WordPress On-Page Optimisation
On page optimisation is about tuning up your site so it will rank in Google.
It is about removing ‘drag’ so that nothing is holding it back.
These are the things that you need to do to create an optimised web page;
- Main key phrase in H1 tag – usually the page title.
- Have secondary, or related, phrase in H2 tag
- H3 tag – at least 1 keyword or secondary phrase
- Another H3 tag with location (where appropriate)
- keyword density of key phases 1 – 3%
- LSI – related keywords must be present
- Image tags optimised with keywords and variations. Always use images and add videos where possible!
- Add authority links to your page – link out to government sites, industry bodies or trusted online resources (always open in new page/tab)
- Add meta-information – SEO title and meta-description (this one important as it is an ad for your business!)
A lot of the above will happen naturally if you are creating good on-topic content.
If your web pages are not fully optimised then you will not get the full benefit of any off-page SEO (link-building/content-syndication) that you engage in.
Fortunately, with WordPress and using certain plugins it is very easy to fully optimise a page or blog post.
Before you can optimise any pages you must first establish exactly what you are optimising for – you must research your keywords.
On Page Optimisation – Step-by-Step
First of all you write your content. When you are writing content write for your human reader, not for Google!
Whilst it is important to optimise for Google the first consideration is for your reader, so the first step is to write some useful, relevant and engaging content that will add some value for your reader.
You can read about how to choose a good topics for your web pages and blogs;
Once the content has been written you can then go back and optimise that content for Google.
Step one: Identify keywords
You will need one primary keyword, a couple of secondary phrases and some related phrases. Check out this post on keyword research.
Step two: URL Optimisation
In WordPress, unless it is your home page, it is simple to specify the exact URL that you want for any page or post.
With other types of CMS or e-Commerce sites you can often see ugly URLs that are too long and non-descriptive, for example;
Simply make the URL of your post your exact primary keyword and then your URL will look like this;
depending on how you set your permalinks up in WordPress.
The point is to get the keyword phrase into a short, relevant and descriptive URL.
Step three: Add in ‘heading tags’
Heading tags are similar to the sub-headings that you find in newspaper and magazine articles. They break up the text into sub-topics that help present the content in an appealing manner and give the reader an indication of what the next paragraph or two is about.
Google uses the headings to initially gauge what the page is about. Google wants to see relevancy, but also looking for over-optimisation so be careful not to spam the page with your keyword!
You will need;
- Main key phrase in H1 tag – usually in WordPress this is the page (or post) title.
- Have a secondary phrase in H2 tag.
- Have a related or secondary phrase in a H3 tag
- Possibly another H3 tag with location (if this is relevant to your business and has not already appeared).
Heading tags summary
- Your main keyword phrase MUST be in your H1 tag.
- Break up the text with two or three additional headings using relevant keywords or variations
- Be sure to use your heading tags in order!
- Only use one H1
- You can use more than one H2 or H3 but they must be in sequence.
Step four: Link out to Authority Sites
Add authority links to your page – link out to relevant government sites, industry bodies or trusted online resources like Wikipedia, etc.
Google rewards you for sending your visitors to relevant and trusted online resources.
Use the ‘open in a new window’ setting so that the user also stays on your site when they click the link.
Step five: Optimising Images
You should always use at least one image in your web page as Google favours pages with rich media. Your readers also enjoy looking at relevant images.
If you want to know where to get images from read this post;
When you upload an image to WordPress you are offered a number of options to add meta-data to that image. Remember: Google cannot ‘see’ images – it only read the HTML code!
Make sure that the image has a relevant title and add a keyword phrase to the ALT tag.
The ALT tag is for visually-impaired users who use screen readers to listen to web page content. Adding a relevant key phrase here tells Google that your page is relevant for the general topic and the specific keywords.
You will find the ALT tag on the right side of the image upload screen, see below;
Optimising Images Summary
- Add a relevant title
- Add a relevant phrase to the ALT tag
- Set the ‘Link URL’ to ‘None’ – WordPress automatically links to the image file when you upload an image – this is not good SEO practice.
- Add a custom link if you want the image to be clickable
Step six: Adding YouTube Video
Adding a relevant and useful video from YouTube helps you from a number of perspectives;
- Adds value to your page
- Google favours pages with rich media
- Research shows that users spend longer on pages with video than without – time on site and page views are important SEO metrics for Google.
- You can still add YouTube videos to your pages even if you have not created any videos!
Of course it is better if the video is yours but it is not imperative. Obviously you probably would not want to add videos from any of your local competitors – so find something from someone that is not a direct competitor.
Add your own written commentary before or after the video – you may/may not agree with everything in the video, or you may be able to expand further on a particular point – the important thing is to add value for your reader.
To embed a video from YouTube, click on the share button on the video’s YouTube page, then click on embed, copy the code and then paste it into your WordPress editor in ‘Text’ mode.
Step seven: Optimising the meta-description
This is the description that appears in Google search results and is massively important for both Google and the human searcher.
Google likes each page to have a unique and original description and will slightly favour pages that have one over those that don’t.
Just as importantly, this 150-odd character description is shown to your prospect before they click-through to your site – this is their first exposure to you! So why wouldn’t you make an effort to grab their attention?
Essentially it is an ad for your page or website which you can use to ‘steal’ clicks from competitors!
Generally people will go for the number one result, then number two and so on.
However, if your description is more relevant and more compelling than those ranked above you it is likely that searchers may click on your link rather than those above you.
To write a good meta-description you should;
add the main keyword phrase at the start, then hit ‘Space’ then ‘Hyphen’ then ‘space’ again so it looks like this;
“Main Keyword Phrase –“
Then write a description for the post that acts like an ad, or a trailer, for your page. Finish with a call to action – click here, read more, etc.
Here is a screenshot of a good meta-description;
As you casn see they both start with a keyword phrase, describe a geature or benefit of the service and finish with a call to action.
Note also how some words are bolded – these are bolded because the search query contained those phrases.
- Identify keywords for each service page
- Optimise URL with primary keyword
- Optimise headings with primary, secondary and related keywords
- Optimise image ALT tag
- Add relevant Youtube video (doesn’t have to be yours)
- Link out to a relevant authority site (open in new tab)
- Optimise meta-description for KW and call-to-action