How On-Page Search Engine Optimization Works

In order to get a page to rank on Google for a specific keyword, you must master two components on page SEO and off page link building. Basically, on page SEO entails optimizing the structure of a page in a way that makes it easier for the web crawlers sent out by the likes of Google to find and associate the page with your desired keyword(s).

When it comes to on page SEO, some factors are more important than others. In this post we will discuss the most critical factors, right down to the little tweaks that will set your page apart from the competition.

This post is not written for those who feel like their content is a work of art and should be written only for their own pleasure. Instead this process is for those who believe that content should be written for both your audience and the search engines.

It is strategically important to make each page specific for each keyword. You do not want to be competing with yourself for search engine positioning. It is better to target a different keyword for each page to avoid ranking cannibalization.

It is important to try to include your keywords into the body of your document at least four times. If you need to rearrange your keywords to make them fit into natural text for better flow, please do not hesitate to do so. Google is becoming more contextual, so an exact keyword string is not needed for all four instances. Make sure your exact keyword appears at least one of those four times.

To clarify, we are not saying the more the better. If you squeeze your keyword into your document 14.5 times it will not only hurt the readability of the page, but can actually hurt your rankings as well. A simple rule to follow here is to try to keep everything you write online written for humans but tweaked for search engines.

If you have images make sure your keywords are in the alt tag of the image. Also name the image to match that of your keywords, for example keyword.jpg.

If you do not have an image in your blog post consider getting one as it will help you not only in the rankings, but if it is related to your content it can dramatically improve the readers ability to recall the information.

Page title:
The page title is what shows up in the tab of whatever web browser you are using. If you hover over the tab it should display the full page title.

Meta Description:
A good meta description can increase the search traffic of your site. It is also important for your keyword to be present in your meta description and that the description does not exceed 156 characters in length.

Just like the page title there should only be one of these. Use the same view source technique as you used for page title to confirm that you only have one meta description.

A quick note about using meta keywords: Don't. They will hurt you in the rankings.

H1 Tag:
The h1 tag is different than the title tags we discussed previously. It is very important that the keywords be in the h1 tag as well and just like the title, putting your keywords at the front of the tagged text is ideal. If you are using WordPress whatever you use in your h1 tag will default as your page title. If you need to differentiate the two download an SEO plug-in that will allow you to write custom page titles, and meta descriptions.

A content management system such as WordPress can automatically set your h1 title text as the slug. It is easy to change these; simply click on the slug field and type in what you want. It is best practice to use standard characters in your URLs; meaning letters, numbers, and dashes (-) in place of spaces. Last but not least, your URL length needs to also be considered. Try to keep your URLs to 76 characters in length or less, as the search engines will often truncate after 76 characters – meaning, your keyword may not get picked up in the mess of characters.

Rel canonical:
This one is a bit more confusing. The easiest way to think of the rel canonical tag is to think of citing your sources in a bibliography. This tag is essentially the web friendly way to give credit to the original page where your content was published. If your content is completely original, then simply set the rel canonical to the page you are publishing, which tells the search engines that you are the originator of the content.

WordPress Fans:
If you are wondering how to setup a rel canonical for original content to point back to your page – not to worry WordPress takes care of it for you!

Linking: Linking internally to within your site, and to other highly relevant sources on the web not only helps direct users to content they may be interested in, thus providing more insight into a topic or to confirm a source for credibility but also helps your SEO! However, like everything in the SEO game; do not link to internal or external content excessively, as this can be seen as manipulative.

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