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How to improve your on page SEO

By
Jag Chohan
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This post will teach you how to improve you're on-page SEO. It includes a list of the most important things you should do if you want to rank higher in Google and tips for implementing them into your blog posts.

On-page SEO is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic because it doesn't require any outside sources or advertising money - just a little bit of time!

IMPORTANT: While on-page SEO factors are important, they aren't everything. Off-page SEO (like backlinks) is also incredibly important because it shows Google that your content is valuable. Don't neglect off-page SEO!

1. Optimize Your Site Architecture For The Search Engines

The most important thing you can do for your blog's search engine rankings is to ensure that the search engines are able to crawl and index your pages easily. In order to do this, you need a site architecture schema that makes sense for both humans and search engines. Because in the end, we're all just looking at words on a page… so what difference does it make if it makes sense to a search engine or not?

For example, your blog post about how to grow tomatoes naturally might reference another article on gardening called 5 Tips For Growing Tomatoes. It's referenced in the body of your post like this:

"As I mentioned above, you can read more about gardening tips here ."

So it looks to humans as if the content that they are looking for is somewhere else on your site. This is bad because it makes it look like you're hiding content from them! However, for a search engine there could be something even worse - let's take a look at what happens when Google tries to crawl and index this page:

Google has no way of knowing what content is actually included within these links above the fold in-between these two blog posts without some sort of extra info. In this case, it's extra HTML code. But how can Google know that? It's not as if they're reading your mind and know what content is on your site.

So let's add a header tag to make it easier for them:

<h3>5 Tips For Growing Tomatoes</h3>

This helps the search engines out because now they have a clear understanding of where one page ends and another begins, as well as what kind of content should be included within each of those areas on your site. This also has benefits for humans since users who don't read every word in your post will at least know what section you're talking about and can easily navigate to the part you're referencing.

If you want an even deeper understanding of how search engines crawl your site, read this post by Backlinko. It's one of the best guides on this topic that I've found.

Use Your Keyword In Your Content (And Make Them Relevant)

This is another way to tell Google and other users what your content is about with clarity for both humans and search engines! If there are relevant keywords in the actual text of your blog posts, it provides a clear indication of what each piece of content is about, which gives Google a better idea as to whether or not they should show it in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for relevant keywords.

Just to be clear - I'm not talking about keyword stuffing! Keyword stuffing is when you add your primary target keyword in a post at least 10 times with the only purpose of picking up better rankings and nothing else. This tactic has been used by marketers for decades and will almost 100% get your site penalised from Google, so don't do it:

Instead, use a balance between relevant keywords, synonyms, and other terms related to your main post topic. Here's another example from a blog post on how to learn Japanese:

"But even when learning one aspect of Japanese language or writing systems (like Hiragana), there are countless things to learn just within that! For example, there are 5 different ways to write each of the 46 Hiragana characters."

As you can see, these keywords aren't just thrown in there for the sake of picking up better rankings. They're included at relevant times throughout the body of content because they are related to the topic being discussed and help inform users on what a blog post is about. Thus, keyword optimisation with relevance plays a key role here: if your main target keyword is used several times within an article but doesn't make sense (or I should say "doesn't read well"), it hurts your chances at higher rankings due to Google's understanding that your site is not providing any value or information to users. In fact, let me expand by saying that I'm talking about keywords in general here - not just your primary target keyword(s).

Google is all about giving their users the best results possible, and if by chance they think that a post's content is more relevant to an alternate term than what you've provided, it will be indexed accordingly.

Links Coming From Relevant Sites, Pages, and Hubs

Just like with on-page SEO (see #1), links from both relevant sites/pages as well as hubs are super important! If someone creates a hub on virtual reality technology with the goal of becoming an authority within this particular niche then reaches out to several experts in the VR industry who want to share their knowledge at this site or link back to useful posts, it can do wonders for their rankings. Why? Because it's a way of saying to Google "Hey, yes I'm an authority on this topic and have the ability to bring in credible information on this subject."

But there are tons of other factors out there that play into link acquisition besides using your main keyword several times within a post (which is now second only to having relevant links from other sites or hubs). So what else should you be making sure is included in each blog post?

Contact Information

Make sure you're providing any readers with a method of contacting you if they have an interesting comment/response on one of your blog posts and want you to respond back. In fact, make sure that:

You respond back to any comments people leave on your site within a timely manner (e.g., the same day)

Make sure you're providing any readers with a method of contacting you if they have an interesting comment/response on one of your blog posts and want you to respond back. In fact, make sure that: Your main keyword(s) are included throughout each post - As explained above, there has been several cases where simply including relevant keywords in each article will help the content rank for higher quantities of search traffic over time than without it. However, when possible try not to force it since this may result in penalties from Google rather than rankings .

