People who consistently rank on the first page of search engines do two things very well:
First, they follow on-page SEO best practices that are proven to get results.
Second, they execute those best practices on every post they publish, 100% of the time.
Now you’re probably wondering:
“How do I discover the best on-page SEO techniques that actually work?”
Well, my friend, today I’m going to make it easy for you.
Below you’ll learn 12 simple on-page SEO techniques you can start using today to boost your rankings on Google and rank on the first page for your target keyword.
1. Use SEO-friendly URLs
Matt Cutts (from Google) has stated that the first 3-5 words in a URL are given more weight.
So keep your URL short and simple. And make sure it includes your target keyword.
For example, my target keyword for this post is “on-page SEO best practices”.
So my URL is: tywrites.com/on-page-seo-best-practices
There are two types of URLs you should ALWAYS avoid:
- “Ugly” URLs: tywrites.com/p=147
- Long URLs: tywrites.com/7/31/17/cat=SEO/on-page-seo-best-practices-12-ways-to-rank-on-the-first-page
Got it? Great!
Here’s how to create SEO-friendly URLs fast using WordPress:
First, type your post’s title. WordPress will self-generate a long URL.
Hint: Seeing an ellipsis (“…”) in your Permalink URL means it’s too long.
Next, click the “Edit” button beside the URL. Then enter the new URL (include the target keyword).
Finally, click the ‘OK’ button.
2. Start Title With Target Keyword
Your page’s title tag is the second most important on-page SEO factor (after content).
So it’s best to include your target keyword at the front of your title.
Brian Dean from Backlinko does this and consistently ranks at the top of Google.
Keep in mind:
You don’t need to start every title with your target keyword. But strive to have it as close to the beginning as possible.
3. Wrap Your Page Title in an H1 Tag
An H1 tag is your page’s “headline” tag.
And today’s web designers consider it to be more important for ranking higher on search engines now than it was before.
One case study by SearchEccentric proved the H1 tag’s importance when it helped Motor Cars Ltd. boost one of their keywords from the 200th spot to the top spot on Google.
But how do you know if you’re using H1 tags effectively?
Most CSMs (like WordPress) automatically wrap your page’s title in an H1 tag. But custom themes can override that setting.
To be safe, check your site’s code.
Here’s how to do it using Chrome on a Mac.
1. Go to the page you want to check and press Option + Command + U. This shows your post’s source code.
2. Press Command + F to search for “h1” (without the quotes).
3. The results will be highlighted.
You should see: <h1> ‘your post’s title’ </h1>
If your search finds no results, then you’re not using H1 tags. Add them ASAP.
Make sure there’s only one H1 tag per post and that it includes your target keyword. Any more and you risk confusing Google.
Not using Chrome and/or Mac? No problem. Check out this article from KissMetrics to learn how to see your source code with your particular setup.
4. Mesmerize With Multimedia
Most text-only posts are dull and boring.
That may be why Google seems to favor posts with more engaging multimedia.
Not to mention, multimedia-filled posts tend to have lower bounce rates and higher dwell times. Both of which lead to higher rankings in search engines.
Take Neil Patel for example…
His posts are filled with engaging multimedia that help him consistently rank at the top of Google for highly competitive keywords.
Neil’s ten most recent posts on his site, Quicksprout, contain an average of 15.2 pieces of multimedia per post!
The million-dollar question is …
Which types of multimedia should you add?
Images, videos, and infographics all work great as long as they’re relevant and add value to the post.
Here are three common ways Neil uses multimedia on Quicksprout:
- To show readers how to do something.
- To highlight important data and statistics.
- To display specific examples related to the topic.
5. Use Target Keyword in First 100 Words
Your target keyword should occur within the first 100-150 words of your page.
Many writers make their intros too long … rambling on about stuff that’s not important to the topic, resulting in keywords that are placed much later in the post.
Why’s that a problem?
Because placing your keyword sooner in your post helps Google figure out what your post is all about.
Take this post for instance …
My target keyword shows up in the second paragraph – words 20-23.
This combined with my URL, post title, image optimization, and LSI keywords clearly indicates my target keyword is ‘on-page SEO best practices’.
