Aaron Agius is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning global marketing agency Louder.Online.
Most (92%) of the world’s search traffic runs through Google. So it’s no wonder why nearly every business and marketer wants a piece of that pie. But when crafting an SEO strategy, there are so many factors to consider. What you need is to focus on the important few that really move the needle.
That said, SEO falls into two main categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to the content and experience on your website, such as a blog post. Off-page SEO essentially boils down to one thing: getting backlinks.
Let’s take a look at the most important parts of on-page SEO. After all, that’s where you can get the quickest wins. If you follow these steps, you can get your on-page SEO right from day one. As a result, you should be able to increase your organic rankings and ultimately increase your revenue.
1. Put your target keyword upfront.
While many old-school SEO tactics have gone to the wayside, this is one that still works and is advocated by other SEO experts, such as Brian Dean and Neil Patel. It’s also the easiest to implement.
Simply put your target keyword (aka main keyword) in the first 100-150 words of your blog post or article. So, if your target keyword is “gluten-free recipes,” include it right away.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If your article is truly about gluten-free recipes, wouldn’t you talk about it in the first few sentences or paragraphs?
This is one of those tried-and-true on-page SEO tips that tells Google exactly what your page is about.
2. Leverage your H1 and H2 tags.
If you’ve ever used a blogging platform like WordPress, you’ll probably notice that it automatically wraps your post title in an H1 tag. That’s because 99.9% of the time, it’s the right move. Google looks to the H1 tag to understand the structure of your page.
We don’t want any unnecessary mistakes that cause Google to get confused, thereby decreasing your rankings. You should also wrap any subheadings in H2 tags. A recent study showed that content without H2 tags performed worse than content with H2 tags.
One final note on tags: Always include your keyword in your H1 tag and in at least a few H2 tags.
3. Strike a balance with keyword frequency.
As its name suggests, keyword frequency refers to the number of times your target keyword appears in your content. Just to be clear, you shouldn’t resort to “keyword stuffing” where every other word of your article is the keyword. That spammy tactic stopped working over a decade ago.
So how often should you use your keyword on your page? In general, SEO experts suggest a keyword density of around 0.5%. For a 1,000-word blog post, that would mean using the keyword five times. Any more than that, and you shouldn’t expect big returns.
4. Make your content unique.
Unique doesn’t just mean avoiding plagiarism. Clearly, your blog post needs to be original content, or Google is going to penalize you severely. Unique SEO content needs to go a step beyond, providing new value or insights that competing pages don’t already provide.
For example, you can offer:
• A new, little-known strategy.
• A more expansive list of resources.
• Better design and user experience.
• An in-depth case study.
• An ultimate guide or step-by-step process.
The examples above are great starting points. But to truly make your content stand out, you need to add even more value, such as:
• Details: Screenshots, video walk-throughs and fool-proof steps.
• Engaging writing: Content that pulls your reader in and effortlessly delivers the information.
• Up-to-date content: An updated post with more recent studies or additional content.
• Authority: Credibility for your content by bringing in famous figures in your niche.
Putting this together, you can boost your SEO results with unique content that clearly provides something your market can’t get anywhere else.
5. Optimize your meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions—the block of text that appears under the search result title—are the forgotten stepchild of the on-page SEO family, and it’s really quite a shame.
By default, Google will fill these descriptions with the first piece of text available on the page. But a much better approach is to create your own meta description using keywords and persuasive copy.
Google itself suggests that every site on your page should have its own meta description and that high-quality descriptions can improve both the quantity and quality of your traffic.
Let’s look at an example. Version A, below, is a snippet of the first few lines of your blog post while Version B is a benefit-filled description that contains your keyword. Which description is most likely to get someone to click on your search result?
Version A: “Oftentimes, healthy recipes are blander than their gluten-based alternatives. But here at Healthy Inc., we believe …”
Version B: “Get access to over 600 delicious, easy and fast gluten-free recipes. Read this in-depth guide now and enjoy healthy, mouth-watering meals in minutes!”
Clearly, Version B is going to get you more clicks.
Crafting your own meta description for each post ultimately encourages your market to choose your page over the competition. And the more that happens, the more Google views your search result as the most relevant one for searchers.
SEO isn’t getting any easier. As competition becomes more fierce, it’s important to get traffic where you can with these five on-page SEO tips. That way, you’re paying less for marketing and ultimately attracting your ideal audience to your business, resulting in more sales, sign-ups and subscriptions.
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