A Short OnPage Optimization Guide

SEOPub

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Because someone that does not know me at all decided to declare that I do not offer anything helpful on this forum or other forums... They obviously know nothing about the hours I spend helping people one-on-one who reach out to me for help, for free. But to show that there are no hard feelings, here is an actual onpage optimization guide. This is taken word-for-word from my members area and has been not posted anywhere else.

Enjoy...


Over the past 18-24 months, I believe that Google has turned up the dial for onpage SEO factors. Meaning, they are counting them more heavily than before. That doesn't mean links are useless (they heavily turned up the dial on internal links), and no, content is not king. However, you can give your webpages a head start over the competition by making sure you are hitting these primary factors.


onpage-optimization-guide.jpg


A Title Tag

Generally, I try to keep my title tags under 65 characters. Google used to limit them to 70 characters that they would display in the SERPs, but they have changed that to pixels, so it depends what letters you are using. W uses more pixels than I. At 65 characters, you should be fine. That guideline mostly has to do with your click thru rate versus SEO. You will get a better CTR if your full title is visible in the SERPs.

As far as SEO value, the title tag is one of the most powerful onpage factors. Do not overlook it. Do not just throw something together. Your main keyword phrase should appear first or as close to first as possible.

If you are targeting senior life insurance,

Senior Life Insurance Great Rates Free Quotes

Would be preferable to

Get great rates and free quotes on senior life insurance

A mistake I often see is a business name or the webpage name appearing first in the title tag of every page. I am not against appending a business name to the title tags, just do it at the end.

Senior Life Insurance Cobra Kai Financial Group

Versus…

Cobra Kai Financial Group Senior Life Insurance

B URL Structure

Make sure your primary keyword appears in the URL. Use hyphens to separate keywords.

www. example.com/senior-life-insurance

Versus…

www. example.com/seniorlifeinsurance

or

www. example.com/senior_life_insurance

There is some debate about how Google treats underscores. Some people think they treat them like hyphens, but I have seen some tests that say otherwise. Just avoid them.

Use the hyphens. Do not leave it up to search engines to guess where the word breaks should be. Let's say you created a new keyword tool you named Keywords Hitter. You give it a root term and it spits out a list of some of the best related keyword options. Now if you were writing a webpage about it, and did not use hyphens, it would look like

www. greatdomain.com/keywordshitter

Is that Keywords Hitter or Keyword Shitter?
(NOTE: Keyword Shitter is an actual keyword tool.)

I already wrote a guide with some other tips on URL structure here. Make sure you check it out.

C Business/Contact/User Links

You can think of links on your page as a declining gradient. Generally, each link is weaker than the next. There are some other factors that go into it such as sidebar links versus in-context links, etc. But as a general guide, the first links on your page are the strongest. So do not waste this prime real estate on Contact Me or About pages. Avoid links here at all if you can. Web users are smart enough to know that they might have to scroll to the bottom of a page to find those sort of links, so stuff them in the footer.

D Logo/Header

A couple of things to keep in mind here. First, if you are making your header a clickable image to your homepage, then I would not put a homepage link in your navigation menu. You are just adding more links and diluting them all.

If your header is a clickable image, make sure you are using alt text to give it some keyword relevance. Search engines see alt text in pretty much the same light as anchor text when an image is a link. Do not leave it blank. Do not use just homepage or home. Make it relevant.

E Navigation Menu

Again, these are prime links. Do not waste them. If you are using a home link in your navigation, one trick you can do instead of just using home is to use a small image for the home link and add alt text to it to make it a more relevant link.

Normally I am linking to categories of the website in the navigation. Fairly broad terms. I'm not going to put something like best senior life insurance quotes online in the navigation menu.

F Article or Page Title

This should be in H1 tags. It should be keyword rich. Some people like to make it the same as their title tag. I like to change it up and make it something similar or even use some LSI keywords here.

For example, using the title tag I mentioned above where I am targeting senior life insurance…

Title Tag Senior Life Insurance Great Rates Free Quotes

I would use something like

Life Insurance for Seniors

Or

Finding Great Rates on Life Insurance for Seniors

For my page title. Keep it similar to what your title tag is though. You don't want users clicking on your search result and finding a page title that is unexpected.

G Beginning of Your Content

When it comes to in-context links, this is your prime linking area. Whether you are linking to an external website or an internal page, this is ideally where you want your most valued link to be.

I won't push aside user experience at the expense of that, but if I can get my link in the first two paragraphs in a way that makes sense, that is where it is going.

Also, any kind of sub-headings you build in the article you want to properly categorize with H2 tags and even H3 tags for headings within headings.

H Image Optimization

This is another spot many marketers fail to take advantage of. There are a few things you want to make sure you do with your images. First of all, give them a file name with your keywords or some very closely related keywords in them. Use hyphens.

senior-life-insurance.jpg

Not

seniorlifeinsurance.jpg

Other examples

senior-life-insurance-quote.jpg
shopping-for-senior-life-insurance.jpg


Search engines will parse the file names at the hyphens. Do not leave it up to them to guess.

Next, use alt text with keywords. Sometimes I will even put a longer, more descriptive bit of text in the alt text.

Life insurance for seniors
Life insurance for seniors quotes
An elderly man sitting at a table about to sign his senior life insurance policy


These would all be acceptable in my view. This is a great place to use some LSI keywords.
You want to minimize the file size as much as possible on images without compromising image quality. This will increase the page's load speed. You can do that with something like Photoshop or Gimp (free Photoshop knockoff).

Lastly, resize your images to exactly what you need on your webpage. A lot of webmasters will use HTML/CSS to resize the image. They might have an image that is 1000 x 800 pixels that they resize to 250 x 200 in the code. The problem with that is browsers are loading the full 1000 x 800 pixel image, and then resizing it. It creates a bigger file size that will take longer to load, unnecessarily. So resize your images first, then upload them.

I Link Out

If you are going to link out to another relevant site, this is the place to do it, a little further down in the content. Linking out to other relevant authority pages is a useful signal to search engines to tell them further what your page is about.

Wikipedia is not the only authority out there. Don't fall in love with it and think that every authority” link you build has to be to Wikipedia.

J Footer

This is the weakest area to put links. So put all the stuff you do not care about ranking (Contact Me, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, Disclaimer, etc. pages) here.

A big mistake from an SEO-perspective that I see a lot of webpages make is they duplicate most or all of the links that are in their navigation bar again in their footer. All that does is weaken all of your links throughout the entire site. Some big sites can get away with that. None of us have sites of that sort of authority.
 
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SEOPub

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Come on, I can not believe You deleted my post... that's funny :D
Because you are just trying to keep a fight going. I deleted your post and edited the first paragraph of this thread.

If you want to discuss the content of the post, feel free.

We are not continuing that argument.

EDIT: The one from the beginning is me.
Nobody cares.
 

Joe S.

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This is the weakest area to put links. So put all the stuff you do not care about ranking
Why the footer is the weakest place to put links, do you have any proof to explain the problem obviously?

If I put backlinks on the footer, it can affect SEO onpage?
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
Footer links do not have a negative impact, but they are weaker than links in the header or in your content. Your sidebar is usually weaker too. If you look at the text version of a page, you will see that usually the sidebar is shown after the main content and just before the footer. It is one of the ingenious things that Wikipedia does with their onsite optimization. Their logo and main navigation menu actually renders near the bottom of the page. Their content is all first.

This was something that was really easy to test back in the days when Google updated PageRank regularly. You could find all kinds of sites where the homepage was a PR 6 and then the contact or an about me type page which was linked to first in the header was also a PR 6 or 5. You could setup sites like this yourself to test it.

I first noticed it a long time ago buying old domains for private network sites.

Think about it from Google's perspective too. Normally, where are people going to link to things they care about the most? Near the top, right? And where are they going to put links that they feel are not that important? At the bottom. If something was REALLY important, you would not drop the link at the bottom of the page.
 

yunarel

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B URL Structure

Make sure your primary keyword appears in the URL. Use hyphens to separate keywords.
From B point, I'd like to ask you about URL, because I am using wordpress for my blog and ranking it

With picture above,

www.example.com/category/keyword-keyword
for article link, I should use this structure

www.example.com/category/keyword-keyword
I mean I will remove category when viewing a blog post.

