Search engine optimization. Are you afraid of it? Do you love it? We’re all in slightly different places when it comes to our experience with implementing SEO tips and best practices. But as a business owner you probably wear more than one hat in your business, am I right? Whether you love it or hate it, SEO usually ends up being one of those hats until you’re able to hire out for it. Not all SEO has to be a pain in the ass, though! Here are 10 simple ways to improve your SEO by improving the content structure of your posts. On-page SEO tips involve mostly non-technical tasks – so you can totally knock these out without too much effort!
How do on-page SEO tips differ from other SEO tips?
On-page SEO tips have to do with the content of your pages and the structure of that content. Almost none of on-page optimization involves technical tasks. In fact, all of these tasks can be completed in WordPress without touching your site’s code at all. SEO is split into three major categories: On-page optimization (content-related), off-page optimization (link building/outreach strategy), and technical SEO(all the techy stuff). On-page is the easy stuff, so grab a cup of your favorite hot drink and let’s dive into these ten super easy on-page SEO tasks.
1 | Make sure there is only one “H1” header in each post or page
In WordPress, H1 header acts as the title of your post or page and lets Google know what the article is about. So make sure you only use one of these for each post or page on your website. Major subheadings on your page should be H2 headers while less-important subheadings should be tagged as an H3, H4, H5, or an H6 header. In WordPress, you can change the header type by highlighting the text and selecting a header tag from the dropdown menu while you’re editing your post/page. When creating your titles, be sure not to create two posts or pages with the same title.
2 | Create intentional and helpful subheadings throughout your post/page using H2 headers. Put keywords in them where they fit naturally.
To break up the content of your page and avoid publishing a wall of text, utilize subheadings. Place your target keywords in these subheadings, but avoid keywords stuffing. Simply put them where they fit naturally. In terms of SEO, H2 headers have more value than smaller headers. So focus on those when placing your keywords. Not only does this boost your ranking for the keywords you’re targeting, but it also helps the user navigate your article and find the information they’re looking for more quickly.
3 | Place your keyword at the beginning of your page at least once
Try to get your keyword into the first 100 words of the post/page, if possible!
Linking your posts to other helpful posts on your website will boost your site’s average session time. This is huge for SEO and it affects one of the top eight Google ranking signals for 2019. The longer your audience spends on your site, the more value they’re probably getting from it. Google takes note of this fact. When your users are spending more time on your site, your site becomes more authoritative in Google’s eyes and it will boost your pages in searches. Try to sprinkle 2-5 relevant links to other articles on your site into each post or page you create.
5 | Make your URLs easy to read and place a keyword in them
If your URL structure is difficult for people to read, you’ll end up getting fewer clicks than a correctly-optimized URL will. You want a URL similar to www.yourwebsite.com/your-category/your-keyword, not a URL similar to www.yourwebsite.com/01-28-17/article-title-that-is-kinda-really-super-long. I have a quick walkthrough on how to change the structure of your URLs in WordPress if you want to take a look at that. The keyword-rich URL will help you, as will the readable structure.
6 | Optimize your image titles and alt text
For each image in your page/post, optimize the titles and the alt text by placing a keyword into them. Your image title is the name of the file while the alt text serves as a short description of your image for Google to read. You can access all of the images on your WordPress site by finding the “Media” tab on the left-hand side of your user interface. Then, use the graphic below to locate your image title and alt text.
7 | Optimize your page speed by compressing your images
Having images sprinkled into your posts and pages is a good thing. It increases the readability of your posts and makes them more visually appealing and interesting for your users. Having lots of images on your website can cause page speed issues if they aren’t correctly optimized, however. Google penalizes websites with slow load times.
Images can have huge file sizes, so it’s important to compress them as much as you can without losing quality. There are some plugins that will optimize your images automatically, but most of them charge a fee for this service. You can use tinyPNG and CompressJPEG to compress your images for free before uploading them to your website.
Here’s a screenshot of tinyPNG saving me 70% of the file size of three different pins before I uploaded them to my site:
Outbound links direct your audience to other websites. Sound like a bad idea? I get where you’re coming from, but backing up your posts with solid research will develop your authority. Both to your readers and to Google. Google definitely wants to see that you’re linking to other sites and your audience will want to know where you get your facts and figures from. A recent study shows that posts with outbound links outrank posts without them, on average. So be sure to cite your sources by linking to them!
9 | Post helpful, long-form content and expand shorter posts to add value
Here’s another important on-page SEO tip, but it might take you a while to cross off your list. Your blog posts shouldn’t be 300 words long. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you love to write!) Google sees shorter posts as less valuable. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Your posts should be longer (think 800-2000+ words) to have the best chance of ranking higher in search results.
The more value you provide to your audience, the better. If you have shorter posts on your website, think about expanding them to include more information. You could add examples or walkthroughs, refresh an older post with new tips, or create more value by digging deeper into the topic of the post. From this point forward, remember that long-form content is queen!
10 | Avoid keyword cannibalization by limiting the use of a keyword to one post or page
When two of your posts are trying to rank for the same keyword, search engines get confused and aren’t sure which post to rank higher. This negatively impacts the ranking of each affected page. Review all of the existing content on your site to make sure that no two posts are competing for the same keyword. If you’re more technical, read a bit more on other ways to avoid keyword cannibalization on your website. If you’re not, checking to make sure your separate posts aren’t targeting the same keyword is a great start.
If you’ve followed this guide, you’ve done a lot to improve your SEO! As far as SEO tasks go, these on-page SEO tips highlight some of the easiest wins. We all have to start somewhere!
If you’re able to knock these out, try moving onto my list of the 8 most important SEO tasks to really make some headway (it’s got a free downloadable checklist to accompany the post). There are over 200 Google ranking signals to optimize for, but focusing on those 8 will help tremendously. Crossing things off the list will give you confidence and encouragement to continue learning more about how you can improve your site’s SEO. Remember that SEO typically takes several months to “kick in”. But once you start seeing results, you’ll be super motivated to keep making improvements!