So here’s a practical guide on how to configure your on-page SEO.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”.
SEO refers to actions that you take to give your website the best possible chance to achieve a top search engine position ranking and the largest number of visitor referrals from the search engines to your site.
Broadly speaking there are two different types of SEO: off-page SEO and on-page SEO.
Off-page SEO are actions that are taken to promote your site on other sites and media platforms on the Web.
On-page SEO (sometimes referred to as on-site SEO) means configuring your own website and it’s content so that it can be indexed and evaluated by the search engines to your best advantage.
Both types of SEO are important in order to achieve the best possible search engine ranking and to maximize your visitor traffic.
But time, money and effort spent on off-page SEO will bring less than optimal results if your on-page SEO has been neglected.
Once your on-page SEO has been configured properly, your website will then be able to enjoy the benefits of off-page SEO.
When carried out correctly, both on-page and off-page SEO can substantially improve your site’s position in the search engine rankings. And with that boost your website visitor traffic – and your sales.
How To Configure Your On-Page SEO – The Short Version
If you’re in a hurry, then here’s the short version:
A web page that has been properly configured for on-page SEO will:
- provide unique and well written content about a given subject
- be relevant to a specific topic (usually a product or single object)
- will include the subject keyword in it’s page title tag
- will include the subject keyword in it’s URL page address
- will include the subject keyword in the “alt text” of all images on the page
- will mention the subject keyword several times throughout the text content on the page
- will link back to the category page, and last but not least,
- will link back to its homepage – usually achieved by means of an image link which displays the website logo at the top of the page, or else via a menu bar.
Now here’s the longer, more in-depth guide…
How To Configure Your On-Page SEO – The Full Version
This is a practical, hands-on guide.
I’m keeping the woffle to a minimum and concentrate on the steps you actually have to take to maximize your site’s chances of attracting the largest possible amount of search engine traffic.
So let’s get straight to it.
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
SEO refers to the process of structuring your website and it’s content in order to improve your site’s search engine ranking and to increase visitor traffic referred to your site from the search engines.
Note that when we refer to a website page, in most cases the same advice applies to blog posts.
Why do people tend to refer to Google when they talk about SEO?
For the simple reason that Google currently has by far the largest market share of all online searches. In the UK in 2013 this market share was estimated to be around 90% of all searches in the UK.
Configure your robots.txt file
Make sure that Google can actually access your site
This is done by means of a small text file called robots.txt
Make sure your site has a robots.txt file present in your web-hosting directory space.
The Robots meta tag
Use the robots meta tag to specify your site’s index and follow settings. Below is an example of how the robots meta tag should look:
You can find specific information about how to configure robots.txt at the Robotstxt.org site.
Make sure your site has a sitemap.xml
This will ensure that Google indexes all your site’s pages and does not miss out any.
Visit Sitemaps.org for more information about how to configure sitemap.xml.
The best way to install and configure a sitemap.xml is to install a WordPress sitemap.xml Plugin.
Check that your website pages can load fast
Your page load time also affects your search engine ranking.
You can use Google Webmaster Tools to monitor your site’s page loading speed.
Try to ensure that your site loads and displays ideally within 2 or 3 seconds. If it takes several seconds or longer to appear, then you should take action to improve this.
For example, check that your content is not over heavy with large sized graphics, or that links to third party services or statistics or advertising utilities are not unduly slowing it down.
You may benefit by installing a WordPress site caching plugin. Or it may be that your web-hosting package needs upgrading.
Or you may need to try using a Cloud load-balancing solution such as CloudFlare.
If all else fails you may need to try moving your site to another web-hosting provider.
Use 301 redirects to handle deleted pages
If you delete a page, you can use the 301 redirection to ensure that visitors to the old URL page address are directed automatically to the new one. 301 redirection can be configured by means of the .htaccess file on your webserver.
Include clickable page links
If your page references a keyword phrase that links to another page on your site which is relevant to the subject of the content, then make the keyword a clickable link.
Keep to a reasonable page length
Your pages should be a minimum of 250-350 words in length.
Reference your primary keyword phrase within the first paragraph.
And ideally within the first 30 words or so.
Google likes it’s search results to lead to “successful clicks”, rather than the user returning to the search engine results page to try another link. So for this reason you should make sure that your search listing is a relevant as possible to your visitors.
To do this, make sure that your page title and description reflect what each page is about.
Reference one keyword phrase per page
Make sure that your page title, the page URL address and your h1 heading tag on the page all focus on one single keyword phrase for each page.
Note I said keyword phrase. This isn’t necessarily the same as a single word. A keyword phrase can actually be more than one word. It may often be 2, 3 or more words.
Don’t have too many pages that reference the same keyword phrase.
Don’t duplicate content
Google uses a method it calls a “supplemental index” by which it demotes pages which it considers to be duplicates of other content already indexed. You don’t want this to happen to your site. So don’t duplicate content on your site unless you have very good reason to do so.
Use the page title tag and h1 and h2 header tags
Make sure your page html title tag and your h1 header tag both contain your keyword phrase.
Use h2 tags to target supporting keyword phrases relevant to the content of the page.
Include your keyword phrase in your URL page address
Your URL addresses should include your keyword phrases wherever possible.
Don’t use URL addresses that contain page numbers or other variables which mean nothing to search engines. Make sure your links are configured correctly in WordPress to avoid this happening.
Don’t rely too heavily on image-based content
Despite what many people think, Google can actually read images – provided that you utilize the image title, alt and description fields for the image. But that’s all it can read.
This means that you shouldn’t rely too much on content in images, graphics or flash videos. And go easy on infographics. Even though these are the latest craze, their SEO value is actually minimal.
Always have a substantial amount of text content on your site as well.
Use the meta descriptions
According to Google, meta descriptions no longer have a direct affect on your search engine ranking.
However, you should make sure that your meta description contains a call to action to encourage users to click on your link.
Don’t nest your pages too deep
Click depth is the term given to how deeply nested a sub-page is from the homepage. Click depth determines how much domain authority that page will receive.
The deeper the page, the less authority it gets to enjoy. So don’t nest your pages too deep.
Use relevant internal linking on your pages
The more internal links you have from a page, the less ranking gets passed from that page to the pages you are linking to.
So you should only link internally when it’s relevant and useful to your visitors.
Add outbound links to reputable sites
Outbound links to reputable, authoritative sites help to associate your site with the authority of those reputable sites.
At the same time, you do not want to send all your visitors away to the competition or other sites (this is known as traffic leakage), so don’t overdo it.
That’s basically all there is to on-page SEO.
There are a number of other techniques, tricks and devices that people believe can add extra oomph to your on-page SEO.
The actions described above are all widely proven and recognized and will bring the greatest benefit for the least overhead.
Install the Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
A good way to set your site up for optimum on-page SEO is to install an SEO plugin.
I recommend the excellent Yoast SEO Plugin for this purpose.
Yoast SEO is available for free download and it’s easy to install on WordPress sites.
You can get the Yoast SEO Plugin from the download section of WordPress.org or alternatively direct from the developer’s website at Yoast.com/wordpress/seo/
Good luck with configuring your on-page SEO!
Image: Courtesy of Pixabay.com – Free for commercial use. No attribution required.Disclosure: The above article may include affiliate links for products and services for which this site may receive remuneration.
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