As explained above, there has been several cases where simply including relevant keywords in each article will help the content rank for higher quantities of search traffic over time than without it. However, when possible try not to force it since this may result in penalties from Google rather than rankings.

The post is split up into several categories/sections

If your main topic is over 30 or 40 minutes of content (or more), try to break everything down into sections so users can jump around to whichever part they need and skip anything else. This will help readers digest the information easier, which in turn could lead them towards different areas of your site instead of just consuming all of it at once due to its massive size.  

You're including links throughout each post that link back to your homepage and other important pages

Remember the old saying about "If you don't know where you're going then any road will get you there?" Well, if your blog posts do not contain links back to your homepage or even a resource section dedicated towards helping users find helpful resources in relation to your primary topic/niche, then it's like sending them out into the middle of nowhere without a compass! Make sure that people can contact you if they have questions too...

Should I Use Bullets?

Some bloggers are for it while others are against it. But what's right?

Bullets have been a long debated topic within the blogging community. Some people absolutely love them, while others hate them with the passion of 1000 suns...

Well first off, you need to ask yourself these questions:

Do you like the way your blog looks with or without bullets?

If you don't notice a difference in the feel, then there is no reason why you should add/remove them. While some may feel that they give their blogs an organised and professional look, others will argue how it changes the feel altogether since it's more commonly used on websites rather than blogs .

Does your reading pace change when reading content with or without bullets?

I'd imagine if you read when you're trying to get other things done at the same time (like watching TV or listening to music), it would be a lot easier. If you read in long segments of 10+ minutes at a time, then I'd imagine it would flow better without bullets since each bullet point is like a complete sentence on its own.

How Should You Structure Your Content?

Make sure your content has an introduction

An introduction is what will capture the attention and interest of any readers who come across your page -- this could be used as a hook that leads into the rest of the blog post. It helps introduce your topic, give background info/knowledge on said topic, and most importantly provides users with some kind of benefit for reading through it all .

Then you have your middle portion of the content where you provide information on the topic, and then lastly a conclusion that gives some sort of summary or re-cap - This is important since it will help identify what your blog post was all about.

Users should be able to gain interest in reading through until the end because they'll want to know what happens at the end!

Categories

This is a biggie. Make sure to add as many relevant categories within your blog post as possible (just make sure they're relevant to your article). If you're blogging about the brand new Sony PS4 Slim, then don't add it into the general "Gaming" category as it adds no value. But you could add it into Gaming -- Playstation 4, Gaming -- Upcoming Consoles, or Gaming -- Sony to give it more of a boost. If you're not sure where to categorise your blog post, try searching Google for the same topic and see which category seems to get the most traffic (and then click on that category in Google and watch its chart over time). The categories within your blog posts will help increase its exposure and optimise users ability to find what they're looking for.

What Content Should I Avoid?

You do not want to "sell" your readers anything - If you're blogging about a product or service offering, then by all means have that in the content, but don't force it down their throats. For example: Don't write an article titled "Why My Brand New Windows 10 Computer Is Better Than Yours!" -- instead break it up into sections like " What's Included With Windows 10 ," " How Much Has Improved," etc. You could even include some screenshots and images (people love pictures!). And then end it off with something like this: "If you would like to know more about what's included within Windows 10, or see what it looks like, then check out our site!" The readers are probably going to want to know more, so why not offer a little incentive? -- It's called incentive marketing.

The same goes for affiliate links - If you're going to include an affiliate link within a blog post (as in you receive some sort of compensation if the users clicks on it and makes a purchase), then I'd be sure to have that somewhere in your headings.

For example: " 10 Places Where You Can Get Cool New Gadgets With Amazon's Prime Membership ."

Should I Use Images In My Blog Posts?

Yes! This is where SEO comes into play, but also this is something that will really help boost readers engagement with your content. By adding images and videos to your posts, the page has more density which helps increase the time spent on site -- plus its just visually pleasing so people enjoy reading through it . And not only does it improve your SERPs, but it improves Google's ability to recognise the intent of your content.

What Should I Consider When Writing My Blog Posts?

Make sure everything is being optimised - The most important thing about creating blog posts and getting them ranked within your niche is to make sure you're optimising for both search engines and users so that they're going to be able to find what they were looking for.

If they can't find the information or learn something of value, then there's no point in having it up online in the first place! So when you write your blog post, consider... what are people looking for? What are they going to learn from reading it? Is it truly informational in some way or do you just want to talk about something that happened that day?

