Let’s start by explaining what the term OnPage SEO is all about. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and means just what it sounds like, optimising our websites in such a way that they appear in the search engines. This usually means extra visitors, extra traffic to our websites, so it is vitally important.
There are two stages of SEO, referred to as OnPage and OffPage. OnPage SEO has to do with keywords, title, description, all the elements that go into each page or post before it gets published. OffPage SEO is all about the activities that take place afterwards, such as methods of promoting the website, like back-linking. They can be considered as before and after strategies.
OnPage SEO is the focus of this article. There are certain actions proposed here that you should try to incorporate into every article that you post.
If you already have a website, you might be wondering, what about all the previously published articles on my website? The answer is yes, you can go ahead and edit some or all of those also, and then republish them. You don’t have to do them all, and you don’t have to do them all at once. Why not set aside some time each week to go through some of them.
If you make use of tracking software, this will help to point out your pages that are getting very little activity, and you can focus on these. If you are wondering whether you should also do this for your ‘good’ pages, my preference is to leave those well and truly alone, don’t break them (add more pages related to those keywords instead).
Tip: Make sure you have tracking software in place. Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics can be used free of charge and provide great statistics and information about your site.
Here is the OnPage SEO checklist that you can use, all using no-cost methods.
Keyword Phrase: Always have one main keyword phrase for each article. If you have a title, or an idea, but no keyword phrase, then use some tools to help you. Use the free Google Adwords Keyword Tool to help you decide. This will show you how popular each keyword phrase is, with details of how many people search for that phrase each month. This tool alone will not really help you with the competitiveness of each keyword, but it shows you which ones to avoid.
While doing this, also be on the lookout for keyword variations, and make a note of them. These are keyword phrases which are very similar to your own, just phrased slightly differently (such as “SEO Information” and “Information about SEO”). I will explain how to make use of them further down.
Title: Put your keyword within the title of your article. If you can, put it in there twice, for example “OnPage SEO – Enhance Your Website With This OnPage SEO Checklist”.
Article Length: I am including this point because it is becoming more obviously important to have articles longer than 500 words. Aim for 1000 words or more each time, with a minimum of 750.
Article Body: Try to have your keyword in the opening paragraph and in the closing paragraph (or first and last fifty words). Scatter your keyword throughout the body of the article. Expert recommendations vary here, often saying to try to include it in the region of 1.5% to 2% overall. My preference is not to look at percentages, as a well written article handles that by itself.
Emphasis: Try to have one occurrence each for your keyword of bold, underline, and italics.
Headings: Try to have your keyword in H1, H2, and H3 headings when possible. Normally your WordPress theme will turn your article title into an H1 heading, and personally I try never to have more than one H1 heading per page.
Outbound Links: Link out to an authority site using your keyword as the anchor-text, and make this link Nofollow. Pages in About.com or Wikipedia.com are suggestions to use here, since they include just about every topic.
Internal Links: Try to link back to your homepage from every article using your keyword as the anchor-text, maybe by including “Check out my homepage for this great offer…” or something like that. Try to include some links to other article pages also, from within the body of your article (in addition to any sidebar lists such as Recent Articles). SEO Smart Links is a great plug-in that can take care of all your internal linking requirements.
All-In-One SEO Plugin: Make sure you have this WordPress plug-in installed. This provides a form that you can fill out for every article and includes title, description, and keywords.
- Title: This is the page title, as distinct from the article title (this title is the one that appears along the top of the web browser). Include your keyword at least once.
- Description: Include your keyword at least once.
- Keywords: Always include your keyword exactly once, and include any keyword variations here also
Include an Image: Try to include an image such as clip-art or a photo in every post. Rename the image to include your keyword in the image file name. Also put your keyword into the description and into the ‘alt-tag’ of the image.
That concludes the OnPage SEO checklist section. When those are completed, review your page and take the following into consideration.
Mix It Up: Note how I did not say ‘always’ for most of these points. If you follow the exact same formula on every article, it might look a bit suspicious and can get noticed by Google. Try using keyword variations instead of the actual keywords sometimes.
Remember The Readers: Implementing all these OnPage SEO tips can greatly attract visitors to your website. Just remember that these same points can drive them away again just after they arrive. Too many headings, too much use of bold and emphasis can make your page look ridiculous unless you are careful.
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Filed Under: OnPage SEO