How To Optimize Content Using On Page SEO

Follow this guide on how to optimize content for the biggest SEO impact.

According to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, content is one of the top 3 most important Google ranking factors (the other two being RankBrain and links). This On Page SEO Guide will focus on how to optimize content for your web pages and blog posts to give you the very best chances of showing up higher in the search engine results for your focus keyword using On Page SEO techniques.

In the world of SEO content has always been king. However simply having content does not mean that search engines will love it and that is why you should optimize content properly before you publish it on your website.

Accompanied by Off Site SEO optimization (with external link building efforts being part of the overall SEO strategies) and technical optimization (which includes, as an example, making sure your robots.txt file is properly set up and ensuring your website loading speed is fast), On Page SEO optimization is a necessity and needs to be at the core of your SEO efforts.

In this guide, you will learn the very best way to optimize content for On Page SEO optimization for your pages and blog posts.

But first let’s go over some basics of what we will be covering in this On Page SEO guide.

Objective of On Page SEO: To optimize content on each page as well as blog posts on your website to be more prominently displayed by the major search engines.

Ideal End Result: Your pages blog posts will be effectively optimized for a specific keyword phrase so that your article will be displayed as the most relevant content for a web search.

Why is On Page SEO important: On Page SEO is among the three pillars of SEO (together with Off Site SEO efforts as well as technological optimization). When combined they help companies rank higher in search engines. But regardless of how critical On Page SEO optimization could be, you need to never ever compromise the quality of your content.

Where Is It Done: This depends on the platform you are using to publish your content. Some people use a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal and simply start writing their articles in their CMS editor. That is fine if you just have a short post to make, however to optimize content for longer articles like this one, we prefer to use a more collaborative approach by starting out in Google Docs. This allows us to gather a list of topics, links, and initial notes so we can begin building a rough outline. Also if you have a content or marketing team Google Docs allows you to have multiple collaborators editing a single document with version tracking. It also allows you to explore additional related content easily so you can get additional ideas and citations for your content. Google Docs allows you to add notes and comments so you can finalize long articles. We used Google Docs to write and organize this very On Page SEO guide before posting it on our website.

When Should You Do On Page SEO: Ideally you want to optimize content before it is published. However, you can always go back and optimize previously published articles and improve them.

Who Can Do On Page SEO: You, your SEO professional, your webmaster, your content manager, content writer, or your digital advertising agency can optimize content.

What You Need Before You Start

Before you jump right in, there are some very important things you should have in place first. There’s this saying I always use when setting things up for my own websites or my clients.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” ~ ITDwebdesign.com

You can optimize content all day long but how do you know your efforts are fruitful? Here are some simple tools you can use and set up ahead of time to show you how well your content is performing.

1. Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a tool that allows you to add and manage tracking pixels and tracking codes without the needing to edit the code of your website.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a mandatory tool for any website that wants to track visitors, referrals, and conversion rates.

3. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool provided to webmasters and website owners to communicate directly with Google and get website performance information.

Content Structure

Focus Keyword/Phrase

The focus keyword or phrase is the search term that you most want your article to rank for when someone searches for that phrase or combination of keywords..

Page Title

Your title is the most important ranking factor for your content. Make sure to use your focus keyword in your title. The closer the focus keyword is to the beginning of your title the more weight it will have with search engines. Your page title should also be the only H1 heading tag on your page. This tells search engines that this is the most important heading on the entire page. The page title should typically be a maximum of 60 characters long. If you keep your titles under 60 characters you can expect 90% of your titles to display properly in search results.

Use Modifiers In Your Page Title

Adding a modifier to your page title like “Guide”, “Best”, “Review”, and “Top” will help to increase your rankings for long tail keyword phrases.

URL Structure

Just like your page title structure, your URL structure should include your focus keywords. The URL can be shorter than your title but make sure you format it so that it contains your keywords.

Always make sure your URLs are secure (HTTPS) as that will also give you a small boost in search results. According to SEMrush.com 65% of domains ranking for high-volume keywords are HTTPS.

Meta Description

Your meta description tells humans and search engines what your page or post is about. Make sure to include your focus keywords and phrases where applicable. Meta descriptions can be as long as you want but keep in mind search engines like Google generally truncate snippets at 155 – 160 characters. You want meta descriptions to be just long enough that they are descriptive. We generally recommend writing meta descriptions between 100 to a maximum of 155 characters.

Headings

HTML headings are classified starting with level 1 (H1) and ending at level 6 (H6). When headings are used properly on well-designed articles they will create an outline of the content.

You can used this very page as an example of how we have used headings for all of the various sections of this article. We have used H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags within this article. Here is an example of how a typical page or blog post can be structured.

  • Page Title (H1)
    • Subtitle (H2)
      • Section 1 (H3)
      • Section 2 (H3)
      • Section 3 (H3)
        • Sub-section 1 (H4)
        • Sub-section 2 (H4)
    • Subtitle (H2)
      • Section 1 (H3)
      • Section 2 (H3)
      • Section 3 (H3)
        • Sub-section 1 (H4)
        • Sub-section 2 (H4)

Benefits Of Using Headings

  1. Proper use of heading tags allows search engines to detect the page’s primary topics and helps search engines to know what the following content is about and better understand different sections of an article.
  2. Headings also enable users of assistive technologies, such as screen readers, to easily dissect the content when assisting those with disabilities.

Main Content And Paragraphs

Before we get into this section of writing your main content I want to take a moment and define exactly what is classified as “content”. What will you actually include in your article and how should you treat each type of content differently so it can more easily benefit your SEO efforts and optimize content more efficiently.

Content Types

Here are a few different types of content you may want to consider gathering before you start writing an article.

  1. Images – Gather related images that you will need that can help get your message across to your readers. We will talk about image optimization further down in this article.
  2. Videos – If there are any related videos that are worth embedding in your article you may want to consider using them. Videos offer a nice break for your readers and adds some stimulating content to accompany your text.
  3. Social Quotes – Embedding a short quote by an influencer from social media can help anchor your article’s statements.
  4. Audio – Adding an audio clip related to your content is another great way to add interest and engagement with your readers.
  5. Curated Content – Curated content that is related to your topic can be very useful when writing about