Updated: January 2018
Creating a blog has become very important for every business. The actual challenge, though, comes when you are faced with the Herculean task of making your post pop up on the top page of all leading Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a pivotal role in spiking up your web page’s ranking and making sure it receives the exposure it truly deserves. Read on for some foolproof techniques to optimise your page and drive all your targeted traffic right to it.
On-Page SEO Checklist
Here is a list of on-page factors that matters the most:
As per Google’s algorithm, the length of the title tag should be 55 to 60 characters. If it crosses this limit, only the first 60 characters will show up in the SERPs. So ensure that the title is crisp and conveys everything it needs to in the first 60 characters itself.
Meta descriptions are often used to give us a brief explanation of the blog post. Make sure you include all the necessary keywords in the description. The length of the Meta description is limited to 155 to 160 characters. Similar to the title tag, even if the length of the Meta description crosses 160, only the first 160 characters will show up in the SERPs.
Craft a compelling title, meta description:
How Google displays your result determines whether people want to click on your listing or someone else’s. The snippet is your opportunity to say, “Come click me instead of those other guys.” If you can optimize this, both from a keyword perspective using the words and phrases that people want, as well as from relevancy.
Google identifies web pages mainly by the URL and the title. So, to rank higher on Google, you need use your focus keywords on your URL. Additionally, try making your URL as short and sweet as possible. Unless your post is an event-based blog, avoid mentioning the year in your URL as Google tends to categorise it as outdated content. This, in turn, decreases your ranking.
The heading of your blog post needs to be in the H1 tag and should contain the exact keyword match. This helps Googlebot in ranking your post as high as possible in SERPs.
Sub Headings (H2):
The subheadings of your blog post need to be in the H2 tag. If you are focusing on more than one set of keywords in your post, use the other keywords in your subheadings for better SERP ranking.
Use LSI keywords in the body and headings:
Once you have completed your keyword research, perform a Google search for those keywords. This will give you a set of keywords, under the top results, titled “Searches related to”. These keywords are called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords and are the most frequently used keywords by visitors. Using these keywords in your content and heading will rank your post better.
In addition to the primary and secondary keywords that we mostly target in our optimization efforts, the of LSI keywords in the content will help users understand better by getting answers to their problems for the respective search queries and aid in ranking.
Find what Google believes to be relevant to the keyword searches:
The first thing is to figure out what Google considers to be related to the keywords searches. What does Google think is the content that will answer this searcher’s query? You’re trying to figure out intent, the type of content that’s required, and whatever missing pieces might be there. If you can find the gap and fill that gap with answering the ‘what’ they expected in that search query, this will help to improve the ranking position
Keyword Density is the number of times your focus keyword has been used in your content. A high-ranking post should primarily have a keyword density of 1.5% based on its length.
Use Multimedia (Image, Video and Infographics):
All Digital Marketers know that content is king. It keeps the visitors engaged in the post and has the potential to make a post go viral. To keep your visitors glued to your blog, make sure you give out more information in a lesser span of time. Images, videos and infographics are your best bet, as they help in better understanding of the content.
Content Google can easily crawl and parse:
Google’s bot should be capable of understanding the content that is on the page in a readable text format. To recognize images and visuals, videos or embeds or anything else that you’ve got on the page, use them in a way that they are going to help the bot index them.
The images in your blog post play a vital role in ranking your page as well. Insert the keywords in the alt-text used to describe the images to make them show up on Google searches and, in turn, rank your page higher on Google.
Use Keywords in first two lines (within 100 words):
Apart from the fact that your keywords need to be frequently used in your post, the placement of the keywords is also important for better SEO. Use your keywords in first 100 words of your content for higher SERP ranking.
Use Outbound Links
Outbound links give Google a better understanding of your content based on the links provided to other web pages.
Use Internal Links:
Internal links help in keeping your users engaged in the blog by providing old links related to the current article within the same website.
Quality and quantity are both important for good content. A blog post without any one of these will not help in keeping users engaged, which will lead to a decrease in SERP ranking over the course of time. To understand this concept better, let’s take the example of Alice and Bob. Alice’s blog is ranked in the first position, but her content lacks quality whereas Bob’s blog is currently ranked in the 4th position, but his content keeps his users engaged for a long time. Google will analyse this behaviour and automatically rank Bob’s blog higher than Alice’s due to better content.
HTTPS for domain
Using HTTPS for your blog will make it secured. It also helps in increasing your visitors’ confidence and trust in your content.
As per the latest Google algorithm, a web page needs to have a good responsive design, to adapt to all platforms such as mobiles and tablets.
