Getting your site’s new content to rank in Google search or other search engines can be a tricky, frustrating endeavor, but like anything, the more you do it the easier it gets.
To get started, I’ve been updating this article to make it a complete guide to basic on page SEO to increase your search results.
It’s important to know a few on page SEO tips and tricks to help you quickly get started with page optimization.
This is so your website complies with what Google and other search engines are looking for so it becomes easier to be found on their search engine and get search traffic.
There are some basic page optimization aspects that you need to include with your website, many of which you may have never thought about before. earning rudimentary SEO can significantly benefit your site seo.
Before We Get Started With Search Engine Optimization
When doing on page optimizations, I like to make sure I write down what the page had on it before making any changes, that way I can see if the changes increase or decrease the search traffic so I can make sure I’m not undoing a ranking factor I’m unaware of.
Sometimes your page is ranking in the search engine results for something you may not be aware of, by comparing, you can often find out what has changed and make sure you continue to supply high-quality content for the users search intent.
However, if you haven’t done much to your page and it isn’t ranking well, there are a few things we can do to enhance your search engine optimization to drive more organic traffic.
I’ve tried to make this as much of a complete guide to on page SEO as possible. If there is anything you would like to see added, please feel free to ask.
So, here we go!
What Is SEO And Does It Really Help With Search Results?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which is a marketing strategy to increase the organic traffic to your website and allow you to rank higher in the search results.
The reason this is important is when you start to target relevant keywords and start to rank higher in the search engine results, you can often lower your pay-per-click advertising and bring organic traffic for related keywords.
When you create high-quality content, add in proper URL structures, increase page speed, and many other things, you will often achieve higher rankings because Google’s algorithm begins to favor your website.
Make Sure You Use The Proper H-Tags
Beyond the title tag that is often hidden in the header of the site. There are a few things that apply to all H-tags. First, let’s talk about what an H-Tag is.
An H-Tag is a snipped of HTML code that surrounds some text on your page, usually headlines, and tells a search engine and users what the page’s content is about. There are multiple h tags from an h1 tag up to an h6 tag.
The h1 tag is the most important and there should only be one but you can have multiple others with the h6 being the least important. There is value in using H-Tags in your content as it does carry ranking weight. These tags usually look something like this, in their most simple form.
Don’t bold your H-tags, because bolding them may actually hurt your rankings. However, you should also ensure that you use these tags. You should never keyword stuff in any scenario, but placing keywords naturally into the tags can be beneficial to your site’s rankings.
Don’t bold your H-tags, because bolding them may actually hurt your search engine rankings. However, you should also ensure that you use these H-tags tags since they are often overlooked.
Never keyword stuff in any scenario, but placing keywords naturally into the title tag and h-tags is best practice and can be beneficial to your site’s rankings. You can further your results if you have performed good keyword research in advance, which we will cover later.
There should only be one h1 tag on a page. This tag is most often the h1 tag is the title of the page or blog post. Don’t confuse this with the title tag.
The title tag is in the header as <title>your title tag here</title> whereas an h-tag looks like <h1>h1 title here</h1>
Ensure that the page’s title is enticing and will draw interest to the page, makes sense, and is consistent with the high-quality content. The h1 tag describes what the entire page is about. For example, if you were to write an article about baking, the H1 tag might be something like: “The Best Oven Baked Meals in 15-Minutes or Less.”
The H1 Tag is the first signal to Google on what you web page is about. Make sure it’s enticing and if possible, contains one of your targeted keywords.
Unlike H1 tags, pages can have multiple H2 tags. They are often the headlines that break up individual sections of an article.
Using H2 tags can help make your article more readable by allowing users to scan your content quickly, as well as allow your site to rank higher in search engines.
Ideally, these tags will contain a keyword, but only if it makes sense and can be inserted naturally. As mentioned before, you should never keyword stuff. For the baking article, the H2 tags would likely list some great things to bake, such as “meals” or “ingredients.”
H3 tags aren’t quite as vital as H2 tags but implementing them can help your page to rank higher in Google search by adding more relevance to your article.
