As explained in lesson one, OnPage SEO is the fundamentals of optimizing your website’s pages to rank higher for specific keywords.
In this guide, we’ll be running through some basic tips and tricks you can use to get some quick-wins for your website.
Please note, that this guide is written for the WordPress CMS, and if you’re using any other CMS then please find the correlating plugins that matches best up with what is used in this guide.
In this guide, we’ll be using the following WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps
I recommend installing these now, if you haven’t already. They’re all free.
Table of Contents
Meta titles are the first thing Google indexes when crawling your page. They’re really undervalued by most SEOs, and leaving a plugin like Yoast to automatically generate your meta titles is a bad idea. You will also miss out on potential keyword ranking improvements if you don’t optimize your meta titles correctly.
The best way to optimize your titles is once you’ve completed your keyword research for that page.
If our page was named “Best Dog Food For Puppies”, then, after some initial keyword and competitor analysis, we could build the meta title:
The Best Dog Food Brands For Puppies Reviewed For 2018
This meta title targets several keywords:
- best puppy food – 13,000 Monthly Searches (USA)
- puppy food reviews – 1,100 Monthly Searches (USA)
- best dog food for puppies – 200 Monthly Searches (USA)
When crafting your meta title, there are several “rules” you’ll need to follow:
- Do not make your title longer than 60 characters – Including spaces.
- Make it explain your page well – At the end of the day the people who’re going to see your meta title the most, is the visitor. You want it to look natural and explain your page within a few words.
- Do not repeat words – Unless it is a must, try to not repeat words, you’re using up valuable characters to tell Google the same thing.
Google stopped counting meta descriptions in terms of influencing your website’s rankings several years ago.
However, they still have an impact on the visitors looking at potential sites to click on – If you can make your meta description stand-out to users, then they’re more likely to click on it.
I suggest writing descriptions around what you expect your audience looking for your page wants to hear.
As an example, I’ve written this meta description for this page –
As you can see, this is a well informed description of what our page is about.
XML Sitemaps are there to tell Google what pages you want indexed within your website. It’s supposed to be a guide for Google’s crawler to get around your website much easier than just visiting a page at a time.
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, then it’s super easy to build your sitemap with a plugin. For WordPress, I recommend disabling Yoast’s Sitemap builder and using the plugin: Google XML Sitemaps.
I suggest removing category, author and media attachment pages from your sitemap – These are all archive style, duplicate content pages and waste Google’s time on your site.
Submitting Your Sitemap via Search Console
Once you have built your sitemap, go to Google’s Webmaster Search Console and locate the sitemap’s section on the left hand side, it should look like this:
Simply input your Sitemap’s location (Normally under /sitemap.xml on your website’s address) and let Google crawl and index all the available pages.
Though Google puts a lot of it’s ranking factor on links you get from other websites.. The links you have inside your own site between pages can also have a great effect on your overall rankings.
Google uses something called “topical relevancy” when looking at the way your site interlinks. The best way to rank your main pages, is to build supporting content that internally link back to the page you want to rank. If your main page is about dog food, then you can build several pages around it like this:
You can then use these related pages to internally link with anchors. If your main page is “Best Dog Foods For Puppies”, then I’d internally link these 4 pages with these internal anchor texts:
- Best Puppy Dog Food
- Best Dog Foods For Puppies
- Dog Food For Puppies
- Puppy Dog Food
Unlike your external link building work, you can have a lot higher levels of exact and partial match keywords in your internal links.
Pro Tip: Only use internal linking keywords (anchor text) that you actually want to rank for, and don’t repeat the same keyword, use different keywords every time you link for the most (and safest) effect.
Though there is limited evidence that optimizing your images affects your rankings inside of Google. It’s still a good idea to optimize your images for ranking inside of Google’s own image search.
These image rankings often bring people to your website, or get other website owners looking for images to link back to your website.
There are 2 main points of optimization for images:
- Alt Text – This is what Google’s crawlers read about the image. You should write a relevant description of what the image is actually of here.
- Title – This is the title of your image, a 1 to 3 word description of the image.
The other 2 boxes are for display purposes inside of WordPress’s own system.
A caption will show just below the image when website visitor’s see it – This is what newspapers use on their sites when describing an image, or when people credit the image to a specific source.
The description is the unique piece of content that shows on the attachment page. This is the page that WordPress creates for your own images.. If you’re looking at getting a lot of visitors to your website from image searches, then I’d highly recommend filling this out and including links inside of it to relevant pages.
Your Next Lesson
You’ve got a small idea of some of the fairly basic things you can optimize your site and it’s pages for now.
Don’t be fooled though, these techniques can have a huge impact on your site’s rankings if carried out correctly.
In your next lesson here, you’ll be learning about optimizing your OffPage SEO via building backlinks to your site.
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