I’ve spoken in the past about on-site and off-site SEO (also called on-page and off-page SEO). In this post, I will list out an organized look at how to tackle on-site SEO with effective keyword usage as well as other tips and pointers.
When optimizing your website to score a higher rank on a search engine results page (SERP), you’ll need to make sure you form a curated list of precise keywords related to your website, use the keywords in your site’s content, and also use the keywords in METAdata tags and image alt texts. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your content is fresh, relevant, and free of error. Using visuals in content, sharing to social media, and being consistent with SEO efforts will improve the overall outcome.
► Website not looking or working right?
► Tell us about it.
The best thing you can do is create quality blog posts (content is king) that are relevant to your potential customers. Here are 5 things you can do to make blog post writing easier and more effective:
1. Create a list of keywords you wish to target.
- A good keyword list would contain words and phrases that are very specific. For example, “CAR” and “1975 BROWN FORD PINTO” are the same thing, however, your chances of showing up for “CAR” are astronomical while you may actually rank on the first page of Google for “1975 BROWN FORD PINTO.”
- Do research to see what keywords your competitors are showing up for. Also, keep updating and fine tuning your list.
- You can’t be all things to all people so keep your list focused and under 50 words or phrases.
2. Make a list of topics for your blog posts.
- Make a list of keywords you want to use when writing these blog posts.
- Do not try and use more than 2 to 4 keywords in each blog post.
- Make your topic list into a schedule.
- Be flexible. If one of your topics happens to appear in the news, it might be a good time to change your schedule. News-worthy topics will likely receive more searches.
3. Create original and interesting copy for each blog post.
- Write your post using your target keywords in the title, headline, and body of your post.
- Breakup the copy into paragraphs.
- Be sure that each post is usually between 300 and 700 words.
- Use a sub headline if possible.
- Use a pull quote if possible.
- Cross link or quote another piece of supporting content on your website.
- Remember: Do not overuse your keywords in a post. This is called keyword stuffing and it is frowned upon by Google.
- The ideal keyword density for a blog post is between 1 and 2 percent of your text so for a 300 word article, each of your keywords will appear between 3 and 6 times. For a 700 word article, you would include each of your keywords between 7 and 14 times.
4. Be consistent.
There is not a one size-fits all approach, however, I recommend:
- 2 times per month, post a 700 to 800-word article with at least 2 photos.
- 2 times per month, post a 300 to 400-word article with at least 1 photo.
- If time or budget is available, create additional posts during the month.
5. Social media is your friend.
- When you publish your blog article, also post a link to the blog post on your social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Share your content with your followers.
- Including a “share” section on blog post webpages with icons/links for sharing the blog post to popular social media sites may help users share your content more easily and naturally.
- Refer to our previous articles about where and when to garner social media followers and best times to post to social media.
Other Factors That Affect Page Ranking:
- Page Title – This can be up to 70 characters in length. It is what appears on the tab in your web browser. It also appears on your Google search as the title of the page (see image below).
- META Descriptions – This is a small blurb that describes the content on the page. It is between 150 and 160 characters in length. It is what appears in Google under your site’s page title in the search results (see image below). Keep in mind that sometimes Google might overwrite this text if Google’s algorithm deems it necessary to communicate the intent and meaning of the pages content – Google’s algorithm may use the META description based on who is searching on what device, in what location.
- Alt Tags – These appear when you put your cursor on an image. When writing the alt tags on the images, think about what a visually impaired person would need to hear to understand what the picture is of.
- META keywords – These do not hurt your page ranking, however, they are no longer used and do not affect page rank.
- XML Sitemap – This is an index of your site’s pages. Depending on the CMS or framework used to build your site, it will be called different things or live in different locations on your server. However, the default sitemap location for Drupal or WordPress sites will be "yoursite.com/sitemap.xml"
Here is a search engine results page (SERP) screenshot / this is how Google MAY display your information:
Here is where you go to edit the META data for each page/post on Drupal:
So, in review:
- When creating content, use focus keywords.
- Keep your site’s content fresh and relevant.
- Fill in META descriptions and titles.
- When uploading photos, make sure you use alt tags.
- Do Not Stuff Keywords. Only use keywords necessary to tell your audience a story and what they need to know.
- Consider putting noticeable social media sharing buttons and/or social media follow buttons on your website.
- In the instance that you have several blog posts/news updates/articles already posted, you should start SEO with the most valuable posts first before proceeding to less important ones, for efficiency’s sake. Factors to rate importance could include the written piece’s content relevancy to users, the specific upload date, how in-depth it is written, how many images/videos are included, how recently it occurred, and who/what it mentioned.
- Improve titles of webpages to be more descriptive and include keywords, where applicable. For example, a video game industry news site with a webpage about handheld video game news updates with a title that read “Handheld Video Game News” could be updated to something such as “Handheld Video Game News | Nintendo 3DS, PS Vita, and mobile”.
- Always go through your webpages to check for any errors, inconsistencies, broken links/images, misspellings, or grammar mistakes
- If local users are important to your website/business/brand, be sure to learn Local SEO.