All the efforts done on the website itself in course of SEO (Like writing content, using perfect density of keywords etc) to make search engines love what is there on the website and have a clear understanding of the information on it is known as On Page SEO or Onsite SEO.
I remember the good old days when On Page SEO was fairly simple and did not included many things. Ahhhh! IMers wish to get those days back.
It included a couple of things that one could easily do in a few minutes but now in 2015 the onsite SEO has become a lot more difficult than that. There are lots and lots of factors that contribute towards On page SEO. If you get them all right, you get full marks for onpage SEO. Sometimes webpages focusing on low competition keywords start ranking with out any backlinks or social popularity and the reason behind those rankings is ON Page SEO.
A lot of new things like Mobile friendliness of the website, website loading speed, bounce rate etc have now become a part of it. In this article I will only be covering all the essential on page SEO factors and will be telling exact steps of taking care of them in a wordpress website. Keyur of Rankjane discussed some other factors too that contribute to good onpage optimization and can also be utilized to audit your website. Here goes a quick look at the on page seo check list which will be discussed in details later in this post.
This is a very long post. You can download it in Pdf format and read at your convenience.
On Page SEO Checklist
The answer to each one of them should be YES BOSS!
- Does my url contain my keyword?
- Does the page have a relevant, keyword rich page title?
- Have I written a lucrative and keyword rich meta description using tags
- Is my content 500 words or more?
- Do I have right amount of keyword density in it?
- Have I used relevant Long tail and LSI keywords through out?
- Have I used relevant multimedia (images, videos etc)
- Have I used headings (At least h1 & h2) in my page?
- Is my main keyword appearing in any of those headings (in addition to post title) ?
- Have I defined keyword rich tags for all the images?
- Have I linked to any other of my own pages?
- Have I linked to any other relevant website?
- Does my page make social sharing easy?
The URL of the page counts towards On page SEO. The url should contain the keyword we are trying to rank for and at the same time it should not be very long. If you are using ugly urls without keywords, you are missing on an important onsite seo factor (well, everything is important here).
For example: I can have one of following structures for my links.
Both the urls take me to the same page but the first one is not recommended as it does not contain my keyword (assuming my keyword here is SEO from Zero To Hero) while the second one is good for on-page as it has my keyword in it.
If your website is based on wordpress you can easily change the permalink structure (url structure) to SEO friendly one. Go to Settings > Permalinks and select the second last option that is Post Name.
Hurrah! Every time you publish a post or page, the url will be like this:
You can also change the url of the post or page in wordpress whenever you want (Even after you have published a post/page). The option for this is on the page where we create/edit a page/post.
A few seconds after you enter the title, the Permalink for it appears under the Title textbox. It has a yellow highlighted part that is editable. You can change the url to whatever pleases you but remember that a url can have no spaces or special characters to separate two words. You should either use a Hyphen or an Under score for that purpose.
If you are working with a static website or using any other CMS you might need to dig the search engines a bit more.
The next thing is page title. It is the text that appears on the title bar of browsers. See the image below.
It is wise to have your keyword included in the title of the webpage as it counts towards the onpage SEO.
To define a title in HTML <Title> </Title> tags are used in the <head> section of a HTML document. Just put your desired text in between those two tags and you are good to go. Here is how the arrangement would be:
There will be dozens of other tags all around but the basic concept here is that the title tag has to be somewhere in the Head element.
In wordpress platform we do not have an option by default but we can however, install a plugin to do the job for us.
I use free version of “WordPress SEO” by yoast which is a very decent all-round plug-in that takes care of SEO things on your website. It has an option where you can set what you want your titles to be. To find that option first install the plugin and then go to SEO > Titles & Metas in your wordpress dashboard.
Clink on the third tab that is “Post Types”. This is where you can set up the titles for all your posts, pages, media pages etc. There are separate sections for all of them.
By default there is some code with “%%” signs in the Title Template text box. This defines what would the page title for your posts, pages, media pages and download pages be. Paste the following line of code in the “Title Template” textbox in “posts “and “pages” sections to make it more SEO friendly:
This will make the title of your Single post page appear as the title of your post itself and the title of Pages same as the title that you write in while creating a page. More SEO friendly, isn’t it. Just remember to use Keyword rich titles for your posts and pages.
A Meta description summarizes the contents of a page in a few words. It is shown in search results as black text under the title and urls. For it to work, it should contain your keyword.
This data is not shown on the webpage itself but it is machine parsable and of course shows up in search results as discussed above.
To add a Meta description in a HTML page, add the following code in the <head> element of your page.
<meta name=”description” content=”Keyword rich description goes here”>
You only have to change the text in content attribute that is “Your keyword rich description goes here” to whatever actual description you have for your page. Make sure to make good use of keywords in it and don’t go overboard.
