Originally posted on 24th June 2015, this SEO Guide is updated on 2nd July 2021 to add updated information and SEO tactics.
Attention Please! If you are really serious about SEO, sit tight and read the complete article to understand everything well. If you have got any questions after that, you can ask in the comment section.
SEO [Search Engine Optimization] is the set of strategies that are put into action to improve the visibility of websites in search engines.
On-page optimization and Off-page optimization are the two parts of SEO, and today I am here to talk about on-page optimization which is the most important part of SEO. This includes everything you do on your site to make it SEO-friendly.
On-page optimization is not a new term so you must have heard a lot about it already. If you normally say on-page SEO, people consider it as Meta tag writing and spreading keywords on the website. This is somehow true, but it is much more than just meta tags. Especially, in the age of Google’s rolling out new updates every now and then to improve user experience, On-Page optimization becomes more of optimizing your site for users than for Google’s Crawlers. In short, if your content can make the users happy, it will automatically be rewarded by Google.
On-page optimization is all of those SEO techniques that are implemented on the website, and not outside of it. So, let’s dig deeper into it.
Here are the following tactics of on-page SEO explained
Note: I am explaining the on-page SEO taking blog posts into consideration. So that what you will learn, will help you optimize your blog posts or web pages.
Permalink is what comes after the main domain URL.
In the bellow screenshot, the yellow area is the permalink.
For better SEO, you should have a better permalink structure. If you are using some parameter-driven dynamic URL structure or a very long one, then take action now, and set the best permalink structure for your blog. Also, keep relevant text to build the permalink for every article. You can include one of your keywords in it to let Google know what your content is all about.
The title tag has been the most important factor of on-page optimization since the beginning of SEO. Therefore, it’s indeed important to have an SEO-friendly Title for every blog post or web page. I would like to suggest keeping meta title and post title similar [Read how to write amazing post titles]
Few checklists for better title tag:
- Relevant to the topic.
- Earlier Google was displaying 60-65 character of the title tag in the search pages but after Google’s SERP redesign, they display titles on the pixel width basis so there is no exact number which you may follow while writing title tags however, there is a tool by Moz that shows the Google SERP preview of your title. So, before publishing the post, you may check your title to see the SERP view and make it shorter if it gets long enough to go out of Google’s criteria.
- Include one of your target keywords.
- Always try to put the keyword at the beginning of the title. Don’t do it if it doesn’t look natural but if you think it looks natural then put the keyword at the beginning to get the maximum SEO benefit.
Google stopped using Meta Keywords and Meta Description as ranking factors way back in 2009. Click here to read the post in which Google announced about it.
A screenshot from the same post clearly says it all:
As written in the article that they use it to create result snippets for SERP, you should write a natural Meta description within the range of 156-160 character (space included). So that, your post’s search snippet would look good. Don’t just stuff keywords as you have just come to know that it doesn’t get you any ranking benefits but a beautiful snippet. So write a good one for your post.
H1 tags are important, and you need to use them in an SEO-friendly way. If you are not doing so, you should start doing it from today.
Use them in a sequential manner, first H1 then H2 then H3…
Give the page/post title H1 tag. WordPress CMS automatically adds H1 tag to the title so you don’t need to bother if you are a WordPress user, but if you are using a differently coded site then remember to keep the page title between <H1></H1>.
Now, within the content put the main sub-heading in <H2> and then finally put the trailing sub-domain in the <H3> tag. Don’t overdo it!
You might have read a lot that keeping keywords in the Heading tags has benefits, but let me tell you that don’t repeat it so many times rather put it once or twice in the whole article.
Content optimization refers to the strategies you use to make your content SEO friendly. Few checklists are as:
- : When you write descriptive content you are able to use keywords and semantic keywords naturally. Google also loves content that are well written with lots of facts and information. I always make sure my all post on this blog goes more than 1200-1500 words.
- Read this post to learn more about Interlinking. The best example of interlinking is Wikipedia which you may look in the below screenshot: : You must not miss out on internal linking because it improves the overall linking structure of your blog, and it also helps engage your readers on the blog for longer.
Try to include your target keyword in the very first paragraph as search bots take reference from it to understand what the content is all about.
: Don’t stuff keywords everywhere in the article rather use it naturally that they don’t break the flow of the article.
When you write for readers, your blog post automatically gets better, and you get more engagement which signals Google that the page is relevant and offering good user experience. Google takes this signal into consideration as well while ranking a website. : Though we are discussing on-page optimization, I would recommend you writing for readers, and not for search bots.
If your site’s loading speed is great, it can offer the best user experience which is one of the ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. Yes! Google gives preference to those websites which load faster. Check your Site’s page speed, and improve if it is required. You must not avoid this.
We have been using Shared Hosting since the beginning and things were fine but, I started to feel that there is something we have to do to make the site’s loading speed even faster. Then, I moved my site to Cloud Hosting via Cloudways, and within 2 months’ time, I have started seeing a good increase in my site’s organic traffic.
