Following on from my previous blog post (What is SEO and why you as a blogger should bother?) today I’ll show you the key actions you can take right now, in this moment to improve your on-page SEO and reach and inspire more people.
But firstly, let’s re-wind to make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to defining what on and off pages SEO is. In general, your SEO efforts can be divided into two categories depending whether they happen on your blog/website or outside.
- ON-PAGE – tweaking your website and the content
- OFF-PAGE – ‘promoting your website’ outside
As a blogger/influencer, you already spend time on off-page SEO – guest blogging, commenting, engaging and promoting your content on Social. So keep up the good work! However, let’s make sure your content is ready to reach even further – reach new readers and followers.
How do you do that?
By making sure your content is optimised so people who are looking for that sort of content can really find it.
Key Elements of on-page SEO
Here are the key elements you will need to get right;
- Blog Title
- Meta description
- Blog post Headings and sub-headings
- Images – Alt Tags
- Blog post URL
Before you start writing or hitting the publish button, have a look at what people are actually searching for – what they actually type into Google search bar. Google Keywords Tool – simple and free tool which will show you whether there is a demand for your blog post and also the competitions. Maybe you will find out that if you write the blog post from a different angle you might get you more readers. Even if you’ve already picked the topic, have a quick look in the Google Keyword Tool and see what words people search for that relate to your topic.
Google Keyword Tool
Key things to look at;
- Search volume – Are people really searching for that keyword or not really. Anything below 50 monthly searches is low – try again.
- Country – Different countries, different manners… and keywords (language)! Focus on keywords people use in your target country.
- Keyword variants – The rule of thumb for an effectively optimised blog is to have one main keyword and 3-4 variants of that keyword. Example – Hiking boots, hiking shoes, hiking trainers
Another useful tool is – Google Trends – Capitalising on the current search trends can help you get extra traffic and gain new readers. Struggle with ideas what to write about? Then head over to Google trends and see whether there are some terms that are rising. You can also find out when the demand occurs so you can schedule the blog post accordingly. – SEASONALITY
Once you’ve got the key phrase and its variants, the next thing is to ‘tell’ Google that you have written about it. Give him a signal. Your key terms needs to be incorporated within the the blog post Title (title tag), headings and sub-headings (heading structure), text itself, images (alt tags) and meta descriptions.
The title tags on the website act as an important ranking factor; these tell your visitors and the search engines what each blog post is about. Having an effective Title tag will be crucial to the success of your blog post so devote some proper time to crafting one. The below guidelines will help you do just that.
Title tag Guidelines
- A unique Title tag on each page
- Restrict the length of the Title tag to (at the most) 70 characters, otherwise Google will cut off the rest
- It needs to be relevant to the content on page
- It needs to be enticing for potential readers
MY TOP TIP: An effective Title also uses a structure which includes the target keyword (the main keyword you found in Google Search tool) at the front of the title tag.
The Meta Descriptions do not affect your website rankings directly, however they allow you to control the snippet or advert that a page has in search engine listings. A well written description can entice a reader to click through to your blog which in turn will improve the Click through Rate (which is a likely ranking factor). I’d always recommend using a Meta description that is optimised with the following elements.
Meta Description Guidelines
- They should be well written – plain English please
- Keep the descriptions unique for each page – Don’t copy and paste or leave it blank.
- They should include a target keyword
- Include a strong USP or call to action, question? – Tell people why they should read, make them want to read it.
- Limit the number of characters to 155 characters
A good heading structure equals higher rankings but also better user experience. I’m talking about the H1, H2, H3, H4, etc. Don’t only bold your headings but use the templated styles within your CMS system (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) as this will be reflected within your code and that’s where search engines get the signals from.
H1 + H2 Headings
H1 headings are an important ranking factor for your pages; they offer a clear indication as to what the blog post and/or page is all about. There should only be one H1 tag per page and it should closely relate to the target keywords and content on that page.
H2 headings utilised as sub-headings. These usually target secondary keyword terms (remember those keyword variations you came up with in the earlier step) if there is a need for them on the page. You may have multiple H2’s; however it is best to limit these to 2-3 on each page depending on the length of the text content on that page.
- Use the heading styles within your CMS
- H1 Heading – Key target keyword + only one per blog pots/page
- H2 Headings – Secondary keyword/phrase + maximum of 2-3 H2 headings
- Utilise all ‘numbers’ – Use H3, H4, H5 and so on
When writing your future blog posts ensure your content is the following;
- Entirely unique (not present on your website, or any other website in whole or in part)
- A minimum of 500 words in length
- Use of the key phrases but no stuffing allowed
- Effective heading structure
- Engaging for the reader – visually!
IMAGES – NAMES & ALT TAGS
You spend so much time on taking and editing the photo so give it a proper name! I’d would recommend naming every image used on your website with a short descriptive title, including a keyword where relevant.
In addition to the name, every image tag (<img>) on your website should have an Alt attribute.
An Alt Tag is the key element when it comes to image optimisation as it provides a description to help the search engines establish the content or subject of your image. Alt tags help your visitors understand the content of the image if they cannot view the image. Also, the better the alt tag the higher the chance of your image appearing in the Google Image Search, which again will mean more readers.
MY TOP TIP: Make sure that every image on your website has a unique Alt tag that contains the target keyword and a short description of the image.
Here is how your full image source code should look like:
<img src=”where your image is saved” alt=”Target keyword and a short description”/>
Alt Tag Guidelines
- Be descriptive and use plain language
- Include your key term but avoid keyword stuffing (e.g. “Buy blue shoes now cheap best price on sale”)
- If you’re reviewing shoes do use the exact names/models
That’s it for now – hope you’ll find it useful and will apply the tactics to your next blog post. If you have any comments or questions, hit me up in the comments section below or Tweet me ??