In fact, all that you need for your SEO strategy while you are just a beginner is the on-page optimization. Other webmasters would reward you with natural backlinks if you were lucky not to violate the Google guidelines. The more you are concerned about your on-page optimization, the less you care about your backlinks. However, it’s not so easy to implement the golden proportion in your on-page SEO. Therefore, I’d like to present you a list of instructions that might assist you in the optimization of your pages.
- You need to use attractive headlines for your blog posts
- You don’t need to take care of your meta description so much since Google knows better which piece of text from your article ideally fits the search query
- Double check your blog posts for possible grammar mistakes
- Try to avoid passive voice if you write in English
- Make each paragraph containing less than 300 words
- Don’t write articles that consist of less than 500 words
- To make your data readable, try to increase the indicator of your Flesch reading ease score using the Yoast SEO Plugin
- It would be great if each your sentence contained less than 20 words
- Be sure that you use a transition word or phrase in almost each sentence
- It’s recommended that your page included at least one H2 tag
- I’d suggest you use at least one outbound link
- Try to use both DOFOLLOW and NOFOLLOW links. Don’t avoid sharing your link juice to other projects
- Link to reliable websites since GoogleBot checks your references
- Implement quotes in your blog post that confirm the official data. It’s better to use the official Twitter accounts of prominent personalities, companies, and brands
- Try to avoid using many keywords since your goal is to be natural for GoogleBot
- Use breadcrumbs to assist GoogleBot in learning your website structure
- Use microdata markup to help Google pay its attention to the formation of your data
- Leave inbound links to the related articles inside your blog post
- Allow your visitors to share your data with one click
- Optimize your web page speed
- Implement AMP if you use news content
- Use AJAX instant search to simplify access to your content for a visitor
- Take care of your mobile friendliness
- Tune up XML Sitemaps
- Try to avoid over optimization in your ALT tags
- Don’t forget about a 301 redirect if you’ve changed any URL on your website
- Check your robots.txt
- Double check your semantic core or create it if you don’t have the one
- Add some text to your tag and category pages
- Avoid duplication of your content within your website
Use attractive headlines
The very first thing you must realize to succeed in Google is that your headlines must be attractive, sexy, and unique. Otherwise, you will be in the row of those webmasters who remain behind TOP 100.
In fact, it’s not a big deal to create attractive headers. All you need is to explore the Google TOP 10 on the subject you’re interested in and gather the ideas. Your goal is to be a bit more unique than your rivals.
Your meta description is not too important
In most cases, GoogleBot knows better how to index your website. As a result, it’s unnecessary to provide him a meta description. However, if your goal is to showcase some essential data to your reader in your rich snippet, I’d suggest you write it by using Yoast SEO plugin.
This tool allows you not to exceed the maximum of words you can use. In addition, you might take a look at how this data would be visible to your visitor. In other cases, I wouldn’t recommend you to take care of your meta description.
Check your grammar
Generally speaking, Google won’t punish you for grammar mistakes. For instance, lots of Europeans launch their blogs in English while this language isn’t there native, and most of them succeed in Google. However, if your blog post contains severe grammar mistakes, it could affect your visitors’ engagement. As a result, you might lose your target audience.
I’d recommend you use a Reverso tool to avoid serious mistakes. All you need is just paste a paragraph of your text in their speller and grammar checker box. If you made any mistakes, the tool highlights them.
Try to use active voice
This rule more relates to the readability of your text than to the on-page SEO. However, it’s recommended to avoid passive voice in your sentences. It doesn’t mean that you need to exclude the use of passive voice at all. As a rule, the best practice is when about 90% of your sentences were written in active voice. Though this rule is not strict, I, nonetheless, would recommend you to read some curious articles on the subject.
- Passive Voice: When to Use It and When to Avoid It
- Why do writers avoid passive voice?
- What is Passive Voice and Why Should You Avoid It?
How many words must each paragraph contain?
Unlike a book page, your web page is more comparable with an article published in a magazine. Your audience mostly focused on an idea to find the fastest answer to a question. Besides, modern visitors prefer scrolling instead of reading. Therefore, to make your content more readable, I’d suggest you split your text into a series of paragraphs where each contains less than 300 words. Additionally, such approach will allow you to insert ad blocks between the paragraphs if your article is long. Again, this rule is not vital, but it relates to usability.
Count the number of words in your article
You must bear in mind that Google does not regard your content useful if it contains less than 300 words. But I’d recommend you to write at least 500-700 words in your blog post. This rule does not apply to news articles since they could contain little data. But for a regular post on your blog, this rule is vital. The truth is that you won’t be able to cover a topic using only 300 words. If you do that, GoogleBot might consider your article as thin content. As a result, Google Fred will be your next guest.
