There are two parts to SEO, on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
When you talk about off-page SEO, you’re talking about things like backlinks that aren’t really in your control.
And it’s true, you can’t force people to keep or remove your links from their sites, it’s left to them to decide.
That’s different when you’re dealing with on-page SEO.
On-Page SEO depends on how well you can work on the content and code on the page itself.
If you do a good job optimizing your pages, you’d be ranking higher on the SERPs.
So how do you properly optimize your pages?
What Are On-Page SEO Techniques?
There are tons of on-page SEO techniques you can use, let’s look at some of them:
- Optimize Your URLs
- Use SEO-Friendly Title Tags
- Make Your Content Visually Appealing
- Work on Your Subheads
- Apply Outbound and Inbound Linking
- Improve Site Speed
- Practise Keyword Research
- Make Your Pages Shareable
- Raise Your Click-Through Rates
1. Optimize Your URLs
I’m talking about your permalinks here, the first rule is to make them readable.
URLs with too many funny symbols and characters make it harder for searchers to guess what your post is about.
To win other competing sites on the SERPs, you want to make readers eager to click on your page.
Secondly, you should have your target keywords in the URLs.
That just makes it easier for searchers to see if the sites coming up correspond with their query.
Nobody is going to click on your SEO post if your URL says Facebook ads.
And when there are no anchor texts for your URLs, the link is shown.
So you want a descriptive link when that happens.
If you’re deciding on whether to go for a shorter or a longer link, I’d advise you choose shorter.
Shorter links are easier to copy and paste and make sharing on social media a breeze.
Yeah, someone can still copy a long link, but how many people want to go through all that trouble?
And you might say that tweet or that Facebook share you’ve missed out on doesn’t matter.
But when it comes to SEO, every like, every share, every tweet does count.
Another point you should take note of are the stop words.
You don’t need to include them in your URLs all the time.
If they aid readability, it’s fine to have them there.
But when they don’t, take them away and keep your URL shorter.
Also, use fewer folders when setting your permalink structure.
Link complexity won’t make you rank higher.
2. Use SEO-Friendly Title Tags
Just read the core areas of Google’s SEO guidelines, and you’d see how important the title tag is for SEO.
But just to be sure you know what we’re talking about, let’s discuss what a title tag represents.
The title tag is actually your page’s title, but in HTML format which can be read by the search engines.
Title tags are only visible when someone gets to your site through the search engines not direct or referred traffic.
Your title tag can also be seen on social media and on browser tabs.
It goes a long way to convince a visitor whether to click on your page or not.
That’s why your tag should be SEO-friendly.
You should include your keywords in your title tag, but don’t act like a spammer.
Keyword density stopped working years ago, do it now and get banned.
You should also research to see what other websites are using.
Ranking websites I mean, the top guys you want to beat.
If they’re ranking high on the SERPs, it’s obvious they’re doing something right.
Look at how well their title tag is optimized and do something 10x better.
Of course, your tags should be readable.
Search engines will only rank, it’s humans that are going to be reading, remember?
And stay within the approved title length.
Google gives a 70 character limit to the entries within the title tag.
If you go beyond that, a part of your title will be truncated, and that’s bad for the user experience.
3. Make Your Content Visually Appealing
Google is working harder every day to ensure that only user-friendly sites occupy its first page.
That’s why introductions like RankBrain are becoming more and more important.
Visually appealing content is one that has enough images and video files to make it interesting.
These additions improve the engagement rates on your website.
And it just makes sense that Google will rank a site with higher engagement than those without.
When you’re using images, you should try to get your own original pictures.
This helps you in two ways-firstly, you’d avoid any problems with copyright.
And people will associate and remember your site more for an original photo than a generic stock photo.
Creating images from scratch with tools like Photoshop and Canva can make them bloated.
And this isn’t good for your page load time, especially if you’re on shared hosting.
So use image compression tools to ensure those pictures are well optimized.
You’d have visitors from across different platforms on mobile and desktop.
So you should check if your images are properly fitted on both devices and make changes if they aren’t.
For your videos, you may want to go for self-hosting options if you’re on a fast host.
It grants you access to more complex data so you can see how people interact with your content.
If you’re not, you still have access to the world’s number one video sharing website.
I’m talking about YouTube here, it gives you access to more viewers but fewer metrics to analyze.
Google also loves this as it makes your page appear rich in information.
So you’d be rewarded with higher rankings.
4. Work on Your Subheads
While your title gives a general idea of what your post is about, your subheads go further.
They highlight what each paragraph is talking about and that improves engagement.
You should wrap your subheadings in H2 tags for SEO gains, it helps the bots get the key points.
If you don’t know why you should care about subheads, they make your reader stick around and that’s something important.
Some subhead blunders to avoid include using subheads that don’t make your readers curious.
I mean plain, boring subheads that don’t pique interest.
Another one is using subheads that reveal the content of the paragraph.
I mean, if readers know everything about a post just by looking at the subhead, why should they dig deeper?
I know you don’t want to annoy those who’d love to scan your content.
But you shouldn’t be giving away everything, leave a part that’d make the “scanners” come back.
A subhead like The Fastest Way To Get Traffic makes people want to click more.
So here’s what to do to start writing subheads that keep readers on your site: just write normally.
Yeah, that’s the first step, writing subheads should be part of your editing phase.
At that stage of you’re writing, you’re sure of the path you want your post to take.
Then find out what ideas you want to pass with each paragraph.
Take note of the emotions that will fit that paragraph, it may be fear, pain or greed.
Then craft your subheads using words that carry those emotions and the ones that create curiosity.
5. Apply Outbound and Inbound Linking
No matter how knowledgeable you are on a topic or subject in your industry, you can’t know it all.