Is it right way to handle URL for SEO in wordpress?
 

SEOPub

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Yunarel,

I have setup URL structures both with and without the categories. It kind of depends on the site and the category names. I usually do it without the categories because otherwise the URLs can sometimes get really long. You also have to be careful with something like this...

Say your domain is lifeinsurancecenter .com

I would not want to use...

lifeinsurancecenter. com/term-life-insurance/life-insurance-for-seniors.

You have the phrase "life insurance" in the URL 3 times then. I have not tested this sort of structure extensively, but it seems like the sort of thing Google might frown upon if they do not already. I would rather be safe than sorry.
 

Tim Dutch

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Thanks SEOPub, awesome post.

Just a question about the logo.
Do you think putting your logo in H1 tags will increase your main keywords ranking, or will it not be a good idea because you will have double H1 on your posts?

Have you experimented with this?
 

Emilio

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Emilio
I saw more wordpress theme using logo in H1 tag but I removed it to make pure logo without wrapping h1 around it.

According to me, it's not a good idea because H1 should be putted content in it and H1 should have your main website keyword there.
 

SEOPub

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Tim, to be honest, I have heard of people messing with that idea, but I have not tried it myself. I just never really saw a reason to. If you are doing everything else right on the page, I think any boost from doing that would be minor at best.

But if you want to give it a try, experiment and please share what you find.
 

SEOPub

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Speaking of Wordpress themes, my friend Yukon built a pretty solid one that he is giving away for free. It does not have all the bells and whistles of some other themes, but it actually silos your pages and incorporates some of the stuff that Wikipedia does which I mentioned above.

Even if you did not use the theme, you could learn a little about onsite SEO just from seeing how it works.

You can download it for free here. In that thread he also explains how to use it properly and some of why he did what he did.
 

SEOPub

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I need to add something to this guide about sidebars. I don't know why, but I kind of skipped over sidebars when I put this together. I am working on updating it in my course, but will not be changing the OP here.

Sidebars can go one of two ways. The majority of sidebars are set with a float command so that they appear next to the main content, but in the code, and the text version of the website (which is the most important view of the site) they appear after the body of content and before the footer. This makes any links in your sidebar very weak links. Slightly stronger than footer links, but not much.

On the other hand, you can also code the page so that the sidebar still appears next to the body of content, but actually shows before the content in the text version. It's just a matter of how the 'float' command is used. In other words, the search engine bots are going to see this first before seeing your content. This makes any links in the sidebar stronger, closer in strength to your navigation/header links.

As I said above, you can use this in different ways and a solid example is what Wikipedia does. They put their navigation, logo, and sidebar all together. It renders looking like it is beside the content with the logo at the top. If you look at the text version of their pages though, all of their sidebar content is being read by bots as coming after the main content. They put a heavier emphasis on their in-content links than their navigation, which for a site like Wikipedia makes a hell of a lot of sense.
 

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Thank you for sharing these useful tips, on page optimization is the first thing you should concentrate on when making a website.
 

Ron Killian

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Awesome post SEOpub!

I'll be taking a closer look at my sites with your info.

Fantastic idea of using an image for the Home links with alt text. Never liked that text being home myself, but keywords looked odd and don't always fit in a navigation menu. Just need to see if I can use an image in my menu's.

Couple questions if that's okay.

What about breadcrums? Positive or negative? If the theories hold true, it seems they could be a good way to get more power to links that are usually in the sidebar and get less juice.

Also, as far as url's, I get that the keyword showing up 3 times is too much, but what about twice? Still quite negative? Some times it's difficult to get permalinks like you want them. Woocommerce products is an example. Only so much you can do with those.

Thanks again for the share :)
 

SEOPub

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Ron,

Glad you found it useful.

SEO-wise, I generally hate breadcrumbs. The way I teach building silos (and I silo everything), breadcrumbs are pretty much useless. The more links on a page, the weaker each link is. Breadcrumbs are just a huge waste of links.