Flesch reading ease score
Frankly, all you need in order to follow the rules above is to install the Yoast SEO plugin for your WordPress blog. But if you use another blog platform, it might be a bit difficult to track down your writing. But it’s vital to install this plugin to watch for your readability. The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to track down the so-called “Flesch reading ease score.” This indicator allows you to realize how much easy your text for reading. As an author, you can’t estimate the readability of your blog posts. Thus, I’d suggest you use such a tool to make your life much more comfortable.
How many words your sentence contain?
Depending on your target audience, your texts could contain more or less data. But it’s recommended that each sentence consists of less than twenty words.
This rule also relates to your writing skills. Since your articles could contain technical data or many complex words, it’s recommended to dilute your texts with transition words. Such approach allows you to increase a time, which a single visitor spends on your page.
H2, H3, H4 tags
This rule is vital if a paragraph of your article contains the data necessary for Google. For example, you sell Hi-Fi acoustic, and your goal, thereby to promote your brand. You can create a useful review for your readers about tube amplifiers. One of your H2 tags could contain a phrase “the best tube amplifiers below $300.” When your potential customer types in the Google search string the same phrase, the search engine might show the answer to this search query right in your rich snippet thanks to the proper SEO optimization of your headers.
Use outbound links
Some webmasters afraid of using outbound links believing that thereby they might lose their organic traffic or to reward another webmaster with own visitors. Nonetheless, the best SEO tactic is to link to other websites, especially, if the article you linked contains useful data for your visitor. Your goal is to engage your audience. If your blog post is impressive, the visitor will come back to read the rest of the story. However, for GoogleBot, your outbound links serve as a factor of your authority, especially, when you link to reliable sources. Google loves references. In some niches, such as medicine, you can’t write an article without references. Google won’t take you seriously in that case.
DOFOLLOW vs. NOFOLLOW outbound links
As a rule, any blog platform uses attribute rel=”nofollow” for blog comments to avoid spam. In other cases, I’d suggest you use DOFOLLOW. If someone provides useful information, why don’t reward this guy with a natural link? Unfortunately, most of the massive projects such as Wikipedia use NOFOLLOW backlinks. For me, such approach is disrespectful. I can’t realize why Google has introduced the NOFOLLOW format. In my opinion, the Internet has become worse because of this. It’s always your choice, which type of links to use. But I’d recommend you to use DOFOLLOW links if the articles you linked on were useful for you.
By the way, in the case of backlinks, the difference between DOFOLLOW and NOFOLLOW is crucial. Please bear these data in mind.
Link to reliable websites
As I have already mentioned above, Google adores references. But your sources must be reliable. Various SEO plugins allow you not to care about outbound links since they do it automatically. Such plugins, as a rule, link to Wikipedia, while it’s not the most reliable source. I would recommend you to link to books, official blogs, scientific treatises and other fundamental sources instead of Wikipedia, especially, if you work in medicine, technology, and other areas where the references must be reliable.
Quoting the official sources
The best way to prove your professionalism is quoting famous authors everyone knows. I suggest you cite official Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Instagram, etc. of famous prominent people who work in your area. So if you’ve created a fan blog about Madonna and wanted to share the latest news with your audience, the best thing I’d recommend is to quote her official Twitter page.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) May 10, 2018
Don’t use a lot of keywords
Once upon a time, you might use an endless list of keyword to cheat GoogleBot and to be thereby on the 1st place by the desired search query. But today Google is smarter. Thanks to the AI, the search engine could define the importance of your article even if it doesn’t contain the keyword. On the contrary, Google frequently penalizes webmasters due to over optimization. Your goal is to be natural for GoogleBot. As a result, your primary task is to write your texts for the humans. Forget about the number of keywords in your blog post. Take care of the quality of your content instead. After all, it’s Google’s task to detect your keywords.
The usage of breadcrumbs is an advanced SEO technique. Such approach allows you to improve your rich snippet. Also, breadcrumbs improve your website usability since a visitor knows where he is on the website and how to return to a tag or category. To turn on the breadcrumb functionality in WordPress, install Yoast SEO plugin and use this advanced option.
Another advanced technique is to use microdata in your articles. This instrument allows Google to recognize the most valuable information about your blog post, which is necessary for GoogleBot. To turn on such a feature in your WordPress blog, I’d suggest you install the Markup (JSON-LD) structured in schema.org plugin. By the way, there are various types of microdata. However, the Google spokesmen have admitted that they prefer JSON.
Inbound links inside your blog post
When GoogleBot analyzes your page, the algorithm recognizes where is your primary and supplemental content. As a rule, the webmasters used to implement various plugins to show multiple related posts to the visitor. However, GoogleBot considers these links as supplemental. On the contrary, if you use such links in your article, it’s a hint to Google that these links are essential. As a result, GoogleBot pays attention to such kind of links.