The speed at which a web page loads fully is of paramount importance. Site speed should not be compromised by data speed. You could have the latest website design, but if your site does not load quickly, you will lose you customer then and there. So improving your sites page speed should be of utmost importance.
Page load time is essential for better ranking:
Content, visuals, and UX are great aspects of a page. But in the case of poor loading time of your web page, the purpose to retain a user is lost. Hence, constantly keeping a close watch on the speed of your website is important. The faster it is, the easier it is for the user the navigate through the site.
Robots.txt helps to block unwanted information in the web page.
When Google indexes the page, it can be seen in the XML sitemap through the following links:
The on-page grader is a Moz tool to ensure your web page is optimised. It gives you a closer insight into the things which need to be done to get a grade A web page. The tool focuses on the following factors to get a higher SERP ranking.
- Checks the accessibility to search engines
- Avoids keyword stuffing in document
- Avoids keyword stuffing in page title
- Avoids multiple page title elements
- Checks broad keyword usage in page title
- Checks if the exact keyword is used in the document text at least once
- Checks only one canonical URL
- Checks for sufficient characters in content
- Checks for sufficient words in content
- Checks if the exact keyword is used in page title
- Checks if the keyword is at the beginning of page title
- Checks for keywords in image alt attribute
- Checks keywords in the Meta description
- Checks optimal page title length
- Checks optimal use of keywords in H1 tags
- Checks if URL uses only standard characters
- Checks if external links are used
- Checks if keywords are used in your URL
- Checks the Meta Descriptions
- Use Static URLs
- Avoids keyword stuffing in the URL
- Avoids too many external links
- Avoids too many internal links
- Includes a rel canonical tag
- Minimises URL length
- Only one Meta description
- Optimal Meta description length
For example, on-page SEO is optimised for this URL http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo is B grade
Structured Data Error:
Structured data error is a webmaster error. Fixing this error is also one of the effective ways of optimising your website. Though this is not a ranking factor, it helps in eradicating all errors on the website.
Mobile Usability Error:
Fixing the mobile usability error is of utmost importance as the Google Penguin update gives more priority to mobile devices and most of the traffic driven to a website is through mobile. Fixing this error addresses the following concerns:
- Clickable elements too close
- Content wider than screen
- Viewport not set
- Text too small to read
These errors can be found under the “HTML improvements” tag in “Search Console”. These errors pop up when the title and meta description are missing and a duplicate title and meta description is placed on the web page.
Advanced On-Page SEO Checklist:
Once the above-mentioned checklist is completed, you can work on the advanced on-page checklist for advanced content optimisation for more traffic and higher rankings.
Answer Related Questions:
First, find the related questions appearing in SERPs by using your focus keyword. Then, write the relevant answers for those questions. To understand this better, let’s take Alice and Bob’s example again. Alice is ranking in the first position but she didn’t answer any related questions. Bob, on the other hand, is ranking in the 10th position but he has answered the related questions. So, his website pops up in the top position without ranking and gets more traffic as well.
This panel is mainly obtained from human edited data, like Wikipedia. It appears on the right side of the Google results page.
While showing results for the focus keyword, Google lists the location on Google maps. So, if your business location is already marked on Google Maps, it is more beneficial for you.
Sometimes reviews with stars and ratings are displayed in SERPs when your business is related to products of a particular kind.
Images are displayed as results when Google sees the need for visual content. To display your image in those results follow these useful pointers:
- Descriptive file name
- Descriptive alt text
- Human-readable URL
- Optimised image size
- Title attribute included
In 2015, Google began displaying tweets directly in Google results, mixed in with organic results.
In open graph, Google displays your results with concerned social media links, like Facebook. Open graph meta tags allow you to control what content shows up when a page is shared on Facebook.
Breadcrumbs provide better navigation within the web page. Using this in your blog will also help in better Google ranking.
At times, Google will present you with the ability to do a search within the pages of a website, directly from the results page. When doing so, Google will offer a search box under the results description with the word “Search” followed by the name of the website displayed in light grey.
To help refine your search, Google may display the featured pages of a site as independent and clickable links within the result. Displayed under the result’s description, these links take you directly to a page within the site.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are an open source initiative from Google that focuses on enhancing the speed of a mobile page. It uses stripped-down variations of a web page to improve its performance and can be identified with a lightning symbol in the top right corner. If your blog page has AMP, it will load extremely quickly. Since page speed is of utmost importance, AMP is crucial for all blog pages.
Custom 404 Page:
A 404 page is what your target audience lands on when they click a broken link. This is a non-existent page. Your server will throw a standard 404 error, however, that is not the most attractive one for users. A custom 404 page can be branded with your site to provide helpful information.
