Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has evolved from a purely content ranked system to a social system. People go on and on about on page SEO and its importance. The fact of the matter is, search rankings happen primarily because of external factors like link building and other social signals. Google and other search engines are continuously updating their algorithms with more of an emphasis on domain, page and trust authority.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Think about when you post something on Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus or Facebook. Some of us hold our phones in front of us waiting for a notification letting us know that someone has liked or shared our content. People like the feeling of being liked and when our content is shared, we hope that others will continue to share it.
Modern day society is about being social. And getting a link from another website is a social share! The other website is saying, “check out this content, it’s been a great resource for this this and that”. Someone is essentially telling the search engines that they are vouching for you!
Since we’re becoming more and more of a social world, how do we get other blogs, websites and people to find us, like us, and share us?
We need to create compelling content that is worth sharing!
Search result visitors come to sites searching for something. You want to give them something worthy of a click through and have them engage with your content. This is where your on page SEO copywriting will boost your rankings as well as build an audience who cares about what you have to say.
By the end of this article, you should be a wizard at:
- Understanding all of the on page SEO factors that Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines look for.
- Writing compelling content for your audience while tipping off the search engines
- Creating a better blogging strategy that gets you traffic quick and for the long term.
You should have done your keyword research before you start writing a word! If you haven’t started your keyword research, I have written a Bible like tutorial about Google Keyword Planner. If you need a more robust keyword research tool, I’ve created a 6 part series of video tutorials on Market Samurai.
On Page SEO Ranking Factors
On page SEO are all factors that you have full control of because they literally sit in your page’s content!
A Google employee does not go through every single web page out there and read the content and rate it on a scale of 1-10. Search engines send “spiders” to crawl your web pages and read the content. From there, they can contextually put together what your site is about. They won’t really know how great your content is until people start sharing it. With on page SEO, you want to make sure that the spiders know exactly what you’re talking about in context.
For the 5 on page factors, I’ll use an example if I were writing a new blog post on how to get pregnant. All of my examples are based on using WordPress.
1. URL and Permalink Structure
The URL will always contain yourdomain.com/permalink. The permalink acts as an on page factor. For example, if the keyword phrase I wanted to rank for was “how to get pregnant”, I would probably want to include that keyword phrase in the URL permalink structure. For example, my URL for my page on tips to get pregnant might be
You want to have a keyword rich URL that visitors should be able to understand. Google says that the first 3-5 words of the URL holds the most weight, so your keyword rich words should come at the beginning of your permalink.
If you’re using WordPress, permalinks are really easy to use and customize the way that you want them to look. You can watch my video on how I set up an SEO friendly website in 5 minutes using WordPress.
2. Title of your Page
The title of your page is the most important on page SEO ranking factor. Think about if you were to buy a book called “The cutest little puppies in the world”. If you opened the book and saw a whole bunch of kittens, wouldn’t you be confused?
Google works in the same way. If you are saying that your title is about the cutest little puppies in the world, they would expect the content to include information about puppies – not kittens.
Again, if you use WordPress, the title of the page is easily added by filling in the text box on the Add Post or Add Page menu.
For your page title, I recommend targeting one short tail, high traffic keyword phrase and one long tail keyword phrase. This way, you are targeting two solid keyword phrases, one that will deliver smaller results quickly (long tail – less competitive), and one that will deliver large results later (short tail – more competition).
Going back to my title – “How to get pregnant: 5 Tips to Conceive”:
Using my Google Keyword Planner tutorial, I was able to get search statistics on a couple keyword phrases.
You can see that the term “How to get pregnant” has approximately 49,500 monthly searches with a medium level of competition, while tips to conceive has only 480 monthly searches, but has a low competition level.
Despite the character length of the keyword phrase, I can see that ranking for “tips to conceive” will probably happen a lot faster than my primary keyword phrase. As a result of this data, I’ve structured my blog title as “Primary Keyword Phrase”: “Describer” “Secondary Keyword Phrase”.
I’m not saying that all of your pages and posts should be structured this way, but it can help with on page SEO and audience engagement.
3. Page Content
Now that you’ve had your bread and butter, it’s time for the main course! As you write your content, you want to write a lot of it! I’m not saying that you should babble on about nothing, but start writing a lot of relevant content that is worth linking to. The four things that I try to do with all of my posts are:
- Stick with a structure – My blog posts generally start with an introduction, what you can expect, the how to, and then the go on and do it! Since a lot of my posts are mostly tutorials or tips, I want you to be able to come back and know what to expect. Sticking with a structure for blogging is more for the user experience than it is for search engines. Always remember: the user experience is the most important. The search engine experience isn’t difficult to accommodate. You can use the same structure that I do, but it won’t apply for every niche. It’s better to add your own flavor and ensure that the structure makes sense to you and your visitors.
- Length – If I’m going to be providing information on how to do something like blogging/copywriting, I want to make sure that I give you enough information to actually put it into action. Instead of saying, “Add a title, make a good URL and write good content”, I want to be able to equip you with the right tools to do that. The result of that usually ends up being length! My tutorial on using the Google Adsense Planner hit over 4500 words! I wasn’t trying to make it long, but because I wanted you to start using it effectively, it ended up being ridiculously long! Longer content also has a tendency to rank higher in search rankings. Google likes good content and long content. If you’re looking to rank for competitive terms, I recommend no less than 1,500 words.
