Did you know that Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second? That’s an astonishing 3.5 billion searches made by people every day – thousands of whom are your audience – seeking answers and information.
With stats like that, you should be trying to get a slice of the action by using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of your marketing strategy.
Now, SEO is a vast subject, and there is a lot to learn, too much to cover in one post. Even, an in-depth series of posts would only scratch the surface. However, one aspect you can learn quickly is on-page optimization.
What is on-page optimization?
On-page optimization is a series of actions that you can perform on a post or page to improve its performance on Google, making it more visible in search results.
Optimizing your content does not mean your posts will appear on the first page of Google – they might – but many other factors usually come into play for that to happen. However, it's a big part of the SEO puzzle, and not doing it will hamper your efforts to get traffic from Google and other search engines.
To learn how to optimize blog posts for SEO continue reading.
Use Keyword Research to Create Great Content
The primary goal of keyword research, when creating a post, is to gain an understanding of what people are searching for in relation to the topic. This enables you to write a great piece of content that matches the intent behind the search query. And, matching the searcher intent with your content is the name of the game!
For example, if you write a post “How to Train a Doberman Puppy” it should include all the relevant information that a searcher would expect to find in such a piece.
They would expect to learn about things like.
– When to start training a Doberman Pinscher puppy
– Doberman training commands
– How to teach a Doberman puppy not to bite
– Teaching a Doberman how to heel
– Potty training a Doberman Pup
And so on…
If you create informative content that covers a topic well, it will naturally be rich in keywords, which will make it super relevant in the eyes of the Google.
To perform keyword research for a blog post, you can use free resources like Google Auto-Complete, and Related Searches.
Just type a search term into Google, and it will return autocomplete searches for the topic.
Google Related Searches
When you type a keyword into Google at the bottom of the pages, you will see a list of searches related to the keyword inputted; you can explore these results for more ideas.
Another, cool keyword research tool is “Keywords Everywhere,” a free extension for Chrome and Firefox that displays the number of monthly searches for different keywords.
The main takeaway here is, create content that provides real informational value, and use keyword research to guide you. If you do this, you will not only keep readers happy, but you will also keep Google happy.
Optimize Title Tags for Google & Humans
A Title tag specifies the title of your post, and it’s a key factor in on-page optimization. It helps Google understand what your post is all about.
Not to be confused with a post title, a title tag does not show on the actual post page, it’s an HTML element that displays the headline of a web page in search engine results pages (SERPs). The title tag is usually the same as the post title, but it doesn’t have to be.
To optimize a title tag, include the primary keywords of your post within it – placing the most important keywords close to the start.
For example – for a post “Basic Techniques for Toilet Training a Doberman Puppy,” the main keywords are “Toilet Training a Doberman puppy.”
The title tag would read “Toilet Training a Doberman Puppy – Basic Tips & Techniques.”
As well as optimizing for search engines, also optimize the title for humans. It should be natural to read, descriptive, and enticing, so searchers click on it when seen in search results.
Below are two examples of a title tag. Which, would you click?
“How to Train a Doberman Puppy”
“How to Train a Doberman Puppy – The Ultimate Beginners Guide”
Your title should be 60 characters or less, anything over, and it will be cut-off. So, make the limited space count.
If using WordPress adding a title tag is easy. You can install an SEO plugin like Yoast, which will provide a section beneath the post editor to add a title.
Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
Like title tags, Meta descriptions are HTML elements that appear in search results.
Unlike, title tags, meta descriptions do not directly affect the visibility of your post in SERPs. However, they do have an indirect impact!
The higher the number of people who click through to your blog from search results (click through rate) the more favourably Google views your post, which can have a positive impact on its rankings.
Key to increasing the click-through rate (CTR) is writing a compelling meta description. Your description should work hand in hand with your title tag; it should reinforce it and give the searcher a reason to click.
For Example – If my Title is “10 Essential Tips for Puppy Training a Doberman,”
My meta description could be something like this
“Do you want to teach your Doberman puppy how to use a potty, how to heel, and walk on the leash? Our in-depth post will teach you these essential training techniques and much more. Click to Discover How”.
Internal Link to Related Posts
Use internal links (hyperlinks) within your content to link to other posts on your blog that provide further information or more context.
Internal linking is important for many reasons.
They help Google understand the relationships between the different content on your blog.
- They help readers navigate to related content that might be of interest. This means visitors spend more time on your blog, which is a good signal for Google.
- They distribute link juice (power) throughout your blog, which establishes a hierarchy of posts and pages. The more links that point to a page the greater its importance.
- Internal links enable Google bots to crawl and index pages and posts, making them available for discovery in the search engine.
When linking to other posts use anchor text (descriptive keywords) that will help readers and Google understand the relevancy of the link.
