Meet my friend Bot.
Bot goes around the internet reading html code all day long, trying to figure out what you and a million other bloggers are writing about.
When he gets to your site he looks at a few things to try to determine what your content is about and where he should rank you in the search engines.
Our job as bloggers and content creators is to make it easier for Bot to figure this out. Over the years Bot and I have become pretty good friends, so he let me in on a few SEO secrets that I think every blogger should know.
… 17 of them actually.
These tips I got from Bot have allowed me to get thousands of visitors from Google, Yahoo and Bing, so I thought I’d share them with you.
Here are the 17 On Page SEO Tips…
Bot told me to include my keyword, or related keywords in my header tags. The header tags are the H1, H2, H3, H4 and H5 tags that can be assigned to any text on the page. By default, your post title should be a h2 title tag.
You can then assign h2 and h3 tags within your content to let the search engines know what keywords are most important. For this post I added an h2 tag to “17 on page seo tips” and an h3 tag to every tip that I’ll be talking about.
All in One SEO plugin
He suggested I get the All in One SEO pack plugin, which is great for quickly and easily setting up your search engine friendly site. All you gotta do is install it, activate it and configure the settings.
- Add a home title
- Add a home description
- Add some home keywords
Be sure to include the keywords you’re trying to rank for in this section. You can leave everything else as is.
Search Engine Friendly URL
Bot said to change your permalink structure to include the title of your blog post in the URL. You can do this by heading to the Settings menu > Permalinks.
Here you can either select the Post Name option or select custom structure and enter /%postname% in the blank form. This is important because it’ll be another way of identifying what your content is about.
Instead of seeing www.YourSite.com/?p=234531 – Bot will now see this: www.YourSite.com/your-post-title (which makes him very happy).
Post Keywords & Related Keywords
Keywords should be added to every post you publish. The All in One SEO Pack plugin makes this easy to do. Right before you press publish, scroll down to the bottom of the editing page and enter your keywords and some related keywords.
Don’t over stuff it with random phrases that have nothing to do with the post. Pick 3 to 4 keywords that actually come up in the article and use those.
The same thing goes with the post description. Bot reads what your description says and displays it in the search results.
Be sure to, again, enter your keyword phrases that appear in the article but don’t overdo it. Keep the description under 160 characters long. More is not always better.
This goes without saying, but your post title is super important. I highly recommend reading this post on “How to write great headlines” to have a better idea of what will get you more clicks and eyeballs to your site.
The key with post titles is to appeal to the reader first. More often than not, your keyword will be in the post title anyway. But if the exact phrase you’re trying to rank for doesn’t fit, then don’t force it.
Remember, it’s better to write with your readers in mind; the search engine traffic will follow.
Keyword in Content
The reason I’m mentioning this one is because it does make sense for your keyword to be used at least once or twice within the content piece itself.
However, Bot says that if your blog post has a very high keyword density, it will look suspicious and might even get penalized. So, at the risk of sounding like a broken tape recorder, write as if you were talking to a friend.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say the same phrase over and over again in a conversation – so don’t do it online.
Bot says there are 3 main ways to optimize your images for search engine traffic.
- File Name
- File Size
- Alt Text
File name - Before you upload your image to your wordpress post editor, be sure to include your keyword in the image file name. So instead of saving a file as “image-1.jpg”, you should name it “your-keyword-phrase.jpg”.
This is, of course, if that file name describes the image you’re using.
File size - Just like Bot likes fast sites, he also likes fast loading images. So before you upload it, install and activate the Smush.it plugin to compress the image file.
Alt text - When you’re done uploading the image on to your post editor, you get options to add captions, alt text and descriptions. The alt-text is the most important, but I always add a description as well.
You know why Bot sends me so much search engine traffic? Because I make it easy for him to find other articles and content on my site with internal linking.
Linking internally to other articles not only creates a more connected site structure and improves usability, it also transfer link juice throughout the site to important pages that you’re trying to rank for. Like:
Display Popular Posts
Using the Popular Posts plugin you can implement a basic internal linking strategy. This plugin will display your most popular articles in the sidebar and link to them from every page.
This will transfer link juice to posts that are probably already ranking high on Google and (hopefully) help it get a slight boost.
Create link bait (infographics work)
Link bait isn’t a bad thing. It’s simply the creation of something that grabs people’s attention – and that attention brings in a ton of inbound links. Now, I know that getting inbound links is an off page SEO strategy, but the creation process is not.
So, what are some types of link bait articles? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Infographics – check this one out
- Gigantic list posts – like this one
- New research data
- Step by Step resource – like Pat’s link building post
Claim Authorship of Your Content
Google authorship is their way of identifying the author of a piece of content. This way they can monitor the quality of your articles much more closely.
If you haven’t yet claimed your Google authorship, follow these step by step instructions by Brian over at Copyblogger. That’s the article I used when I claimed mine.
Add Social Sharing Buttons
No one thought search and social would ever mix, and then came Google plus. Social sharing is not a big part of the search ranking algorithm; some say it’s as important as the amount of inbound links you have.
The more your content gets shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, the better chance you have of getting higher rankings. It makes sense when you think about it.
Google wants quality content that people love – AND people only share quality content that they enjoy, so don’t publish your next blog post if your readers don’t have any way to share it.
Install an SEO Friendly WordPress Theme (clean code)
The reason I use Studiopress is because of the clean coded framework and child themes they provide. The Genesis framework itself was built with content creators and search optimization in mind.
If you’re looking to start a blog for your business, or looking to do a site redesign, I recommend Genesis by Studiopress. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
XML Sitemap Plugin
This is another easy to install plugin that Bot recommends we have. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.
To get it simply go to your wordpress dashboard, click on Add New Plugin > search for Google XML Sitemap and install it. Don’t publish your next piece without it.
Get Good Hosting (speed is critical)
Back when I was using Dreamhost, my site was a slower than a turtle. It took forever to load and my search engine rankings weren’t that great.
Bot, being the great friend that he is, recommended I get better hosting, so I switched to BlueHost Pro. Since I made the switch I’ve seen much more search engine traffic and more interactions with the site itself.
If you don’t want to make a switch right now, you can always follow these speed optimization tips that I wrote about a while back to speed up your site. It will help you get better rankings in the long run.
Write Great Content – Go Deep
This article could have been a list of 5 or 10 tips, but Bot told me that longer (deeper, richer) content pieces tend to get shared more AND tend to rank higher in the search engines.
So, in an attempt to over deliver and give you more value than you expected, I dug deeper into this on page SEO topic and gave you 17 actionable ideas you can implement right away.
This is what makes great content. It’s not some magical number of words or beautifully designed graphics. Simply focus on writing something that’s useful, entertaining, inspiring or helpful in some way.
Was it useful?