Last updated on December 13, 2017

On-page seo?

Do you believe SEO is too difficult? Maybe what you need is to put SEO in perspective and then follow a few straightforward strategies.

Do you believe SEO is too difficult?

Maybe what you need is to put SEO in perspective and then follow a few straightforward strategies. 

Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” answers two important questions –

  • what is this page about (on-page SEO) and
  • what is this page worth (off-page SEO.)

Search engine bots and algorithms may be fast and smart but they lack human intuition and visual skills. In order to understand web content, bloggers, online businesses and developers must follow certain “protocols” to facilitate the search engine efforts – that is what SEO is all about.

This post will cover on-page SEO without stressing, and we'll treat off-page techniques in another post.

In actuality,  the lines are sometimes blurred between what your page is all aboutand what your page is worth.

Site loading speed is considered to be an on-page concept because it entails issues such as optimizing on-site images, however, if your page speed is optimized and visitor have a fabulous user experience, their extended time on your site will only enhance your site's credibility, which is essentially an off-page concept.

“The goal is to optimize the basics, your on-page issues, and work on increasing the recognition of value by supplementing with off-page techniques such as links from other sites.”

if-you-build-it-they-will-come-12-638

“Put another way, on-page gets you into the stadium, while off-page determines where you sit – in the nose bleed section, or on the 50-yard line.”

Thad M Brown

Use the Yoast SEO plugin to manage your On-Page SEO

The easiest way to manage your on-page SEO is to download and install the Yoast SEO Plugin. 

You can read all the reviews, but time and time again, Yoast seems to be preferred. There is a paid version, but most use the free version which does 98% of what's needed.

Remember, when you activate the plugin, be sure to “Enable” the Advanced settings pages under the Features tab, to utilize all of the SEO features.

Yoast SEO Plugin

 

Page and Post  SEO Issues

Permalink/Slug/URL

Too many sites give little attention to the creation of their Permalink.

In fact, the permalink, or URL, or slug (“Slug”)  is automatically created when you first save your page or post, and is created in accordance with the Permalink option chosen in the Settings tab of your WordPress Admin panel (see below,) using the title of your page or post.

permalink tab

 

Action Steps for Slugs

  1. Initially, choose “Post Name” as your Permalink Settings in the Settings tab of your WordPress Admin Panel.
  2. Manually edit your Slug in your post or page to conform to the following:
    1. Make it relevant – use what describes your content best.
    2. Make it short and simple – eliminate any excess.
    3. Use your SEO Keywords – front load if possible the keywords for which you are trying to rank.
    4. Delete duplicates – if the number 2 is appended to your slug, go to the page or post and permanently delete similarly named pages and posts and then edit your slug to remove the “2.”
  3. Do not change your slug if you're getting traffic to your page or post.
    1. Your slug is the URL for your page or post, changing it will break the link and result in 404 errors for anyone trying to get to your page or post.
    2. If you do have to change your slug, use a 301 permanent redirect from the old slug to the new slug.
      1. Here's a link to a review of redirect WordPress plugins for you to consider.

 

Page Titles

The goal of your page title is two-fold.

  • You want to elicit the interest of your readers with an interesting title which also provides a brief and concise summary of your page or post's topic.
  • Secondly, you want to give your search engine a heads up on what is your page or post's topic.

Action Steps for Page Titles

  1. The optimal format for page titles includes front-loading the primary keyword(s), secondary keyword(s) and brand name.
    1. Don't overdo keywords – i.e. keyword stuffing
    2. BIG MISTAKE – Make sure your home page's title is not “home,” and that other pages are not nondescript – e.g. new page, product page etc.
      1. Remember, the “appearance” “menu” option allows you to use a description different than the page's title. Thus, you can name your home page “The Resolute Blogger” but use the navigation label of “Home” for your top menu.
  2. Your page title will be wrapped in your title tag –.
    1. This shouldn't be an issue, but you can verify by right-clicking on your page or post and “inspect” the title.
    2. Write a title that entices and attracts readers – again, your goal is to attract relevant traffic.
    3. The length of your title should not exceed 60 characters.
    4. With Yoast SEO you can check how your title looks, both on websites and on social media sites.

