First, let's make sure we understand what is being shown on the page SEO is and why it matters.
What's on the page SEO?
On page SEO (also called on site SEO) is the practice of optimizing websites in order to rank higher in search engines. It contains optimizations for visible content and the HTML Source code.
Why is on the side SEO important?
Google checks the content of your page to see if it is a relevant result for the search query. Part of this process is looking for keywords.
There is more to be done on the site, however SEO than including keywords in your content – much more.
Google ultimately looks for the most relevant search result for a query, so the algorithms also look for other relevant content on the page. If your page is about dogs and you don't mention different breeds, Google knows there are likely to be more relevant results.
Relevance is such a big part of the on-page SEO If you don't crack it, you are unlikely to get a rank.
Before you even think about technical tweaks like placing keywords here or there, you need to create content that Google wants to rate. To do this, you need a main target keyword. Check out our keyword research guide if you don't.
Otherwise, here are the four things you need to master:
- To be relevant
- Be thorough
- Be unique
- Be clear
1. Be relevant
Relevance is arguably the most important part of on-page SEOThis means that you align your content with search intent. Don't give searchers what they want and your chances of getting ranked are slim to none.
Since nobody understands search intent better than Google, the best place to start is to analyze the current top ranking results for the three Cs of search intent:
- Content type
- Content format
- Content angle
We covered this concept briefly in our Keyword Research Guide. We'll go a little deeper here though, as again it's important to target your content on purpose.
1. Content type
Content types usually fall into one of five categories: blog post, product, category, landing pages, or videos. For example, all of the top "black maxi dress" pages are ecommerce category pages from popular stores.
If you are looking to rank this keyword, it is unlikely that you would on a blog post. Seekers are in buy mode and not in learning mode.
However, with some keywords, things are not straightforward.
If we look at the top results for "Plants", you see a mix of ecommerce sites and blog posts.
In this case, use your best judgment. In this case, the top three ecommerce sites are the top three, although there is roughly 50/50 split between blog posts and ecommerce sites in the results. This shows us that most seekers want to shop and not study. Hence, you probably have the best chance of ranking an ecommerce site for that keyword.
2. Content format
The content format mainly applies to blog posts as they are usually either guides, lists, news articles, opinion articles, or reviews.
For example, all of the "Force restart iPad" results are instructions, other than those from apple.com.
For the keyword "marketing ideas" these are all lists.
For the best chance of ranking for any of these keywords, follow this example. Trying to sort a list when seekers want guidance will be an uphill battle.
As with the content type, however, the SERP is not always as clear as in the examples above.
Just check out the top pages to learn how to get more subscribers on YouTube. There's a pretty even mix of how-to blog posts and list formats.
In this case, this is probably the best way to go because the target keyword includes "How to". It's worth noting, however, that there isn't exactly one definitive answer. Everyone sees things differently and you could go either way. We chose the list format for our post in order to get more YouTube subscribers as it fits better with the tips we want to share.
2. Content angle
The content angle relates to the main selling point of the content. For example, those looking for "how to make latte" seem to want to know how to do it at home – without special equipment.
For the "best MacBook," people are clearly looking for new results.
Just in case you haven't understood the gist, the content angle isn't always that clear. When you look at the top results for Fried Rice Recipe, there are multiple angles: best, simple, restaurant style, etc.
In this case, the perfect content angle is for everyone. Just pick the angle that you think will be most attractive and useful to someone following "how to make fried rice".
While it is important to align your content with the expectations of the searcher, you may not want to always follow the herd. If you're sure that you can get searchers' attention to a different type of content, format, or angle, feel free to try it out.
2. Be thorough
Having content that broadly matches search intent is a good start, but rarely enough. To earn a spot on the first page of Google, it has to keep its promise. And that means covering all the things that seekers expect and want to see.
Since you've identified the three Cs of search intent, you probably already have a rough idea of what searchers might want to see. For example, if you are writing about buying Bitcoin and the top sites are for beginners, it is probably not advisable to go into detail about the blockchain.
However, analyzing the three Cs only gives you a general view of intent. To better understand what your content should cover, you need to analyze the relevant top ranking pages in more detail.
The key word here is "relevant". If you are targeting the keyword "best golf club sets" and you plan to write a review about the best sets, there is no point analyzing and drawing inspiration from top ecommerce sites or individual club posts. You want to analyze pages similar to yours.
Let's see how to do that.
Look for general sub-headings
Most pages divide a topic into subtopics with subheadings. These provide quick insights into what searchers are looking for, especially if you notice the same or similar sub-headings on multiple pages.