These tags can be used to break things down further than H2 tags. Consistent with our baking article example, H3 tags would most likely be used to break down each category into more specific categories, like “Chocolate Chip Cookies,” “Snickerdoodle Cookies,” and “Devil’s Food Cake.”
Another example regarding H-tags is present on this very page. The phrase “Basic On Page SEO Tips to Help your Site Rank Higher” is the h1 tag of the blog post. The “H-tags” segment is an H2 tag, along with “Images,” “Interlinking,” “External Links,” “Meta-description,” and “Categories and Tags.” The segments dividing the H-tags section (the H1, H2, and H3 tags) are the H3 tags of the page.
H4, H5, and H6 Tags
The h4-h6 tags can be used to further nest your content. Often, the h-tags are misused as styling elements to make fonts bolder or darker, but the actual use is for site hierarchy. It is important to use proper CSS and for styling text and not use title tags for that purpose. This adds to your site’s technical SEO which is important to keep clean and optimized.
Do I Need To Add Images?
It is important to use images, videos, graphic design and other multimedia elements to bring attention to the webpage. Consumers are drawn to multimedia, which is why Google uses the presence of multimedia content as a ranking factor.
Additionally, you should ensure that the file name of the image contains relevant keywords for the page. If it has previously been uploaded, you will have to re-upload it with the proper name. Otherwise, upload it with the new file name.
It’s best to make sure your images would be named with relevant keywords similar to what the post is about. For example, you might want to use “photography.jpg” instead of “IMG0006759.jpg” since Google actually will take note of the image names and they can become ranking factors on your web page.
Image sizes play a significant role when it comes to on page seo and technical seo factors. The size of the image directly influences the page speed which is a large ranking factor Google uses to rank your site.
If you have large images that slow downloading time, it can directly affect the user experience which can affect your rankings.
It’s also important to understand that just because you may not notice the page speed, it doesn’t mean Google won’t.
If you have a large photo that needs to be resized, the best option would be to reduce the size before you upload it in a program like Photoshop. However, if you don’t have access to any photo editing software, you can reduce the size before uploading using tinyjpg.com and then resizing the image once in WordPress.
Once again, I suggest reducing the size before upload if possible. The slower the site becomes from large images, the more frustrating the user experience will be which can cause lower rankings from a high bounce rate.
Still talking about image sizes, once uploaded it is also good practice to have an image optimization software like Imagify running. This will further help compress images upon upload and can even resize them if they are over a certain pixel width and can significantly increase your page speed.
I like running this software because it can help reduce the size of previously uncompressed images that were uploaded and sometimes further reduce an image currently uploading without compromising the quality.
An alt tag, also known as an alt attribute, or alt description are HTML code snippets that allow the search engines to understand what the image is about and also increase the user experience for those using screen readers.
Alt tags and alt text, all these terms are interchangeable, but they are the tag that tells Google exactly what your photo is about. Alt text is an incredibly important part of SEO for images.
Describe the images using the alt text in a few descriptive words and include related keywords if possible. This tag is the alt= attribute and can be easily modified in the WordPress Media Library.
Linking Your Site
Many people have heard about the importance of link building to your website. I’m not going to get into backlinks since that is a bit more in-depth and we want to cover some basics you can do today.
So with that, there are two other forms of link building that can help influence your site rank, too. These methods, in a nutshell, help your site rank your site. Strange phrase, right? That’s because we are using pages within your own website to influence the importance of other pages on your website. This is known as interlinking.
The other type of link we will use to rank your site is known as external links. These are links that reach out to external resources or links that would allow users to leave your site.
Now don’t worry, you’ll find that if you have high-quality content, people won’t leave your site until they have received what they came for in the first place.
The nice thing about external links is you can increase the relevance of the blog post or web page by supplying users links to similar content on other websites.
Interlinking, also known as internal linking, is when you add links between pages of your website to other pages on the same site which allows the reader to follow a link from one article to another article within the website.
For example, if one of your blog posts references one of your products, you’ll want to add an internal link to that product’s page.
