Before we start on the best on-page SEO techniques and strategies that you can use in 2020 to rank higher in the search engines, let’s first understand…
What exactly SEO is?
SEO stands for – Search Engine Optimization.
As the name suggests, it’s a process of optimizations that you do for your blog or website, so that your blog/site can be found in the search engines (eg. Google, Bing) for specific keywords or phrases relevant to your niche.
To make it simpler, let’s take an example,
Let’s say you’re into “weight loss” niche, and you’ve written an article “ten easy to follow tips to lose weight in 2020”
Now, someone around the globe Googled a phrase like “tips to lose weight”
So now what will happen, if you’ve done your SEO right then your article will show up in the search results and that person can click it and read it.
Why is SEO important?
Well for starters, SEO means FREE traffic.
Given, you have done it exceptionally well.
SEO is the only way to get free traffic from search engines. And who doesn’t want free traffic?
Many are saying “SEO is dead”. But the truth is, it is not.
I have been hearing this for the last 3 years (since the day I searched the meaning of this word “SEO” for the first time).
SEO is still as important as it was then and it is always going to be, as long as the search engines exist.
So, in one word, FOREVER. 😉
SEO being the most crucial part of a blog or site to rank in search engines, you can not ignore this.
There are various steps involved in SEO.
And based on the nature of the steps, it has been divided into two broad categories
- On-Page SEO – today we will talk about this only.
- Off-Page SEO
Let’s understand them better.
How is On-Page SEO different from Off-Page SEO?
On-Page, as the name implies, is done on the blog or website itself.
Optimizing the Title Tags, Meta descriptions, and Image Alt tags etc comes under On-Page SEO factors.
In short, whatever optimizations you can do on your blog without someone else’s interference, the optimizations that can be done by staying inside the dashboard only, are basically known as the On-page SEO.
More details on this are below, so read on…
Off-Page SEO is the other type of optimization that you do outside of your blog to rank on Google. It requires other people’s involvement, most of the times.
Link building, Blogger outreaching, Social media attention; these are examples of Off-Page SEO.
I will cover more topics on SEO in my upcoming posts. So, if you haven’t already subscribed to my newsletters then do it at the end of the post.
Like I mentioned above, today we’ll talk about OOn-Page SEO techniques only. Otherwise, it will too lengthy and you can easily get overwhelmed.
And that I don’t want. So, first work on the On-Page then we will dive into the Off-Page.
In this mega guide, I’ll break down what exactly On-Page SEO is and how to do it right to rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Spoiler alert: Some of the techniques might not work for you if you’re not on self-hosted WordPress. But the good news is there are still enough strategies that you can try on your non-Wordpress blog.
First, Importance of On-Page SEO:
The major importance of On-page SEO is everything here is in your hands. You can optimize your Title tags, Alt tags, interlinking or run a site audit anytime you want.
Moreover, if your site has a lot of optimized content than building an offsite presence with Off-Page SEO will be a piece of cake for you.
Because no one likes to link to content that is not worth the read. Everyone is looking for websites that have great content.
So, make sure you keep your blog strong in terms of On-Page SEO as everything is in your hands.
Now that you know how important On-Page SEO is for your blog, let’s kick start it…
First thing first, Submit Your Blog to Google
Before you could implement the On-page SEO techniques and strategies you’ll first have to submit your blog to Google.
That you can do by connecting your site to the Google search console and submit your sitemap or you could just submit it to Google directly by searching this term “add a site to google”.
But if you’re thinking long-term then I would recommend the first option. In fact, forget that there is a second option, just follow this guide and do it the right way.
If you’re on blogger.com, then you don’t need to worry about this step. Blogger sites are automatically verified by Google.
Once it’s done you can move ahead with the techniques and strategies.
Best On-page SEO Techniques and Strategies:
1. SEO Friendly URLs
Keep your URLs short and sweet. Research says that URLs with 3-5 words tend to rank higher in Google.
Moreover, Google loves short URLs:
For Example www.honingbird.com/start-a-blog (Good and short URL)
Avoid big or dynamic URLs:
For Example www.honingbird.com/p=123 (Dynamic URL)
For Example www.honingbird.com/8/6/16/cat=SEO/on-page-seo-is-so-amazing-omg-its-the-best (Long URLs)
Pro Tip: Always include your targeted keyword in the URL
Let’s say you are targeting a keyword “Off-Page SEO” so the page URL should be www.example.com/off-page-seo
2. Start Title with Focus Keyword
The title tag is the most important On-Page SEO factor which Google considers till-date.
