Search engine optimisation or SEO, is a key part of writing content for blog sites and marketing websites.
In essence SEO is the process of getting noticed and ranked by google and other search engines, so that potential customers and readers can find your site when they are searching for something, that is relevant to your niche area.
This particular article is part of a series that I have written which explores many of the different aspects of SEO including;
In this article I’m focusing specifically on what needs to happen ‘on the page‘ as you write your content.
The following headings provide a breakdown of each section that I will look at.
- Keywords – it’s all about content
- Content – make it readable, accessible and original
- Comments -always engage and answer questions readers ask
- Alt Tags – images have their own ranking potential
- H1, H2, H3 tags – make your message stand out
- Meta Tags – don’t rely on google to describe your content accurately
Keywords have received a lot of attention over the last few years. Initially these were the only way in which search engines could categorise posts and pages, and they were manually added into the text and code of posts. Nowadays they serve a slightly different purpose.
In terms of on page SEO, keywords are still important, because as well as helping to rank a page they also help to focus your writing and keep the content on topic.
This then ensures that when the reader clicks on your link in the search engine, they know exactly what you have written about and what to expect.
Search engines are constantly trying to improve the results they provide to searchers. So for example a search for ‘best orange juice‘ doesn’t want to reveal an article on ‘my journey on the big orange bus’ or ‘history of orange county’.
So Google is digging deeper and looking for associated keywords words or words that are linked like ‘orange juice’ rather than just ‘orange’.
Long Tail Keywords
Key words were initially just one word, but as search engines have become more complex and search results more numerous, then long tail keywords have been used more frequently.
Long tail keywords are phrases or more than 2 words, and give google more description about the context in which you are writing about.
So if my article is ‘how to make good quality orange juice’ then google is fairly confident that this is what the searcher looking for ‘best orange juice’ is after.
Remember there is no point being ranked highly for a topic that is not what searchers are looking for.
If you are ranked as number one when a searcher is looking for a recipe on orange cake, and they visit your site but quickly leave again, because it is not relevant, then eventually google will start to penalise you (rather than their system) for providing the wrong ranking information.
The search engines are constantly changing how they index and rank pages on websites and Google’s hummingbird update in 2013, marked one of the biggest changes to the search algorithm that google ever announced.
The new approach that google has taken is to focus on the needs of the searcher rather than the website. The searcher wants answers to questions and good quality information, so google is now actively looking for this as well.
Thin content such as new websites, short blogs and lots of external links to sales sites are not ranking as well. Instead more established and reputable websites, with longer posts and plenty of internal links to pages and external links to other content sites are all ranking higher. The following infographic explains some of the other changes that google is now using to rank pages.
The info graphic shown here also mentions that websites should aim to answer the questions that searcher might be asking. One of the easiest ways to show this is by having an interactive comments section.
Comments are a great way for readers to ask questions about the topic and for the author of the site to demonstrate their expertise in the subject matter. All of which can convince google that the site should have higher ranking than other less expertise sites.
Managing comments is not always that easy but if you are interested in a short training on how to manage and make the best use of website comments you can access it at Managing Website Comments.
Alt tags are another way in which keywords can be added to your content and which are often overlooked by writers. Alt tags are found within images and can be filled in when you upload an image, or alternatively in WordPress by using the pen icon to edit an image that’s already been uploaded. the alternative text box can then be accessed.
There are two main purposes for an alt text description.
- To enable people who have a visual impairment to understand what the image is about since they are not able to see the images.
- To enable google to know what is in the space (google can’t see images either)
The description don’t have to be very long but it just informs google what is happening on your page.
H1, H2, H3 tags
H tags are used to divide the content up into manageable chunks of reading.
H = heading and these are the different sizes of heading that you can use within your content. Within WordPress there are often up to six different options, these headings are also used for formatting text and ensuring that it is easy for the reader to see the content.
For example in this article I have used H2 tags for each of the subheadings and they serve two different purposes.
- They break the content down into clear sections, so if the reader wants to skim through and look specifically for ‘SEO on Alt tags’ then it is easy to find.
- They tell the search engine that these are key topics within my article, so anyone looking at keywords, alt tags and H1 tags may be interested in this article.
The meta description is given to google in the form of a couple of sentences, that summarises what the page is about. It doesn’t directly affect how google will rank the page, but it does affect whether searchers will think it’s relevant to their needs.
Some WordPress sites use specific SEO plugins that will write this content for you, such as the All-in-One SEO plugin.
If you let the plugin write this for you it will often take the first line of text from your content. However what might be an effective opening statement for an article might not work as an overall description of the article. So this needs to be checked and if necessary amended.
This covers the main aspects of your on page SEO techniques, if you are interested in further reading on this subject there are links below to some relevant articles that are on this site. You can also sign up for the e-mail newsletter and stay up to date with the latest blogs and information on the home page.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you asap.