For example, when we check the sub-headings for others on the page SEO Instructions we see that each page contains a definition.
Given that all of the relevant top ranking pages include this, it is reasonable to conclude that it is something searchers want to know. Google probably knows that pages that cover these topics lead to higher user satisfaction than those that don't. Hence, they are ranked higher.
When writing a list, you can also use the sub-headings to find insights into specific products, services, or tips that you may want to include.
For example when we use the free on-page report in Ahrefs SEO In the toolbar, you will see that the top ranking pages for "Best Golf Club Sets" mention some of the same sets.
Remember to take this approach with a pinch of salt. If your keyword is "Best Golf Club Sets" and all of the top pages mention one set that you know is awful, don't include it just because everyone else has.
Look for subtopics under the keyword rankings
According to our study of three million searches, the average top-ranking page is in the top 10 for almost 1,000 other relevant keywords.
Many of these keywords are other ways to search for the same topic. For example, if we paste the top page for the best golf club sets into Ahrefs' Site Explorer and check out the option Organic keywords Report we see that it also applies to keywords such as:
- best set of golf clubs
- best golf club sets 2020
- good set of golf clubs
- best complete golf sets
- best golf set
However, some keywords represent subtopics that fall under the broader topic.
For example, the same page is also in the top 10 for:
- Men's golf club sets
- best budget golf clubs
- best golf club brands
- Golf club set with bag
- best amateur golf clubs
Finding subtopics under the keywords of relevant top ranking pages is a great way to find things you might want to cover in your content.
Another option is to look for keyword intersections between multiple pages. To do this, paste some relevant page URLs into Ahrefs' content gap tool and play with the number of intersections until you get a meaningful set of results.
Look at the pages manually
Finding general subheadings and keywords is the quickest way to get an insight into the topic at hand. But you can't learn everything that way. There is no substitute for manually analyzing the pages to get a better feel for the subject.
When we open the first three pages on the best golf club sets, we find that most of the sets featured are under $ 300 beginner sets. Nobody lists the actual "best" sets as they cost thousands and thousands. This shows us that it is mostly beginners looking for this keyword. So there is no point in checking out high-end products as searchers won't find this useful.
Additionally, we see that most of the top pages list pros and cons for each sentence.
This gives us clues as to how we should structure our contribution for searchers and which product attributes are most important to them. For example, it looks like the bag durability is a selling point for those in the market for a range of rackets.
Look at SERP properties
In addition to analyzing competing sites, there is also something to learn by reviewing SERP Features like featured snippets and "people ask too" (PAA) Boxing.
For example, while there isn't a snippet for the best golf clubs, there is PAA Box. And these questions provide insights into other things that seekers may want to know.
That penultimate question tells us that seekers are likely to be quite budget conscious and want a range of high quality clubs at a fair price. This confirms what we thought after manually analyzing the top ranking pages. Most seekers are almost certainly beginners and are not looking for the absolute top clubs.
If we look at the results for How to Swing a Golf Club, we can see that the featured snippet is a video from YouTube.
Even if you target that keyword with a blog post, the fact that the snippet contains a video ranking shows that searchers are likely to need visual aids. Because of this, it makes sense to include videos or pictures that show the momentum in your post.
3. Be unique
It's important to give seekers what they want, but you also need to bring something new to the table. If you don't, your content will be like everyone else's. And nobody wants to link to any other content on "Me too".
Everything we've covered so far should have provided a profitable framework for your content, but there should still be room for creativity.
For example when we look at them SERP to the "SEO Tips, “the intention is clear. People want a list of tips to improve rankings and increase traffic.
We created this, as you can see in the post ranking in second place.
While many of the tips on our list are ambiguous, there are some you won't find anywhere else. One is to embed videos in relevant posts to get traffic from Google. If someone comes across our page, finds this tip useful and decides to share it with others, they have no choice but to share our page or link to it.
It's a little harder to do with other content types, but it's still possible.
For example, it seems next to impossible to create a unique product or category page, but you can always use things like:
- Better filters
- Better product photography
- Unique product descriptions
4. Be clear
No matter how well your content matches the search intent or how thorough it is, if it's unclear, no one will read it. For example, the following page corresponds to the user intent for the Whole Grain Brewing keyword. However, it is a wall of tiny text that no one wants to read.
Follow these simple tips to create clear content that users will want to read:
- Use bullets To help skimmer.
- Use descriptive sub-headings (H2-H6) for the hierarchy.
- Use pictures break up the text.
- Use simple words everyone can understand that.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs to avoid "walls of text".
- Use a large font to help readers avoid eye strain.
- Write while you speak to make things more fun and talkative.
