Ranking on Google is no easy feat. Call us cliché, but it takes blood, sweat, and tears. And only the dedicated will persevere and make it to the top. If we sound like a movie preview, good. Because SEO techniques are no joke.
There are many on-page SEO techniques that any website owner, beginner or advanced, can implement to improve their search engine visibility. Not doing so would be doing yourself and your business a disservice.
While search engine optimization and its hard-earned results do take time, they’re a must if you want to compete in the constantly evolving digital marketing world.
Of course, the first and most important step in optimizing your content for SEO is performing keyword research to determine which terms you want to focus on and what your odds are in outranking the competition.
Once you know what words you want to rank for and who you are up against, you can optimize your content with the following strategies.
Here are 10 of the best on-page SEO techniques to boost your organic traffic.
1. Optimize Your Post Title
Title tags (H1) are one of the most critical factors in on-page SEO. Not only for technical purposes but also in attracting readers. These tags are the clickable headlines that you see in the SERPs after performing a search.
Each page should have its own unique title. While there isn’t a limit, title tags should be 50 to 60 characters in length and fit within a 600-pixel container for search engine display purposes.
Google will cut off your headline after that, so do your best to condense it while still being concise and using a variation of your keyword. Titles that are too long may be cut off by an ellipsis (“…”), which risks important words being hidden.
When we search for tips for traveling to Europe, we see the following results. One title is so long that the second half of the headline was cut off by Google
Also, without an accurate title describing the content of the page, how is a user supposed to know that clicking to your site is going to give them what they’re looking for?
2. Increase Page Speed
These days, website users have little patience. We want instant gratification. Page load speed is immensely important, as users want their information, and they want it now! Sorry, but it’s true!
Here are some site speed facts for you, according to hostingtribunal.com.
- 1-second delay reduces page views by 11%
- 1-second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
- 1-second delay in page response can lead to a 7% reduction in conversion
With numbers like that, it’s pretty clear why Google’s algorithm takes page load time into such serious consideration when ranking. If your site is slow, search engines will crawl fewer pages using their crawl budget, even if you have several.
Compressing images and files, optimizing your CSS, HTML, and CSS, and improving your server response time are all ways you can speed up your site for the search engines and your readers.
3. Create Quality, Keyword-Rich Content
Content plays the most significant role in search engine rankings. If you were to implement just one suggestion out of all the SEO techniques in this article, let it be your content.
Google favors quality pages that offer a lot of value. The more value it provides, the more likely it will be to be presented to potential readers.
Your website should drive search traffic, but what is considered top-notch?
- Contains variations of relevant keywords, with your primary keyword being used 2-3 times – no keyword stuffing!
- Answers questions and offers solutions to the problems readers are inputting into the search engines.
- Is in-depth, providing additional resources, and leaving no loose ends.
- Is easy to read, with short and sensible sentences, and a solid structure that is simple to navigate.
- Is lengthy but not fluffy, as Google loves long-form content. If you have the capacity to write 2,000+ words while maintaining the integrity of the article, do it!
If you aren’t ranking in the search engines for your preferred keyword, take a peek at the sites that are on page one. What areas do they cover? What problems do they solve? How is the content structured and what keywords are used?
There’s a reason they are ranking. Take that information and do better with your SEO techniques! Search engines scan your content to understand what it is all about before using that information to rank you in their index.
It’s time to put the kibosh on 500-word articles that are generic and offer nothing more than the thousands of other articles like it.
4. Utilize Headings (H2, H3, H4)
Like your title tags, optimized headings are opportunities to insert keywords and supporting terms throughout your content. When search engines scan your website, your H2, H3, and H4 tags help with indexing.
Headings and subheadings support the key points of your content, helping to split up information into appropriate sections. Not only does this make the content more structurally organized, but it also helps readers who tend to skim content until they find the information they need.
5. Don’t Neglect Your Meta Description
Your meta description is the 160-character snippet that appears under your title and link on the search engine results page. This description is often neglected by website owners, which results in a lost opportunity.
When you don’t add a custom meta description, the first sentence or two of your content will appear instead, which sometimes isn’t enough for users to know what they’re getting themselves into.
Create a 1-2 sentence snippet that explains the content of your page and includes your primary keyword if possible. If you can go beyond what the title describes, that would be best as you only have so much space.
While this doesn’t greatly assist your SEO efforts, it helps gain more readership.
6. Customize Your Permalinks
Your permalink is the URL string that will direct users to the exact page of your content, not the homepage. Your keyword should be incorporated in your permalink for SEO purposes.
If you are using WordPress, navigate to your Permalink settings, and select Post name. This will automatically name your permalink using the words used in your title tag, which should already include your keyword.
7. Optimize Images
While images are an essential element in most types of content, they take up a lot of space resulting in slower page loading times. And as we’ve learned, poor site speed directly affects SEO.
WordPress plugins like Smush are an easy way to compress your images when you upload them to your media library. You can quickly take a 1MB image and shrink it to a fraction of its size.
You can also optimize your images for search engines by creating descriptive filenames using your primary keyword, rather than the basic, ‘image1.jpg.’
8. Link Internally
When a search engine bot finds a link to your website and crawls it, it expects to find internal links on the page that it lands on. If it doesn’t, it will bounce.
Interlinking to relevant pages within your content allows bots to learn more about the structure of your website for indexing purposes. The crawlability of your site is crucial in SEO.
Internal links also increase the number of time users spends on your site. The goal is to keep them reading for as long as possible, right? If a user is reading a post and finds that you have even more relevant information about the topic they are reading, they are more likely to stay on your site for longer if you make it easy for them to navigate to other content.
Use rich anchor texts to attract readers to related information on other pages of your website. You should also update old content with links to new content as it is created.
9. External Links
In addition to internal linking, externally linking to related, high authority websites that complement your content is an effective way to demonstrate to Google that your site is trustworthy.
An external link or a hyperlink can be described as any link that was posted on another website but points to your domain. It helps search engines further understand the topic you are writing about and improves the popularity and relevancy of your website.
External linking is an important SEO technique that shouldn’t be overlooked.
10. Always Optimize and Keep Content Updated
Google takes the freshness of content seriously, so if you have any outdated posts, it may be time to give them a little TLC. This is particularly important if your website reports any statistics or numbers that will change with time.
If someone searches for the number of Instagram users 2019, but your content still reflects 2016, why would they click to your site? They won’t. And Google knows that.
While aged content is beneficial in terms of the “life” of a website, you should still keep your content updated to keep the crawling spiders happy.
You should also work to continuously improve existing content as trends change and competition increases. The truth is that you may rise in the search engines, but you won’t necessarily stay there.
You must constantly strive to improve your SEO techniques to remain at the top.