Getting your on-page ranking factors right can really help your ability to rank.

The Nuts & Bolts of On-Page Ranking

Do you know what on-page ranking factors Google bot uses to determine how well you will rank?  If you want Google to show you some love, follow the outline below when writing your content. Add the Yoast SEO plugin to your WordPress and it will really help you with your on-page ranking strategy.

Content

There is content, and then there is good content.  Good content should have the keywords that you want to rank for, be detailed, and linkable.  If a visitor comes to your website and you answer all of their questions, then you have provided good, quality content.  If they must leave your website and continue searching, then you have dropped the ball on the content.  Your content needs to be as detailed as possible.

Good content gets into the nitty gritty and shows that you are an authority on the topic.  As an expert on your topic, try to share as much as you can so that a novice or a pro may learn something new.  When you show value, people begin to trust you and come back to you for more.  Good content will also be linkable inside your website (internal linking).  It will also link out from your website to other websites and social properties like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

Good content has keywords!

Another on-page ranking factor is keywords. Your page must contain the keywords you are trying to rank for. Without them, the search engines will not deem your content relevant to that topic.  You need to use your keywords as well as LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords as much as possible when writing your content.  In doing so, Google picks up some of the related terms you are trying to rank for as well.  A great tool for finding these LSI keywords is LSIGraph.

 

Good content gets to the nitty-gritty.

Just as this post is detailing the on-page ranking factors that affect your website, you need to do the same if you want your website to rank.  For example, if you own a bike repair shop, write content about repairing a bike tire.  Shoot a video about it too.  While you are explaining all of these things, mention the tools needed to repair a bike tire.  Talk about where they can buy such tools if they want to do it themselves, and the prices of such tools.

By sharing such details, you will appeal to the people who want to do it themselves. Subsequently, you will convince the rest of them to just bring it to you, the trusted authority on the topic.  First, you showed your value by explaining that you understand what to do; then you proved that you can get it done quickly so they can get back to bike riding.

Good content is linkable.

From a human perspective, links help someone understand your content more easily.  Links are often used to take the reader to another page, either on your website or another website, that describes the linked word or phrase.  This makes the user experience better.  From an SEO perspective, it’s great for search engines because they crawl web pages and look for keywords and links they can follow.  if you have enough of them, they will understand that your content is relevant and make a “mental note” that your content is good.  I say mental note jokingly, but they are trying so hard to make Google bot behave like a human with AI (Artificial Intelligence) As of this writing in 2018, they have not perfected that yet, but it’s crazy the technology Google has.

Types of On-Page Links

  • External Links: These are the easiest links to have.   These are links from content on your website to other websites that have a decent amount of authority on the subject.  These links will significantly help your content appear more relevant to search engines. External links are a crucial part of your on-page ranking strategy.
  • Internal Links: These are the next easiest to have.  The reason they are not as easy as external links is that you actually have to create the content and the pages on your website before you can create the links.  So, it takes time to build up to the number of internal links you want to have.  These are links within your own website. These links are great for further explanation of your products or services.  For example, if you have a blog on your site talking about a safety fair your bike shop sponsored, you might link to your page about bike helmets and to your product listing for bike helmets in your shop.

Off-Page Links

  • Inbound Links: These are the most difficult part of your off-page ranking strategy. These links come from other websites to your website.  For example, if you link to your website from any social media, this is an inbound link. Other, more coveted links, come from websites that have a high domain authority for their keywords. For example, if you are a bike shop and the supplier you buy your helmets from links to you as an authorized dealer, this is a good link to have because it gives credibility to you.  These inbound links are much harder to get and that is why companies pay people like me to go out and find (or build) these links for them. Other high authority links that add to your on-page ranking strategy can be purchased.  Some of the most popular ones are the Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureaus, directory listings that typically a yearly membership for a nominal fee.  These are good inbound links that help humans to trust you because they give credibility.  They are also great for search engines because they show that you are relevant for your keywords, and that is how people are searching and finding you.  Inbound links are the hardest to come by, but because of that, they are also the ones that help your on-page ranking factor the most. When another website links to you, it’s like giving your website a vote of confidence. The more “votes” you get, the better.  So what we do in my SEO world is build links to your website from high authority websites to help your website move up in the ranks for your keywords.

The Title Tag

What is a Title Tag?

A title tag is an HTML element that tells you what the title of a webpage is.  A title tag is meant for search engines to find and display in a clickable SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  They are clickable links of what the page is about for relevancy, SEO, and social sharing.  Here’s an example of what one looks like:

What the code of a title tag looks like to Google:

<head>
<title>Your Title Here</title>
</head>

How long should the Title Tag Be?

Typically the first 50-60 characters are shown, so if you keep it under 60 characters, that’s ideal. A great tool that can help you with your on-page ranking and optimization is the Yoast SEO plugin.  I really like this tool because it has a place for you to edit your title, slug, and snippet. (more on those later) I like this plugin so much I wrote a blog about it.

How should I format my Title Tags?

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
The Nuts & Bolts of On Page Ranking – Content | Michelle On Point

The URL

The structure of your URL is very important so that when the search engines crawl your site, they understand what the page is about.  For example, if your website is about bike repairs, a good URL structure might look like this:

  • http://bikeshop.com/repair/brakes

In the example above, the URL clearly shows the hierarchy of the information contained on that page of the website. This information is used by search engines to figure out if your webpage is relevant for the information being searched.  The URL structure affects your on-page ranking because if it is not friendly to the search engines, they will crawl right past it.

An example of a bad URL structure might look something like this:

  • http://bikeshop.com/12tu7rxnvq/fjkjkfldjfkau

This tells the reader NOTHING about what URL they are about to visit. It also puts a question in their mind about whether or not they can trust the site they are about to visit.  You can have complete control over this, so why not go ahead and make it something good?

As you can see, URL structure is a very important on-page ranking factor because it helps humans and search engines understand what your web page is about and if it is relevant to their search.

Alt Tags

What is an Alt Tag?

An alt tag is a description of an image on a web page that a visually impaired person using a screen reader, will be read what the image is about to gain an understanding of the image on the page.

Why are alt tags necessary?

  • Alt tags help search engine crawlers properly index your images.
  • If your image cannot be loaded for some reason, the alt tag will be displayed in its place.
  • They help the visually impaired understand what the image is.  This is probably the most important reason for using an alt tag.