Have you ever wondered what things have in common all these pages that rank on the 1st page of Google?
You may already know where you need to place your target keywords, but sometimes we all miss some details.
Wouldn’t be better if you had an on-page SEO checklist you can use every time you publish a new post?
Grab your free On-Page SEO Checklist by subscribing on this form:
1. Search Intent
Currently, Search Engines use AI, machine learning, and complicated algorithms to evolve and serve the user better.
Google is now prioritizing “Search Intent”. This is the most important point you should have in mind when you create new content.
What is Search Intent?
With a few words, it is what the user really wants to find when he/she types a query on Google.
When you type the following query on Google: “Get rid of face acne”, what you would like to find?
- A list of some affiliate products to help you solve your problem?
- How a specific person tried to solve this problem?
- A step-by-step comprehensive guide to walk you through this process?
Well, the majority of users would click on the last one.
This is actually what Google’s algorithm is trying to understand and serve its users better.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that all posts should be comprehensive guides. The point is to invest some time to fully understand what users want to find when they enter a specific query.
Then, create content around it.
2. Schema – Structured Data
This is actually one of the latest trends that the whole online industry is spinning around.
But what’s exactly structured data?
It’s a new way (code) that search engines use to better understand and analyze what your content is about and register a post accordingly.
But why should you care about it?
Studies have proven that pages using successful structured data enjoy higher rankings on Google.
How can you easily implement structured data on your posts and website?
To avoid time-consuming tasks such as editing your CSS or hiring someone to do it, you can simply use a WordPress plugin such us “YoastSEO” (Updated recently) or “Schema Structured Data” to automatically implement structured data on your website!
However, you should use only one plugin for this purpose. Otherwise, you may confuse search engines and your posts can show errors on “Google Search Console”.
Further, structured data can even help you get a question snippet on Google’s 1st page!
You can achieve that by implementing a “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) at the end of your posts (using Yoast’s FAQ block on the new WordPress Editor.
Also, you can get a snippet by answering a common question directly below a subheading.
3. Using keywords in the right places
Although search engines have evolved and keyword stuffing is no longer a successful strategy, placing keywords strategically is still working.
No matter if you’re trying to rank for long-tail or popular keywords, you should always place them on:
- H1 heading (Post’s Title)
- At least on two H2-H3 subheadings
- On each post’s first paragraph
- Occasionally throughout the post (intro, body & summary)
- On 2-3 images’ alternative descriptions
- On each post’s snippet/meta description (the text that appears on Google under the post’s title). It may don’t affect rankings directly, but studies have shown that including a keyword on the snippet attracts more clicks and eventually higher rankings.
- On post’s URL
- First 50-100 words
Note that if you have a new blog/domain, you will not be able to compete with industry leaders for popular keywords.
This way, the only solution is to target long-tail keywords even if they have a lower search monthly volume. Even if you use long-tail keywords, placing them in the right places is still important.
Another important tip is using LSI keywords (keywords that are similar to your target keyword) throughout the post. So you can avoid keyword stuffing and give Google a better idea of what your content is about.
You can find these LSI keywords by looking on Google’s suggested keywords when you perform a search or by using a free tool like LSIgraph.com
4. Page’s Speed
This isn’t the first time you hear that a page’s loading speed affects rankings, but it’s surprising how many new webmasters fail on this stage.
Make sure you have a quality web-host with fast loading speed. Not only search engines will rank you much higher, but you also get more visitors.
Studies have shown that 50%-60% of users abandon a website if it fails to load faster than 3 seconds.
This way, 3 seconds should be your point of reference and try to make your pages load faster that than.
5. Internal Linking
This might be the most undervalued on-Page SEO technique.
Linking to your own posts not only helps you to generate more page views but it also helps your rankings to increase as search engines understand better what your posts are about.
How often should you interlink on a post?
The short answer is as often as it makes sense! Do you have a relevant post that would make sense to link on a relevant anchor text?
Then you should absolutely do it!
Another common strategy webmasters use is placing something like “Also Read: (Name of post)” or “Check also: (Name of post)” throughout a post and link directly to other posts of a page/blog.
On the other side, you should avoid interlinking on irrelevant pages or placing unnecessary links that can confuse the users and the search engines.
This is another under-used strategy as it’s time-consuming but it worth the effort!
Right after you publish a fresh post, it’s a good strategy to go back to older relevant posts and interlink to your fresh one.
It’s really simple but it may seem boring.
This way, when Google indexes your newest post, it will already have some backlinks (even if they’re from your own website) & it can improve its ranking.
It’s much better than indexing it without even a single backlink, right?
7. Submit Your New Post for Faster Indexing on Search Console
After you publish a new post and place interlinks to it, you should submit your post on “Google Search Console” for faster indexing.
To achieve that, simply copy your new post’s link and paste it on Google Search Console’s search bar.
Then click “Test Live URL”. A box will appear saying that URL is not on Google and it will ask you if you want to request indexing (it’s normal since you just published the post).
On the “Request Indexing” box, click “Yes”. That’s it!
However, this doesn’t guarantee that your page will be indexed within a few minutes, but it guarantees that Google will notice your page and index it soon.
Last but not least, if your page first ranks on the 5th page of Google, it doesn’t mean that it will not rank higher eventually or the opposite.
Google is continuously collecting data and make relevant adjustments. This way, if your post is indeed high-quality, it’s much likely that it will slowly move towards the 1st page.
About Keyword Research
To find if you have any chances to rank for a certain keyword, you’ll need a professional SEO tool.
Of course, not every post you publish has to be focused on SEO. For example, I can’t rank for this post due to hard competition but still I published it to provide value to my readers!
If you can’t afford the monthly subscriptions, you can purchase a tool for a month, do your keyword research and then export all the info you need into one or more spreadsheets (the majority of SEO tools have this option).
The most budget-friendly and effective tool is Keysearch ($17/month if paid monthly) and it also offers a 30-day trial.
Many other paid SEO tools offer free trials, so you don’t even pay to start performing your keyword research
Do you insist not to use a professional SEO tool?
Then, you’ll need to perform manual research using a tool like Mozbar (extension for Chrome).
How to use Mozbar to perform manual research:
- Install the extension
- Type your target keyword on Google search bar
- Check the DA of all pages that rank on the first page (should be the 10 first results)
- Check if they have relevant content for this keyword. If they don’t have relevant content, you outrank them if you create better content
- Compare their DA with your blog’s DA. If there’s a huge difference or if the 10 first results are full of super high DA pages, you should skip this keyword or try a long-tail version of it
- If your blog’s DA is higher than the first 10 results, you can rank on the first page if you create quality content and follow the on-page SEO tips
On-Page SEO Tips to Rank on Google’s First Page
Keep in mind that there’s tough competition trying to rank as high as possible on search engines and you should use all means you can to enter this competitive field.
On-Page SEO is something you can’t afford to miss if you want to see your pages to rank as high as possible!
Make sure you fully understand “Searcher’s Intent” and provide useful content around it.
Further, you should pay attention to some technical aspects such as the site’s loading speed, using structured data, and interlinking.
Last but not least, using keywords wisely can be a game-changer!
On-Page SEO is the part of search engine optimization that you can control. Make sure you do it as best as you.
To help you with that, I created a free On-Page SEO Checklist (Printable or fillable, check the ticks on your PDF viewer)!
Grab your checklist by subscribing on this form: