Today is part 2 of our three part series on the three factors of SEO that really matter. If you missed part 1 on Quality Content you can click here to read it. Today we’re going to be talking about the second factor. The good thing about the first two factors, as mentioned in our previous article, is that they are completely under your control at all times.
With the formal introduction out of the way it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of the second factor and show you the exact steps you need to take to get the most out of every blog, article or page you publish on your website.
Onsite optimization refers to all the things you can do on your post or page that increases the chances of ranking in the search engines OTHER than the quality of your content. In fact, you can highly optimize a post or page on your website without the content even being readable. It can read as an incomprehensive mess written by a machine or a cat yet still be optimized quite well – just to show you how the two are quite distinct from one another.
The good news about onsite optimization is that it’s basically a check list. You can literally print this out or keep the checklist listed below in a word or text document on your desktop and just go down the list every time you post a new post or a page on your site.
Keyword in Page URL:
You want to make sure that the keyword you are trying to rank for is in your url. For example if the keyword you are trying to rank for is “New York Plumber” you’d want your url to look like this: www.websitename.com/new-york-plumber
You want to make sure that your keyword is also in the meta-title of your page so that when it comes up in Google the big text of the link actually includes your keyword. If you’re using wordpress you can easily do this using an SEO plugin like All in One SEO or Yoast.
Keyword in Meta Description:
Just like the above, this can be accomplished with an SEO plugin if you’re using wordpress, otherwise you’ll have to add it to your header code in the html of your webpage. The meta description is the 160 characters that Google shows for your page UNDER the big title that they click on to get to your site. You want to make sure you organically integrate the keyword into the description.
There’s been a lot of debate over the years about how often your keyword should appear in the actual content of your article. It’s clear now that it shouldn’t be in there too much. General rule of thumb is that it should be in there less than 1%. Meaning if you have a five-hundred word article, your keyword should appear in your article no more than 5 times. We recommend it to be WELL under 1% so shoot for 2-3 times per 500 words. We also recommend having the keyword in the first couple lines of your main text.
Your Keyword should be in an H1 tag. In fact, it should be in your FIRST h1 tag if you’re using more than one on the post or page on your site. WordPress makes this pretty easy since most themes have the page title posted as an h1 so it handles this for you.
You should use secondary or sub-titles on your post wrapped in h2 tags but use a VARIATION of your keyword, not the actual keyword again.
Posts with imagery increase engagement. Make sure to use imagery on every post or page on your site and to optimize the images for the keyword by including them in the images alt tag.
We know we said that it doesn’t matter how long your post is in our previous post in this series but longer posts due tend to rank higher as a GENERAL rule. We believe this is true because they increase engagement…so we’re holding to what we said earlier but thought we’d include this to be complete.
If you have a related youtube video or can find a highly relevant youtube video to post on your post or page those tend to help with ranking as well as they increase engagement and we’re sure it also has something to do with Google owning youtube but can’t prove that by any means.
You should have 2-3 links on your post to other pages on your website. This is to show the SERPS that your site has other valuable content related to your keyword.
Your post should also have 1 external link to an authority site. The most common one people use is Wikipedia. So if you are trying to rank for New York Plumber you could link out to a Wikipedia page on plumbing.
That about wraps it up. Some people put some focus on page speed, mobile optimization and social sharing and while those are all important we think focusing on the above list is usually enough to get you well on your way.