If a page suggests that the consumer contact the company, you may want to add an internal link to the company’s contact page.
Ultimately, when using internal linking for a link building strategy, you’ll want to have the most links pointing to the most important pages of your site, because these internal links will cause them to rank higher than other pages of your site.
External links are hyperlinks that point at a different domain that is not your site allowing a user to navigate to an entirely different website.
It’s best to link to a site that contains something supporting the topic you are discussing. Try to avoid linking to competitors’ websites, because that can potentially lose you business.
Make sure that the site you link to is a reputable website. This link creates what is known as a Link Neighborhood. If the site you link to isn’t reputable, Google will assume that your site lives in this “bad neighborhood” and it will negatively impact your rankings. Essentially, your site will be considered to not be reputable by association with the bad site. External links can help with your overall search engine rankings.
Adding Meta Data
The SEO metadata is what the user sees on the Google search results page and includes the page title and meta description of the page which can encourage click through rates.
This provides a way for you to tell users what to expect from your website, as well as what the page contains. If this is left blank, Google will automatically fill it, and their description may be far from accurate or enticing.
It is important to create a meta description that is informative, inviting, and accurate. You should never lie or attempt to mislead consumers with your meta description.
Misleading consumers into clicking on your site will ultimately lead to them clicking away, which will hurt your Google search engine rankings. Additionally, a relevant meta description will help drive your target audience that are searching for your product to your page.
When writing your meta description, try to include your target keyword and possibly some lsi keywords to your meta description.
Categories And Tags
Categories should be broad and general. You should try to limit the overall number of categories used on your website. Tags should be more specific and you can use as many tags as you like on your page.
For example, an blog post describing proper tooth cleaning to prevent oral health problems should be categorized under “general dentistry” or another broad term. It can then be tagged with terms like “tooth cleaning,” “oral health problems,” “oral health prevention,” and more.
The use of categories and tags is often likened to the makeup of a pizza. The basic crust is the category, like a pan pizza or stuffed crust. Then the many toppings such as cheese and pepperoni and things that make up the pizza are the tags.
These are just a few tips to help you understand some basic SEO principles. SEO can be frustrating. It is time consuming and can be complicated, but it is necessary to help your business.
The higher your site ranks in Google search results, the more organic traffic your website will get and the more likely you will be to your target audience.
A professional company (eh hem, shameless self promotion, Rebel Ape Marketing) may be able to make ranking your website much easier but often comes with a substantial investment.
I’ve covered site speed in other articles but here we are again because it is so important. Site speed is one of those terms that Google has explicitly said they rank sites based on. There are two main sections that site speed comes down to and each brings its own issues to the table. The two are actual site speed and perceived site speed.
Actual Site Speed
Actual site speed is greatly dependent on the quality of website hosting you use.
I’ve used various hosts for my website designs and each one behaves slightly different from the others. As of this writing, the majority of my websites are currently sitting on Siteground which has been one of my favorite hosts so far and my main website now resides on Kinsta. They have quick servers, helpful staff, and I haven’t had any major issues.
A great website host can be one of the quickest ways to speed up your website if it’s running on any type of budget host.
Simply switching to a host like Siteground or Kinsta can give you a significant boost in site speed. These aren’t the only mid to high-level hosts available. Just research your hosting, check their reviews (especially for support), and make your choice.
Some others to mention are InMotion Hosting, I’ve used them in the past and they performed well and then there is also GoDaddy, though my personal opinion is that they aren’t my favorite when it comes to support, I’ve seen sites perform at various speeds with them. Currently, one of my clients is on their platform and benchmarking very well.
If you are looking for some ultra power when it comes to hosting, though it comes at a significant price difference, you can try WP Engine or Kinsta.
I have a few sites that I’ll be moving to them here in the new future due to search traffic demands and the processing powerhouse that comes with them.
Perceived Site Speed
The perceived site speed is an entirely different beast and can be a bit more difficult to fix. Usually, when the perceived site speed is slow, the actual site speed is also slow.
You will also get this with budget hosting since they usually run slower processors and throttle bandwidth. The perceived site speed is when your website is loading and the users will actually notice it loading slow as well.