Convince your visitors to share your data with friends
If you want your visitor to share your content, you must simplify this process. Don’t wait that someone takes a link to your post and paste it on his Facebook page manually. Instead, use social plugins on your blog. However, I prefer to tune up this instrument manually. To cope with this task, you need to visit particular pages on Facebook and Twitter to read the instructions about the implementation.
Optimize your page speed
In the new era of Google, speed does matter, especially, when we are talking about mobile devices. The problem is that most of your visitors don’t even have a PC or MAC. They use an iPhone or other smartphones to navigate through the Internet. If you live in a big city, your provider allows you to use LTE or other 4G technology to access the Internet. However, if we take a look at the global situation, most people use a 3G connection. As a result, Google force you to optimize your website performance. That’s why the company introduced the PageSpeed Insights tool. I don’t want to cover this topic within the current article.
Use AMP technology for news content
It’s unnecessary to use AMP if your blog doesn’t contain any news articles. Otherwise, I’d recommend you to use the Accelerated Mobile Pages. There are a lot of advantages to using such technology. To learn more about it, I suggest you visit the official page of the AMP project.
AJAX instant search
AJAX is another progressive technology, which allows you to access some data immediately. As a rule, most webmasters use a built-in search functionality of their WordPress theme. However, to allow your visitor to receive the data instantly, I’d recommend you to install SearchWP Live Ajax Search or another similar plugin for WordPress. If you use other platforms, try to find the different solution. Live Ajax Search will allow you to improve your website usability as well.
Your project must be mobile-friendly
I’d recommend you to use responsive design for your layout instead of the mobile version of your website. Such approach might allow you to avoid double work. As mentioned above, most of your visitors use mobile phones to access your site. That’s why Google rolled out its mobile-first index (link). To check whether your website is mobile-friendly, use the following tools.
Use XML sitemaps
The XML sitemap is a file which assists GoogleBot to index all the pages at your website. Again, if you use WordPress as your blog platform, the Yoast SEO plugin is capable of coping with this task. However, you may use another plugin. Don’t forget to add a link to your XML sitemap in WMT. But don’t do it once you’ve launched your site. Allow GoogleBot to discover your project naturally before making this step.
Don’t overdo with your ALT tags
Use ALT tags to allow Google Image Bot to index your images. But avoid over optimization. If you attempt to include keywords or even key phrases in your ALT tags, GoogleBot might consider such approach as spam. Therefore, try to make your ALT tags shorter.
You need to use a 301 redirect if you’ve changed the URL of your page. Such a redirect means that your page address was moved permanently. By using such an approach, you could avoid losing your backlinks while moving to another URL.
Check your robots.txt
Sometimes, I’m facing several curious messages on SEO forums that sound like “Why Google doesn’t index my website?” As a rule, the issue is that the webmaster forgot to uncheck the checkbox “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” So, don’t miss this step. You must allow Google and other search engines to index your website in robots.txt.
The Semantic Core
One day, I’ll write a huge article on the subject. But for now, bear in mind that if you were unlucky to make a mistake in your semantic core at the beginning, it would be disastrous to deal with the aftermath in the future. To analyze your semantic core is the primary task of the GoogleBot. Therefore, I suggest you double check all the things that relate you to your website’s structure before launching your project. That’s why I recommend not to publish your website before you wrote at least 15-30 articles. First, you need to realize, what your site will be about? Next, you need to create a semantic core of your project. Finally, you need to integrate the semantic core in your platform.
Add some text to your tag and category pages
If you use WordPress as your platform, you need to know that GoogleBot might consider some of your pages useless since they contain thin content. Yes, I’m talking about your tag and category pages. WordPress allows you to add some text to these pages. Don’t miss this opportunity. Otherwise, you could face the Google Fred sanctions.
Finally, the vital issue of your on-page optimization is a duplication of your own content. As a rule, most webmasters think only about external duplication; I mean when someone borrowed your data. But they always forget that a lot of pages on their websites are wholly or almost similar. For instance, you’re the only owner of your blog which you launched on the WordPress platform. These guys who created WordPress have conceived it as the universal instrument. As a result, WordPress allows you to manage multiple authors. But when you’re the only author of your blog, you have at least two identical pages, namely, your front page and author’s page. Aside from it, you might have just one category, which serves as another mirror of your front page. As a result, GoogleBot sees three identical pages and treats them as the duplication of your content.
There are many techniques to improve your SEO visibility in Google thanks to the on-page optimization. My guide to the on-page optimization contains thirty options. I’m sure that if you follow my rules, Google will reward you with good positions in the TOP 10. Remember, almost all the options presented above are vital. Don’t miss any of these rules. If you know some additional points to add to my instruction, feel free to leave them in the comments.
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