As a follow up to our “20 Simple SEO Tips For 2017“, which gave an overview of things you should do to your website to get a head start on your SEO, we’ve decided to put together a new post, focusing on the on-page techniques you can use to make your blog posts a success.
High Google rankings.
Every website owner wants them, but not every website owner can get them. Some don’t try and some don’t know how to try, but there’s a select few who do everything right, and in turn get to the top of search results, generating traffic, leads and sales. So how do you do it?
There are so many different varied techniques and processes that make up SEO – some are effective, some aren’t. Some are considered “black-hat”, while others have simply become outdated, working to please algorithms Google no longer uses. One thing that will help you climb the ladder of search results is a nicely optimised page.
Content is key – a good, well written blog post can really help your website out. It will become strong, shareable content, which in turn can increase your traffic. But “good” and “well written” isn’t enough when it comes to SEO. Optimisation is key, and although you’re likely to be satisfied with your post, search engines might not be. Without realising it, chances are you’ve missed out on some key things to include, and it’s these we’re going to look at today.
Some of these pointers you’ll find will focus on the placement of the keywords you wish to rank for, but some will also relate to improving your content and adding other features to your page. It should also be noted that writing one blog post, and optimising it in this way won’t do much to your rankings. All of these tips should be repeated on regularly posted, fresh and unique content pages, and down the line you’ll start to see improvements to your rankings.
Here are 15 things you should include on your website for perfect SEO optimisation:
To rank for your specific keywords, Google needs to know what those keywords are, otherwise it won’t know how relevant your content is to the given search term you’re attempting to appear on. Don’t just mention them in every paragraph though – it reduces the quality of your content and user experience, and it will negatively affect your rankings. It’s known as Keyword Stuffing, a black hat SEO technique penalised by search engines. Where should you put your keywords then?
1. At the start of your title: Put the subject of your article as the first part of your title. For example, if you wanted to rank highly for the keyword “cheap smartphones”, a good way of writing your title would be:
“Cheap Smartphones: The top 10 best low cost phones on the market”
You’ve immediately put your keyword out there in a non spammy way. It doesn’t look out of place, and will work well on two counts – on one side, the potential reader knows what the post is about and will read it, and on the other, Google knows that this post is likely to be relevant to people searching with the string “cheap smartphones”.
2. In the first 100 words: In a lot of cases, you’ve probably been doing this anyway. As well as including your keyword in the title, also make sure it’s mentioned within the first 100 words of your post. Sometimes you might decide to write a big introduction, but for SEO purposes it can be worth getting straight to the point, reassuring Google that the page really is relevant to people searching for your keyword.
3. In one subheading: It’s often recommended that you break your post up into readable, well organised portions, to create a more user friendly experience. Each of these chunks of text should start with a subheading wrapped in H2 tags (see point 7), to signify what each section is about. In one of these subheadings, you should include your keyword.
4. Outbound links: In a post of around 1000 words, you should probably have a minimum of two links to other websites, and no more than five. Now, don’t just put a load of random links in there – they must be relevant to your content, and the website the link goes to should be good quality and high authority.
5. Internal links: As well as linking out to other sites, it’s also good to have some links to other pages on your own website. Again, it’s recommended you include at least two of these in a post, and no more than five. The hyperlinks should all have relevant anchor text, again showing Google you have a good level of relevant information on your website.
It’s also a good technique on the user side of things. By having relevant links, some of which can be call-to-actions, you’re likely a good number of site visitors will click through to another page on your website, helping to decrease your bounce rate. Bounce rate is something that is monitored by search engines, and the lower it is, the better it is for your rankings.
There are several options of heading tags, which can be used to visually format headings in your blog posts, and to signify to search engine crawling bots what your key pieces of information are. There are two heading tags you should definitely include.
6. A H1 tag: A majority of the time, your blog post title will automatically be made a H1 tag by your content management system (CMS). However, it’s worth checking that this is the case. It should be noted that only the blog post title should be placed in H1 tags, and there should only be a single set of H1 tags on a sole page. This H1 tag should be the first thing on your webpage, and it should contain your keyword (as mentioned earlier, your keyword should be the first thing in your title, so it looks like you’ve got this bit covered anyway)!
7. Several H2 tags: The next choice down from a H1 tag is a H2 tag. In terms of formatting, it will have a larger font size than your standard text, but will be slightly smaller than a H1 tag. Unlike with H1 tags, you can use H2 tags several times, specifically by using them exclusively on your article subheadings (see point 3). Break up your post into light, readable sections, and signify the start of each with a relevant H2 subheading, informing the reader what the portion of the article is about.