The best thing of moving to VPS was my site’s server response time increased from 1000ms to 190ms which helped increasing the site’s loading time to a great extent.
It even helped me to increase the Core Web Vitals which is one of the newest factors for getting a good ranking in Google. Although I am still optimizing my site a bit more to get all green in Core Web vitals. However, it’s been better than before after moving to VPS.
Apart from moving to VPS, we are making use of Ezoic’s Leap feature as well. Yes, since we are using Ezoic to serve ads, we are offered a tool Leap that helps improve the speed and Core Web Vitals by making adjustments to the site.
So, what I would suggest you, don’t just focus on writing and publishing but, you must take care of your site’s loading time, and all to make it the best to offer a good user experience to the viewers who visit your site.
As the different device sizes are being used to access sites nowadays such as Mobile phones, Tablet devices, etc., it is important to optimize your site in a way that loads perfectly on any device with different sizes/resolutions.
One of the best solutions is to make your site responsive so that it works well on any device size and resolution.
Getting traffic from web search is fine but you should not miss image traffic as well. Techtricksworld.com gets a fair number of visits from image search because we always consider image optimization (Though few images are still not optimized on TTW) while adding images in the posts.
You may read this post about image optimization to understand it better. Don’t use 123.jpg, 3.png, abc.png or any generic names rather use the relevant text for naming. As if you are naming a flower, then flower.jpg is relevant.
Other than this, write Alt text for every image you use in your blog posts. If you use WordPress, then adding Alt text is very easy.
Whenever you upload an image in the gallery, you will see options including alt text that you can see in above screenshot. Isn’t it very simple?
Dwell time is the amount of time a user who comes to your site through Search, spends on your site before going back to the search results.
Let’s understand this way, suppose you search for something, and you get a lot of results on the first page of Google, and you find a tempting title that you cannot resist clicking but, when you click and open the page, you find that the page is ugly or not informative enough. So, you quickly get back to the search result page. Then, it would be to say that the site’s Dwell time is very low because you haven’t spend time on the site and got back to the search page.
This is the perfect graphic to understand. The first case says that the content was not something that the user expected to read, and in the second case, the content was somehow useful but not exact. And, the third case implies that the user gets everything, and thus, he stays on that page for a longer time to read out everything. So, in the third case, the Dwell Time will be the best while the first case will have the lowest Dwell Time. So, our focus should be to meet the third case by create awesome content which is relevant to the keywords you target so that when user search for that, your page should appear as the most relevant one.
The better the Dwell Time, the better it is for ranking since a lot of SEO experts consider this as one of the ranking factors. However, there is no official statement from Google that they consider Dwell Time as a ranking factor but it seems it can help in ranking because Google has always been advocating that the pages offering a good user experience can perform better in search. And, if think about it, better Dwell time indicates that the user is having a good experience on a particular page because he is staying there.
It’s been a bit confusing to understand if the Dwell Time is a ranking factor or not. But, it is always good to have a better Dwell time because it indicates a good user experience actually. So, work to boost it for your pages.
So, to boost Dwell time, you should consider these pointers:
- : For any topic, you must research well, and do a lot of analysis, then write content that can give answers to every query for that particular topic. So, that readers won’t turn themselves away so soon. There the dwell time increases when they spend time reading your full article.
- lands on your page, the first thing he sees is how well the article is readable and easy to scan. So, making various color boxes, using beautiful bullets, making lists for sections, and other things could be useful to keep the user hooked to your page at the start, and then with the content quality, he will stay for even longer. : Just writing exceptional content may not be enough at times because the first impression you can have great if you have beautifully formatted content. Because, when someone
- : Visual content tends to hold users for a bit longer as they seem to be easy to get at the first glance. So, making use of good graphic content and videos may help boost the Dwell time.
In short, do everything to your page that convinces the visitor to not go back so soon without reading the full content. And, this is what you have to think more about what all you can do. This is not just something I or anyone else will tell you because it is you who knows what kind of visitors you are getting to your site. Accordingly, you can plan content types, formatting, linking, graphics, videos, etc. to hold them for longer.
Note: Don’t confuse between, Dwell Time, Time spent on site, and bounce rate. They are different from each other.
In the past, we all have read that having good inbound links matter only. But, in this age of advanced level SEO, outbound links are also helpful for increasing your site’s ranking. yes, you heard it right. They do help if you link to relevant pages when necessary. If you are just linking out for the sake of having few outbound links, it may not offer good results. It can work out well when you link to pages that are relevant to what you are linking from.
Don’t afraid to link out, just do it cautiously and keeping the relevance in mind.
Few other things are there as well which you may also check out such as checking broken links [Read how to use broken link checker tool], checking robots.txt file, checking crawl errors using webmaster tools, and fix any issues if you get.
On-page optimization is the very first step of your SEO campaign. You must not miss it because Google is now focusing more on on-site factors than off-site factors.
I am sure these tips are well enough to get started with on-site SEO. Share your views as what do you think about On-site SEO.