On Page SEO is basically optimizing your pages with the factors which are under your direct control and which help improve your web page rankings in organic search results.
It is very important that you apply right SEO strategy for your self hosted blog to achieve higher page rankings.
I am sharing an exhaustive list of On Page SEO Techniques. I was able to greatly improve my page rankings with the help of these On Page SEO techniques. So here we go.
On Page SEO can be broadly classified into following categories as per Google Webmaster Guidelines.
- Keyword research
- Basic On Page SEO settings
- Site Structure
- Content Optimization
- Make site Crawler Friendly.
- Mobile Phones SEO
- Promoting your Blog
- Analysis and Tools
Now let us look at each aspect of above On Page SEO for more details.
I personally feel, the first and the foremost thing that you should think about even before you draft your content is the Keyword research. You need to clearly define the audience of your article and what keywords they will use it to search your content.
At this stage if you have any doubts about Keyword Research, then you must read my blog on “How to do Keyword Research“.
Keyword planner is the best free tool available, from Google for keyword research.
Discover Blog Secrets – Here I am sharing my On Page blogging secret with a live example which no other blogger would ever share on their website.
Let’s say you decide to write an article on how Google crawls and indexes your website.
I used the Google Keyword Planner tool and was able to find out that “Google Crawling and indexing” is the correct keyword and I would publish my article around this. (I created this article to help my readers understand On-Page SEO)
Basic on Page SEO settings
Unique and accurate Page Titles
Page Title of your page must be such that it should be able to help users and search engines identify what the page is all about. The title tag is placed within the <tag> of HTML code.
<title>Google crawling and indexing – BlogDuster</title>
Every page title on your website should be unique to help Google know how your page is distinct from other pages on your site.
The search result displays the page titles, usually on the first line of your search results with keywords in bold.
You may also include the name of your website in the Title (BlogDuster, as shown below).
Make sure your title relates to the topic of your page’s content and is short and descriptive. If it is too long, Google will only show a portion of it, in search results.
According to Moz research,Title tags which contain Keywords at the start generally perform better than ones at the end.
Description Meta Tag
The description meta tag provides the summary of your content to search engines and this might be displayed to users in the search results.
Like title tag, Description tag should also be unique for each page. While the title tag is few words, Description tag could be a sentence or two.
<meta name=”description” content=”Understand the basics of Google Crawling and indexing. Get to know about Google Crawler and how Google search works.” />
The description tag is very important as Google might use them as snippets in the search results. I have used the word might here, since Google may use your description or else it may choose a relevant section of your page if that matches with the search keyword.
Snippet words in the search results are also bolded for the searched keyword.
Do not copy & paste your blogs content in the description tag and make sure that your description actually summarizes your blog’s content.
Create easy and content friendly URL’s for pages and filenames on your website. This will lead to better crawling of your website by Google. Avoid clumsy URLS’s which are not related to your content anyway.
URL’s are also displayed in search results. Using right keywords and spending the time to make the URL will help Google crawl your site easier and provide better search rankings.
Also, I would suggest not to repeatedly use the keyword in your URL.
Simple Directory structure
Organize your content well and use a simple directory structure that makes it easier for users to understand the anatomy of the site. Avoid using deep subdirectory nesting like “…../sub1/sub2/sub3/sub4/abc.html”. Use directory names which are relevant to your post and contents.
Define Canonical URL
It may be possible that a particular blog post is accessible from multiple links on your website. For e.g. It may be accessible from your home pages like blogduster.com/abc.html or it may also be accessible using categories like blogduter.com/SEO/abc.html, hence, we see that same blog post is using different URL.
Hence to prevent different users using different versions of URL, we should define one of the URL’s as canonical by using rel=”canonical” in the code.
It is very important that you fully understand How to use rel=canonical tag.
Easy navigation across the site
Easy navigation is very important to help blog readers find the content they are looking for. Use breadcrumb wherever possible. A breadcrumb is a series of links on the page that helps blog readers to navigate back to previous page or home page.