Make sure your content is fresh - One of the most important things about any type of web-based content (including blogs) is its age. If a blog post hasn't been updated in over 6 months, then Google may see it as "dead" and not really taking into consideration all the factors that make up those old posts. You should also be aware of when someone else has taken your content without permission, but we'll cover that later on...

How Do I Make Sure My Content Doesn't Get Stolen?

There are a few ways you can protect yourself from people stealing your content, but by far the most effective way is to add a watermark . A simple way to do that would be to take any image editing software and place an image overlay on top of it following each publish.

How Do I Get My Blog Posts To Rank?

The best thing you can do with regards to getting your blog posts ranked is making sure they're optimised for both search engines and users -- as mentioned above. But here's some more tips: Social Shoutouts - Make sure you have Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms set up so that when you link back to your site from your blog post you're directing users to places where they want to go. You could also grab some RSS feeds or forums where you can link back to your content and get some activity going there as well.

How Can I Make My Blog Posts Stand Out?

Have great SEO - Optimize the URL structure of your blog posts so that they're being represented by the keyword(s) you want to rank for. That way, at a glance people will know what's inside. Make sure everything is included in the post (headings, links, lists, etc.) Be controversial - For instance: If you're going to write an article on " How To Lose 20 Pounds In 3 Days ", then make sure it's unique enough where someone reading it is going to think "No way! This has got to be wrong." Your readers are probably going to want to leave a comment, questioning how accurate your methods are. Keep them guessing - Give your readers an opportunity to interact with you by including polls and surveys in your posts. This is where they get the chance to ask questions or give their feedback on something you've just written about. You can also use blog comments as a way to keep people coming back for more information!

Keywords & Long Tail Keywords

The first thing that comes into mind when I think of keywords for blogs are things like "keyword stuffing." So what do I mean by that? Here's an example: If someone writes a sentence like this: " Google has really come out with some new products this year. They've tried to compete with apple on the iPhone 6 and made some real improvements to their search engine but I think they're still a ways off in the future. My friend has a Samsung galaxy and it's really cool to use, even though it can't do the same things as my iPad ." 

Guess which sentence would rank higher when someone does a search for "google reviews"? The one that uses 'google' in every other sentence! The reason this happens is because Google (and other search engines) will see the keyword overused throughout a web page -- whether it be through text or images. It may also mean you have too many pages with your keyword on them. So if you have 5 pages that all have your phrase, "How To Lose 20 Pounds In 3 Days", then Google won't rank you as highly. The best thing to do is have keywords, but don't overuse them.

Using Keywords in Your Title Tag

Forget about the days of being able to stuff keywords into your title tag and expect it to get ranked well. Although it does help to include your keyword within there somewhere (more on that later), these 3 tips are what's going to make a difference for you: Keep It Short - "Blog Post" is too long because it takes up valuable character space and doesn't really tell someone anything about the post they're going to read or why they should care. You can use an online tool like Title Generator (this one specifically ) to create unique titles based off key phrases. Use the "exact match" keyword in your title tag - If you're going to make a post about something like ' How To Lose 20 Pounds In 3 Days ', then definitely use that phrase. You want as many people searching for that exact thing as possible, so don't be afraid to use it. Include another keyword(s) - There are going to be other phrases and terms that someone might type into Google when looking for information on how to lose 20 pounds in 3 days . It's good practice to include those other keywords as well. On guest post titles, I usually try and get my most important keyword first followed by a few other related phrases after it.

Make Your Title Longer

It may seem counter intuitive to make your title longer. But do you know what else is counter intuitive? Making an entire blog based off of keyword stuffing and hoping that it gets ranked on Google's front page one day. It doesn't work like that anymore. You actually want to make your titles much longer than ever before, but not necessarily for the reasons you think.

For instance: A title with four words (such as this post) will rank better than a title with two or three words . This also means avoiding things like "Top 5 Ways To" because now you only have three keywords in the title -- which could be detrimental to getting ranked for important phrases people are searching for (e.g., "How To Lose 20 Pounds In 3 Days"). You're also going to want to include your keyword in the title at least 2-3 times , and even throw a few other phrases in there, like "5 Ways To Lose 20 Pounds In 3 Days."

If you're not getting enough traffic for the most important keywords in your industry (and people aren't finding your blog), then it's time to get out of the mindset that more words = less traffic. The best thing about this is that adding more keywords into titles won't impact how well you rank (because they are all relevant and related to what people search for).

So if you already knew why this was the case, stop reading! But if you're still questioning it, I'll explain why long titles actually helps you get more traffic from search engines in a future post!


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