- Make things better – I am obviously not the first person to write about on page SEO. I’ve read about two dozen blog posts on on page optimization and another dozen forum posts. I’ve also had almost a decade of experience trying it out myself in various niches. Rather than repeating what everyone else has to say, I gave this one more of my own flavor. When you read too much, you tend to get into information overload mode. Instead, I’ve simplified the things that work for me and omitted the 101 things that didn’t work that well.
- Give something – Give your users something to take away. Don’t waste their time leaving them on edge for nothing! Give them something they can use for themselves. If you’re going to write about yourself, let them know what you took away from it.
4. Page Speed
Page speed has become an asset to creating a seamless user experience. In 2014, and with 2015 now here, users are getting less and less patient – myself included. We want things to load fast!
Google noticed that pages that loaded slow had a higher rate of people abandoning the site. They announced that they would be including page speed as a part of their search algorithm, although they didn’t provide too many details on it.
They released an application called Pagespeed Insights which is free to use. All you do is enter in your web page URL, click Analyze, and it will show you how your page’s speed ranks compared to other sites out there.
Pagespeed insights also provides details on how you can optimize your page speed to have your site load faster.
Let’s take a look at the results from Google.com
Another tool that I use is the Pingdom website speed test. This tool is also free and let’s you see the progression of server, scripts and images loading on your website.
There are also performance grade factors, a full page analysis and a history of “pings” on your site.
5. Bounce Rate
If you have Google analytics set up on your website, you’ve probably noticed that the bounce rate is on the dashboard! With any web software, the most important metrics are usually put on the dashboard. You’ll also notice that it shows the sessions.
A session is when a visitor comes to your website – new or returning. The bounce rate is a percentage of single page sessions.
This means that when a visitor comes to your site, they leave the website before navigating to another page. If your bounce rate is lower, the more engaged your visitors likely are.
Let’s take a look at some examples of a couple of my mini sites.
Here is an example of what not to do. This site is a mini niche site that I had abandoned a while back. You can see that I’m still getting some search traffic to the site, but looking at the stats, over 82% of my visitors have left on their first session.
The problems with this blog include:
- Difficult navigation structure.
- Poorly written articles that either do not provide valuable information or leave the user at a dead end.
- Poor user interface. What happens when the user finishes reading the article? They have no other options and are forced to either leave or comment.
- No clear call to action (anywhere)
- Ugly design
Here’s a better example of one of my mini sites.
This is a website that I sold back in 2013 so I didn’t have access to the live analytics today. The site was a membership site with a free membership option along with premium features.
You can see that the bounce rate is hovering anywhere between 32% – 39%. This means that 32-39% of my visitors are leaving without navigating to another page when they visit my site.
You can also see that my goal completions were quite high. A goal completion in this case was to have a user sign up for the membership site either as a free or premium user. With about 950 visits per day, the site was having about 180 goals completed! At one point, I had this site converting at about 38% which I think is great!
The good things about this website were:
- A clear focused conversion goal.
- A clear call to action
- A modern and professionally designed website
- A video tour of the web software offered
- Lightning fast page speed.
- Clear titles
- Instant brand recognition upon arrival of the site.
If you have Google Analytics set up on your site, Google knows what your bounce rate is and it can affect your search rankings.
Here are some practical things to take away to lower your bounce rate.
- Have a clear conversion goal. Have a clear call to action that will let your visitors know what to do.
- Create a user friendly experience. Aesthetically appealing websites are becoming more common. Users expect to go to websites now that at least meet status quo. My article on how to make a website is probably my favorite article I’ve written. I have two videos and step by step tutorials on how you can make a $30,000 website for under $60 without any coding knowledge. Pretty neat how far technology has come.
- Make sure you have the bare minimum settings for Google Analytics. It will help you analyze your visitors and help you tweak your website to cater to their needs – not just yours.
- Improve your page speed! If you don’t know what your page speed is, try the page speed insights and pingdom tools to see how your site is doing. If you’re running a WordPress configuration, you can try out the W3 Total Cache Plugin. It’s a great tool, but I will raise caution before using it. Depending on your server settings, it can get a little messy and you can even slow your site down using it. Make sure you have a decent understanding of your server settings. If you have knowledge in Apache, it will certainly help you set up the perfect settings for this plugin.
Start writing for your Blog using these On Page SEO Strategies
If you haven’t been using these strategies by optimizing your titles, permalinks, content, page speed and bounce rate, then now is a good time to start! SEO is all about cumulative value and anything you do to help improve your rankings will help in the overall picture.
It is now your job to write compelling content that is relatable, helpful and just plain old awesome! On page SEO does not have to be all about throwing keywords into your articles, but it’s about using them effectively in your articles to provide value and let the search engines know what your page is about.
If you feel overwhelmed, take these steps day by day. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Stay on course, stay focused and make sure you are writing for your audience. That is how you will start link building. If you still feel overwhelmed, follow the simple timeline here and you’ll be on your way to having a strong foundation of on page SEO.
How to Start a website – If you haven’t gotten started or you don’t own website, then this is a 5 minute tutorial on how you can get your website live.
How to design a website – I’ve made a ton of websites, and they all look like I’ve invested quite a bit of money into them. Wrong! I normally don’t have to spend more than $60 on design. I share my secret of how I create $30,000 websites for under $60.
How to use Google Keyword Tool – A thorough guide on keyword research using Google’s free keyword tool.
Market Samurai Tutorial – If you want a more efficient tool than Google keyword tool, you can watch my 6 part series on Market Samurai. This is the tool that I use for my keyword research.
How to use Google Analytics – If you’re new to Google Analytics and haven’t gone beyond inserting a tracking code, this article will show you the bare essentials on how to set up Google Analytics.