You will never get massive traffic from Google search unless you have optimized your blog for Google.
In this blog post I will share with you 10 on page SEO strategies to achieve a higher ranking on Google search.
For a blogger there’s nothing better than getting free traffic. In a previous article I mentioned how Pinterest is an awesome way to get free traffic flowing to your new blog.
Well there is one traffic source that’s even better than Pinterest: Google search.
The most popular website in 2019 by far is Google and what does Google do? It helps users to find a solution to their question.
That’s where your blog comes into play.
If you are creating content that people search for and your content is solving problems, then Google is going to love your blog!
Okay so how can we climb the Google rankings? This comes down to search engine optimization (SEO).
What Is SEO And Why It Matters
In order to get your blog to show in Google search results, you need to optimize your site for Google.
There are two kinds of search engine optimization strategies which can boost your blogs’ position in Google: onpage optimization and offpage optimization.
Onpage (or onsite) SEO optimization is about optimizing your own website, while offpage (or offsite) SEO optimization is about getting quality backlinks from other websites.
While I’m not going to deny that getting backlinks is an integral part of your search engine ranking, too often people ignore their onpage SEO.
If you’re looking for effective ways to increase your ranking in Google, you need to start with your on page optimization.
Your on-page SEO could be the difference between your site being #1 on Google or #100!
Today we’re going to focus exclusively on your on page SEO strategy to ensure you’re creating perfectly optimized blog posts.
Step 1: Create The Perfect Blog Post Title
A perfectly optimized blog post title will help you dominate Google and boost your site to the first page.
Why The Title Matters More Than Anything
When you create awesome blog post titles, you will get more clicks at a higher rate than the competition.
And when your page gets clicked on more than the competition, it sends a signal to Google that your page is more relevant for that particular search term.
Google keeps track of your CTR (click through rate) and pushes sites with a higher CTR higher on the serps (search engine results page).
Always Include Your Keyword Phrase In The Title
Your article should be keyword optimized. In other words, each article should have a keyword phrase you are trying to target.
This exact keyword phrase needs to be in your title, preferably at the beginning.
My keyword phrase for this article is “on page SEO strategies”. You will find it in my title, first paragraph and sprinkled throughout my article about 10 times.
The Formula For The Perfect Title
Google will display on average 55 characters so make sure every character counts. The perfect title that maximizes click through rate and improves your Google ranking should have this formula:
(Number) (Adjective) (Keyword Phrase) (Time)
Step 2: Edit The Meta Description
The meta description is a code that’s in the source of your webpage whose purpose is to describe what your page is about. It looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”This should be a two or three sentence description of this page.”/>
Make A Good First Impression
Just like movies use trailers to preview their movie, the meta description is the preview of your blog post on Google.
While Google doesn’t use the meta description to rank your site, they do use it on the search results page. The better you utilize the meta description, the better your click-through rate will be.
If you choose to not add a custom meta description, then Google will choose the first few sentences of your article. Often times, the article starts with a question or an anecdote, which often times is not quite click-worthy text.
How To Edit The Meta Description
The best way to edit the meta description of your article is to use the Yoast SEO plugin. Once installed, you’ll be able to create a custom meta description for each post.
Use Your Keyword Phrase
A perfect meta description includes your exact keyword phrase. When the search term matches your keyword phrase, the text is bolded on the results page.
If both your title and your meta description each contain your keyword phrase, bold in the title and description will draw more attention to your link.
Tease The Reader
After you tell them in a sentence or two what your page is about, the final step is to leave them wanting more. You can achieve this by cutting yourself off mid-sentence and adding three dots. This creates a tease effect that will hopefully be enticing enough for them to click on your link.
Here is my meta description for this article:
Use these 10 on page SEO strategies to achieve a higher ranking in Google. Follow my guide to create a perfectly optimized blog post. Every post must…
Notice how I added my exact keyword phrase “on page SEO strategies” in the first sentence, explained what my article was about, and then teased them at the end.
Step 3: Utilize The Shortest Permalink Structure
By default, the url to a blog post on WordPress looks like this: www.yourdomain.com?p=14905
Not only does that look horrible, but it is not optimized at all. Your permalink structure should be the post name only.
To change the permalink structure of your WordPress blog, go to Settings > Permalinks.
Use A Short Slug
Sometimes, your post is too long and you end up with a url that’s far too long. This makes the url look unprofessional.
