This is the third installment in the SEO basics series. In the earlier posts, we have covered the basic terms that a blogger should remember and keyword research, and some free tools that can help in keyword optimization. Next up is on page SEO essentials that a blogger should remember when creating a post.
On-page SEO essentials means nothing more than a few important things to remember and cross-check in our posts before we hit the publish button. Let us look at these in detail
9 On Page SEO essentials to remember when writing a blog post
1. Quality content is the number one SEO essential
Quality content is the only thing that can help you rank higher in search rankings, period. Never believe any shortcuts and focus on building good content repository. Once you are done with keyword research, it is a good idea to group your keywords and identify places where the keywords will be used.
- Not all variations of a keyword warrant a separate page. Instead, group them and use them together to create a useful page.
- It is a good idea to identify the content that is ranking high on a particular keyword and see the kind of content being shared. If you can answer a related question or add more value to the existing content, try and create a piece around that. This will make your content unique, razor-focused, and highly relevant to the audience.
- The jury is still out on the ideal number of words each blog post should have, however considering that Google also considers time spent on the page as an indicator, having long form content with minimum 500 words is a good start.
2. Make it reader friendly
Always aim to make your content reader friendly. Create smaller sentences. Improve readability and scanability of content with bullets, small paragraphs, and numbered paragraphs.
Do not stuff keywords. Natural sentences that mean something is key, even if the content is not primarily written for humans. Similarly, using auto-generated content should be avoided. The google bots are getting smarter and hence it can easily distinguish between poor rewriting or copy-paste job.
3. Use headings and formatting to your advantage
In a blog post it is important to break down content wall into smaller paragraphs and points with headings. Heading 1 is the title of your post. After this you have H2 to H6 which you can use to emphasize on points and sub-headings.
Apart from this, using formatting styles like quotes, bold, italics etc. will go a long way in improving content readability. This will help in your SEO efforts as the reader will stay longer on your page, instead of simply scanning it.
4. Include keywords in Title and meta description
The keywords need to be used, not just in the content but also in other areas like Title, description, slug etc. Remember to optimize these areas as well, before hitting the publish button. The important factor here is to optimize and not stuff. SEO plugin’s will help you easily stay within the word limit, while adding keywords. Be sure to make meaningful sentences, instead of adding a bunch of keywords.
5. Optimized images: A lesser known on-page SEO essential
Images that take longer to load, slow the website in the long run. It is important to optimize images for faster website load time and improving user experience. Once you have created your image, optimize it by compressing the size offline.
Quick Tips to optimize images
- There are a few online image optimizing websites like Optimizilla or ImageOptim that you can use.
- If you are using them online, go for jpeg rather than png.
- Use image optimizing plugin’s to optimize the images
- If you need animation in the image, go for gif file.
6. Add alt text for images to help SEO and visually-impaired visitors
One of the vital, yet most ignored on-page SEO essential is adding images with alt text. Most of us get lazy, me included but image optimization helps the bots know what the image is all about and also help visually impaired reader know more about the page.
Use meaningful sentences to convey the meaning in image alt text. Another reason for doing this is to help visually impaired visitors understand what the post is about.
7. Linking- internal and external
Linking internally or externally is another SEO essential that you can do on-page. While linking internally always link to relevant posts that will add value to the post from which you are linking to. Randomly linking to any internal post just to complete internal linking will not help the on-page SEO optimization.
Similarly while linking to off-page sites try and link to authority sites. You must add value to your reader and that can happen with authority site linking.
8. Anchor Text
When you are linking to internal or external pages, there are two ways in which you can link. One directly embed the site link or two link to a relevant text in the post. While both the ways are correct, it is good practice to embed the link with relevant text.
This text is called anchor text. Instead of click here, try and use words that will describe the benefit of clicking on that link. ‘Find more tips’ instead of ‘click here’ is better.
9. Check for broken links and add redirects
If your site has undergone an overhaul or there are some post updates which has caused a link to be broken, cross-check the same and update it. A redirect of 301 will help search engines follow the correct path. It is an essential SEO optimization practice, as such redirects will ensure that a ‘page not found’ does not welcome the visitor. Broken links normally result in the page being filtered by Google or lower ranking.
These are some of the On Page SEO essentials that a blogger must remember when writing a blog post. Hope you found it helpful. Here is a ready reckoner for you to download and keep. Let me know your thoughts on this. Have you been following all the on-page SEO optimization best practices?
I create this post as part of Blogchatter A-Z challenge.