All On-Page SEO Tips & Tricks
From my experience, it was a bit hard for me to make my website pages 100% SEO optimized. Not because it’s a hard process, but because I had to go to several website that shared few tips, and implement the tips from each.
So I decided to make this page, to be your ultimate place for the on-site SEO stuff. Here, I will gather all of the tips, I will also make a Myths list for stuff that doesn’t really work.
I promise to keep this page up-to-date, so you won’t have to worry about missing a thing. If you are into SEO, go ahead and bookmark this page, or just memorize the URL, because you know you’ll need it.
So let’s start with the tips first, I will include every small and big thing; I will also try to be straight-forward with each.
P.S. Some of the stuff, may not be highly effective for SEO, but adding each of them takes few seconds, so even if it’s a myth, it won’t really hurt your ranking.
The Golden Rule
From my experience in SEO, and my experience in logic. The Google’s spider eyes are getting closer to the real human eyes. It means that Google is getting better in looking at the websites, just like we do, in an automatic way.
You can fool Google in the short-term, but you just can’t beat it in the long-run. Google is adding more and more algorithms to improve the way they rank the websites, which makes it harder for the SEO guys.
So my advice to you, is to put your human visitor before the spider one. In other words, pay more attention to improving your visitors experience, Google will understand sooner or later.
Title Tags & Meta Description
Title tags & meta description are extremely important for SEO, not just because the search engine spider gives them big attention, but also because search engine users do the same. The average person will usually pick the most attractive result among the first 3, so to get your webpage a better CTR, make sure to follow these points:
- Make an Eye-Catching title & description: Remember that the average user will choose the most eye-caching title and description among the first 3 results!
- Include your main keyword: This is repeated everywhere because it’s really important. Make sure to include your primary keyword in the title and also in description, but also don’t write it more than once on each(twice maximum if you had to).
- Limit title to 65 characters: Though the limit in Google is 69 characters, other search engines like Yahoo shows only the first 65 characters and cut the rest, so try to aim for a 65-characters title or less.
- Limit description to 160 characters: For the same reason above, also limiting your meta description to 160 characters is important for a better SEO and a better CTR.
- Title structure: Put your webpage title at first, then put your brand name. Just like WizIMS do, for example “All On-Page SEO Tips | WizIMS”
Another important thing you can do to show Google’s spider that your content is related to the desired keyword(s), is by adding alt tags to your images. Make sure to put your primary keyword in one alt tag, and it’s even better to include your secondary keywords in the other images alts.
Pay attention : Do NOT over use this with the same keyword. Putting the same keyword in all your images in the same page may rise a red flag to Google, so make sure to put different keywords for each image.
If possible, it’s even better if you put an alt tag which actually explains the image. Because they can bring you targeted visitors via Google images. (If your image is unrelated to the alt tag, people won’t click it in the Google images for the specific keyword, and it’ll just drop in the SERPs).
So bottom line, if it’s possible to add an alt tag which is both a keyword and an explanation of the image, then go ahead and add it. (It’s fine to have 3-4 words alt tags).
How to add the alt tag to images ?
For those who don’t know how to add an alt tag to the image, here’s an example:
Headings (H1 / H2)
Another important factor for your on-site SEO is how you use the headings. Again, you want to show Google what are the keywords your page is about (primary keywords), and what also can be found in your webpage content (secondary keywords).
To do this, put your primary keyword(s) in the H1 tag- e.g.
Buy Online Shoes
and try to include your secondary keywords in the H2 tags- e.g.
Buy Cheap Shoes Online
Make sure not to do this in a spammy way because it’ll just look suspicious to search engines and crappy to your readers, so put efforts to make it look good for both humans and spiders.
Most people think that the more they throw their keyword in their article the better it is for SEO, and that’s totally wrong.
If you repeat your keyword(s) too often, it will just annoy your users and raise a red flag to the search engines. But in the other hand you should mention you keyword(s) in the article when it’s suitable so that search engines could at least know what your webpage is about.
To make this balance, make sure to have the keyword density in your webpage between 3% to 8%.
It’s obvious that Google can recognize the keyword’s synonyms, slangs, and different forms of the word.
For example, if you search the keyword “Bf”, the first 2 results talk about Battlefield:
Or, if you Google for example the keyword Shop, the first result includes doesn’t even have the word “Shop”, it has another form of the word (“Shopping”).
Internal Linking (Interlinking)
It is essential to make it easy for search engine’s spider to travel in your website pages and find them easily. The best way to do that is to have a sitemap along with strong internal links inside your webpages. This will make it easy for spider to visit all of your website pages, and shows it that it is also easy for the users to travel among your website.
Internal linking means to link your website pages together. When I link to Tools, this is one example of an internal link.
In WordPress and other CMS, the classic structure makes this easier for you (Check for example WizIMS internal links).
This hasn’t to be over-done, just make sure it’s easy for the user to travel among your website, and Google will give you the credit.
For the same purpose that we use interlinking, the sitemap helps the search engine’s spider to crawl all of your webpages easily by showing them all the pages URLs in upfront.
