Is the stuff that you do on your own website. It’s what you have the most control over, and compared to Off Page SEO, I focus on this stuff way more. Why worry so much about things you can’t control?
Actually, my on page SEO efforts are quite simple. Broken down into broad categories, here’s what I do.
Good user experience
Keyword optimization is probably the one most worth discussing. Again, it’s pretty simple. My most basic form of keyword optimization for any phrase is going to be:
Keyword in the title
Keyword in the first paragraph
Yup, that’s it. Sorry folks, no complicated strategy here. For longtail, low competition phrases, this
is enough to rank on page 1. You won’t always get it, but a lot of times you will. I’m not saying I ban myself from using any other optimization on the page, but most of what else happens on the page does so naturally. For example, if my keyword is ‘BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes’, I would definitely fit that into my title and first paragraph somewhere as explained in the “ranking for keywords” section of this book.
The rest of the post? I just write a natural article. Words directly related to my keyword choice will occur naturally, and I may even actually use the exact keyword inadvertently! Things like ‘BPA free’,
‘mountain bikes’, ‘water bottle’ will occur in the context of other sentences as well.
I will also hit LSI keywords (those are the ones indirectly related to your phrase). Stuff like
‘chemical’, ‘hiking trail’, ‘adventure’, and ‘thirsty’ could possibly appear in the post, giving search engines more indication that my post is about riding bikes in the forest and drinking from chemically safe bottles.
Sometimes, when I feel like I want to do a bit of extra optimization to improve rank or give me an edge over the competition, I try to fit my keyword into a few most spots (naturally of course). Please don’t take that phrase “give me an edge over the competition” as an indication that this will guarantee you outrank your competitors. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You need to find a formula that works for you.
Anyway, here’s what I do sometimes:
Keyword in an image alt tag
Keyword as an image title
Internal link to related post with LSI keyword as anchor text
Outbound link to relevant article or website
Keyword in h3 or h4 tag
Keyword in the last paragraph
Internal link FROM another post (on my website) using keyword as anchor text
Bold/italics/underline relevant phrase
- Anchor text: the phrase you use as your hyperlink
- H3, h4 tags: text formatting use to make your text bigger (like paragraph titles)
- Alt tag: piece of code that tells Google what an image is
- Image title: text displayed when you hover over an image
- Internal link: A link from one page on your website to another page on your website
- Outbound link: A link from your website to a different website
NOTE: I don’t do ALL of these on EVERY post. I use SOME of them on SOME posts
Why do I keep mentioning this when it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal? It’s going to help your website in two ways.
For one, it’s going to create a positive user experience for people. They can find and view related information to what they were originally searching for without leaving your website and doing another search. They will be able to dig deeper and investigate if they want, or just keep reading the current article they’re on. It keeps people on your site longer, improving on page metrics, and overall rank of your website.
Careful though, like any ranking metric, the more you do, the less power it has. You can do it once for a big hint. Twice for another good sized hint. The third time Google is thinking, “OK, I get it bro.”. And as you add more links to that page, you may see diminishing returns on your efforts. Also, using the exact same phrase every time probably isn’t a good idea. Mix it up with similar phrases of different lengths and related keywords too.
For example, with the BPA free bottle example above, here are some example anchor texts you might want to use. You can see that some are exact matches, some are broken down, and some just capture the concept of the article you are linking to.
BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes
BPA free water bottles
Water bottles for mountain bikes Preparing water for your adventure Good water bottle
Bring enough drinking water
About siloing: Some people flip their lids over over siloing, but it’s really just a form of internal linking. A “silo” is just a way to organize your website structure. You have a main site title, then 3-5 main categories based on keyword research. If your site is about mountain biking, your 3 silos
Mountain bike repair
Biking personal gear
Sound familiar? Yeah, we already did that when we chose made the core concept pages for our website in chapter 6. You may also divide those into sub categories. For example, you can use the three phrases above as categories, then the four phrases below as tags in the trip
First aid preparation
Food and water preparation
Categories, menu items, tags, breadcrumbs…these are all internal links to other pages on your website. Because Google sees these as running themes, or often-talked-about topics on your blog, you become more optimized for those keywords (and other related ones). I chose poor keywords in those examples, but you can dig up high traffic phrases for your own site if you want.
The interesting thing is that most people will create this structure naturally, either in the beginning through habit, or over time out of necessity. A well organized website won’t make or break your business, but it can help to create a good user experience, make your job as a writer easier, and maybe boost some keyword optimization for your website.
Creating a Good User Experience
This portion of building an online business is usually the last thing that folks figure out! I know, because I’ve been there. I made tons of terrible sites before I finally got a clue. Making sure your visitor can read posts easily and doesn’t have to try too hard to find what they came to view are simple but important concepts. People that stay on your website longer and take actions like sharing
on social media, viewing a video, leaving a comment, or returning later can definitely affect your rank in search engines.
Google’s job is to deliver relevant information. The more indications that what the person is reading is relevant to their search, the more traffic you can enjoy.
There is no formula for a positive user experience, but having fast website, that’s easy to navigate, easy to read, and delivers interesting, high quality information are some broad ideas to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, this one is really hard to do for most people because it either involves spending money or learning complicated code. Two main things that are relatively easy for you to do that can improve the speed of you website are 1) Get good hosting, and 2) Get a good theme for your WordPress website. A good theme will ensure that your site is running as fast as possible for the hosting you have. Code will be clean, fast, secure, and pretty.
Hosting is another thing you have control of, but good hosting comes at a cost. You can pay $4/month at a minimum for shared hosting to over $100/month for a dedicated server. Upgrading hosting for
a newbie might not seem that important, but as your website starts making money, you will absolutely notice those 5 minutes where your website went down and wonder why it seems like your site has been running slow for two weeks.
I currently run the Genesis Framework with a Studiopress theme, and host with WebSynthesis, and my website is oh-so-much-faster than any other previous year. There are different sites you can useto check your site speed, but be prepared, they will spit out a bunch of stuff that is hard to understand.
Common suggestions I see are
Optimizing images by reducing their size
Installing a caching plugin
None of these are necessary, and you’ll have to view the readout of your own site metrics before taking any kind of action. They are just things to keep in mind when trying to improve site speed.
When someone looks at your website using a mobile phone, does it look exactly the same
as the desktop version? Sites like those can be a real pain to zoom in and out of and click tiny buttons. Most modern WordPress themes are mobile optimized, meaning that they change the user experience for people on phones, simplifying navigation and making text more readable.
Not all of them do though! Double check you get one that is mobile friendly or “mobile responsive”.