6. Use Outbound Links
Outbound links to related pages are a foolproof way to boost your on-page SEO.
They do two things that Google likes:
- They show Google what your post is about.
- They help turn your post into a hub of useful information.
A good rule of thumb to follow is 2-4 outbound links for every 1,000 words.
Here it is in action on SearchEngineWatch:
But if your post requires more, don’t hesitate to add them.
What should you link to?
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to use outbound links is linking back to resources used when quoting specific statistics and data.
Who you link to reflects back on your site. So make sure you’re linking to relevant authority sites related to your topic.
7. Use Internal Links
Internal links are another easy way to rank higher on Google.
But it’s a strategy that many of my clients fail to use on their site (and one of the first that I implement).
Aim to have at least 3-4 internal links in each post – all linking back to older, relevant posts.
Want to see a great example of internal links in action?
Look no further than SocialMediaExaminer.com. They add multiple keyword-rich internal links to every post they publish.
8. Boost Site Speed
It’s no secret that Google uses site speed as an SEO ranking factor.
But that’s not the only reason it’s important …
Users will ignore websites that load too slow.
MunchWeb has stated that over 75% of users would not revisit a page that takes longer than 4 seconds to load.
So make sure your site loads in under 4 seconds.
You can easily check your site’s speed for free using GTMetrix.com:
9. Insert LSI Keywords
LSI keywords are synonyms that Google uses to determine a page’s relevancy and quality.
So drop a few throughout your post.
Between 2-4 LSI keywords will do the trick.
To be honest, I don’t worry about them too much. That’s because I tend to write longer posts. So they naturally show up in my content.
But if you want to make sure you’re using LSI keywords, here’s a quick and easy way to find them:
First, search your target keyword on Google.
Then, scroll down to “Searches related to …” at the bottom of the page.
Finally, choose 2-4 words from this list to put in your post.
10. Optimize Your Images
Google has its own page that talks about the importance of image optimization.
So it goes without saying that Google views image naming as an important ranking metric.
And here’s why:
If Google sees one image with the file name “stainless-steel-cookware” and another with the name “ceramic-cookware”, then it’ll know the page is about cookware.
So don’t forget to edit your images’ File Name and Alt Text.
And make sure that at least one image in your post has:
- Your target keyword in the File Name.
- Your target keyword in the Alt Text.
11. Add Social Sharing Buttons
How does adding social sharing buttons effect on-page SEO, you ask?
It doesn’t … directly.
But it does get more eyeballs on your post.
Think about it:
Social sharing buttons lead to more page views. Which lead to more sites linking to your page.
And the more inbound links to your site, the more likely you’ll rank higher in search engines.
BrightEdge proved this with a study that showed that posts using social sharing buttons gained seven times more social mentions than those that didn’t.
So which social sharing buttons should you add to your posts?
TrackMaven examined 2 billion social shares and found that the vast majority came from two social networks, Twitter and Facebook:
It’s a safe bet to have between 2-4 social sharing buttons on your post, making sure to include Facebook and Twitter buttons.
Just don’t get carried away …
When you have more than four social sharing buttons the amount of shares you get for each post will most likely go down due to choice overload.
12. Increase Dwell Time
Nothing tells Google that your post is irrelevant faster than a visitor immediately hitting the back button.
That’s why increasing dwell time is a crucial on-page SEO best practice.
The longer a visitor spends on your post the more Google will view it as authoritative and worthy of a higher ranking.
There are three proven ways to boost your post’s dwell time:
- Write quality posts that are 1,000 words or greater.
- Saturate your post with engaging multimedia.
- Use internal linking to keep people on your site.
WordStream uses these techniques regularly to get higher dwell times and page one rankings on Google:
Now It’s Your Turn
Today you learned about 12 simple on-page SEO best practices you can use to land your content on the first page of Google.
Now it’s time to put them to use.
Leave a comment below and let me know which technique you’re gonna tackle first.
Will you update your old URLs and make them SEO-friendly?
Or optimize your images.
Either way, leave a quick comment below right now.