Externally Link to Other Websites
As well as creating internal links to related posts, you should also link-out (create external links) to other websites.
I know what your thinking. Won't that take people away from my blog?
The answer is maybe, but by providing additional resources and information that help your readers to learn more, you will build authority and trust with them.
Linking out also builds authority and trust in the eyes of Google.
If you link to relevant resources, Google will consider your post, and blog as a whole to have more relevance, trust and authority.
When linking out, only link to reputable websites. Linking to dodgy or spammy sites will harm your SEO efforts and damage your reputation with your audience.
Images make your content pop and draw the reader into your post. They also play a big part in on-page optimization.
Optimizing images can have a significant impact on how your post performs in Google.
To optimize images –
Compress Them – Large images can slow down the speed at which a post loads – this is viewed negatively by Google.
If using WordPress, you can add a plugin like “Smush” which compresses image files on upload.
Resize Them – Resize large images to fit smaller image containers. If a picture is 1500 x 1500 pixels but the container size is 250 x 250 pixels then resize the image to fit.
Even though the image might be smaller on the page 250 x 250, if you use the full image of 1500 x 1500px, it still has the load in the background, which will affect the page load speed.
Use Alt Tags (Alternative Attribute Text) – Alt tags provide information about an image.
- They help readers with visual impairments (using screen readers) to understand what an image represents.
- They help Google understand the image and its relationship to the topic of your post.
- They add more keyword relevance to your post.
When writing Alt tags make them descriptive as possible, and include keywords within the text. Keep Alt descriptions brief no more than 70 to 100 characters max.
If using WordPress, when uploading an image there will be a section to add Alt text.
Optimizing images is one of the easier things to do for on-page optimization, yet many people don’t take the time to compress, resize, and add alt-tags. These simple things can make a big difference to the performance of your post or page.
Review and Improve Page Speed
Page load speed is one of the metrics that Google uses to determine the position of a web page in SERPs. Faster pages are viewed more favorably.
Slow page load speeds are bad for SEO, but they are also a bad user experience. According to studies, 40% of visitors will abandon a page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load.
To test load speeds, you can use tools like
The Google “Page Speed Tool” – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
If pages are slow to load, these tools will provide recommendations such as browser caching, minifying CSS, Image compression, etc.
If you use WordPress, you can install plugins like “Autoptimize” and “WP Fastest Cache” to fix coding and compression issues.
Optimize Heading Tags
Heading tags also known as H tags are HTML elements used to format the size of headings within a post. There are six tag sizes – H1 to H6, but the ones most commonly used are H1, H2, and H3.
The H1 – the biggest and boldest font – is used for the main heading (post title). The H2 tag is smaller and used for sub-headings, and the H3, which is smaller again for sub-subheadings.
Using heading tags to format a post makes your content more visually appealing and helps readers quickly scan the page.
They also help Google to understand your content better.
To optimize H tags, place your primary keyword or phrase in the main title (H1) and then sprinkle the other related (secondary) keywords throughout the sub-headings.
I might lay out my “Training a Doberman Puppy” post like the example below.
When using keywords in headings, they should appear natural, don't repeat the same keyword phrase repeatedly – mix it up.
For my post layout example above, I don’t repeat the phrase “Training a Doberman Puppy to xxxxxx” or even “Doberman Puppy” in every heading.
The overuse of keywords to the point where it’s unnatural is known as keyword stuffing, which Google frowns upon and will penalize your post so it won't appear in search results.
Use SEO Friendly URL’s
URLs are another key factor for on-page optimization. Google reads the URL of a page or post to understand the topic and content.
There are different URL formats, but /Post-Name/ and /Category/Post-Name/ are the two most commonly used for SEO and readability purposes.
/Category/Post-Name/ – highlights the category and the name of the post – represented in the example link below.
/Post-Name/ – as the name suggests contains just the title of a post – represented below.
If using WordPress, you can set the URL structure (across your blog) under “Permalinks,” accessed from settings tab in the dashboard.
Regardless of which URL format you use, (both are good) ensure you include the primary keyword phrase within the URL.
In addition to adding your keywords, try to keep your URL short. Shorter URLs are easier to read, and look cleaner – anything over 80 characters is probably a little on the long side.
Usually, URLs will take the title of your blog post, which is fine in most cases. However, if the title of your blog post is very long, then you might want to edit the URL.
And that’s a Wrap…
Thank for sticking with me to the end. I hope you have enjoyed the post and that you now have an understanding of how to optimize your blog content for better Google search results.
Of course, on-page optimization is only one aspect of SEO, but an essential one, and one that will help boost your other SEO efforts.
Even, if you don’t do another thing with SEO (although you would be leaving a lot of traffic on the table), knowing how to optimize your content is a skill that every blogger should know.