In this comprehensive guide, you are going to learn about all the essential factors of a perfectly optimized webpage.
This guide will lead you to learn about all the on-page SEO techniques that you need from basic to advanced.
So if you are a beginner or just want to improve your on-page SEO performance then this guide is for you.
Now, without any further ado, let’s jump right in.
Basic On-Page SEO Techniques
This section is going to cover all the very basics of On the Page SEO that you must need to energize your blog content. These techniques are almost noob-friendly and easy to follow.
Technique #1: Title Tag
When it comes to on-page SEO factors, the title tag is the very first thing that comes in. And if you don’t know yet what a title tag is…
Here’s the definition:
A title tag is an HTML tag that is shown in places like, browser tab, on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), on social media sites while you share or tweet them, etc. In layman’s term, it is the title of your page content as the name suggests.
It’s also one of the first impressions on a SERP when a user performs a search.
The role of a title tag is to describe page the content in a way that attracts clicks.
So how would you write a great page title?
A title tag should reflect the subject matter or topic of the page. A user should be able to grasp what your page is about just by looking at the page title.
While you craft a title for a webpage do keep in mind the following things:
- Use the target keyword as early as possible (or just break this rule when it doesn’t make sense).
- Keep the page title short and concise.
- Use 6-8 words or a maximum of 12 words. If you would don’t like the word count then just keep it within 60 characters. The goal is to avoid the ellipses in the SERPs. To make sure, use Yoast’s Snippet Preview feature.
- Use modifiers like, best, top, great, etc. to trigger a click on the SERP. This method especially works great when you write an article in a list form or promoting affiliate products.
- Use numbers in your title tags. Again this thing works great in listicles (list form articles). But do keep in mind that odd numbers tend to perform better than even numbers.
- Use colon (:) as a separator to bring the seed keyword in focus. For example, if you’re writing a guide on Photography, you can make a title like; “Photography 101: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners”. If you’re writing about a marketing tactic, say for example “Cognitive Bias”, in that case, you can make a title like; “Cognitive Bias: 11 Tips to Sell Your Products”. That’s it and it works great!
- Mention the year your page contents belong to. Yeah, placing the current year number in your title tag aids in terms of getting better ranking as well as better Click-through-Rate (CTR). For example, “How to Build Backlinks in 2020” or “10 Best Hairstyles for Men [2020 Updated]”.
Creating title tags can be tricky and even sometimes cumbersome. It might sound simple but a title is the starting point of a webpage from an SEO perspective. As mentioned before, a title is the first thing a user notices while they search a query, so you must make sure your page title is compelling, meaningful or relevant.
Technique #2: URL Slug
A URL slug is one of the most important on-page SEO factors especially when it comes to SERPs. It sits above the page title (formerly sited below) on a SERP…
Like the following:
If you don’t know what a URL slug is…
Then here’s the definition:
A URL slug is a text string or a set of words that goes after a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) which usually reflects the core topic of a webpage.
Like the following:
The portion “www.website.com” is the FQDN and “my-first-article” is the URL slug.
Now, to make an SEO friendly URL slug, follow the tactics below:
- Keep the URL slug as short as possible (maximum of 60 characters)
- Include the target keyword and if needed you can add one or two more keywords. Just do keep in mind your job is to reflect the core topic of the page. For example, if you are writing a guide on Skateboarding (target keyword), you can make a slug, like; /skateboarding-guide/ or /macro-photography-guide/ in case you are writing about Macro Photography (target keyword).
- Separate the words using hyphens. Don’t use other symbols except for hyphen for separation.
- Avoid using stop words (more about it soon)
- Never use odd URL slug patterns like, /p123/, /post-129/, etc.
I said not to use stop words in slugs. But it depends.
Because sometimes either it won’t make sense to avoid stop words or the target keyword has more search volume with the stop words variant. If a large number of people searching as “How to Do Macro Photography” instead of “Macro Photography Guide”, then you can go with the former. It isn’t necessary but makes more sense.
But make sure your slug doesn’t get too long as adding stop words could make the URL longer than 60 characters.
There’s co-relative evidence from Backlinko that shorter URLs tend to rank better in Google. The longer it gets, the worse it gets in terms of rankings.
So… that’s it!
Just do keep in mind the five rules I’ve mentioned while you craft a URL slug and then you’re good to go.
Technique #3: Meta Description
A Meta Description is an HTML tag that concisely describes a page content or what a page is about. You can think of it as an expansion of the title tag and it usually appears below the page title on a Search Engine Results Page.