It's about making it as easy as possible for seekers to find what they're looking for. If you're covering everything people on your page want to know but can't find, hit the back button to find a page that is clearer and easier to digest.
In addition to the above advice, we also recommend placing the "need to know" before the "good to know". This is known as the inverted pyramid method.
For example, when we were writing our guide on 301 vs. 302 redirects, there was a lot to do. But we also knew from analyzing the SERP that most searchers just wanted to know the difference between the two types of redirects. While we've written an in-depth guide explaining the pros and cons of both, at the beginning of the post we've summarized the main difference in one sentence.
If you are unsure whether your topic is good to know and know about, check out the top pages again. If we do this for our "best golf clubs" example, we see that they all list the best sets of golf clubs before going into details on each set. Hence, people likely want the best tips before pros and cons and other information.
Creating the kind of content that Google and searchers want to see is the hard part. Now all you have to do is tweak the "technical" things like meta tags and URLs. This is the icing on the cake and makes it twice as clear to Google and searchers that your page is the best result.
Here is a quick checklist.
1. Add your keyword to the title
Page titles usually come in a H1 Label. This is probably why it was common practice to include your keyword in the title SEO Wisdom for ages.
Google's John Mueller even confirmed the importance of headlines in 2020.
And when it comes to text on a page, a heading is a really strong signal that that part of the page is dealing with that topic.
Including the keyword in the title is a matter of course for most SEO Professionals. You've probably seen them in our post titles by now.
You just need to know that it doesn't always make sense to use the exact keyword in your title, but rather a narrow variation. For example, the main target keyword for this post is "SEO Outsourcing" but the title is "Outsource" SEO (Simple framework). ”
It's also important that your tracks sound natural. So use conjunctions and stop words if necessary.
2. Use short, descriptive URLs
Short and descriptive URLs help searchers understand what a page is about before they click.
For example, look at these two URLs:
Both pages are roughly the same, but this is not apparent from the URLs. Only the second Url Here you can find out what the page is about, which leads to a clearer and more clickable result in the SERPs.
Most CMS'Let them Url Slug (the part after the domain and subfolders) slightly and setting it on your target keyword is often the easiest way to optimize. We do this for almost all of our blog posts.
All you need to know is that this is another case of using the target keyword when it makes sense. In some cases a variation may be better. For example, our target keyword for this post is "How long should a blog post be?" However, since this seemed a bit long and awkward, we decided to go for the length of blog posts instead.
It's important to keep things short as Google scores long in the SERPs.
3. Optimize your title tag
Having a compelling title tag is important as it will show up in search results.
It is often easiest to set a title as a page or post title. We do this for almost all blog posts. For example, the post above has the same title and title tag.
However, there are situations when it makes sense to change things up slightly, such as: B. if your title is too long. As with URLs, Google truncates long title tags in search results.
Use common sense to trim titles that are too long. For example, in our guide to content writing, we cut off the end.
If you're creating title tags for hundreds or thousands of similar pages, such as: For example, product, category, or service pages, you probably want to use the same formula for all of them. For more information on how to do this, please see our guide to title tags linked below.
4. Write a compelling meta description
Google often shows the meta description of a page as a descriptive section in the SERP.
How often? According to our study of 192,000 pages, about 3/4 of the time.
Google generates dynamic descriptive snippets the rest of the time.
Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, but they are important because an enticing description can lead to more clicks and more traffic.
Use these tips to quickly write a compelling description:
- Expand your title tag. Add USPs that don't fit the title.
- Match search intent. Double what seekers are looking for.
- Use active voice. Contact the seeker directly.
- Be precise. Keep it at 120 characters or less.
- Enter your keyword. Google aggregates words and phrases that are closely related to the query.
Don't spend too much time writing meta descriptions as they are relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
5. Optimize your pictures
Images can rank in google image search and send more traffic your way. In the past 28 days, we had over 4,000 blog visits from Image Search.
Here is a quick three step checklist for optimizing your images.
a) Name the images accordingly
According to Google, file names give clues about the subject of the image. So Dog.jpg is better than IMG_859045.jpg.
Unfortunately, most cameras and smartphones use generic names for photos and pictures. And computers too. When you take screenshots for a blog post it is usually called something like Screenshot 2021-01-12.png.
This is why you should rename it. Here's how:
- Be descriptive. black-pupy.jpg> pupy.jpg
- Be concise. black-puppy.jpg> my-super-cute-black-puppy-name-jeff.jpg
- Do not enter any keywords. black-pupy.jpg> black-pupy-dog-pup-pooch.jpg
- Use hyphens between words. black-pupy.jpg> black_puppy.jpg (this is the official recommendation from Google)
b) Use descriptive alternative text
Alternative text (alternative text) is a HTML Attribute used on Tags to describe the image. It's not visible on the page itself and looks something like this:
The main purpose of alt text is to make it more accessible for visitors using screen readers. These convert page content, including images, to audio. Browsers also display alternative text instead of images if the image fails to load.