Remember, the more near your keyword appears in the Title from start, the more weight it has in Google:
Let’s understand it better with an example:
Focus Keyword: “On-Page SEO”
Title Demo 1: Top 10 Important On-Page SEO Factors to rank in Google.
Title Demo 2: On-Page SEO: My secret sauce to rank high in Google.
Here Title Demo 2 will rank higher as it has the focused keyword in the first place and Google gives most of its weight to such titles.
3. Keep your Blog Post’s Title in H1
Make sure you wrap your blog post title in the H1 tag. If you are using WordPress then you don’t have to worry, as WordPress by default keeps all the blog titles in an H1 tag.
However, if you are using blogger or any other CMS or have a custom coded website than you need to take this point into consideration.
4. Use Multimedia Content
It’s 2020, and no one loves to read a raw form of text. The straight answer to this is using Images and Video content in your articles.
Multimedia content doesn’t help you rank directly, however with the help of images a user tend to spend more time on your website.
It’s an indirect ranking signal because the more time spent by a user on your website more are the chances for you to rank higher in Google.
5. Optimize Meta Descriptions
Although Meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor in Google they play a vital role in Click-through Rate (CTR).
Many internet users read the meta description before actually clicking the website.
And if your Meta Description is not optimized according to the human liking, chances are you might lose a potential reader.
So, always keep in mind to optimize your Meta Descriptions and include a final CTA. With a proper CTA (Call to Action), you are giving your reader a reason to click on your website.
If you’re not able to add meta descriptions to your blog posts, don’t worry, I have one workaround.
When Google can’t find the meta description or if it is not clear as per the searcher’s intent, Google will fetch content from your blog post that matches the keyphrase searched by the user.
So, what you can do is, frame the paragraph (where you have your keyword) in a way that it’s intriguing to the users.
6. Sprinkle LSI Keywords
After the Hummingbird update, Google Algorithm has started focusing on the overall relevancy and topical depth of the content.
There was a time when you could target just one keyword in the whole article and rank easily on the first page. That doesn’t work anymore.
Now, you need to sprinkle LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Index) in the articles to diversify your keywords so that Google understand the content better.
According to Search Engine Journal, “LSI is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content.”
Let’s say you are writing an article “the top 10 foods you should add to your diet to lose weight faster”.
Now, Google will expect you to talk about fruits, salads, juices or perhaps any natural food that is considered healthy.
But if you suddenly start to talk about supplements (which are not considered food), then you’ll just make Google confused.
By doing this your main topic intent is lost. And you won’t be able to rank for a keyword like, “foods to lose weight faster”.
So, if you want to talk about supplements, write a different article with an accurate title.
7. Drop Focused Keyword in the First 100 Words
This is a very important point to keep in mind while doing On-page SEO.
Your keyword should always appear in the first paragraph of the article. Advisable to add it in the first 100-150 words.
The benefit of adding your keyword in the top 100 words or the first paragraph is that you are allowing Google to get an idea about your topic right away as soon as it starts to crawl the article.
8. Proper Interlinking
This is a skill not everyone can master. But I know you can.
Interlinking is so important that I have even heard that 2 internal links now have the power of one external link.
Also, a well-linked article can help reduce the overall bounce rate of your users and keep them on your website for a longer period of time.
Always interlink your low PA (Page Authority) pages to high PA pages.
Brian Dean from Backlinko does this the best.
9. Outbound Linking
In all your article at least have one outbound link to a high authority website, that is relevant to your niche.
This way Google will understand the topic of your article and also it will give a signal to Google that your article has a ton of information related to the topic discussed.
10. Image Alt Tags
Google cannot read images. So in order to understand images, Google tries to read the Image’s Alternate Text.
Limit the content of Alt tags to 125 characters. As the most popular screen readers can not fit in beyond 125 characters of Atl texts.
While doing On-Page SEO for your website, make sure you include your focus keyword in the image Alt tags.