You’d need to link out to other resources that you know will help your readers.
It shows you’re not selfish and it even creates friendship with the bloggers you’re linking to.
Don’t be scared that your readers will abandon your site after hopping on the link.
You can always set the link to open in a new tab if that’s your fear.
Outbound linking also helps Google judge how authoritative your post is.
If you’re linking to spammy sites, it’s possible that you’re a spammer yourself.
And if you’re linking to quality sites, that’s proof that your site is one that can be trusted also.
This phenomenon is called the link neighborhood effect, so spammy sites link to other spammy sites and vice versa.
Once you’ve linked out to a site in your post, send the blogger a mail telling him you featured his site in your post.
That’s one good technique to get backlinks these days.
And as word spreads about your post, you can bet that you’d be acquiring more links.
The second part of an on-page linking strategy is internal linking.
There are some posts on your site that most webmasters just won’t link to.
I’m talking about some of your directory pages and your affiliate pages if you have any.
These are the pages you want to internally link to.
It gets the link juice flowing through all the pages of your site giving each of them the needed boost.
6. Improve Site Speed
No one will want to wait for a slow loading site.
We live in a world of instant gratification, so everything happens at the click of a button.
To improve your site speed, you can start by reducing the number of elements on your pages.
Do that and apply proper CSS styling and watch the boost in your average load time.
Secondly, you should enable browser caching to make things faster and also save server resources.
Here’s how it works- everytime someone clicks on a page on your site, their browser downloads everything.
Repetitive downloading of all of these take time and reduce your allocated bandwidth.
When you enable browser caching, a copy of your pages is saved on your visitor’s browser.
So they don’t need to download the same page over again each time they want to view the contents.
If you’re on WordPress, there are free plugins that help with caching you can use.
Also, your bulky images should be optimized for the web.
And when you’re not sure which format to go with, stick with JPEG.
The number of plugins on your site could also contribute to your site speed.
Too many plugins slow down your site as each comes with their share of bulky code.
Reducing HTTP redirects is another option to consider.
Apart from reducing your site’s speed, it’s also bad for user experience.
You should also be using the services of a content delivery network to serve content to users.
A content delivery network is a system that distributes your content around servers across the web.
So visitors are served with your content by a server that’s close to them.
7. Practise Keyword Research
One way to know that you’re doing proper on-page SEO is when you see your site ranking for keywords that are not your target keywords.
After publishing a new post on your site, don’t expect it to start ranking for its target keyword immediately.
It should start ranking for low competition or what marketers call long-tail keywords first.
The problem with targeting too many high competition keywords with one post is that you end up ranking for nothing.
That’s why you should sprinkle long-tail keywords in your content.
But, what’s a long-tail keyword?
It’s a keyword that’s normally of low search volume and with very few quality sites ranking for the term.
You can find these keywords by looking at modifiers for seed keywords.
Seed keywords are the high-competition keywords you don’t want to target.
An example of a seed keyword is make money online.
It’d take ages for you to rank for that keyword and the results you get may differ from your projections.
Some of the people searching for that keyword may not have the skills to make money online using your methods.
So you have people bouncing off your site because you’re not giving them what they want.
But adding a modifier “with YouTube” changes that keyword to how to make money online with YouTube.
Now you have a targeted audience willing to apply your techniques.
You can also find long tail keywords by searching through niche forums and looking at the questions people are asking.
And don’t ignore LSI keywords.
LSI is short for Latent Semantic Indexing and LSI keywords help Google to know what your page is talking about.
For instance, apple fruit is different from Apple Inc.
So using LSI keywords or synonyms like computer makes your page clearer.
8. Make Your Pages Shareable
Social media, yeah everything from Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
If your content gets viral on one of these platforms, you can only imagine how busy your site will be.
You can start by creating shareable sound bites from your posts.
If there’s a key point you want readers to take note of, sound bites can get it done.
You can use plugins like Click To Tweet to create beautiful boxes you can embed those quotes into.
If you published an interview, you can share the sound bite on your blog and ask your guest to share.
That’s using one stone to kill two birds or links if you like.
To make your posts shareable, cute images are options to look at.
Social media is all about sharing your beautiful pictures and experiences.
Most people use a filter to polish everything they publish on their pages.
So to get people to share your posts, create a beautiful and original thumbnail to go with the share request.
And if you do a lot of explaining, videos are a must-have also.
Billions of videos are watched on YouTube daily, just imagine what you’d do with even 0.1% of that traffic.
You can create your videos and hand them over to video aggregators.
A video on a page makes it appear rich in its topic and is good for on-page SEO.
If you’re on WordPress, social plugins that are responsive are things you should install.
They make it easier for your visitors to simply click to share.
9. Raise Your Click-Through Rates
You need lots of backlinks to get on Google’s page one, that’s off-page SEO.
When you’re on page one, on-page SEO takes over.
So the first page is any SEO’s game.
And Google lifts and lowers pages on the SERPs based on a metric called Click-Through Rate.
This means that the more people click on your page to read your post, the higher it goes on Google.
And if too many people ignore your content, it goes down.
To get more people clicking on your result, you should look at AdWords ads.
Google is pushing organic content down in the SERPs and ads are winning above the fold.
If an advertiser is still spending to keep his ad running, it means it’s working.
Look at the exact words they’re using and try using them or their synonyms in your title.
You should use power words that indicate speed and time.
Examples are fast, in a week, now and immediately.
And use these words in your meta text also.
The meta text also influences CTR and it’s a platform to use more characters than allowed in your title tag.
On-Page SEO is all about tweaking how well your page is optimized for users and search engines, and now you have some tips to use.