When search engine optimisation (SEO) comes to mind, you may think about keywords, keywords, and more keywords.
Truth is, they only comprise a small chunk of the pie.
There are more ways you can boost your website for SEO — and do so yourself.
What is On-Page SEO
Search engines are all about domain authority. The more your website earns backlinks, reviews, and mentions all over the internet, the higher it ranks on Google.
These factors belong to off-page SEO — something you have little direct control over.
What you can improve on is your on-page SEO.
As the name implies, on-page SEO includes techniques you apply on your own web page or site. This involves tweaking not only your content but also your website’s backend.
Don’t worry; on-page SEO isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
On-Page SEO 101: How to Optimise Your Webpages
Improve your readability
Long ago, search engines ranked webpages through the number of keywords.
This led to keyword stuffing — a black hat SEO tactic that tricks search engine algorithms.
Today, search engines have improved at recognising quality content. And they love a readable copy as much as we do.
But how readable is a readable copy? Here are tips to take note of:
- Structure your content. Bundle topics, order your ideas and use headings (we’ll get to this later).
- Write short sentences. The lengthier the sentence, the harder it is to process.
- Avoid using the passive voice. Writing in the active voice gets your message across much faster.
- Make your content appealing. Avoid repeating the same words; use synonyms. Use transition words — like since, also, most of all — to cement your content together.
- Leverage the Flesch test. The Flesch reading ease test grades your text on a scale from 1-100. The higher your ease score, the more readable your copy is.
Add internal links
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to another page on your website.
To get a better context on internal links, visit a Wikipedia page. See how the content has links to other Wikipedia pages?
Your web pages should also do the same.
Internal links don’t only improve website navigation and architecture. They also spread link equity — a search engine ranking factor in which a link passes authority from one page to another.
How do you add internal links?
Create your cornerstone content
Cornerstone content are the pages or posts that you really want to rank for. These are the ones most relevant to your brand — and they reel in targeted traffic. Think of Ultimate Guides or online tools that drive a ton of engagement.
When creating new posts, make sure you manage to link them back to your cornerstone content. This gets the attention of search engines and increases your chances of landing in the SERPs.
Insert contextual links
If you’ve published similar content, link them together.
This will not just lead your readers to your other content — it also informs search engines that these posts are related to each other.
There are two ways to contextual linking:
- Create links within the posts themselves. Let’s say you have an article about the types of shoes and another that tackles shoe stores in your area. In your shoe types article, mention “shoe stores”. Select that phrase and link it to the corresponding article.
- Add a Related Posts section. Add a plugin to the bottom of your articles displaying a list of relevant content within your website (e.g. YARPP, Shareaholic). Make sure to test the plugin — check if it does show related posts.
Add navigational links
Do you have categories and tags for your content? Link your posts to the category/ies or tag/s they belong to. Also, add links to your categories and tags in your homepage.
This will organise your site and help users — and search engines — navigate it easily.
While you’re at it, add a link to your cornerstone content from your homepage!
Add links to popular or recent posts
Add a section containing links to your popular or recent posts on your website — ideally in the sidebar or footer. This makes it easier for your readers to access your content and spread your link equity.
Add outbound links
Outbound links are links from your website to another website.
Now, you may be hesitant to link to other webpages. What if your audience leaves your website? What if these links spread link equity to other pages instead of your own?
But it’s actually good practice. We even did it in this article!
Outbound links make your site more credible. They show that you’ve exerted effort to provide more information to your readers. And when you give educational content to your readers, they’ll come back to you for more.
Also, linking to other pages helps Google understand what your content is about — and rank you better.
But before adding outbound links, take note of the following:
- Link only to quality sites. If you want to be credible, you have to give credible information, too. Linking to spam sites will only let Google tag you as one.
- Avoid user-generated links, like from your blog comments. You may allow your readers to include a link to their website in their comments — but always look out for spammy links.
- Disclose any paid advertising. If you have affiliate links in your content, inform your readers what they are. People trust businesses that value transparency.
Use heading tags
Headings are HTML tags used to structure content within a webpage.
Use heading tags when writing your content. In the frontend, you’ll see the different heading levels in text editors and word applications.
Heading 1 holds the most importance. Heading 2 is followed by Heading 3, and so on.
Aside from structuring your content, headings boost your SEO by:
- Improving accessibility. Headings are in HTML, so they’re understood by assistive technologies like screen readers and braille terminals. What’s a win for accessibility — and humanity — is also a win for SEO!
- Creating better quality content. Headings make your copy readable. They also emphasise what the page is about.
Locals also trust businesses that hit home. By using a ccTLD, you don’t just tell them you cater to them — you’re also embodying the values they believe in.
Add an alt text to images
People keep 65% of certain information for up to three days when it’s paired with a relevant image.
People are simply visual — and it’s time you use it to your advantage.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to add an alt text!
Alt text — or alt tag — is the written copy that appears when an image on your website fails to load.
It’s another factor that improves your website accessibility. Screen-reading tools read the alt text to describe images to visually impaired users.
Another SEO tip? Insert relevant keywords to your alt text.
Google depends on your alt descriptions to understand images and place them on image search results. That’s another traffic source to get your hands on.
Create a sitemap
A sitemap is an XML file that holds a list of all individual pages within your website. Think of it as your website directory — only it’s not for your visitors.
Sitemaps help search engine spiders “crawl” or follow all links to your site. They make sure the bots don’t miss out on anything.
The more pages search engines can index from you, the more authority your site gains. In turn, your website shows up and ranks on search engines.
Create a sitemap through the Google XML Sitemaps plugin on WordPress. Activate the plugin and it’ll generate the sitemap for you.
Along with internal linking, your page URLs need to show the hierarchy of information within your website.
Here’s an example of a good URL structure:
Start optimising your page URLs with the following tips:
- URL length. Make your URLs too long and you may hurt your page’s visibility on search engines.
- URL path. The closer your pages are to your homepage, the more search engine authority they get.
- Keyword in URL. Add relevant keywords to your URLs to give your pages a slight boost in search rankings.
Search engines now mimic human responses. So optimise your website for users first, then search engines second.
Either way, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone when you follow this quickstart guide by heart.
Don’t have time to boost your site’s SEO? Let our experts do it for you.