8. Multimedia: Firstly, you should include a good mix of images (of which we’ll tell you about optimising in the next points) and videos. The images can be relevant photography, infographics or screenshots, that make the content more engaging and high quality. This, and a relevant video placed somewhere in the post, can help to increase the time spent on your website and decrease the bounce rate, both of which can have great effect on your page ranking.
9. Image alt-tags: It’s at this point a reminder of how search engines rank your website is needed. Google sends something known as spiders, robots or crawlers to your site, to ‘crawl’ the content and determine its relevance and quality. The result is what decides your search result rankings.
These robots can only read text though, so how do they tell Google what the images you use contain? For your images to make an impact on your ranking, you’ll have to provide a helping hand the to the crawlers, by adding an alt-tag. This is very easy to do, and should be a short description of what the image is. If possible, include your keyword in these too, but only if relevant.
10. File name: The file name of the image can also be viewed by site crawlers, so devising it with similar rules to those of alt-tags can be beneficial. It’s also another place you can put your keyword if it fits with relevance.
Other Key Factors
11. Lengthy content: You’ll have heard the phrase “quality over quantity”. Disregard it. Throw it away. Instead follow the rule that the longer your post is, the better, although that’s not to say it doesn’t still need to be good quality.
Writing small blog posts of a few hundred words won’t do anything to benefit your search engine rankings, even if high quality and on a regular basis. Writing long, good quality, unique, fresh content is probably the number one SEO ‘secret’ to good results. You should be aiming to get a minimum of 1000 words on every blog post, but if you’ve got the content, ideas and energy to continue typing until you reach double that, then don’t stop!
Not only is this length of content great for search engine crawlers, it’s also effective at increasing your dwell time. If the post is long and good quality, the amount of time a user stays on there will be greatly increased, telling Google it’s a high quality page that should be ranked higher.
12. LSI Keywords: Again, more keywords to include (boring, we know!). Rather than just using your main choice of keyword, you should also put a couple of “latent semantic indexing” keywords in there too.
To see some examples of the keywords you can try and fit into your post, do a quick Google search for your main keyword, and scroll to the bottom to see related searches. These are the LSI keywords you can choose from!
Using our earlier example of “cheap smartphones” again, we scrolled to the bottom to find extended versions of the keyword (cheap smartphones for sale) and actual examples of smartphones that could be included in the post (bush spira e3x).
13. Responsiveness: This isn’t something that you necessarily include on your page, but should be a part of your overall website design. Despite that, we’re going to include it anyway as it’s still a useful tip. On April 21st 2015, Google announced via its webmaster blog that it was starting to roll out a “mobile-friendly” update, stating that if sites didn’t use mobile-friendly websites on mobile search results, they’d have their rankings penalised.
Simply put, make it so your website looks great and has a strong, user-friendly experience, across all platforms.
14. Loading speed: Another one that sneaks onto the list, despite it not being something to include in a post. Again though, this is another key point. Google actively monitors your website’s page loading speed as an SEO ranking factor, as a slow-loading website often equals a poor user experience, therefore knocking it down the search results.
A recommended loading speed is four seconds maximum, but the internet speed of users greatly varies across the world. We’d suggest using Google’s “Pagespeed Insights” tool to find out what your speed score is: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
15. Social media: This doesn’t necessarily improve your SEO prospects, but has the potential to increase your traffic through sharing. Embedding relevant Facebook or Twitter posts into your page helps you out on the multimedia front, while adding social sharing buttons will encourage readers to push the post on their own channels.
As mentioned earlier, SEO is quite a complex thing. There are hundreds of different tips from different people, all of which have different levels of effectiveness and longevity. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, to suit the needs of changing technology, and to combat black hat SEO techniques. Above all, good quality content can go a long way, and backed by some optimisation, should see your website start to rank higher. Remember, it’s not enough practising these techniques on just one page – do it to all of them!
If you’re unsure about any of the SEO terms we’ve used in this guide, be sure to head over to our SEO Glossary to find out exactly what we’re talking about.
How to identify a toxic domain and fix SEO problems arising from it
7th December 2023
How do I know when I should be considering a website redesign?
7th November 2023
Top 10 tips for building an email marketing strategy
3rd October 2023
Key considerations when building an eCommerce website
29th September 2023