your post. Instead, do a variation of the keyword throughout your post, while linking to other authority sites with the same word.

    You’ll find that this will help you better than just stuffing your post. I understand that you said don’t overstuff, however, when you add the keyword in your plus ALT images, that’s what you’re doing anyway!
    Do variations and you will find that you rank faster.

  49. LSI words are must while optimizing the post, with the help of these words search engine identifies the true topic and essence of content.
    BTW thanks for the post!

  50. I really appreciate your guide with respect to SEO, what I suggest is to use the SEO pressor which I am using for one of my site and it is really giving good results.

  51. It was nice going through entire article.
    great tips on optimizing blog for beginners like me.
    Nice concepts on increasing a webpage ranking like keyword density and other on page optimization tips..

  52. Thanks for your good tips. If one of my blog has more than 6% keyword on post and hit by Google Penguin, is that only one post hit by Google Penguin or all my post hit by Google Penguin?.
    Thank you before.

  53. i think this is complete list of on page optimization. By doing tips above i’m sure i will get high ranking on google or other major search engine..

    After make great on page SEO make sure that you do off page SEO well. SEO is determined by on page and off page SEO

    thanks Jesslyn for great posting

  54. All tips are essential for a successful content ranking. Keyword research is the most important for successful blog. You need to follow up optimization while you decided to create a perfect website.

  55. Hi Jesslyn
    Can you tell me how much competition is OK for using the same keyword,when we get some other blogger using the same keyword?When I Search Google for my keyword with ‘intitle:’ prefix,there are some around 20 blogger with exact same key7words.By the way very informative and useful post.Thanks for sharing it.

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