A meta description tag looks like the following:
<meta name="description" content="The Description Goes Here">
And it appears in search engines like the following:
The HTML description meta tag gives you more room to express the core-topic of an article. Think of it as a synopsis of a book, which entices you or your curiosity to read the book further.
To make a good and clickable meta description… Follow the tactics below:
- Mention the benefit the searcher is going to get.
- Don’t be too transparent about the information you are providing in your article. Instead, make them curious. For example, if you are writing a guide on ‘On-Page SEO’, you can make a description like this; “Learn all the On-Page SEO Techniques from Basic to Advanced that You Must Need in 2020 and Beyond”. See I’m not giving a slice of information about what they really are going find in the article. Because this makes a person curious.
- Try to use a verb at the very beginning to make them take action (See, I’m using the verb ‘Learn’ in the first place).
- Keep it within 150-160 characters but to make it both mobile and desktop-friendly, just keep it within 120 characters. This is what I recommend.
The above four rules are the most basic ones that you must follow to write a good meta description. Just do keep in mind that you need to convince the searcher through meta description to win The Game of CTR (LOL… it’s sounding like the TV series GoT 😂).
Technique #4: Heading Tags
Heading tags are HTML tags used for page headings, which help structure a particular blog content.
Apart from this, heading tags also help search engine bots as well as users to understand the topic of a webpage.
There are six types of HTML heading tags and they are…
- H1 (HTML syntax: <h1></h1>)
- H2 (HTML syntax: <h2></h2>)
- H3 (HTML syntax: <h3></h3>)
- H4 (HTML syntax: <h4></h4>)
- H5 (HTML syntax: <h5></h5>)
- H6 (HTML syntax: <h6></h6>)
Now, lemme explain the usage of these tags:
An H1 tag is the most important heading of the HTML heading tags hierarchy. It is the most prominent heading with the biggest text size you’ll find on a webpage.
It should be used as the main heading (think of it like a Newspaper Heading) of content and also should only be used once per page.
An H1 tag typically appears on a webpage like the following:
And when it comes to crafting an H1, there’s no difference between crafting a page title. So, it’s a good practice to keep both the H1 and Title Tag the same. After all, you’ll want the same CTR in your blog’s feed too.
So to make a compulsive and relevant (reflects the topic of the content) H1 heading, just follow the same set of rules that applies to title tags.
An H2 tag is a sub-heading of the H1 tag. More simplistically, an H2 tag is used for breaking down the core-topic of an article. This way you make your article more search engine friendly as well as skim-friendly for your blog readers.
To give you a solid idea to put this in action…
If you are writing about “Types of Sunglasses”, you should use H2 tags as sub-headings for explaining each sunglass type (wayfarer, aviator, etc). Or… If you are writing about “On-Page SEO”, you should use H2 tags as sub-headings for explaining each tactic (anchor text, internal links, etc).
An H3 tag is a sub-heading of an H2 tag. Meaning, if you need to further breakdown an H2 tag, you should use an H3 tag.
If there are different types of Aviator Sunglasses (just an imagination), then you should use H3 tags to further classify Aviator Sunglasses.
An H4 tag is a sub-heading of an H3 tag. You have to use it if you need to break something down even further.
An H5 tag is a sub-heading of an H4 tag. Use it to breakdown the information of H4. Although it is very unlikely that you’ll need to use it.
An H6 tag is a sub-heading of an H5 tag. If you still need to further classify the H5 tag, do use it. But it is very highly unlikely that you’ll need it.
SIDE NOTE: You might find advice on the web that you should put your target keyword in every heading tags (apart from H1). Should you do this? The answer is both YES and NO. Instead, I’d rather suggest you be more natural while you write heading tags. After all, you’ll end up writing the relevant keywords that go with a specific topic. This is just inevitable and will be naturally occurred. If you write a Smartphone review… Wouldn’t you write about its display, camera features, gaming performance, etc. to cover all the aspects of a mobile phone? It’s as natural as your breathing process is!
Technique #5: First Paragraph
Your first paragraph or first 100 words should exactly reflect the topics you are covering (the benefit they’re going to get) including your target keyword (putting it within 100 words).
The challenging part?
You need to make it magnetic and irresistive.
To make your intro powerful enough…
There are several introduction writing formulas in Copywriting. And the most popular among them is called AIDA.
So what does AIDA mean?
The word AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
Your job is to make four different sentences for all of these four different persuasions.
This is how you put them into action:
Attention: Write something to capture your reader’s attention. It could be like, The iPhone 11 Pro is a beast, like never before.
Interest: Write something which interests your audience. It could be like, From basic to very heavy usage or single to multi-tasking, there are no other smartphones with its par in terms of performance.