Imagine this long url: https://www.edwindollars.com/10-on-page-seo-strategies-to-dominate-google-today/
That looks spammy to the visitor and it looks spammy to Google as well. It looks like you’re trying to stuff keywords into the url.
Instead, let’s refine our permalink by making it as concise as possible.
For example, here is the permalink to this blog post: https://www.edwindollars.com/on-site-seo-google/
Use Your Exact Keyword Phrase
If you’re trying to rank for a keyword phrase you need to have your keyword phrase in the title, in your first paragraph and most definitely in the url.
Take advantage of every opportunity to add your keyword!
Step 4: Increase The Length Of Your Blog Posts
Are you planning to fill up your new blog with LOTS of short blog posts? If so you’re in for a big disappointment, because that’s not what Google wants.
Google would much rather prefer a website with 15 pages of amazing content rather than a 250 page website full of short articles.
Focus on creating high quality content. Don’t just write great content, write insanely great content.
Think about it, can you really educate someone or properly give your opinion in less than 500 words? Probably not.
Anything worth saving, sharing or reading again should be at least 1,000 words long. This article is well over 3,000 words in length.
What’s The Right Word Length?
As far as a set word count goes, there isn’t one. If you feel like you can say everything you need in a 1,000 word article. If you need more, go for it.
Case studies have shown that the average word length in the number one result in Google is 2,450 words. The average word count of the 10th result is just over 2,000.
So what does that mean? Write at least 1,000 words but aim for 2,000 and above if you want a shot at page 1 of the search results.
Improved Time On Page
Something else we know is that Google tracks how long someone stays on your webpage.
A visitor to your page is obviously going to spend a long time on your site reading a 2,000 word article. Now what about a short 500 word post? They would scan it quickly and move on.
I use Monster Insights to see the average time spent on each of my posts.
You’ll Get More Backlinks
An added bonus to writing long high quality content is that you will naturally be able to acquire more external backlinks, as other websites would reference yours in their articles.
Step 5: Optimize Your Website’s Page Load Time
Google has indicated that the speed of your overall site and page is a signal that’s used to rank pages. If you want to rank on the first page of Google’s search results, you need a fast site.
There’s other reasons why you want a faster website.
Slow Websites Lose Traffic
Visitors often times click to go to the previous page or simply close the window if a webpage is loading too slow. In a world of fast loading sites with great content, nobody wants to visit a slow site.
Improved Crawl Rates
When Google’s bot visits your site, it might decide to spend a few minutes on your site. It’s looking for new webpages and updated pages to add to their index. If your site loads too slow time will run out before Google’s done checking out your new content.
The Best Load Times
When you visit the number one search result in Google for any given term, I guarantee you that site loads lightning quick. You should be aiming for a load time of 2-3 seconds. Anything longer may irritate Google and your visitors.
Get The Right Hosting
If you choose a budget webhost you will get what you pay for. If you want a fast loading site, you have to pay for it. Sure, there are things you can do to improve your page speed, but the bulk of the work is done by your host.
I recommend hosting at Bluehost to avoid a slow website.
How To Improve Your Page Speed?
If you have a wordpress blog and want to speed up your website, here are some tips:
- Choose a theme that is optimized for speed and is mobile responsive.
- Do not add too many plugins to your site, many will slow your site down.
- Use a content distribution network (CDN) like Cloudflare (free).
- Optimize images using ShortPixel.
I created a guide to the best plugins to help speed up your WordPress blog here.
Step 6: Use Your Keyword Phrase Wisely
If you do not add your keywords to an article, Google will never know what your article is truly about. Yet if you add it too many times you are keyword stuffing and will surely suffer a penalty.
So how often should you include your keyword phrase?
Use The Right Keyword Density
There is no magical number as to the right keyword density. Think about it, if you write a 10,000 word article, mentioning the keyword phrase 10 times may be enough, yet that’s only a 0.1% keyword density. Mentioning it 10 times in a 200 word article would yield a whopping 5% keyword density.
So the answer is it depends on the length of the post. With that said, I don’t like to go higher than 1% on my longform articles.
Where To Add Your Keywords
You need your keyword phrase everywhere: in your title, your permalink, in the headings, in the alt tags and in your content.
Within the content, you will want to distribute your keyword evenly throughout the entire article. But it’s most important that your keyword phrase appear in the first sentence or two.
Add Related Keywords
Not everyone will type the exact keyword phrase you are targeting into Google. By using related keywords, you can Google traffic from these similar keywords as well.
