So we got all the technical SEO out the way in the last post. Which if you haven't read, I suggest you do so before reading this.
In part 3 we're going to be focusing on on-page SEO strategies to enhance your user experience.
This is solely based around offering highly relevant and authentic content to the user.
Content that is perceived as 'high-value' to both the user and search engine.
This doesn't mean stamping keywords in every white space you see to try and push your ranking up.
(You've probably heard that keyword stuff more than other thing in SEO).
It's focusing on delivering quality a all-round SEO performance, which is what I'll be walking you through in this post.
I'll show you actionable tips you can follow and apply to your own site help boost your SEO score.
But before move on, bookmark this page because you'll more likely than not need to refer back to this post when taking action on these steps.
1: Keyword Research
Keyword research is one the biggest factors when ranking on Google.
Keywords are how Google links your content with a user's search query. If you include keywords people are looking for on your website, it would be deemed by Google as a relevant source of information to the user.
To rank higher, you need to identify keywords your audience is actually looking for and create relevant content that is centred around this.
Then spread your keyword across different areas of your content.
But here's the thing:
You would imagine some keywords would extremely competitive to rank for.
Take the keyword "boys toys" for example. Imagine how difficult it would be to make your site rank for such a broad term.
There's more than a million brand retailers, ecommerce stores and other linking sites competing for this term you want to rank on the first page for.
We call these head key words.
These types of keywords are very hard to rank on the first page for because how over-saturated the keyword is.
So what do all the smart marketers do?
The key is to rank for long-tail keywords. Ones that are longer (4-5 words) and more specific.
For example, "nerf gun toys for boys" is a long-tail keyword. The more specific the keyword is, the easier it is to rank for as there's less competition.
In keyword ranking:
Head keywords = Lower conversion rates
Long-tail keywords = Higher conversion rates
As a practice, focus on finding long-tail keywords.
And finding them isn't hard. If I type in the head keyword "boys toys" into Google, I can find longer tailed keywords that people are looking for in the related search queries section.
Then I can choose a keyword that I can rank for here and base my content around it.
Alternatively, if I type in the search bar, the suggestions can help me find other related keywords that are more specific.
2: Add Your Keyword To Your Title Tag
After your content, title tags stand as the second most important factor when ranking on Google.
This is the title in bold blue that you see on Google's search results.
It's important to include the main keyword you're ranking for in the title tag (at least once). This is to improve relevancy and making it easier for search engine crawlers to understand what your content is about.
Make sure your title tag is accurate, to the point and summarizing what your content is going to be on.
Because title tags have such an impact on your rankings, optimizing to its best form is a great way to take advantage of the algorithm and increase your chances of ranking higher.
With that being the case, here's some additional tips you can take:
Don't make your title too long:
Google only show up to 60-75 of your title tag before ellipsis starts to show, so you want to make an effort to keep your title within that limit.
Or if not, ensure your main keyword is placed in the visible area of your title tag.
Put your keyword as close to the start as possible:
The earlier your keyword appears, the easier and better it is to rank higher in the search results.
Studies show people only read the first couple of words on a title before making a decision to click on it. Including the keyword they're specifically looking can help to boost your click through rates.
Don't stuff your title with your keywords:
This makes you title unattractive and hard to comprehend. A bunch of keywords stuffed in one title can create an off-putting user experience (which Google can penalise your ranking for).
3: Add An Attractive Meta Description
This doesn't have any direct impact to your rankings and isn't considered a factor to rank higher.
However, an enticing meta description helps to boost click through rates.
A meta description is the short description of content underneath the title tag and URL.
It's a glimpse of what your content will include. Creating one that is highly relevant to the user will increase the chances of the user clicking on it.
Here's where you want to include good copy. Ensure its straight to the point and includes keywords that the user is looking for to target their needs and emotions.
Let me put myself in the user's shoes and observe Afillorama's meta description.
If I typed in the search query "Affiliate marketing training" and saw Affilorama's description, as a user, this could be my observation:
"Free affiliate marketing training" – Wow! I can learn how to do affiliate marketing without having to spend any money on training.
"Software and support" – This seems pretty attractive. They offer free software meaning I don't have to spend money or waste time on resources, and if I have a problem they offer free support to help me resolve the issue.
"Register now" – I don’t have to wait to receive training, I can start immediately.
"Boost your affiliate sales!" – Well I'm in not in it to just learn, I want to make some money. Why wouldn't I want to know how to boost my sales?
Creating a good copy in your description that targets the persons interests (and makes them say 'yes') can help you dramatically boost your click through rates and increase your site traffic.
4: Add Keywords To Your Image Alt Text
Adding keywords to your image can help you to rank organically because it helps Google to understand what your content is about.
When Google sees images with a specific keyword, they know what your content is related to and can better index the data in the algorithm.
For example, If an image related to SEO tips had the file name 2017-10-17_13-36-45.jpg, change it to on-page-seo-tips.jpg.
It's a simple practice that can be easily done.
If you have WordPress:
Go to Dashboard >> Media >> Library.
Then when you click on any image, type in the Alt Text box the related keyword.
5: Create Lengthier Content
Ranking on the first page requires you to create longer content. According to a study by Serp IQ, Google's algorithm favours longer and in-depth content over shorter pieces.