Desire: Write something which triggers a desire among your audiences. It could be like, If you are looking for a monstrous smartphone for your outrageous needs, this is the perfect phone to buy.
Action: This is the time to tell your readers to take action. In the case of a blog post, this could be like, So without further ado, let’s jump right into my hands-on experience of this smartphone.
There are many Copywriting formulas out there to write blog Intros other than AIDA, like AIDCA, PAS, ACCA, etc. to retain a visitor to read your blog post further. But AIDA is the most effective and widely-used by most bloggers.
Technique #6: Short Paragraphs
When you write content for the web, writing short paragraphs is now becoming like a new engagement metric. As people nowadays more likely read on small screens (smartphones, tablets, etc.), it’s a must to write paragraphs as short as you can.
Because a relatively long paragraph would look like a large block of text, hence could be disturbing and uncomfortable to most people.
So the recommended length?
Keep your paragraphs maximum of 3-4 sentences long and sometimes even 1 sentence paragraph could be fine. If you don’t like the sentence counting approach, then just avoid writing a paragraph not more than 200 characters long.
Although writing small paragraphs is a good practice, you have to keep in mind that you are not losing the topical relevance (the connection between each sentence) of a paragraph. This is one of the necessary factors to keep your content engagement intact.
Technique #7: Internal Linking
Internal linking is all about organizing the information on your website. It’s also a great way to engage your blog readers for a longer period.
But before you start leveraging internal linking…
You should first know what internal linking is.
What is Internal Linking?
Internal Linking or Internal Link is the practice of putting hyperlinks (or simply links) on a webpage to a different webpage of the same website. The page on which the link resides is known as the source page and the page which is getting the link is known as the target page.
Internal links are generally used for two main purposes.
And they are:
- Navigation: When internal links are used for navigation, they can be found in either a site’s Navigation Menu or in Sidebars (sometimes can be both). This helps search engine bots to crawl a site more effectively and also helps human visitors to find content quickly according to their needs. In your blog’s navigation menu, put your site’s most important pages and link to them. If there’s less room in your navigation menu, consider adding your in-depth posts on a sidebar menu too.
- Contextual Relevancy: The contextual relevancy refers to the practice of putting links to other pages of your website. This is done when another article on your site is closely related to the topic you are discussing. A suitable example is, if I would’ve written about Anchor Text in an On-Page SEO guide, I would’ve linked to the post which is purely written about Anchor Text. The reason is the topic Anchor Text is contextually relevant. And if you do provide a link it will help a user (including search engine bots) to know about the topic further (see again, it’s also about creating Topical Authority). One more thing is that whenever you create a new post, you must link to that post from an old one. If you don’t do so that new post will remain as an orphan page, which is bad for SEO because Google will assume that page as irrelevant and doesn’t hold any value to the users. Again do keep in mind that you are linking from an old post which belongs to the same category of the new post.
So navigation and contextual links are the factors that shape the Information Architecture (IA) as well as User Experience (UX) of a website. With this, IA and UX also play a very significant role in terms of improving search engine rankings.
Technique #8: Anchor Text
When it comes to anchor text, its relationship with the hyperlink is very significant because it should articulate the content of the target page.
As the name suggests, it’s called anchor text because a hyperlink gets anchored (fastened) with text.
If you still don’t know what anchor text is…
Here’s the definition:
Anchor Text is the clickable text on a webpage, that if gets clicked on will take the user to a different webpage or site. By default, anchor text appears blue and underlined. And when you hover your mouse over it, the arrow cursor turns into a hand gesture, which signifies a clickable text.
Now the question comes in…
How would you use anchor text on your website?
There’s a set of tactics that you should take into consideration while you write anchor text on your site.
To put them into action…
- An anchor text should contain the keyword the target page is written about.
- Do not link only with the target page’s keyword (exact match). Instead, clearly express the content of the target page with its keyword. For example, if you are linking to content about Title Tag, you should make the anchor text more expressive like, “write attractive Title Tags” or “SEO friendly Title Tags” instead of just writing “Title Tag” as an anchor text. The purpose is to help understand readers and search engine bots about the content of the target page (before they click) and its relevancy. Here relevancy is signifying factors like, why are you giving that link to such a page or what do you think about the page, etc. This is not necessary but a good practice.
- Never use an exact match keyword (your page’s target keyword) as anchor text on your page. Doing so will destroy your page’s ability to rank on search engines.
- Don’t use “click here”, “read this article”, etc. as an anchor text as these types of generic text can’t convey any specific meaning.