If you are on an intermediate or higher host and still running slow, check your image sizes and plugins you are running. Often, your images will be too large and your plugins may be out of date or written by someone who is still learning to optimize their code.
If both of those are optimized, you can also add a caching service to help speed up your website.
Cashing will take the pages and images on your website and save them in such a way that they can be delivered to you as quickly as possible and at the smallest file size possible. The daunting task of caching your website has become simplified into a plugin. Each caching plugin may look different, but overall, the functions are similar. Try out various caching plugins to find your favorite.
When it comes to free caching software, I do like Siteground’s SG Optimizer since it is designed to work directly with their servers and works very nicely, adds significant speed boosts, and they keep it updated.
Another free contender is WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and Comet Cache. I’ve used all three and they all have worked well, though they may not be quite as streamlined and sleek as my favorite caching plugin.
For the majority of my sites I use WP Rocket if SG Cache isn’t running already. WP Rocket has a very clean and organized interface and steps your through the plugin with easy to follow tabs. I notice significant speed boosts on this plugin as well.
Just understand that the speed boosts you may gain with a caching plugin may quickly dwindle as some of the settings do require advanced understanding and if not setup properly can break your website. Some of these features are things such as HTML and CSS Minification.
As the saying goes, Content is King couldn’t hold more true when it comes to basic on page SEO. All too many times I find pages during my site audits for clients where the page only hold 350 words or so. If you are going to do content, 500 is the minimum amount to go, but the information contained within must be direct and answer a question immediately.
However, with more content, you can cover a topic more in-depth and provide more valuable content, answer more questions, and have an article that actually matters to the user. Consider this article, it has nearly 4,000 words to it and covers a vast amount of SEO basics and ranks for multiple keywords. Given, most posts do not have to be this long by any means.
Remember when you are writing that articles are supposed to help your audience. If your articles don’t cover the issues they are faced with then the users will bounce quickly due to a poor user experience and that will affect your website rank.
Keywords And Synonyms
As the web continues to grow and evolve, keywords are becoming less important than they used to be but they still play a role. When utilizing keywords in a web page’s content, we now use them in a relative phrase that holds keywords or synonyms. This allows no longer helps you get found for new keywords like it did when it started, instead, it now helps Google better understand what your content is about.
For example, when you keyword is “grass” for yard care, it also knows that “lawn” and “yard” or related to grass so it becomes a more relative article. If this article answers queries, there is a much higher chance to rank for the keywords or key phrases you want.
Should I Still Target Keywords?
You should still target keywords, but instead of a single keyword target, you should be using a keyphrase, often a question covering the users search intent, and answering it. That way you can avoid keyword stuffing and your blog post or article will read naturally. You can use keyword rank trackers, Google Search Console, and Google Analytics to track your efforts and see if you are awarded with higher rankings for it. Be prepared, it rarely happens quickly, but SEO is a long game.
Duplicate content is when the same content appears in more than one place on the internet. This can be on the same URL or multiple URLs.
All content should be original and unique aside from obvious things like quoting someone.
It’s best practice to keep meta descriptions unique to each page as well. If meta descriptions are duplicated, Google and other search engines will often ignore the meta description and use their own.
URL structure will help as well. If you are using WordPress, change your permalink structure to represent the name of the page. For example, the URL for this page holds a keyword and what the page is about in just a few words. The shorter the better, on average.
For example, instead of this page being named https://www.therebelape.com/?p=2580, the page is named https://www.therebelape.com/on-page-seo-tips which helps make it user readable, likely to be remembered, more trustworthy to share, and shows the users what the page is about.
Wrap It Up
We’ve covered a few different things to help the SEO on your website that you can get started with today. A lot of the basic on-page SEO tips is really a lot of little things that begin to add up to a lot of larger things. So lets recap on a few of these tips.
On-Page SEO Tips
If you utilize any of these basic on page seo tips of have added any to your website, leave a comment below and let us know what is working for you and if you’ve noticed an increase in traffic from utilizing some or all of these suggestions.