On Page SEO

On Page SEO is the stuff that you do on your own website. It’s what you have the most control over, and compared to Off Page SEO, I focus on this stuff way more. Why worry so much about things you can’t control?

Actually, my on page SEO efforts are quite simple. Broken down into broad categories, here’s what I do.

  • Keyword optimization
  • Internal linking
  • Good user experience
  • Fast Website

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization is probably the one most worth discussing. Again, it’s pretty simple. My most basic form of keyword optimization for any phrase is going to be:

  • Keyword in the title
  • Keyword in the first paragraph

Yup, that’s it. Sorry folks, no complicated strategy here. For longtail, low competition phrases, this is enough to rank on page 1. You won’t always get it, but a lot of times you will. I’m not saying I ban myself from using any other optimization on the page, but most of what else happens on the page does so naturally. For example, if my keyword is ‘BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes’, I would definitely fit that into my title and first paragraph somewhere as explained in the “ranking for keywords” section of this book.

The rest of the post? I just write a natural article. Words directly related to my keyword choice will occur naturally, and I may even actually use the exact keyword inadvertently! Things like ‘BPA free’, ‘mountain bikes’, ‘water bottle’ will occur in the context of other sentences as well.

Sometimes, when I feel like I want to do a bit of extra optimization to improve rank or give me an edge over the competition, I try to fit my keyword into a few most spots (naturally of course). Please don’t take that phrase “give me an edge over the competition” as an indication that this will guarantee you outrank your competitors. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You need to find a formula that works for you.

Anyway, here’s what I do sometimes:

  • Keyword in an image alt tag
  • Keyword as an image title
  • Internal link to related post with LSI keyword as anchor text
  • Outbound link to relevant article or website
  • Keyword in h3 or h4 tag
  • Keyword in the last paragraph
  • Internal link FROM another post (on my website) using keyword as anchor text
  • Bold/italics/underline relevant phrase

Important Definitions!

  1. Anchor text: the phrase you use as your hyperlink
  2. H3, h4 tags: text formatting use to make your text bigger (like paragraph titles)
  3. Alt tag: piece of code that tells Google what an image is
  4. Image title: text displayed when you hover over an image
  5. Internal link: A link from one page on your website to another page on your website
  6. Outbound link: A link from your website to a different website

NOTE: I don’t do ALL of these on EVERY post. I use SOME of them on SOME posts

Internal Linking

Why do I keep mentioning this when it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal? It’s going to help your website in two ways.

For one, it’s going to create a positive user experience for people. They can find and view related information to what they were originally searching for without leaving your website and doing another search. They will be able to dig deeper and investigate if they want, or just keep reading the current article they’re on. It keeps people on your site longer, improving on page metrics, and overall rank of your website.

Secondly, it gives you some power to tell search engines exactly what this page is about. Your keywords already give a very strong hint, and that’s often enough to get ranked. But as you create more links from other pages on your site TO this page, it tells the search engine bots even more loudly that your keyword is definitely the subject of the page. Link it three times from three different pages, and sooner or later they will take a hint.

Careful though, like any ranking metric, the more you do, the less power it has. You can do it once for a big hint. Twice for another good sized hint. The third time Google is thinking, “OK, I get it bro.”. And as you add more links to that page, you may see diminishing returns on your efforts. Also, using the exact same phrase every time probably isn’t a good idea. Mix it up with similar phrases of different lengths and related keywords too.

For example, with the BPA free bottle example above, here are some example anchor texts you might want to use. You can see that some are exact matches, some are broken down, and some just capture the concept of the article you are linking to.

  • BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes
  • BPA free water bottles
  • Water bottles for mountain bikes
  • Preparing water for your adventure
  • Good water bottle
  • Bring enough drinking water

About siloing: Some people flip their lids over over siloing, but it’s really just a form of internal linking. A “silo” is just a way to organize your website structure. You have a main site title, then 3-5 main categories based on keyword research. If your site is about mountain biking, your 3 silos could be:

  • Mountain bike repair
  • Trip planning
  • Biking personal gear

Sound familiar? Yeah, we already did that when we chose made the core concept pages for our website in chapter 6. You may also divide those into sub categories. For example, you can use the three phrases above as categories, then the four phrases below as tags in the trip planning category:

  • First aid preparation
  • Food and water preparation
  • Map reading
  • Emergency training

Categories, menu items, tags, breadcrumbs…these are all internal links to other pages on your website. Because Google sees these as running themes, or often-talked-about topics on your blog, you become more optimized for those keywords (and other related ones). I chose poor keywords in those examples, but you can dig up high traffic phrases for your own site if you want.

The interesting thing is that most people will create this structure naturally, either in the beginning through habit, or over time out of necessity. A well organized website won’t make or break your business, but it can help to create a good user experience, make your job as a writer easier, and maybe boost some keyword optimization for your website.