- Don’t keep using the exact same anchor text to interlink to a certain webpage. Apart from internal links if you acquire incoming links (backlinks) with the same anchor text in large numbers, Google might take this as a suspicious signal.
SIDENOTE: Although I told you not to use only the seed keyword of the target page as an anchor text, sometimes you might not need it and using only the seed keyword will make sense. Because at times you just don’t need to explain something through anchor text in a succinct manner.
Technique #9: External Links
An external link is a hyperlink on a webpage that takes a user to another webpage of a different website. Also, when an external link points to another site from your site is called Outbound Link and when an external link points to your site from another site is called Inbound Link or Backlink.
External links are used for two main purposes:
- To Educate: This thing applies to those links when they are contextually relevant and you give that outbound link when you don’t have that extensive information on your website of a particular topic. Users and search engine bots can learn more by following those relevant links.
- To Fact-Check: The fact-check means to investigate or to confirm the truth. If you are providing data, statistics, a claim (like the percentage of users of something), a consequence or benefits of using something (like someone is experiencing), etc., then do link to the resource to fact-check your article in which you found that information. It helps build credibility and authority of your website. But do make sure that you are linking to established and reputable sources.
Technique #10: Word Count
Word count for blog posts has long been a very significant on-page SEO factor between SEO communities and bloggers. Well, this is a very critical part before you start writing an article on your blog.
The question comes in:
How long should your blog post(s) be?
The bonafide answer is, it depends on the subject matter you’re gonna write.
But the widely-recommended blog post length which gets traffic and social shares are somewhere between 2000-2500 words.
There are lots of co-relative studies performed to testify a solid conclusion on word count.
A research performed by serpIQ on the top 10 results of Google based on 20,000 queries found that the average word count was more than 2,000 for each specific query. The content that ranked in the number 1 position was counted 2,416 words long on average.
This study was performed back in 2012. And later Backlinko performed a study again based on 1 Million search results in 2016…
And here’s what they’ve found:
The average word count of pages of Google’s top 10 results (first page) is 1,890 words. This is a slightly declining number compared to the serpIQ’s 2012 experiment.
But if you look closely into these SEO co-relative studies, you’ll find that top rankings pages always hovers around 2000-2500 words.
So living in the range between 2,000-2,500 is the sweet spot most of the time.
However, there’s an exception.
You don’t always need to hone in on the 2,000 words length recommendation. But only when it doesn’t need to be.
And you know when it could be?
It could be… if you write how to make black coffee. It could be… when you write about an upcoming gadget. It could be… if you write how to hide shoelaces. And things could be many more. Just make sure you are providing enough value and helping the visitors and searchers to accomplish their tasks.
Like I said… here’s what I’ve found on the web:
I did a search with the keyword black coffee recipe and found the following.
The above article on YummyTummy about making black coffee is just 284 words long and it is ranking number 1 on Google. Because how much will you write about making instant black coffee? The ingredients and the process of making it. You won’t write about its benefits and side effects (not searchers’ intent). It’s an article about the concoction of black coffee and nothing else can be added.
Following the black coffee recipe, I did a search again related to an upcoming gadget with the keyword samsung ballie.
And here’s what I found:
All the pages that ranked on the first page of Google for the term “samsung ballie” were between 200-500 words range.
With Samsung being the first page of the SERP with just 19 keywords (as an authoritative publisher), the following page from Dezeen ranks number 2 with just 519 words.
As the gadget has not been released yet, there is no enough information about the product yet. So writing extensively on Ballie is not possible at the moment. No expert hands-on experiences, no end-user experiences.
The same thing goes with the key phrase “how to hide shoelaces”.
The page that ranks first has 993 words.
The page that ranks second has 986 words.
The page that ranks third has 626 words.
An article about hiding shoelaces won’t be long enough as the search intent is quite narrow. The user just wants to know the way of hiding shoelaces. The above 3 articles are touching 600-900 words count only because of they are writing about many different ways of hiding shoelaces to make them in-depth. So a detailed guide doesn’t always mean it’ll cross the 2,000 words mark in whatever topic you write.
Hence, the topic and the searchers’ intent will decide the length of a particular blog post.
Technique #11: Image Compression
Image compression refers to the process of reducing an image file size to a smaller size. This is done to load a webpage faster, and faster your page loads, the greater the chance of ranking higher on search engines.
As the site speed is now a ranking factor after Google’s Speed Update, image compression is getting much more important than ever to do so.
To compress images for a fast loading page, use any of the following tools.
