There is so much that goes into building a functional website that converts readers. Not only does your website need to look attractive and be user-friendly, but it also needs to be optimized for search engines.
Understanding what search engines are looking for on your website is the key to increasing your Google ranking, resulting in more eyes making their way to your website.
This is why website owners give special attention to improving both their on-page and off-page SEO strategies and take the time to learn the best SEO tricks to improve their SEO.
Many users choose WordPress to start their blog or website because it’s rated as an SEO friendly platform. While WordPress does make sure that its code follows the best SEO practices, there is a lot more that you can do to maximize your SEO efforts, particularly in terms of on-page SEO.
In the following post, we discuss nine ways that you can improve on-page SEO of your website. If you’d like to watch an episode of Divi Chat that covers similar topics, visit the following video here.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual pages on your website to increase their ranking and receive more relevant traffic from search engines.
On-page SEO is multifaceted, extending beyond content into other aspects of your website, such as schema and meta tags. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, refers to links and other external influences.
On-page SEO is continuously changing, making it important to keep up with the latest factors.
How to improve your on-page SEO on your WordPress website
We’ve listed a few actionable steps that you can take to optimize the individual pages on your WordPress website properly.
1. Develop a content strategy
If you are all in for SEO and have invested resources into improving the SEO ranking of your website, then that’s great. However, optimizing for search engines won’t mean anything if users aren’t able to gain something out of your website. This is why it is so important to develop a content strategy.
With this, you’ll need to produce content that is relatable, engaging and fun to read. Planning your content in a strategy (eg., which topics will be covered, when will each article be released, how will a piece of content be marketed), should align with the results of your keyword research and web analytics to make sure you’re constantly releasing the most relevant content for your audience.
It is through your content that you will be able to get eyes on your website, and by releasing repeat content that is relevant to your audience, that you’ll gain the trust of your readers.
In developing a good content strategy, it is important that you know who your audience implies going to be. Your content should not be created for the sole purpose of ranking highly in search results. Your content should be created to provide value to the reader. Ranking is a means to an end, with the end being to help your audience.
A key tip for creating a content strategy and creating related content is to write articles for humans, not search engines.
2. Use SEO planning tools
Properly researched keywords are very important for your SEO strategy and the overall search performance of your website.
Keyword research can be a lengthy process. You will need to analyze which keywords are the most searched for by your audience, and then translate these search phrases into aspects of your website’s content.
Use these tools to pull together a list of keywords that are relevant to your website. You want to make sure that the keywords have a high volume (ideally higher than 1,000 but the higher the better) and a low score (ideally lower than 40). The volume indicates how many people are searching the keyword while the score indicates the current competition for the keyword.
3. Apply your keyword research
Now that you’ve got a list of keywords that will work for your website, you need to start applying them to your content.
Start with going through your list of keywords and group the similar topics together. These different groups will then take shape into different web pages or blogs. Rather than creating individual pages or blog posts for each keyword, Google now prefers you to have a comprehensive page on a topic rather than weaker pages for each variation of a keyword.
Next up you need to evaluate the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) for each keyword to determine what type of content is currently ranking for the keywords. For example, are they image or video-heavy posts, long-form or short and concise as well as how the content is formatted?
Once you’ve got a good idea around what is already available for your keywords, you need to ask yourself what unique value you can offer to make your page better than the current ranking pages. If you create content that is better and provides more value than the other pages being shown in search results, Google will reward you for it!
4. Incorporate keywords into content
While Google does look for mentions of keywords and related concepts on your pages, the page also needs to add value outside of pure keyword usage. This is why it is important not to get carried away with including too many keywords. Keyword stuffing is the term used for including way too many keywords and related keywords in your text, usually resulting in the text sounding like it was written by a robot.
A common practice is to include your primary keyword within the first 100 words, then sprinkled another two or three times throughout the text and again at the end. It is also advisable to include your primary keywords in your meta title and at least one heading.
5. Use heading tags
Since you are working on digital content, it is important that you understand how the formatting for WordPress websites work.
For a lengthy post, or for any wordy posts, you should always use headings. Apart from making your post more user-friendly, they also help with SEO. Header tags are an HTML element used to designate headings on your page.
The H1 heading (<h1>Page Title</h1>) is reserved for the title of the page – WordPress automatically adds the H1 tag as your page or post title. There are also follow-on heading tags that decrease in degree from H2 to H6. Most pages will include only H1, H2 and H3 tags, and use the H2 and H3 tags as subheadings to break pieces of copy.
6. Internal linking
Your content strategy (mentioned earlier) should include certain cornerstone pages that you can use to link to other pages within your website. Strong internal link building is one of the best SEO tricks.
Linking to other pages on your website ensures that search engines can map out the relationship between various forms of content on your website. It also passes on link equity (ranking power) to other pages on your site and helps users navigate your website.
When linking internally, you need to be specific with the anchor text. The anchor text sends signals to search engines regarding the content of the destination page, meaning the anchor text should be the linked pages’ keyword. Be careful not to include too many internal links with the same keyword, or too many links in general. Only link when the content is relevant and useful!
Paying attention to your website’s metadata is important. In HTML web builds, adding metadata is easy as the head section of each page can be edited directly, but as WordPress is a CMS, these files aren’t accessible.
SEO plugins make the process of adding metadata easy. Plugins such as Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack allow you to add metadata to each page or post. Through these plugins you can enter, at bare minimum, a meta title, meta description, a focus keywords to help your post index better in search display. Premium versions of SEO plugins allow for LSI keywords, synonyms and more.
8. Image optimization
Large images can lead to slow websites, which is never a good thing when SEO is on your mind. The best way to solve this is to compress your images. Use Google’s image optimization guide to help with the optimal size and format for your images.
You also need to add alt text descriptions to your images. Alt text on images is for visually impaired users to understand what the picture is about. Search engine bots also crawl alt text to understand your images better – therefore including this will provide better image context to search engines.
9. General formatting best practices
There are a few formatting factors that improve the readability of your content, which is always favourable search engines.
- Avoid tiny text (16-point and below) and text colour that gets lost in the background.
- Include headings and subheadings to create more structure.
- Break up big bulks of text with paragraphs.
- Use bullet points and numbering where applicable.
- Incorporate relevant media to support your content (images, videos or gifs).
While it may seem like a lot to grasp in the beginning, these SEO best practices will eventually start to come naturally. Getting your on-page SEO right is one of the more affordable SEO tricks, as you can do it yourself without having to go too deep into the SEO world! One of the main benefits of SEO is more website visitors, which is what you want!
What other on-page SEO tactics do you employ in your websites? Let us know in the comments below!