15 On-Page SEO Techniques to Increase Organic Traffic [Refreshed for 2017]

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On-Page SEO is perhaps the most critical part of improving your site’s search traffic. Over the past few years, Google has released several algorithm updates (Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird).

Due to these updates, SEO experts all around the world have had to modify their on-page SEO tactics to reclaim their former search engine rankings.

When it comes to on-page SEO, I’m sure you know the importance of keyword density and meta description.

Our focus in this article will be to show you advanced SEO tactics that will improve your search rankings, boost your traffic, and enhance the user experience on your website.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

On-Page SEO: 15 Actionable Techniques to Increase Organic Traffic

15 On-Page SEO Techniques to Increase Your Search Rankings

1) Add LSI Keywords to Your Content

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are “synonyms and closely-related terms”. Google uses LSI keywords to evaluate a page’s relevancy and quality.

In other words, when you include LSI keywords in your content, you help search engines determine what your page is all about.

How do you find these LSI keywords?

Just give a Google search and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see “Related Searches”.

So if you’re writing an article on “SEO Tips”, the LSI keywords you should include in your content are “seo techniques” and “seo tips for beginners” as you can see below.

On Page SEO Tips - LSI Keywords

If you’re an SEMrush user like me, you can find even better LSI keywords by following these steps:

  • Type your keywords in the SEMrush search bar
  • Scroll down to see “Phrase Match Keywords” and “Related Keywords” for your search terms
  • Pick a couple of keywords from each category and include them in your content

Using SEMrush to find LSI keywords: On-Page SEO Tips 15 Practical On-Page SEO Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Traffic - SEMrush LSI KeywordsYou can do this for free by signing up for a FREE 30-day trial of SEMrush.

2) Increase CTR with Schema Markup

Schema markup is SEO’s latest evolution, but it’s rarely used despite being a powerful Google ranking signal.

According to Searchmetrics, only 0.3 of all websites use schema markup. This means that there are tons of websites missing out on boosting their SEO score.

So what exactly is a schema markup?

Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users. In other words, schema markups can offer rich snippets in Google’s search results which in turn can boost your SEO as well as your CTR.

Schema markup helps your site rank better in SERPs for all types of content, including:

  • Articles
  • Local businesses
  • Restaurants
  • TV episodes and ratings
  • Book Reviews
  • Movies
  • Software Applications
  • Events
  • Products

Here’s an example of movie review sites that have schema markups:

15 Practical On-Page SEO Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Traffic - Schema Markup

To learn about implementing schema markup for your website, check out this detailed guide by Kissmetrics.

3) Delete Older Blog Posts

A pretty controversial tip, but this trend of deleting older, irrelevant posts seems to be catching on.

SEO experts such as Brian Dean of Backlinko and Rand Fishkin of Moz recommend that you delete older, mediocre posts which aren’t bringing you much search traffic. Oftentimes these posts are short and sweet 100-400 word blog posts which lose out to 2000-5000 word articles which are detailed and informative.

Recently, Koozai, a renowned SEO agency, deleted 30% of their content (i.e. 900 blog posts) without any issues.

The truth is if your old posts aren’t bringing any organic traffic, they are pretty useless. So delete or noindex them.

Pro Tip: Check out this article by Yoast on how to clean up old posts and pages.

RELATED  7 Best SEO Articles of the Month [October 2016]

4) Use Canonical URLs to Avoid Content Duplication

canonical URL (an HTML link tag with attribute rel=canonical) allows you to tell search engines that certain similar URLs are actually one and the same.

Sometimes you may have content that is accessible under multiple URLs or websites. Using a canonical URL , you can ensure that the content exists on multiple URLs without affecting your search rankings.

Some of my posts at 99signals are replicated on my agency blog because we essentially cover the same topics. Using a canonical URL helps me avoid duplicate content issues which can really hurt the site’s SEO.

If you use Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, it’s easy to use the canonical url tag. Just click on the Advanced tab, and type your URL in the Canonical URL box.

Canonical URL Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin allows you to enter your canonical URL tag

5) Use Short, Keyword-Rich URLs

Google and other search engines prefer shorter URLs over longer ones. Shorter URLs are also good from user experience perspective.

It’s also a pretty good idea to include your focus keywords in the URL.

This is because:

  1. Keywords in the URL give an indication to users who see your URL on social media, in an email, etc. and get a fair idea of what kind of content they can expect by clicking on it.
  2. URLs get copied and pasted regularly. When there’s no anchor text used in a link, the URL itself serves as that anchor text (yet another powerful ranking signal).
  3. Keywords in the URL show up in search results. According to research, URL is one of the most prominent elements users consider when selecting which site to click.

So Avoid ugly URLs that look like this:

99signals.com/27-09-2016/category/article-titile

…and opt for keyword-rich, short URLs like this:

99signals.com/article-title

6) Publish Long Form Content

There are many definitions to what long form content truly means. While some say it’s articles with 700 words or more, others argue that long form articles are longer with over 2000 words. However, there is some consensus among marketers that long form content refers to articles of around 2000 words or longer. 