- TinyPNG: TinyPNG is an image compression website that lets you compress .png and .jpg file formats with a limitation of 500 images per month as a free user. It can reduce the image size of more than 70%, like, a 300kB file will be reduced to as low as 70kB (could be even more sometimes). TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression techniques without any loss of image quality. To compress an image automatically without having to visit its website, you can use TinyPNG’s WordPress plugin. But do keep in mind that it doesn’t support GIF image compression.
- Smush: Smush is a freemium WordPress image compression plugin that supports all the three most popular image formats, JPEG, PNG, and GIF. The free version of this plugin supports only lossless compression whereas the paid version which is called Smush Pro supports both lossless and lossy compressions. As TinyPNG, this plugin also compresses images with no visible quality loss. Unlike TinyPNG, you can compress an unlimited number of images but with a limitation of up to 5MB per file (up to 32MB for paid users).
- EWWWW Image Optimizer: Another great WordPress freemium plugin that you can use for image compression is EWWWW Imager Optimizer. The free version allows lossy and lossless compression for PNG images and only lossless compression for JPEG images (paid version supports lossy JPEGs). The premium version of this plugin ensures a compression rate of images of up to 80%. Unlike WP Smush, EWWWW Image Optimizer compresses images on your own server which results in faster compression. But its paid version transfers the images to another server and then returns it to your server after compression (to reduce server load). As Smush, this plugin also supports GIF image compression.
PRO TIP: The best practice of optimum image file sizes is to keep them below 70kB or you can go a maximum of 100kB in case if you have a large image file closer to 300kB.
Technique #12: Image Filename, Alt & Caption
The image filename, alt tag, and caption are the three elements that help a search engine bot to understand what an image is about. This way your images are highly likely to appear on Google’s Image Search.
As mentioned earlier, basic image optimization for search visibility happens in three steps.
And here’s how you’ll put them into action:
- Image Filename: Image filename is the very first thing that starts with Image SEO. It’s an element that has to be straightforward with the inclusion of the seed or target keyword. When an image is used as a featured image of a blog post (the first image right after the H1), you should only use the target keyword of the article as a file name. Like, “on-page-seo” for an article about On-Page SEO or “photography-for-beginners” for an article about Photography for Beginners. But when you use a photo along the way for illustration purposes, be concise to the greatest extent. Like, “iphone-11-selfie-camera-sample” if you are writing a review on iPhone 11 and this thing comes in when you start writing about its selfie camera quality. But make sure you are separating each word using hyphens.
- Image Alt Tag: An image alt tag (aka alt text), which is technically called alt attribute, is an HTML element that is used to succinctly describe an image. It helps visually impaired people to understand an image by using screen readers. It also helps a visitor to understand what’s in an image if it fails to load. Unlike Image Filenames, an alt tag should be concise in a conversational way. Like, “An in-depth guide to on-page SEO” for the featured image of an on-page SEO guide or “A sample photo of iPhone 11’s front camera” in a review article of iPhone 11.
- Image Caption: An image caption signifies the text appears below an image on a particular webpage. A caption helps Google to understand your image further as well as helps your readers to scan a page content. The thing is, you don’t have to use it all the time. It’s only useful when an image needs it to convey more information. This thing a can apply in a photo where three different versions of the iPhone 11 are together and you are mentioning each one’s version. Like, “iPhone 11 has two rear cameras (right), while the 11 Pro (Middle) and Pro Max (left) has three rear cameras”.
SIDENOTE: Apart from image filename, the alt tag and caption might not always be required. A filename is sufficient if an image carries very little information. However, if it carries a lot of information, in which case you need to use the alt tag and sometimes even a caption if it requires to succinctly explain the image contents.
Technique #13: Creating Categories & Tags
If you are using WordPress these two things are quite familiar to you.
WordPress facilitates categories and tags to aid in creating a site structure. They help users in navigation as well as search engines to understand the contents (the topics you blog about) much more effectively.
In fact, optimizing category pages for SEO is one of the overlooked On-Page SEO strategies.
Now, the question is…
How would you structure or categorize your blog posts?
Well, you need to understand a set of basics.
Choose a Fat Head Keyword
A fat head keyword is typically a very popular keyword that has a large amount of monthly search volume. Generally, it covers a lot of sub-topics as well and hence a great way to use it as a parent keyword for category pages.
This is how to choose one:
Suppose, you are writing about taking great landscape photographs… In this case, you can choose “Landscape Photography” as your category. This term covers lots of sub-topics and hence you can write a lot about this
Here’s another example:
Suppose, you are writing about blogging tips for beginners… In this case, you can choose Blogging or even Blogging for Beginners, if you want to narrow down your parent topic. Because the keyword Blogging for Beginners is a high volume as well as an expandable keyword to write relevant articles.