Off-Page SEO Checklist
Listing your business with Google is a great way to ensure that people can see you on the internet. This helps with local SEO and when we build backlinks in specific regional listings, Google will understand which region is targeted.
Social bookmarking sites are the best way to promote any website, event or brand in a shorter span of time. Marking a link to social bookmarking sites plays a very effective role in creating traffic and getting higher ranking in SERPs.
Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are StumbleUpon, Scoop it, Reddit, Youmob, Pearltrees and Savenkeep to name a few.
Image sharing sites help in improving your website traffic. If you are optimising your content, then it’s only for the web search. But nowadays image search is also improving, so people have begun to submit their images to image sharing sites. Mentioned below are a few good high PR image sharing sites, which will help you improve backlinking through images:
Uploading audio files is another prime SEO activity which is useful in promoting your website. You can backlink these files to high PR audio sharing websites for effective SEO. Few of the audio sharing websites are mentioned below:
Video submission is one of the most prominent and powerful methods of promoting a website. While uploading a relevant video, make sure the title and description contain the focus keyword for better ranking. Few examples of video submission sites are:
You can create a blog and directly post it on high PR Web 2.0 sites. Getting natural backlinks is one of the key SEO strategies to increase traffic and, eventually, the ranking of a website or blog. There are many sources of natural backlinks, which are favoured by Google. They include High Pagerank Dofollow web 2.0 websites, such as:
Profile Creation Sites:
Profile linking websites have improved the level of engagement of users. They offer much better distinctiveness and enable the visitors to interact with the website in an easier manner. Profile creation is a method which offers a brand new strategy to SEO professionals for the best SEO services and link building services. They also significantly provide a more substantial perspective to present creativeness as well as improved the interaction standard of audiences. It is extremely simple to make a “Dofollow” profile backlink.
High PR classified submission sites are an easier way to generate leads and promote your products online. Classified submission sites are very effective for link building, boosting the ranking in search engines and generating more leads for your business.
There are lots of benefits in using PPT sharing sites. You can easily share your PDF files online on these high PR PPT submission websites. These highly authoritative PPT Sharing and submission sites are frequently updated on a regular and daily basis. That’s why search engines like to crawl these sites more often. Getting do-follow backlinks from PPT submission sites will get your targeted keywords optimised, and it will help in increasing your site visibility in search engines.
Participate in Quora:
Quora is a great way to drive traffic and get backlinks to your blog. The Quora community consists of an incredibly large number of users discussing a wide variety of subjects and topics. If you haven’t yet, then you should join Quora right away and start participating in discussions. You can start replying to questions and mention a post of your blog or the homepage of your blog, as long as it is relevant to the question.
Next Level in Off-Page SEO
1. Question and Answer sites:
Question and answer sites are great to get some relatable insight into issues which are too specific to perform a Google search. For example, if you want to know the reviews of a product, you can Google it and get a pool of information and a wide range of websites to refer to. This information might tend to get too generic and may not be able to address your concern to the point. Question and Answer sites, on the other hand, give you a more personalised response based on other user experiences. However, it does have a drawback of not providing certified information, like in the case of medical scenarios. Nevertheless, it is a useful platform to get relatable responses from users based on prior encounters.
2. Guest Blogging:
Google provides an abundance of opportunities for guest posts. You can use any other of the following combinations on Google to find blogs which are open to guest posts. Just type in your focus keywords followed by any of the below-mentioned words to get a list of blogs you can post into as a guest:
- Guest post
- Guest post guidelines
- Submit a guest post
3. Comment linking:
Building backlinks by commenting on other relevant websites and get the benefits of both traffic and rankings.
4. Competitor Backlinks:
Steal your competitor’s backlinks by using tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, Majestic and SEO Spyglass. Spying on your competitor’s backlinks can give you an idea of what domains are linking to their posts and thus you can target those sources too.
5. (.edu and .gov) Backlinks:
.Edu and .Gov Backlinks are high-quality backlinks. These backlinks are helpful in building more backlinks
- Backlinks can bring in highly targeted, valuable traffic from referring websites.
- Backlinks are great for branding in the sense that they get your target audience familiar with seeing your brand associated with the products or services that they are looking for.
- Backlinks give the impression that you’re an authority in your given industry.
6. Broken Link Building:
Dropmylink will help you find broken links. Here are some search strings you can use organically:
keyword + “resources”
keyword + intitle:resources
keyword + intitle:blogroll
keyword + “blogroll”
site:.gov keyword + “links”
site:.edu keyword + “recommended sites”
keyword + “related links”
SEO is an ever changing, however, these On-page and Off-page SEO techniques will help you stay ahead in the game and help your blog rank.