Google's John Mueller also explained that alt text can help you rank on Google Images:
Alt text is extremely useful for Google Images – if you want your images to rank there. Even if you're using lazy loading, you'll know which image is loading. Get this information as early as possible & Test how it is presented.
– ???? John ???? (@JohnMu) September 4, 2018
When creating alt text, Google should focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in the context of the page content. However, you should also avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) which leads to a negative user experience. & # 39;
With that in mind, here's our best advice on creating alt text:
- Be descriptive. Use relevant keywords as appropriate.
- Be precise. Keep things short so as not to annoy users with screen readers.
- To be precise. Describe what can actually be seen in the picture.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. This can result in your website being considered spam.
- Do not state that it is an image. Do not include "picture of …" or "picture of …" in the descriptions. Google and screen readers can find out for themselves.
Let's write alternate text for this photo of a puppy to demonstrate:
If you're a WordPress user, you can easily add alt text to images when you include them in posts.
Here are instructions for adding alt text in Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify.
c) Compress images
Compressing images makes file sizes smaller, resulting in faster loading times. This is important as page speed is a ranking factor on desktop and mobile devices.
There are many tools out there for compressing images, but we like ShortPixel. It has a web interface that allows you to compress up to 50 images at a time for free, and a WordPress plugin that compresses images as they are uploaded.
With the free version of ShortPixel, you can compress up to 100 images per month, then from a fraction of a penny per image.
5. Add internal and external links
By linking it to relevant internal and external resources, visitors can navigate your website and find more information. However, some say that linking to other websites is bad for you SEO.
It's a myth. There is nothing to suggest that linking to other websites will harm you SEO.
Indeed, Google's John Mueller says:
Linking to other websites is a great way to add value to your users. Often times, links help users find out more, review your sources, and better understand how your content is relevant to the questions they ask.
While he said nothing about that SEO Effects of outbound links here, he said it will help users. From Google's guide to how search works, we know that the purpose of the search engine is to find the most relevant and useful results.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you should link anywhere, everywhere. Easily link internal and external resources that make sense, e.g. B. Sources, product recommendations, or related blog posts. You will find that we refer to numerous internal and external resources throughout this guide.
Everything we've covered so far is enough to optimize the pages well, but you can do other things as well. So if you already have a good ranking and want to improve things or just want to go to town with your on-page SEOHere are some "advanced" tweaks.
1. Optimize for featured snippets
Selected snippets are a type of SERP Feature that often appears at the top of search results. You answer the finder's question with a short excerpt from one of the top pages.
Since the response to the snippet is from a page in the search results, effectively shortening your way to the top position by "winning" the snippet.
Doing this is often easier said than done, but the basic process is:
- Be in the top 10. Google usually pulls the snippet from one of these pages.
- Make sure that Google is already showing a featured section. You will use this to understand how the query is answered.
- Include the answer on your side. Google won't be able to fetch from your page if it doesn't exist.
- Use the correct format. Paragraph, list or table – what do Google and searchers expect?
For example, let's say we wanted to see if there were evergreen content snippets for our post. If we take that Url In Ahrefs' Site Explorer, filter the Organic keywords When we report the top 10 positions, we see that we are already in the top 10 for "evergreen content".
When we check SERPWe see that the snippet currently being presented is a short paragraph with a definition of the term.
To be able to participate in this presented snippet, we need a definition on our site.
On the other hand, if we want to win the "most visited sites" snippet, we will likely need to add a table of top searches and their monthly search volumes.
2. Integrate connecting magnets
Links remain an important Google ranking factor. And while the link building is not on the page SEO, not on the side SEOyou can attract more links by including linkable snippets on your page.
How do you know what a linkable snippet is?
Check out why people are linking to similar, competing pages.
For example, the main target keyword for one of our posts is "long-tail keywords". If we paste this keyword into Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, we see some similar posts with lots of backlinks.
Paste just one of these posts into Site Explorer and check the anchor Report. This shows the most common words and phrases used when linking to the page. In this case, we see a lot of people linking based on statistics.
That tells us we should probably include some stats in our post to improve connectivity.
When we switch over and check them anchor Report for a top page for "SEO Copywriting “, we see many people who connect due to two unique concepts.