As you can see, the term “Blogging” gets 66K monthly search traffic…
And the term “Blogging for Beginners” gets 6.2K monthly search traffic from Google.
So you need to choose a fat head according to your needs which perfectly reflects your blog contents. If you are expecting me to spoon-feed you, go with Blogging if you have lots of articles on blogging on every level (from beginner to advanced or at least intermediate). But if your blog is relatively new, just go with “Blogging for Beginners” to write articles for those who have just started.
SIDENOTE: Don’t choose extremely narrow keywords that don’t cover many sub-topics within them. In the case of a photography blog, don’t choose a keyword like sunrise landscape photography, studio portrait photography, etc. as these are too specific and don’t cover a lot of sub-topics. So choose carefully.
But while you create categories…
Never do the two following mistakes:
- Don’t create duplicate categories. Even with the plural inflection (the “-s” suffix). For example, don’t create both “smartphone” and “smartphones”. The same thing applies to tags.
- Don’t create duplicate categories and tags. For example, don’t use the keyword “smartphone” for both categories and tags. The same thing goes with plural inflections. Avoid using”smartphone” as a category and “smartphones” as a tag.
Intermediate On-Page SEO Techniques
This section of On-Page SEO techniques is a bit advanced but easy to follow to further energize your blog content. If you follow these techniques accordingly, it’ll ensure a better search presence in terms of Google rankings.
Technique #14: Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are those prominent search results on Google that appear when someone performs a query, which requires a short, concise, and direct answer.
The queries could be like:
“what are long-tail keywords”
“how to meditate”
Now, your job is to optimize your article to get featured in featured snippets.
The optimization can be done in two major ways…
- Concise Definitions
- Key Takeaways
This is how to put into action:
If you are defining something try to be as concise as possible which can reflect the core meaning of the term in a few words. The best optimal length for a concise definition is between 40-50 words. Because it increases the chance of getting featured in featured snippets whenever a query matches with your content.
PRO TIP: Try to write every block of text (paragraph) between 40-50 words. This will ensure a higher chance of appearing in the featured snippets since your articles cover many more aspects of a single topic.
ADDITIONAL PRO TIP: If your target keyword is a longtail, try to keep a lower distance between the fragments of the keyphrase (this is commonly known as Keyword Proximity). This is because some queries are a bit conversational in manner, which makes it a bit difficult to write the exact same phrase in a sentence (otherwise it’ll sound awkward). Google uses this to understand the contextual meaning hence it could help you earn a featured snippet for a conversational longtail keyword.
The key takeaways are a kind of summary or conclusion of a blog post where important aspects of a topic are outlined in a list form. This will help your blog post to get featured in almost every type of featured snippets. Whether it’s a paragraph, a numbered list, or even a bulleted list featured snippet; your content will have a higher potentiality of getting featured by Google.
One thing I must say that your content needs to be long enough to write key takeaways. If your article is short this tactic doesn’t apply.
Technique #15: Keyword Density
From an SEO viewpoint, keyword density signifies the number of times your target keyword or keyphrase is appearing against the total number of keywords on the page.
As the definition suggests, you should be very careful in terms of using the target keyword. If you repeat it too frequently, Google will probably frown upon your website and eventually will flag the site as suspicious and demote your rankings as well.
The best practice?
Use the target keyword sparingly throughout your content. The ideal keyword density is to keep it between 2-3 percent, which is an expert recommendation and also widely accepted.
Now, the question is:
Do you really always need to use the focus keyword between 2-3 percent?
The short answer is “NO”.
Do you know why?
Because when you’ll write naturally, your keyword density will automatically be in that range or maybe even less sometimes which is perfectly fine. The strict recommendation of keyword density only applies to that person who has a tendency for keyword stuffing.
If you don’t agree with me… Then tell me would you rather write a paragraph like the following.
The above example paragraph has a keyword density of 17.95 percent which is way higher than the recommended range. And see how odd it sounds. No one will end up writing a paragraph like this unintentionally.
However, even when you write naturally you might cross the recommended range if you don’t use anaphors and synonyms.
Well, you know that synonyms are the alternative words that carry the same meaning of a keyword or phrase.
But you might not know what anaphors are…
Anaphor means using words like, this, that, it, he, she, etc. that address the subject or object you’ve mentioned before.
This way your article looks completely natural and automatically falls under the sweet spot of keyword density.
But before you jump into the next On-Page SEO technique…
Sometimes your keyword density could be even almost zero in posts like review articles.
