Are you looking for the complete on-page SEO guide for WordPress? If you are, you’re in luck! Today’s post is all about optimizing on-page SEO, especially for WordPress powered blogs.
But before we dive down into that topic, let’s take a moment to understand what on-page SEO is all about.
What is on-page SEO?
According to Moz, on-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.
In simpler layman term, on-page SEO relates to optimizing the content and HTML codes on a specific page, thus increasing the chance for you to rank on Google search engine result pages.
With the number of competitors we have in literally every niche and industry, it is important to start focusing on your on-page SEO before thinking of building more links for your WordPress website.
I hope you are ready to get your hands dirty as here are the 15 “MUST DO” on-page SEO tips to increase ranking as well as traffic to your website.
1. Title tag
Do you know that the title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor?
Optimizing the title tag for better ranking is easy. All you need to do is to move the targeted keywords nearer to the beginning of the title tag.
Studies had shown (repetitively) that articles with keywords closer to the beginning of the title tag will enjoy better ranking on search.
2. SEO-friendly URLs
The URL to your website must be short and precise. In this case, it means that you need to avoid long and ugly URL like this one:
As you can see above, the link seems to be very long, and it doesn’t carry a lot of weight in the SEO point of view.
A better version would be:
To enable this setting on WordPress, head over to Settings > Permalinks and select ‘Post Name’. You can find the sample as below:
Again, there are many industry studies that had shown that shorter URLs usually rank better in Google.
Tip: The URL length should be around 50 to 60 characters
3. Modifying your title
Did you know that adding an extra one to two words into your title can turn it into a long tail keyword?
Here are some simple modifiers that you can use to leverage better search ranking:
- Years (such as “2016”, “2017”)
4. Using <H1> for your title tag
Your article title tag must be wrapped in <H1> if you want to rank well in Google. Most CMS such as WordPress will automatically add the much-needed H1 tag into your blog post title.
However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to recheck it, right?
5. Let’s go visual
Fact check: Visual marketing can affect your overall SEO strategy.
It doesn’t matter if your article is 300 words long or a super, epic post of 3,000 words. You need to insert engaging visual or media effects to encourage visitors to stay longer on your website.
This strategy would help you to reduce bounce rate and increase reading time on the site.
Here are some tools to create awesome visuals:
6. Don’t forget about <H2> tags
You should use at least one <H2> tag in your article, which your focus keyword need to be in it.
It can be a subtitle or subheading. Using H2 tag in your article will help you rank better on Google search!
7. Your first 100 words
Your opening lines; the first 100 words play huge roles.
For starters, it should give your readers/visitors a clear understanding of what the post is all about, and convince them to stay on and read the entire post.
The second part is to have your focus keyword placed within the first 100 words and if you want, repeating the focus keyword a couple of times in the opening lines doesn’t hurt either!
8. Responsive designs
Google is slowly penalizing websites that are not mobile responsive but ranking them slightly lower in the ranking system.
There two ways to make sure your website is responsive:
- Use responsive themes such as StudioPress and Divi 3.0
- Install plugins such as JetPack (and enable Mobile feature) or WP Touch
9. Control your outbound links
Outbound links are good because it is a way to send relevancy signal to Google for the crawlers to further understand your post’s topic.
While outbound links literally send some ‘link juice’ over to the linked website, a recent study has shown that posts that has outbound links rank better than those that doesn’t.
10. Leveraging internal links
On-page SEO is not complete without internal linking. On average, each blog post needs to have around two to three internal links to different posts on your website.
Two ways to use internal links are linking keyword rich sentences (focus on long-tail ones) or using options such as “Pro Tip: …” or “Bonus: …”
You should also enable related posts plugin or feature on your website to encourage internal links further.
11. Don’t forget about website speed
Amazon said that they lose money when their website loads a millisecond slower, and that’s true.
As a blogger, website speed doesn’t only affect your bounce rate but as well as Google’s ranking signal.
If you still need convincing, here goes: MunchWeb found out that up to 75% of users will not revisit a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load.
12. Have you heard about LSI?
Latent Semantic Indexing (or LSI in short) keywords play a huge role in your website ranking. They are synonyms that Google uses to determine the relevancy of a blog or website.
So, how do you optimize on-page SEO with LSI?
You should use a few LSI keywords in all your posts and several tools to help you to determine these keywords are:
13. Alt Text in images
We talked about using images in your blog posts above and before uploading the images to your WordPress site, make sure the title is optimized for the keyword. Therefore, the image uploaded will have the following filename:
When inserting the images into the post, make sure you fill up the Alt Text column to further improve your on-page SEO.
Read this detailed image SEO guide.
14. Social sharing as an SEO signal
You probably heard about this. Social sharing is already a factor for SEO ranking.
Sure, it may not have a huge impact on your blog (yet), but they will generate more eyeballs on your posts. Ultimately, it will be more likely for someone to link your blog post due to the popularity.
Important tip: Prominent social sharing button can increase social sharing (and engagement) by over 700% (Credits to BrightEdge).
15. Long content > Shorter content
The current recommended number of words per post is approximately 600 words, but it certainly doesn’t hurt when you write long-form content.
As a matter of fact, the longer post will outdo many other shorter articles, especially in Google search result. Take a look at this chart shared by HubSpot:
As you can see, blog posts that have over 1,000 words are doing way better than shorter posts.
In this competitive era in content marketing, readers are often looking for the best (and most complete) article. Therefore, it makes all the sense to have longer posts.
The above 15 steps are proven steps when it comes on-page SEO for WordPress users.
What do you think? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss further.