It probably wouldn't make sense to include the same concepts in our post, but we can include some unique ideas of our own to improve connectivity. We did that when we wrote about it SEO Copywriting.
3. Get extensive snippets with schema markup
Rich snippets are search results with additional information under the title, description and Url.
For example, Google shows ratings, cooking time, and calories for these recipe pages.
Google gets this information from a type of structured data on the page called schema markup. In this case, the pages use a certain type of schema markup called recipe markup.
Here are some other types of schema markup that can result in large snippets:
- How-to markup
- Product markup
- Check markup
- Software markup
- FAQ Markup
For example, here is a page in the SERP that uses FAQ Markup:
While rich snippets are not a ranking factor, many believe that rich snippets can generate more clicks – at least for some pages.
There is no generic ranking boost for SD Use. As far as I can remember it is. However, SD can make it easier to understand what the page is about, which makes it easier to show where it is relevant (improves targeting, possibly ranking for the right terms). (not new, imo)
– ???? John ???? (@JohnMu) April 2, 2018
If you're using WordPress, you can add posts and pages with popular plugins like Yoast or Rank Math schema markups. Just know that not all types of content are suitable for search enhancements like rich snippets.
4. Improve the current relevance
Google considers a page more relevant to the search query if it contains other relevant content in addition to the keyword. For example, if your page is about dogs, listing breeds would likely result in a more relevant result when someone searches for "dogs".
If you've followed the advice in Chapter 2, your content should already contain many relevant words, phrases, and concepts. It will of course happen when you write.
However, it's easy to overlook things – especially on complex topics.
This is one of the best results for brewing beer, for example. It's a pretty thorough guide for beginners, but doesn't mention the fact that you'll need a siphon to fill your beer from the fermenter into bottles.
If so, if you aren't where you want to be and not sure why it is, it may be worth taking a closer look at what you may have been missing on your side.
Here are a few ways you can do this.
Use the Have a Talk About Report
The Talk About It Too report in Keywords Explorer shows keywords and phrases that are frequently mentioned by the top 100 ranking pages. Just enter your target keyword and see what the top pages are talking about at a glance.
For example, if we look in the report on how to brew beer, we see a lot of keywords related to ingredients and equipment like:
- Barley malt
- Malt extract
- Wort cooler
- Do mash
- automatic siphon
Given that budding brewers need to know about most of these things, it's worth talking about them in a beginner's brewing guide. If you haven't considered these things, it might be worth updating.
Just know that you should use common sense when doing this. The fact that a word or phrase appears in the report to "speak about it" does not necessarily mean that you should speak about it in your content. Use the report to uncover relevant things that you missed.
Do a TF-IDF analysis
TF-IDF stands for Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency. It is a statistical measure used to assess the relative importance of a word in a document. It does this by comparing how often the word appears in this document compared to a number of others.
By running a TF-IDF Analyzing between your and other relevant top ranking pages can sometimes uncover concepts that are covered by competing pages that you have missed.
For example, when we do this for our post about negative SEOWe see competing sites talking about things like the disavow file and unnatural links.
You just need to know that the idea here is not to sprinkle these keywords into your content, but rather to uncover relevant ideas and concepts that you may have forgotten to mention. You can then update things to make a more relevant and comprehensive page.
Also note that most TF-IDF Tools recommend using "important" words and phrases a certain number of times on your page. We therefore do not recommend using them.
How about LSI Keywords?
LSI Keywords do not exist.
There is none LSI Keywords – anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
– ???? John ???? (@JohnMu) July 30, 2019
Popular & # 39;LSI Keyword tools have nothing to do with it LSIand it is unclear how they generate their keyword suggestions. While they can throw back useful ideas in certain circumstances, in my experience their suggestions are rarely fantastic.
Before we wrap things up, let's look at a few free tools to help you with all of the above.
Add titles, meta descriptions, 1st floor Tags and structured data on posts and pages.
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (free)
Find missing issues with title tags, meta descriptions, alt text and 1st floor Tags on your website.
Ahrefs SEO Toolbar (free)
Analyze the structure of other high-ranking pages.
Preview how title tags, urls, and meta descriptions will look in search results.
Compress and optimize images.
Merkle's Schema Markup Generator (free)
Create many types of structured data as recommended by Google JSON-LD Format.
Rich Results Test (free)
Review the structured data on your page to see if it is suitable for large snippets in the SERPs.
Let's sum that up
Follow the advice above and your pages are likely to be better optimized than your competition. Remember, the satisfaction of the search intent is the most critical part. While the "technical" things are also important, they are more like the icing on the cake.
Now let's move on to the next part of the SEO Puzzle: Link building.