I would try avoiding the keyword showing up in the URL more than once as much as possible. I don't think it is going to kill you if they are there twice, but I would try to avoid it.
 

Ron Killian

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Ron Killian
Well it's a good thing I did not use them. Thank you for the input.

As for the keyword showing up more than once... if you "have" to use a word in a url (required for woocommerce product urls to work correctly), would you use a keyword you want to target and that might end up max of twice in a url, or a word you don't need to target? Is that a dumb question?

Now you need to do a post about recovering from slaps :)
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
I would just use the best description of the product, period.

As for recovering from slaps, it is generally not that difficult. I have done some posts around that in my members area. As long as you understand what brought about the slap, it is not that hard to go about fixing it. Sometimes, it is a better use of time to just dump the site and start on a new one. Most of the time, I recommend starting a new one while trying to fix the old site. Best case scenario, you get the new site ranking AND you recover the old site. Now you have two sites taking up SERP space.

An easier solution, is to just understand how to not get slapped in the first place :)
 

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Such an useful post. But I believe Keywords in url has very little value now. Yes it was an important ranking factors in past and may have some advantage for now, but it will not have any big impact if rest of the things are fine. Thanks again!
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
Notice, I'm not talking about keywords in the domain name. I'm talking about keywords in the URL of internal pages. It absolutely is a factor, and a fairly significant one. Test it for yourself, then tell me how it has little value.
 

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Either I was unable to express my thought, or you got me wrong. I didn't tell that it has no value, I wanted to say that it has less value. If you are great on every other factors you can still rank on first page without having keywords on url. If homepage can rank on first page without having exact match domain, then why should not a deep page can rank. Does google use two different strategy for home page and deep page?

For this keyword "best coconut oil for hair" you will find amazon is ranking on position 7. You will not find keyword in URL there.

Still I am with you, that Keywords in URL has some SEO advantage, but compare to other factors, specially Title tag, heading tag and body contain, it provides less value.
 

Ron Killian

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Hope this not another dumb question...

What is your definition of a "social signal"? Seems that term gets over used these days.

And what makes one good and what makes not not as good?
 

Ron Killian

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But all the SEO Guru's or those pretending, say it's of the utmost importance these days.. LOL

Thought I read you mentioning social signals or building/buying social links. Must have been a different post/person. My mistake :)
 

SEOPub

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Yeah, and none of them can present one bit of evidence that it helps in rankings. They mix up correlation with causation.

They think that because a lot of top ranking sites have a lot of Facebook likes and shares that social signals must be a ranking factor, never bothering to think that the reason they got all those likes and shares is BECAUSE they are a top ranking site. More traffic just logically means a site is likely to have more social signals in most cases.

Nobody has ever found a single site ranking well because of social signals even in just a moderately competitive SERP.

If someone starts telling you that you need Facebook likes and Twitter tweets to rank, run the other way.

And if you don't want to believe all the evidence to the contrary, just think of it from a business perspective for Google. Why in the world would they make anything a significant part of the ranking algorithm that they could be shut out of without notice at any moment? It has happened before with Twitter. Google has a contentious relationship with Facebook, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities there. What would happen if one day Facebook blocked Google? The SERPs would be totally F'd up.
 

Steve32

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Hope this not another dumb question...

What is your definition of a "social signal"? Seems that term gets over used these days.

And what makes one good and what makes not not as good?
Social signals are the likes, shares, votes, pins, or views people place on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and other social networking sites.

My definition...

Social Signal: A complete and utter waste of time having nothing to do with SEO.
I think it still has affections on SEO althought Google didn't show you it as a ranking factor.

What made you think, it doesn't have the value for SEO?
 

SEOPub

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Show me one site that is ranking based on social signals.

Google has repeatedly said that social signals have no impact.

Also, read what I said above. Google would not implement something that they could be restricted from. If they counted Facebook likes as a ranking factor, and then one day Facebook blocked Google from crawling their data, the SERPs would be thrown out of whack. And do not tell me Facebook would never do that. Twitter did it to them before.
 
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