Yoast Social Media Options

Meta Description

Your meta description is what generally appears in your search engine results and, unless you otherwise specify, will generally be the first 135 – 160 characters of your opening paragraph. Additionally, fewer characters will be viewable on your social media channels. Yoast will give you options to view your meta descriptions on various devices.

Action Steps for Meta Description

  1. Make sure you get your message reasonably within the character limitations – generally 135 characters.
  2. It should be actionable and in an active voice to be interesting and enticing.
  3. Include a call to action – “find out more” or “learn more,” etcetera.
  4. Make sure it matches the content and contains your keywords.
    1. Don't mislead or keyword stuff here.

meta description

 

Image Alt Tags

Google places a relatively high value on alt tags to determine what is on the image, but also to determine the topic of the surrounding text. Additionally, visually impaired visitors use alt tags for the very same determinations as do search engines. Generally, you must describe what the picture is doing. What is the purpose of the image?

You can create and modify your “alt” image tags in the Media section of the WordPress admin panel.

Action Steps for Alt Tags

  1. Describe the image as specifically as possible.
  2. Keep the description relatively short – around 125 characters or less.
  3. Use keywords, again, without stuffing.
  4. Don't include redundant text such as “image of,” “picture of,” – it's already assumed that this is an image.
  5. Include the function of the image if it's “search,” “submit,” “download” etc.
  6. The title tag will automatically use the image filename. It's a best practice to create an “alt” tag and use for both the title and alt tags.

Content or Body Text

This is the heart and soul of your message – your blog post, home or about page. It's what you are trying to communicate, what ideas you are trying to convey. There are a number of suggestions to enhance your visibility. You are speaking to two audiences – your tribe or those who are relevant to your brand and the various search engines. In order to optimize both groups, you will need to keep the following in mind.

Action Steps for your Content

  1. Initially, front load your keywords – put them in the first 100 words.
  2. Seed your keywords and use what is known as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords throughout your content. Again, Yoast has monitors and metrics for gauging the efficiency of keyword usage.
    1. LSI's are similar words to your keywords and can be found in a Google search at the bottom of the page. For example, if I enter “animal shelters” into Google, the “Searches related to animal shelters” at the bottom of the page would look as follows and include “adoption center, pet adoption, dog pounds, cat rescue, etc.
      1. Google searches related results
  3. Use internal links to relevant content – for example, “treat off-page techniques in another post.”
  4. Use relevant external links with “no-follow” attributes to the highest authority sites you can reasonably reference. The “no-follow” attribute is needed to avoid losing SEO juice and can be managed with a WordPress plugin such as External Links.
  5. Create content that is adequately outlined using the H1, H2 and H3 tags. You want to develop content that is structured and easy to read.
  6. Use multimedia in your posts and pages. Images, screenshots, videos and even lists add both to perceived value and interest of your content, as well as boosting user-interaction. All of which is perceived by search engines to add worth or value to your content.
  7. Ensure your content loads quickly. There are a number of factors that contribute to load speed ranging from optimizing image sizes to the speed of your web server. You can use a number of online sites to monitor your loading speed, such as:
    1. Google's PageSpeed Insights,
    2. GTmetrix, and
    3. Pingdom.

Summary of On-Page SEO

Mastering on-page SEO is a combination of being conscious of the 5 areas discussed above, the use of a good plugin (Yoast SEO) and paying attention to detail – all critical in your effort to generate a relevant audience of prospective clients and customers, and none of which are particularly interesting. 

What does need to be interesting is your content! Without quality content, all the SEO techniques in the world will fail.

Think through the various factors developed above but make sure you don't let SEO tactics overshadow your content.

Remember, on-page just gets you into the stadium. Where you sit, will largely be determined by your off-page SEO efforts, and your off-page success will depend on what others think about how engaging, charismatic, captivating and interesting your content really is.

Never fear, I have confidence you can do this.

attention to detail meme

If you have any comments on this On-Page SEO post, please let me know. Thanks for reading this.

Thad M Brown

The Resolute Blogger 

thad @ resolute blogger
Thad is a former executive with several multibillion-dollar investment advisory firms, who has developed a series of strategies that captivates interest, conveys confidence, and converts alliances for website ventures. For a free PDF on How to Structure Facebook Ads Successfully, download here.

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