Sure, offpage SEO (aka link building) is more important than onpage SEO. However, don’t neglect the onpage elements. They’re easier to implement. Also, you have total control in onpage SEO whereas in link building, you’re hoping that through your efforts other people will link to you.
1. Keywords, keywords, keywords
Use Google’s keyword tool and type in some search terms that relate to your blog.
For example, let’s pretend you have a Hawaii travel blog. I typed in “hawaii travel”. Here are some of the terms I got back:
- hawaii hotels
- hawaii travel guide
- hawaii travel packages
- maui hawaii travel
- adventure travel hawaii
- hawaii honeymoon travel
- hawaii resorts
- honolulu travel
- nonstop travel hawaii
Take those keywords and write posts about them. Keyword research is doing market research. You’ll find out what people are searching for and you can write posts to match their search terms.
You’ll be using keywords for the rest of tips so do some keyword research before moving on.
2. Title tags
Insert your keywords in the title tags. If possible, add more than one keyword in the tags. The closer a keyword is to the beginning of the tag, the better you’ll rank for that keyword.
The title tag is what shows up on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Write a descriptive title and you’ll get more clickthroughs.
Don’t make your title tags too long. Google will only show the first 70 characters on the SERPs.
Another reason to include keywords is because they are bolded on the SERPs. The bold text will increase your clickthroughs.
Each of your title tags should be unique. For example, if your have a tech blog, don’t use “Tech Links” as your title for your link posts. Instead, vary it. Try different titles like:
Tech Links: Including iPhone Craziness and New Facebook Ads
Tech Links: Airline Software, Urban Robots, Solar Panels, and More
3. Internal Linking
Point more links to your best content. The more links pointing to a page, the better it will rank.
I’m a fan of putting your best posts on the sidebar. Chris Pearson’s blog is a good example of this type of sidebar. What about the category pages? Are your category pages really that important? Do you want them to rank? I would move them to another page.
Use links in your blog posts to guide your readers to your best content. It takes some creativity and thought to link from a blog post to another, but it’s worth it.
When linking between blog posts, use keywords in your anchor text. However, don’t overdo the same keyword. Instead, use many related terms and synonyms. For example, if you want a page to rank for “hawaii travel”, link to it using related search terms that you find through keyword research. Here are some related terms from Google’s keyword tool:
travel to hawaii
hawaii travel destinations
hawaii travel info
hawaii travel information
hawaii travel tips
4. Meta Description Tag
Write a unique description in the meta description tag for each of your pages. The description often shows up on the SERPs. Google cuts off the description at 155 characters.
Write a descriptive description to get more clickthroughs. Include keywords in the tag because they are bolded on the SERPs like the keywords in the title tag.
If you’re using WordPress, check out this plugin. (Thanks, Markus.) The plugin makes it easy to add a unique meta description to each of your pages.
5. Body Text
Insert your primary keyword(s) in the opening paragraph. This encourages the search engine visitor to continue reading. Insert related keywords (that you find in your keyword research) throughout the post. This keeps you from keyword spamming. Also, you’ll rank for more search terms.
6. Use Images and Alt Tags
Not only do images make your blog look better, they allow you to rank on image search engines. Go to sxc.hu for free images. Make sure to look at the terms. Some photographers require notification and attribution of credit if you use their pictures. If this is the case, link back to the photo page.
Use relevant keywords in the image alt tags.
Most important rule: Don’t sacrifice readability. If a keyword doesn’t sound right, don’t use it. If a link doesn’t fit a post, remove it. You’re writing for humans not search bots.
Onpage SEO is often forgotten by many bloggers. However, by following the above simple tips, you’ll build a good foundation for getting search traffic for months and years to come.
What are some other easy-to-implement onpage SEO tips?