Believe me, writing a tutorial is not easy about an ever changing topic. Search engine optimization is hard because of Google’s constant updates and the flood of information scattered over the internet. Google has well over 200 factors for ranking your website, but focusing on three basic principles of Trust, Relevancy and Authority could gain your website better ranking.
Trust: Your website has high-quality content and backlinks from reputable websites or sources
Relevance: Keep relevant contents on your website and use SEO techniques outlined in this article.
Authority:Authority before, authority now. How many followers on social media and how many backlinks you have.
I have written these steps as I follow them or want my team to follow
Step 1: robots.txt
Very simple text file: is the way to instruct search engine web robots for which page to visit or ignore from your website
User-agent: * Disallow: /
“User-agent: *” means all robots (Google, yahoo, Bing etc.), and “Disallow: /” means robot should not visit any pages on the website. If you have just started creating your website and your contents are in draft version, you are good to go with this. When your website is ready then you might allow some of the pages and some not. Read more about the robots.txt file.
Step 2: Keywords List
What is a keyword: phrase that you need your website to rank for in search engine results? It can be a single word or combination of words.
Normally three types of keywords are followed. Long-tail with three or more phrases like ‘action movies of Arnold’, informational to discover on a particular topic ‘how to’ or ‘what are the best’, and transactional used for a commercial activity such as ‘buy shoes online’.
Relevance to your business is very important for keywords selection, for example you are selling sports shoes in USA then relevant keywords might be
- buy sports shoes
- buy sports shoes online
- online sports shoes store the USA
- how to make sports shoes
- sports shoes images
Ways to making the list of relevant keywords
- Steal it from Competitors: Many tools available over the internet for scraping the list of keywords from a website such as SEOBook Keyword Analyzer.
- Brainstorm your keywords: Stealing from competitors isn’t always the best strategy. You know your business better and can identify potential keywords using suffixes and prefixes, mergewords.com might help you a bit
Step 3: Keyword Selection
You have created a list of keywords in step 2, now is the time for selection of keywords using an analysis tool such Google Keyword Planner. You need to signup with Google Adwords (free), access keyword planner tool, and click on Get search volume data and trends. Copy and paste your keywords in the box “Your product or service”, select a target location and click Get Ideas. You have the average monthly searches and competition for all of your keywords as well as relevant keywords from Google. Keep in mind, this tool is just helping you out in selection but you can’t depend 100% on it because it is mainly used in paid campaigns (Google Ads). It is suggested to use a mix of competition because all of the high competition might not bring your website on the first page at all since companies are investing on those keywords.
You can also use Ubersuggest to find out related keywords
Step 4: Setup Keywords on your page
Every page of your site needs to have one primary keyword and few (4-5) LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords, the keywords similar to primary keyword. To demonstrate an example of LSI keywords, lets say this article is about “on page SEO”, the following terms could be called LSI keywords
- on page SEO steps
- on page SEO techniques
- on page optimization
- checklist for on page SEO
Your Primary keyword is part of your HTML title tag, use primary and LSI keywords in “meta description” tag, and place comma separated list of primary and LSI keywords in “meta keywords” HTML tag. You need to write the description in a sentence in a natural way. Use these keywords wisely in your headings (h1 to h6), content, bold and italic text, navigation anchor text (menu), images files names, media (video) files names etc.
Step 5: SEO Friendly URLs
Clean URLs are SEO friendly as well as user-friendly, example as follows
If you (or your developer) are creating your website using HTML, or PHP, or Java, or .NET then you have to take this step into consideration while inserting URLs into your pages. In case you are using any content management system such as WordPress, then user-friendly URLs are part of it.
Step 6: Page Speed
Optimize your page loading, this is one of the biggest factors for search engines to rank your website. If your website is slow, a search engine will rank it low. You can find out the page load score using Google tool PageSpeed Insight, it will provide you score for both Desktop and mobile, as well as some suggestions to fix slowness issue. Most of the times, images, scripts, and CSS files are the culprits for slowness.
Step 7: Contents
Most important part, you have to be sure that your content is original, non-repetitive and do not match with any other site. If Google finds out any copy contents, it will be a heavy penalty for your website ranking. Content could mean text, images, videos etc. You can use Copyscape Plagiarism Checker.
Readability: Avoid spelling mistakes, use simple language and simple sentence structure to make your content readable for the majority of the audience. www.readability-score.com can be used to check readability score for your website. New Contents: A powerful strategy is to keep adding new and unique contents to your site on regular basis. Also, use social media accounts to post about new content of your site.
Step 8: Responsiveness
Quickly check if your website is responsive or mobile friendly using Google Mobile Friendly Checker. Search engine bots give importance to a simple page hierarchy, which is easily found in responsive websites. According to Google, it receives more than 50% of its searches from mobile devices, which makes responsiveness an important SEO factor.
Step 9: sitemaps.xml
sitemap.xml is a map of all the pages on your website, and it helps search engines to discover pages on your website. Most of the systems like WordPress, Magento, Joomla etc generates this file automatically. If you have to create it yourself then you can use tools like XML Sitemaps Generator. This file has to be placed on your website main directory. Next, you need to submit this file to search engines. You can follow the article How to submit XML Sitemap.
I hope this will help you in improving on page SEO in existing and new SEO projects. Appreciate your comments and highlight any mistakes.
Also below are the slides i presented in a Conference held at UMT Lahore, Pakistan on 23-sep-2106