An XML sitemap is a simple XML file which contains the links of all the pages of your website.If you don’t know how to generate your XML sitemap, I suggest you to use the Google XML Sitemap Plugin to generate one for your site.
You can add this XML sitemap in your Google Webmaster Tools profile, test if it is working properly and then submit the same to Google.
This sitemap file helps Google crawl your pages.
Make sure that your sitemap does not contain any broken links. Hence, if you remove any page from your site, keep your sitemap.xml updated.
Presence of sitemap makes it easier for search engines to crawl your content and helps improve your rankings.Some SEO experts feel that priority of a page in sitemap may influence your search rankings.
I would personally suggest you to include a sitemap page on your website. This is nothing but a simple page with hierarchical listings of all the links of your website. This will help your blog readers find the content in case they are not able to find the content navigating your site.
Always publish fresh and original content for your readers. Users, who are aware of the topic, might use different keywords in search engines compared to ones who know little about the topic. Hence, perform a thorough keyword research. Google Adwords provides a free Tool Keyword planner for the same.
Appropriate Anchor text
Anchor text is the clickable text which users see and on being clicked takes the users to underlying link. This provides information about the page it is linked to. Better use of anchor text help Google crawling easier and Google is able to understand better how your pages are linked or external links.
Tip: avoid the most famous anchor text “click here”. Use anchor text relevant to your content. This is one of many common blogging mistakes you can avoid.
Try to build a catchy image that describes your content. Make sure you use keyword based filename for your images. Google officially announced, that Image optimization will affect rankings.
Also, don’t forget to populate the “Alt” attribute of your image with relevant keyword.The Alt Tag of an image is similar to “Anchor Text” in a text. This will help improve your ranking in Google Image search results.
While “Alt” Tag of image carries significant SEO value, File name,Title description and Caption do also send relevancy signals to Google.
Read Google Guidelines, about the quality of images you need to upload to your site.
Create an image sitemap. Image Sitemap provides Googlebot, information regarding images on your site and will improve your image search rankings.
Appropriate Headings Tag
There are six sizes of heading tags from h1 to h6. H1 is the most important and this is indexed by Google. Make sure you use proper keywords to define this header tag and keep a single h1 for an article.
<h1 class=”entry-title” itemprop=”headline“>What is Google crawling and indexing?</h1>
H1 tags play an important role in search engine rankings, see this research by Butterworth.
Make site Crawler Friendly
Restrict pages using robots.txt
This is the very first thing that GoogleBot searches on your website followed by sitemap.xml. This file tells Google, what contents of your site, needs to be crawled and which pages are restricted.
If you do not want certain pages of your websites to be crawled, you can restrict them using robots.txt file.
You can make a new robots.txt or amend an existing one and test the same using Google Webmaster Tools robots.txt Tester.
If you don’t have a robots.txt, Read this Tutorial on How to generate robots.txt.
You can also restrict pages by setting robots meta tag as “NOINDEX”. Another way is to use .htaccess password protects directories.
Use of rel=”nofollow” – Don’t pass your reputation on external links
You need to use rel=”nofollow” in your code for external links on your web pages. This tells Google, not to index links which are classified as rel=”nofollow” and hence you will not compromise on your pages reputation and passing link juice to spam links on your blog comments. See example below.
<a href=”http://www.nofollowexample.com” rel=”nofollow”> www.nofollowexample.com </a>
Below are some more tips for On-Page SEO.
- W3 errors – Try solving errors as much as you can. Use w3schools.com, it’s a good website to do so.
- Submitting your site to search engines. I think for a start it is sufficient if you submit your site to Google.
- Page loading speed – Make sure you use a Good hosting service and try to keep page loading speed as fast as possible. Tools like Google developer page speed insights really help.
- Internal links – Whenever you link back to a relevant resource page from your post, you tell search engines that there are more links for the relevant links and this greatly helps in SEO.
- Mobile Friendly – With the world advancing more towards mobile, it’s essential that your site is mobile friendly.
If there are any other tips that you think will improve On Page SEO, please share with me and do not forget to leave a comment.