If your target keyword is “OnePlus 7 Review”…
Will you be able to manage to write the keyphrase sparingly?
In most of the cases, the target keyword won’t appear anywhere except the H1 and title tag.
When I searched using the keyphrase “oneplus 7 review”…
I found an article on T3 magazine’s website that was ranking number 1 on Google had used the keyphrase only 5 times in its 5 different sub-headings.
See how they are cleverly using the target phrase in each of the H2s:
Another article from “THE VERGE” which is ranked first on Google for the term “iphone 11 review” has used the phrase only once in the article (open the link, press CTRL+F and type “iphone 11 review” to find where it appears).
The writer used the target phrase once only because he mentions the buggy OS behavior of the iPhone 11 review unit. Otherwise, the keyphrase wouldn’t have appeared even only for once.
So keyword density could depend on the focus keyword at times but do keep in mind “NOT ALWAYS”.
Technique #16: Breadcrumb Navigation
Breadcrumbs are a part of the site navigation feature. It helps a user understand the location of the page he is currently visiting, such as the main topic of the page. Hence it helps blog visitors as well as search engine bots to understand the structure of your website.
The breadcrumbs typically appear above or below the H1 tag with the hyperlink of the homepage followed by the category and sub-category links (separated by a symbol) of the respective page. So it indicates how far they are from the homepage.
A breadcrumb navigation menu generally looks like the following:
Now, what is the benefit of implementing this navigation feature?
- It helps your readers to trail back either to your homepage or category pages to find more resources on a particular topic instead of hitting the back button.
- It also helps Google as well as other search engines to show the breadcrumb navigation trail above the page title in the SERPs. Unlike jump to links navigation which highlights the different topics of a page in snippets, breadcrumb navigation helps users to know the name of the parent topic of the page right from the SERP.
The question is…
How you’ll enable this feature?
Enabling breadcrumb trails may not be very easy if it’s not a built-in feature of the theme you are using. Because in this scenario the procedure of implementing breadcrumbs will vary depending on the theme you are using.
If you are on WordPress and using Yoast SEO along with a Genesis theme, enabling it will be much easier.
Log in to your WP dashboard, and on the left menu click on SEO>Search Appearance>Breadcrumbs.
Now, toggle the bar below “Enable Breadcrumbs” to the left to enable it.
Scroll down and select the applicable option from the dropdown menu. In most of the cases, it’ll be Category.
Upon choosing the right taxonomy, click on “Save Changes”.
To make the breadcrumb trails visible, Go to “Appearance>Customize>Theme Settings>Breadcrumbs”. There you have to check the box “Breadcrumbs on Single Posts” and then click “Publish”.
I would suggest you read this guide from Yoast on implementing breadcrumbs which will help you to apply breadcrumbs in any WordPress theme using their SEO plugin.
Technique #17: Semantic Optimization
Semantic optimization refers to the practice of making your content more topically optimized.
Now, why you need to topically optimize your content?
Because it’ll help your article to rank for thousands of keywords as well as help search engines to contextually understand the content at a deeper level.
The question is…
How to do this?
Well, lemme explain…
Enter your target keyword into your favorite keyword research tool. And find some variants of your target keyword to cover them in your article.
In the example below, I’ve entered the target keyword”type 2 diabetes” into Ahrefs.
From the list of keywords, I can filter out some semantic variants:
- Type 2 Diabetes Definition
- Type 2 Diabetes Causes
- Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes Treatment & Type 2 Diabetes Medications (will be put together)
- Early Signs of Type 2 Diabetes (will integrate with “Symptoms” heading)
- Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Since my target keyword is “Type 2 Diabetes”, I’d choose the semantically related (closely related) keywords, Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Medications, Early Signs and Risk Factors to make my content much more holistic. And the more holistic you make your content the better the picture will be of your content to the search engines.
The phrase “Type 2 Diabetes” is a multi-intent keyword, so including these 7 variants or aspects of the topic is inevitable.
Now, you might be thinking…
These are just 7 keywords variants, then how I’ll be able to rank for thousands of keywords?
The way you’ll rank for thousands is like the following:
Target Keyword + Target Keyword Variants + Variants of Target Keyword Variants = THOUSANDS OF KEYWORDS
Now, you probably might be wondering that… this is actually about using LSI Keywords, not Semantic Optimization.
So… why am I not recommending you to use LSI Keywords?
Because you’ll automatically end up writing LSI Keywords in your article.
Do you know how?
As you can see there is other semantics (LSI Keywords) such as early signs, blood sugar, insulin, etc.
