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!
15 On-Page SEO Techniques to Increase Your Search Rankings
1) Use Canonical URLs to Avoid Content Duplication
A 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.
2) 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.
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
You can do this for free by signing up for a 14-day free trial of SEMrush.
3) 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:
- Local businesses
- TV episodes and ratings
- Book Reviews
- Software Applications
Here’s an example of movie review sites that have schema markups:
4) 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.
Recommended reading: Check out this article by Yoast on how to clean up old posts and pages
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
…and opt for keyword-rich, short URLs like this:
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.
Check out this graphic from Backlinko which illustrates the correlation between Google SERP position and long form content.
Image Credit: Backlinko
And this graph from a study conducted by serpIQ:
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
Title tags are displayed on SERPs as the clickable headline for a given search result. As such, they are incredibly important from an SEO perspective. The title tag of your page should be an accurate description of your page’s content and should be within 60 characters.
According to Moz’s testing and experience, keywords that are placed at the beginning of your title tag may have more impact on search rankings.
So when it makes sense, put your focus keywords at the beginning of your content’s title tag. But don’t go overboard and stuff your title tag with repeat variations of the same keyword.
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:
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.
Side note: Image SEO is more than just entering alt-text. Here are 7 actionable tips to optimize your images and improve your search traffic.
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.
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 14 days 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.
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?
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.
Summary & Infographic
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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