However, don’t include your target keywords in all the images as it will eventually increase the overall keyword density and chances are your blog might get penalized.
Instead, use long-tail keywords, in the Image Alt Tags.
Let’s say, you’re writing an article about weight loss, and your focus keyword is “best foods to lose weight faster”.
Now, instead of adding this keyword to all the images, add keywords that are relevant and has almost the same meaning as your focus keyword; like, “weight loss-friendly foods on earth”, “Foods to help you shed pounds”, “Tuna one of the best foods to lose weight fast”.
Given you’ve listed Tuna as one the 10 foods.
There’s one more reason why you should add an alt tag to images.
ALT tags should convey what the image is all about. It should contain enough information, so, if for some reason the images didn’t load up on some screens, the people should still be able to understand what the image represents.
11. Image Optimization
Images take up to 63% of your website load time. No one likes a website that takes forever to load.
In fact, a recent article from Search Engine Land stated that Google is considering Page Speed as a direct ranking factor starting from July 2020.
So, to be in the competitive race make sure you optimize all your website images with a plugin like WP Smush or Shortpixels.
Or alternatively, you can try an online image compressor like tinypng.com if you’re not on wordpress.org.
12. Boost Site Speed
As discussed in the above point, site speed is going to be big in 2020. If your site doesn’t load in 4 seconds or less than you are going to be in trouble.
The possible solution to this is, select your hosting provider wisely and use a premium CDN (Content Delivery Network) service like Cloudflare, KeyCDN, and MaxCDN.
The CDNs will help your site load faster.
I have been using Siteground as my hosting provider for some time now, and along with its in-house tool SuperCacher, it’s the best so far.
I recommend you to read my Review of SIteground WordPress Hosting
You Can Avail A 70% Discount on Any SiteGround Hosting Plan by using this link.
13. Mobile Friendly
Google is highly focusing on the Mobile-First Index; which means if your website is not optimized for Mobile devices then you already are out of the game.
As the majority of traffic from Google comes from mobile devices, hence they are giving mobile-first index the maximum priority.
If you are using WordPress CMS than make sure you use themes that are mobile-friendly.
Themes like Happy Themes, ThemeForest and StudioPress are good options to start with.
14. Post Long-Form Content
If you are still playing in the word range of 500-1000 and hoping to rank on the first page of Google, then you are playing it all wrong.
That way, you’ll have to wait forever to beat your competitors.
Because, if you check websites that are ranking on the first page of Google they all have contents that are more than 2000 words.
Yes, that’s the reality. Google gives more weight to long-form content and if you are not willing to write awesome long-form content than it will be really difficult to rank.
So, research well on the topic and write what your competitors have not covered, solve your reader’s problem and try covering the whole topic in one piece of content.
Check out my tips on how to write content that Google loves?
15. Boost Dwell Time
After the recent RankBrain update, Google is focusing more on the Dwell time of individual users on your website.
If a user comes to your website and immediately clicks the back button, that’s a signal for Google to understand what your page is not satisfying user intent.
If the same thing occurs multiple times you’ll see your ranking drop like a stone.
To boost your dwell time understand the searchers’ intent and frame your content accordingly. If you fulfill your readers’ intent through your article then both the readers and Google will love your blog.
16. Add Modifiers to your Title
Adding modifiers like “Best”, “2020” “Top” will help you rank for long-tail keywords.
To your surprise, you can easily rank for keywords after adding the current year to all your keywords.
Like for example “Best Keyword Research Tool in 2020”, “Best SEO Strategy of 2020”.
Ranking for keywords like “best keyword research tool” itself is difficult but just by adding the year, in the end, you can pretty much rank for all the keywords.
And the best part about this strategy is you get highly relevant traffic to your blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the mega guide to the best On-page SEO techniques and strategies for 2020.
Now, skim through the post again and see for yourself how I have implemented most of the points discussed today.
We have discussed the essential On-Page SEO factors, and now it’s your turn to implement them on your blog and squeeze the benefits out.
I am always here to help you out, so if you have any queries put it in the comments and I will surely get back to you.
If you liked the guide then do share it with your blogger friends.
P.S. if you find this guide bit too technical to your liking, please let me know, I will publish another post simplifying the terms that have been used in here.
I will be coming with more such amazing guides soon.