This step-by-step SEO guide by Neil Patel is a good example of long form content.

Google SERPs are dominated by these long form articles which are detailed, informative, and cover a particular topic in-depth.

SEO experts believe there is a strong correlation between long content and higher rankings.

Check out this graphic from Backlinko which illustrates the correlation between Google SERP position and long form content.

Long Content - On-Page SEO Tactic (Backlinko Graph)Image Credit: Backlinko

And this graph from a study conducted by serpIQ:

Importance of Long Form Content - On Page SEO Tips from 99signals.com

As you can see, articles with a word count of 2000-2500 are currently dominating SERPs.

Short and sweet 300-500 word blog posts are dead. If you want to rank higher in search results, publish long form content.

7) Put Your Keyword Early In Your Title Tag

Google prefers terms that appear towards the beginning of a page. The same rule applies to your title tag.

So when it makes sense, put your keyword at the beginning of your content’s title tag.

8) Include Keyword Synonyms in H1 and H2 Tags

Sometimes using a keyword too often can be detrimental to your site’s SEO. This is especially true if you repeat the keywords over and over in your H1, H2, H3 tags.

So to avoid keyword stuffing, use synonyms of your focus keywords in H1 and H2 tags.

9) Take Advantage of Internal Linking

Internal linking helps reduce your site’s bounce rate and makes the user stay engaged in your site longer. In addition to this, it can also provide a slight boost to your organic traffic.

Here’s a simple trick:

RELATED  Site Structure and SEO: 5 Ways to Create an SEO-friendly Site Structure

Link from high-authority pages on your site to pages that you’d like to rank for. It really works!

10) Use Authoritative Outbound Links

There is still much debate on whether outbound links help your site’s rankings. A recent study by Reboot Online suggests that outbound linking has a positive impact on search rankings.

So link your content to relevant, authoritative sites in your niche to give your content a slight boost in search engine rankings.

11) Treat Image Alt-Text Like Meta Description

Google and other search engines can’t see what’s in an image. Instead, they use the image filename and alt-text to understand what’s in an image.

That’s why you should include keywords in your image alt-text.

To avoid keyword stuffing simply write your alt text like you’d write a meta description of 156 characters for your content.

12) Make Social Sharing Buttons Easy to Find

Have you ever given up sharing a shareable piece of content just because you couldn’t find the social sharing buttons? It has happened to me several times. That’s why I recommend using a social bar which follows the content right to the bottom of the page. This allows readers to share the content on your site whenever they’d like.

Make Social Sharing Buttons Easy to Find - On-Page SEO Tips

I highly recommend using the free Sumo social bar plugin.

13) Use SEMrush to Fix Your Site Errors

If you really value SEO of your website, you should run a site audit every month in order to identify and fix your site errors.

I recommend using SEMrush to scan your site for errors. If you don’t have an SEMrush account, you can get 1 month free access to SEMrush Pro by clicking here. I urge you to check out all their features and see for yourself whether it’s worth investing in this tool.

SEMrush will not just identify these errors, but also recommend actionable tips to fix them.

On-Page SEO Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Traffic - SEMrush Site Audit

Get 1 Month FREE Access to SEMrush Pro (Worth $99.95)

14) Use a Number in Your Title Tag

There’s a reason why click-bait sites such as Buzzfeed are super popular. Check out these Buzzfeed articles below. Notice anything unique?

On-Page SEO Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Traffic - Buzzfeed On-Page SEO Guide - Use Numbers 15 Actionable On-Page SEO Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Traffic - Buzzfeed

Yes, you guessed it! All these posts use numbers in their title tags.

Several industry reports have found that numbers in title tags significantly boost CTR. So whenever possible, include a number in your title tag.

15) Increase “Dwell Time”

If a user clicks the back button immediately after landing on your site, it’s a sign of a low quality page and Google is going to penalize you for it.

Google and other search engines use “dwell time” to evaluate a site’s content quality.

One way to increase dwell time is to publish long, informative content that engages your visitors to stay on the site longer.

Over to You

So these are the 15 on-page SEO tips I’d recommend to turbo-charge your site’s search traffic. Do you have a favorite on-page SEO technique which I may have missed here? Let me know in the comments section.

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Sandeep Mallya is the Founder/CEO of Startup Cafe, a Bangalore-based digital marketing agency. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep's inbound marketing blog. Here you can find tips and insights to grow your site's traffic.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

  2. Interesting! Thank you for sharing.
    Check out more of the SEO tools easily available at BetaPage (https://betapage.co/) it is a platform where founders/Innovators can submit their startup, for getting feedbacks, beta subscription, early adopters, traffic and users.

  3. Some tips to get better Google ranking:

    Remove anything that slows down your site
    Write for humans first, search engines second
    Write unique and relevant meta descriptions for every page
    Link to other websites with relevant content
    Encourage other trustworthy sites to link to you

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