The sitemap also tells the spiders how often each of your webpages gets updated, and how important each one is. According to my experience, for new sites, spiders won’t really believe what your sitemap claims (about update frequency and pages priority), therefore it is important to put real values in the sitemap so you can gain the spider’s trust in the long run.
How to make a sitemap?
For those who don’t know how to make a sitemap:
1) Generate a new sitemap to your website using a sitemap generator.
2) Download the file that you’ve made, and rename it to sitemap.xml
3) Upload sitemap.xml to your root domain (e.g. http://wizims.com/sitemap.xml)
*It’s even better if you submit your sitemap to Google webmaster tools if you have one.
*For WordPress users, it’s much easier to use the Google sitemap generator plugin.
Quality External Links
You want to show Google that you honestly want to share quality related content with your users. One of the ways to do that, is by linking to another websites.
When I say external links, I don’t mean linking to weak websites and/or your same Class C IP websites as that can just harm your SEO.
In other words, when you have the opportunity to link to a website, do that. Just make sure that the webpage you are linking to is authority (high PR), and related to your content.
Please pay attention to the following before adding the external link(s) :
- Try to link to related webpages, ones that have your keywords.
- Try to link to webpages with High PR only (PR 4+).
- Link to authority websites only (Wikipedia is ideal).
- It’s okay to have do-follow external links if the sites you are linking to are trusted by Google.
Also make sure to ignore the following :
- Don’t link to a competitor webpage – Search your target keyword in Google and make sure the webpage you are linking to isn’t in the top 20.
- Don’t link to your websites – Google can easily track that, so make sure to link to external webpages only.
With the content you put in the “robots.txt” file, you can tell the search engine’s robots (spiders) to or not to crawl specific webpages in your website.
I recommend upload the “robots.txt” file even if you want to have all of your webpages indexed, just to show Google that you are serious here , and in this case, here is what you should put in the “robots.txt” file:
User-agent: * Disallow: /
If you want, just copy and paste this to a “robots.txt” file and upload it to your website root (e.g. “wizims.com/robots.txt”).
If you want a custom one, you can simply make it with a robots.txt generator.
Another great way to show Google that your page’s content is relevant to the desired keyword, is by including your keyword in your URL.
If your keyword is a combination of 2 or more words,I find it better to separate the words dashes (“-”).
An example of a perfect URL, in case we are targeting the keyword “Skin Care” :
This will also attract the users in search engines, as they will see part of your URL in bold when they search for your desired keyword.
Another important thing, if possible, is to include your main keyword in the domain name (e.g.SkinCareOnline.com), this will give your website a big advantage over your competitors.
Content is the WizIMS
Replaced “King” with “WizIMS”, just a lame joke.
Again, I know this is repeated everywhere, but there is a reason for that..
Having a quality, unique and relevant content on your webpage is one of the most crucial on-site SEO factors. Before writing your webpage’s content, pay attention to the following :
- Don’t fill your webpage with plain text; both visitors and Google would love to see pictures and other stuff in the webpage.
- If possible, aim for at least 500 words in each webpage. You can check your word count using ourword counter.
- Include your keyword when it’s suitable, just don’t do that too much, your keyword density should range between 5% and 8%.
- Try to focus on your grammar and spelling. Google can easily recognize grammar and spelling mistakes, and for that, it can underestimate your website authority.
- Needless to say, avoid duplicate content. Google will hate you for that.
- Try to avoid putting the same content on different pages of your website.
It might sounds weird and unfamiliar, but think again please, what is the main goal of all companies? Growth and money of course. Google can bring huge amount of money and growth to Google Adsense just by “preferring” websites with Adsense on.
Some people might disagree with me, claiming that “A big, respected company like Google won’t harm it’s search quality for money”. But the thing is, I’m not saying that you’ll beat Wikipedia simply putting Adsense on, I’m just assuming that Google “prefers” the website with Adsense on, totally logic.
Sooner or later, the search engine spider will get to a page on your website that doesn’t exist. You don’t want to have a dead-end page that just shows the error and leads nowhere.
To fix this, you can either redirect all of your 404 pages to your homepage, or to have some links in the 404 page that points to your categories and/or most important pages.
I find the redirection method easier technically because it’ll help avoiding getting the unimportant 404 pages indexed in the search engines. Also, if another website linked to one of your pages that doesn’t exist, it’ll pass the link juice to your homepage (because of the redirection).
But in the other hand, if you are strict about providing a better user experience, then you might want to use the classic 404 not-found pages (e.g. http://wizims.com/no-page-here). Simply because the redirection method might confuse the user, so it’s better just to tell the user that the webpage he’s looking for doesn’t exist, and maybe to offer him to search it via the search box.
Now let me explain to you how to do both:
If you are using WordPress, it’s easier just to install a plugin called 404 redirection. It’s super easy, all you have to do is to upload it and activate it. It will then automatically redirect all of your 404 pages to your homepage.