For example, in this article I may mention “onsite SEO tactics”, which is a related keyword phrase to the one I’m actually targeting, “on page SEO techniques”.
Step 7: Optimize Your Images For Search
Your blog post should have a good dose of visual content in the form of images. When you optimize those images, you can get traffic from Google Images.
Here’s how to rank on Google Images search.
Use larger images
Small images or low quality images do not appear in Google images results very often. Use larger high quality yet optimized images. You can optimize images for the web using Photoshop, drastically reducing the size, but not the quality.
Keywords in the file name
While the user cannot see your file names, Google can. Name your images appropriately, utilizing your keywords in the images.
Add your keyword to the alt text
Alt text is meant to describe your image to the blind who are using a screen reader to browse your site. It’s also a great place to add your keyword phrase. Add a sentence that describes your image, making sure to add your keywords.
Keywords near your image
Add your keywords near the image so that Google identifies what the image is about, since Google can’t quite “see” the image.
Step 8: Decrease Bounce Rates
If your website has a high bounce rate, it raises a red flag to Google. It is in your best interest to keep the visitor on your page as long as possible and get them to visit other pages on your site.
It’s unknown if Google gets information about the bounce rate from sites that have Google Analytics installed. But even if they don’t, Google knows when a visitor clicks the back button and goes back to Google’s results page.
It’s About The Content
You need to do everything in your power to keep the visitor on your site. The way to do this is to directly address and answer the search query.
You need to be the definitive resource on this topic. Don’t leave them with questions or they will go back and go to another search result.
I am looking to make this blog post the definitive guide to on page seo strategies to rank high in Google.
This way, a visitor spends a long time on this page and doesn’t need to go back to Google to find more help.
Make it Easy To Read
I don’t care how valuable your article is, if it’s not an easy read, I’m not going to read it – and nobody else is either.
You can also make your article easier to read by using these techniques:
- Write with a personable tone. In other words, don’t make your article sound like a text book.
- Use new lines, a lot. Big blocks of texts are difficult to follow, so break down your content into small paragraphs.
- Use images. It’s boring and overwhelming to see a page full of text. Add images to make your article more visually appealing.
- Use bold. Use italics. Give your article some personality by conveying emotion using bold and italics where applicable.
- Use headings and sub-headings. This makes your article quick to scan and easy to read. Use your keywords in your headings too.
- Make a list style post. Everyone loves list-style type posts because it’s easier to scroll through the tips and only read the title. If the reader is interested in any one item, they can read only the sections that interest them.
I wrote a whole guide on how to make your blog easier to read here.
Step 9: Internal And External Linking
We all know that when an important authority site links to you, it will improve your Google ranking. But did you know that you can improve your ranking by linking to authority sites as well? While not nearly as impactful, adding several links to solid sources does help your ranking.
Whatever you write about, it’s important to add facts and statistics. Do a Google search and find an interesting fact and link to this trusted source. Doing so shows you have researched the topic enough to provide data.
If you want to keep people on your site longer, add on-topic links throughout your content.
Don’t add a related posts plugin to do the work for you. It’ll slow down your blog. Instead, add internal links within your content naturally.
If you just recently started blogging and don’t have too much content, then at least add one link within the last paragraph of your article. That’s the best place to lead the visitor to another page on your site.
Step 10: Prioritize Your Above The Fold Content
Google cares about the design of your website. Even though Google doesn’t technically have ‘eyes’, it does attempt to see your blog the way a visitor sees it.
So in order to think like Google, we must think like a regular visitor. What do they want and when do they want it? The answer is they want their question answered and they want it done quickly.
Get to the point… quickly
‘Above the fold’ refers to the section of a blog that is visible without scrolling.
In your first paragraph you need to clearly tell the reader what your blog post is about and why it’s important.
Get rid of ads
I know that most of you want to make money from your blog. You might think that the answer is to slap a bunch of ads all over your page. But that type of thinking is outdated. Ads just don’t work anymore.
When done right, on page SEO optimization can lead to you grabbing that coveted number one ranking in Google for your desired keyword phrase.
The real benefit of on page SEO is that it does not cost you a dime!
Listen, you’ve spent hours creating awesome content, why not spend an extra 15 minutes afterward making sure your article is optimized for Google?
Thanks for reading my onpage seo optimization guide. If this has helped you in any way, please share this post on Pinterest!