Taking care of this thing in a wordpress based site is even easier. Remember the plugin I talked about?
Yeah, the wordpress seo plugin by yoast. It makes this thing a whole lot easier for every individual post and page you publish. Once the plugin is installed you will see the following thing whenever you are on the “Add new post” or “Add new page” page (Just scroll below the text editor):
This is where you can define the Meta description. You can also enter the keyword you are focusing on and check what is the overall onpage seo score of the post for that particular keyword.
This one is a major player in onpage SEO of a website. The content of a webpage consists of all the text, the images, flash presentations, embedded documents and videos on it.
Search engines love content and want to see a lot of it on websites. Websites that have more text on them are easier to rank as compared with those that are image or video based. Following is list of guidelines that will help you make your content a search engine magnet.
- Keep the keyword density anywhere between 1 and 3 (That is where I like to keep it and it works). Just write your article and use your keywords naturally and you will find the density to be around what I recommend.
- Sprinkle around your long tail and LSI keywords. Use a lot of different variations.
- Write, write and write. Your posts and pages should contain some serious amount of text. The greater the better.
- If your website is images based, use Titles, headings and captions to show search engines your keywords. Do not stuff them right away. Use long tail and LSI keywords as well. This tip is also for video based websites. (More details about optimizing videos and images comes later in the article)
- Use tables, bullets etc
- Use lots of media like images, videos, document embeds, flash animations etc.
The last two points are often neglected by most of the bloggers but I have seen lots and lots of Gurus doing and recommending that.
Headings play an important role in any document. They define an overall feel of it. Search engines give a lot of weightage to the text that a webpage uses in headings. A heading in a webpage has to be defined using some special tags.
In HTML headings are defined by <h> tags. There are a total 6 headings
<h1>I am heading 1</h1>
<h2>I am heading 2</h2>
<h3>I am heading 3</h3>
<h4>I am heading 4</h4>
<h5>I am heading 5</h5>
<h6>I am heading 6</h6>
Here h1 defines the most important heading and h6 defines the least important one. It is recommended to use these tags to define headings in articles or pages and insert the keywords in them too.
In wordpress you just have to select the text and choose heading number from drop down in the text editor.
A page using multimedia is not only good for search engines but is also a great means of reader engagement. Search engines will love your website for having relevant media as well as for having good reader engagement which they can sense from bounce rate, time spent per session etc.
It is always recommended to use relevant images and videos but the only way a search engine bot will know it is relevant, is well defined titles, alt tags and text surrounding them.
When using images, use the alt and title attributes. In HTML the code for image appears like this
<img src=”source url of image” alt=”Some Keyword” Title=”Some other keyword”>
In most cases by default those two attributes shown in colored text are not present. You have to manually add them.
In wordpress you can do this by clicking on the image in the text editor and then clicking on the small “Pencil” button.
A form pops up where alt and title texts can be defined by typing in the text boxes and then clicking on update button.
Videos when embedded have their own title which tells search engine bots about their relevancy, therefore, there is not much that can be done to optimize videos.
Internal links are links to other pages of the same website. For example if link to any other of my posts or pages from this article, it will be called as internal link.
Internal links are important because they pass link authority to other posts and pages too and help search engines find and rank more of your content. It is always advised to link to other relevant pages of your website using some relevant anchor text.
In a HTML document following is the way to define a link with anchor text.
<a href=”url of the page”>Anchor Text</a>
Replace the “url of the page” with the actual url of the page or post you want to link to and “Anchor Text” with relevant keyword rich anchor text.
To create a link in wordpress you can select the word that you want to use as anchor and click on the link option to insert the url of desired page.
Linking to relevant webpages other than your own website’s is another point you can easily score. It is always wise to provide references and citations and search engines respect that too.
Don’t go overboard with it too. Just link out to a few high quality, non spammy and relevant sources with or without anchor texts. Create anchored links as told in previous step or simply copy paste the url.
Social Media Shareability
Make sure you have your social profiles linked on your website and that social share buttons are present on your website. Other than backlinks, this factor is also playing a key role in ranking websites. I had some of posts ranked just by social shares.
For social buttons to appear on each post or page I use a simple plugin called “Cresta Social Share Counter” by Cresta Project – Rizzo Andrea. Install the plugin, activate it and do some basic settings (Self explanatory things) and you will see those buttons appearing on your posts.
There is much more to onpage SEO like Site load time, Bounce rate etc but that will require another huge blog post. I will try to publish a detailed guide about those as well and link to them from here.
SEO is a point scoring game. You can’t afford to score one point less than your competitors. Use this article as an on page seo checklist and leave no stone un-turned in making your next article Super Onpage SEO Charged.