Now, tell me will you need to make a conscious attempt to include these related keywords?
You must talk about early signs, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and all the possible semantics that you need to take into account.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) is just a basic technology to recognize & understand the context more efficiently based on semantic units (words). So technically there is a thing called LSI to semantically index textual contents but calling the LSI as LSI Keywords (which is in fact “Semantic Keywords”) is actually mistaken.
Technique #18: Google E-A-T Optimization
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
It is a metric of measuring high-quality pages and websites, which was introduced for the first time in Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines. The purpose of E-A-T is to strengthen its algorithms by employing human raters.
The challenging part?
You need to comply with each of the three required metrics of E-A-T to get qualified for high search rankings in Google.
The question is…
How will you optimize for each of these three essential metrics?
Expertise is what Google wants to know how much in-depth your insight is on a subject matter.
All you need to do is to demonstrate the Expertise you have on the subject matter.
Now, how will you demonstrate expertise?
To demonstrate your expertise research well and fact-check your articles.
To fact-check, link to other sources to validate your claims.
Having said that, add an author bio below each and every article to validate the Expertise. It’s like, why you or the writers who write on your site are qualified to do so. The qualifications could be experience, formal education, accreditation, or even enthusiasm if you are quite in the field in which case you write out of passion.
As Expertise signifies your expert knowledge on a specific topic, Authoritativeness signifies what people think about you in your subject matter. Meaning Google will look into whether people recognize you as an expert or not in your subject matter.
The way Google assesses Authoritativeness is by taking the number of backlinks (relevant and high-quality), social shares, mentions, or any other type of citation into account. The higher the number or quality of these metrics, the higher the chance of ranking well in Google.
Trustworthiness signifies to the factors that Google takes into account for measuring the level of trust of a specific website.
The trust signals that Google looks for are:
- Any type of AWARD the website or the author has received. Like, this is an award-winning blog (in the about section, homepage title, etc.), this author has received this and that award, well-known for this and that, public speaker on the subject matter (in author bio), etc.
- Positive testimonials from satisfied customers.
- Endorsements, discussions, reviews, or customer sentiments on other platforms; such as Q&A sites, forums, blog posts, etc.
If all of these factors sends a positive trust signal, it’ll gradually boost your page rankings with time. But if they send negative signals, the opposite will happen.
- Keep your titles and H1s short with 6-8 words (max 12 words) or within 60 characters. But do keep in mind that you are using the target keyword at the earliest.
- Keep the URL slug also short including your target keyword. The best practice is to use only the target keyword as the slug.
- While you write meta description use your target keyword along with a verb to call the searcher to take action. However, do make sure the description is succinct within 120 characters and not too transparent (to make the searcher curious).
- Use the correct heading tags order, which is H1 as the page or main heading, H2 as the sub-heading of H1, H3 as the sub-heading of H2, H4 as the sub-heading of H3, H5 as the sub-heading of H4, H6 as the sub-heading H5. But you should always use the target keyword in the H1 tag. And using it in other heading tags will depend on the type of content you are writing.
- Make sure the topic gets cleared immediately within the first 100 introductory words. For a compulsive intro use the copywriting method “AIDA”.
- Write short paragraphs with no more than 3-4 sentences in a single block. With that, make sure the sentences are also short. If you are struggling to make a sentence short, don’t hesitate to start a new sentence with an “And”. It’s really okay in terms of writing content for the web (although it’s grammatically incorrect 😉).
- Use internal links to link to your relevant articles. You can also use it in the main navigation menu to link to your most important pages.
- Write concise & descriptive anchor text along with the target keyword of the page you are linking to.
- Use external links to educate (by providing links to relevant pages) and fact-check your articles.
- Write articles between 2000-2500 words. However, content length may vary (longer or shorter) depending on the topic you are writing.
- Compress your image files before or after uploading by using services such as TinyPNG or a WordPress plugin.
- Optimize your image filenames, alt tags, and captions for maximum exposure in Google Image search.
- Use a fat head keyword to name your categories or tags and write about various sub-topics within those topics.
- Write concise definitions between 40-50 words or key takeaways to optimize for featured snippets.
- Maintain your keyword density between 2-3 percent. But this percentage may be slightly higher or lower depending on the subject matter.
- Use breadcrumb navigation to aid in exploring further resources on your website.
- Use semantic keywords to optimize your page to rank for thousands of keywords.
- To validate E-A-T… Demonstrate your Expertise; get quality backlinks, and social shares to prove your Authoritativeness; build a good online reputation to prove your Trustworthiness.
What On-Page SEO techniques do you use?