So you want to be aiming for at 1,000 – 2,000 (or more words) on average.
But this doesn't just mean throwing in unnecessary words in order to meet word count.
Focus on delivering value to the reader by offering a high quality, in-depth and authentic piece of content.
Here are some tips:
Content should be of some value to the reader:
Consider creating posts that your readers can take value from. 'How-to' or 'step-by-step' posts are great because they act as helpful instructions for the reader to go and copy after reading.
For example our step-by-step post on how to create a Facebook fan page is a key example of this.
It provides value because its taught them a new skill that will benefit their business (or life) in some way.
You can clearly see how helpful this was from the comments it received after.
Add engaging content in your post:
Engaging content is a big ranking factor on Google as their primary goal for them is to offer the most valuable information to its users.
They measure this by looking at how much time is being spent on your site. A longer time suggests better engagement as the piece of content has been able to keep them on site for long.
Creating engaging content comes as a package. Include keeping your words simple and easy to understand (2-3 line paragraphs).
Include relevant images and infographics.
Add social media share icons for people to like and share the post on their media and create a comments sections to invite people to add their own opinion on the post.
Overdeliver (to an extent):
Creating valuable content means offering a resource that make people go wow.
And doing simple things like adding snapshots and showing your reader how to do something adds that extra 'mmph' to your content and shows that you’re genuinely tryng offer your best help.
For example, a tip could for managing a Facebook page could be to schedule your posts.
But your reader may not know how. And as an authority, it's your job to show them the how as well as the what.
So instead of leaving at that, include step-by-step snapshots of how to schedule posts on Facebook, or link to a post that shows you exactly how to do this.
Don’t overdo it though. You don't want to lose focus from the main topic and branch of to mini step-by-step tutorial. Use it where necessary.
Adding relevant but helpful 'extra's' can help you increase your word count a lot easier because you’re not just trying to fill in words that have no real value.
6: Use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords In Your Post
Don't worry, you don’t need to know what "Latent Semantic Indexing" really means.
Just know that LSI keywords are ones that relate to the main keyword you're ranking for.
So if you're main keyword is "e-commerce tips" your LSI keywords could be:
- How to make money online
- Create an online store
- Making your first sale
- How create a good listing
Once again, you can use Google's search related queries to grab a few relatable keywords and spread them around your content.
You can also use LSI generator to find other highly relevant keywords for your main keyword.
7: Use Your Keyword As Early Possible In Your Content
A study by Ahref found that including your main keyword in the first 100 words of your content plays some significance on your ability to rank higher. (Source: Ahrefs)
It helps you to rank higher because it helps Google to understand what your content will cover.
This once again is another simple practice that will occur naturally if you keep your content specific to the keywords topic.
8: Add Social Sharing Buttons To Your Site
This isn't a direct ranking factor for Google.
But allowing visitors to share your page means more exposure, resulting in more people seeing, liking and sharing your content.
According BrightEdge, adding a social sharing button can increase your content being shared by 700%.
With more popularity, comes more links, higher authority, subscribers, visitors and backlinks to your page.
Which allows you to generate more traffic for your site.
It's a standard that you should include on every piece of content on your site.
If you're using WordPress, you can use the ShareThis plugin to add social buttons to your site.
9: Add Video To Your Content
Video marketing is by far the most engaging type of content to offer. Which is why YouTube is such a powerful method to gain free traffic and also the reason Facebook favours video over any other form of content.
In fact, according to Hubspot video marketing can increase click-through-rates by as much as 300%.
More relevant to Google, this infographic from Convince and Convert claim that adding video to your content your site is 53 times more likely to rank on the first page.
If you want to boost your chances of ranking higher, video is the way to go.
For example, you can offer a tip or a step-by-step tutorial in the form of screen capture video and embed it into your post.
This is what Brian Dean at Backlinko leverages excellently in every post.
If you use YouTube as a free traffic source to link to your website this becomes even more powerful because you have traffic coming from two sources.
Traffic from YouTube and Google to your website.
But if you're like me and don't really use Youtube as a traffic source, you can still create short informative clips and embed them into your post.
They don’t have to go viral, only dedicate them to the purpose of your post.
10: Wrap Headings in H1 and H2
A fairly light practice that won't exactly get you penalised if you choose not follow. It's just effective in letting crawlers understand your content better.
Be sure to wrap your heading in H1. Also, make sure to always include your primary keyword at least once.
The same applies for subheadings. Wrap them in H2 and include your primary keyword too.
If you have WordPress, H1 should be on default already for the header.
But for sub-headings, simply highlight the sub-header, click "Paragraph" and choose "Heading 2".
You're Almost There…
So that's the basics, technical and on-page SEO we've covered in so far in this four-part series.
In part 4 you're going to be looking at how to improve SEO through off-page tactics and strategies.
This looks mostly at building backlinks to increase your sites relevancy to search queries and popularity.
But before you move on to the next part of this series, be sure you've taken some good action on the tips I've provided here.
And if you already have been doing these tips long enough, props to you.
You should have definitely seen the impact these strategies have on your sites ability to rank!
(Or click here to go back and read Part 2: Handling the Technical SEO First)