If you are not using WordPress, you can do the redirection via .htaccess, meta tag or cPanel. Irecommend using the .htaccess method, as it’s easier and simplier.
Custom 404 page:
If you are using WordPress, there is a built-in function that has 404 custom pages.
If you are using WordPress and you want to edit the 404 page, here is how you do it:
1) Log in to your WordPress admin panel (usually yourwebsite.com/wp-admin)
2) Under Appearance go to Editor
3) Choose 404 Template (404.php). It’s on your right hand.
4) Change the 404 page to your new one. Then click on “Update File” button.
* If you can’t see the “Update File” button, here is how to enable it:
1) Log in to your website FTP via a FTP client (Filezilla or w/e)
2) Go to your website folder -> wp-content -> themes -> CurrentThemeFolder
3) Now right click on the 404.php file to edit the file permissions (CHMOD) – On FileZilla it’s File permissions
4) Change the number to 777
Now you can edit your 404 page from your WordPress admin panel.
Attention: After editing and updating the file, make sure to change the CHMOD to 644 again as not doing so can expose your website to hacking activities.
WWW or non-www
According to Google guidelines, it’s better to have 1 unified version for all of your website’s URLs.
Whether it begins www or non-www, it doesn’t matter at all. But what does matter is to have 1 unified form.
You can see that here on WizIMS, I prefer to use the non-www, as it looks more simple.
How to do that?
Simply redirect your www website to non-www website (or vice versa):
1) Go to your cPanel.
2) Under “Domains” click on “Redirects”
3) Let’s say you want to redirect all pages to non-www:
- At type, choose “Permanent (301)”.
- Choose the option “Only redirect with www.”.
- redirects to→ http://yourdomain.com
So it looks something like this:
4) Of course, click on “Add” and enjoy.
Avoid Sneaky Stuff
In short, here are the list of the stuff that should avoid. If you don’t pay attention to these stuff, you might lead Google to suspect your website and raise it’s red flag, which isn’t a really good thing for your rankings.
- Using text color same as background color, or any other hidden content technique – This may lead Google to think you are doing keyword stuffing.
- Using very small font – For the same reason above, using a very small font isn’t a very good idea.
- Repeating keywords – I’ve mentioned this point above. But again, repeating your main keyword(s) over and over again, will just make your website suspicious in Google’s eyes.
- Putting Bold or Underline tags on your main keywords – It’s not a bad idea to emphasize your main keyword(s) one or twice. But over doing over and over again, isn’t a good idea.
Keywords in Links
Having your main keyword in your link for each webpage is one of the most important on-site SEO elements.
If possible, try to purchase a domain that includes your main keyword in it. From my experience, here is how the importance goes, first is better, the after is the alternative:
Let’s take an example the keyword “Dog Care”:
1) DogCare.com (best)
2) Dog-Care.com (great)
3) DogCare.net (great)
4) DogCare.org (great)
5) Dog-Care.net (good)
6) Dog-Care.org (good)
If you can’t find none of the options for the keyword you are targeting, then it’s probably a very competitive keyword and you might want to choose another.
Now let’s talk a bit about your pages links, here are some points you should consider before creating a new webpage:
- Include your main keyword – Needless to say, you must include your main keyword in the page’s URL.
- Keep it as short as possible – Try to stick with including your main keyword, and just your main keyword. The shorter your URL the better it is for SEO.
- Separate keywords with dashes – I’m not too sure that it’s that important for SEO, however, it looks much better for your users.
- Keep it static – Try NOT to change your page’s URL. If that’s crucial, then at least make a 301 redirect.
The speed of your website is extremely important for both your users, and rankings.
First of all, you can go ahead and check your website speed by comparing it with another websites here (above 70 is good).
Now to improve your website speed here are some points you should consider:
Get a Better Host
It’s the most critical part, if your website isn’t running on a good server, improving your website’s speed can be limited. Though moving to another hosting company is a bit annoying, but it will pay off for sure. I highly recommend bluehost for hosting.
Cache is a temporary place to save a copy of data for the sake of quicker retrieval on the further request for the claimed webpage.
Therefore, using cache helps in minimizing the load on your website’s server.
If you are using WordPress, I recommend using W3 Total Cache plugin.
Reduce Images Size
You should have no reason not to reduce your images files before uploading them.
Online tools like this, can reduce your image sizes without reducing it’s quality (almost).
Compress your CSS files
Reducing your CSS code files, specially when these are big, can definitely improve your website load speed.
And the good news, is that it’s extremely easy to do that. Simply use our CSS Compressor to reduce your CSS files size.
Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network (or CDN) is a circle of servers around the world which duplicate the static elements of your website and provide these to visitors from the closest location.
For example, if the CDN network you are using has servers in Spain, Japan and Brazil. The user from Portugal will receive the content from the nearest location, which in this case is Spain. This results in much quicker loading time.
If you have some money to invest, content delivery network can literally boost your website loading time.
That’s all folks. I have included every thing that DOES matters when it comes to on-site SEO, along with how to do every little thing. I highly recommend you to bookmark this page, so you can take a look before publishing your new website.