Complete on-page optimization guide with WordPress SEO plugins
Let’s learn on-page optimization today. I have a page on my site, where I give away these best SEO plugins for WordPress, so I’ve decided to teach people how to use these tools properly. I’m sure not everyone knows how to do proper on-page optimization for their articles, posts, categories, tags, etc. But it’s very simple!
I remember reading David Wood’s blog few days ago, and in one of his SEO articles (Dave’s SEO knowledge is amazing, by the way!) he said that on-page SEO is mostly pointless, and a waste of time. It’s all about authority as Dave said. And I agree :)
You see, when you reached certain level of authority, every single of your posts will rank high without you doing any backlinking. Most of my posts rank on the first page of Google on the last spot now. David’s posts could appear anywhere between #1 and #6 spot I think, without any on-page SEO, because his site accumulated tremendous authority. So from his position on-page optimization might be a waste of time (plus non-optimized posts always look better). My site doesn’t have that kind of authority yet, so I use on-page optimization as a tool to get better rankings. When you buy a new domain, it has exactly zero authority, and nothing will be ranked anywhere, without you doing some good-old backlinking.
So people with new sites should do on-page optimization.
To gain authority you need a LOT of good content and powerful high-PR links (preferably relevant to your niche) to your homepage and inner pages. Then it starts to get easier and easier.
Let’s get to the topic. Basically, what you need for great on-page optimization is this: h1, h2, h3 title with your keyword; picture with your keyword, URL of your post/page/category with keyword, your title with keyword, proper tags and meta description & title. Meta keywords are not used by search engines for a looong time, so don’t worry about these.
Here is how proper on-page optimization should look:
(CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO OPEN IT IN ANOTHER WINDOW, FULL-SIZE)
I’ve taken one of my previous posts, as an example.
First thing you want to do, is write a title for your post. Exact same title will be used for your post/page URL automatically by WordPress. If you made a mistake, and want to edit it later, you must edit your URL manually this time (click edit, paste it and click OK). Then paste your article title in the post box, as the very first thing. Make it H1 (if you don’t know how to use WordPress formatting panel, watch a video on youtube, it’s beyond simple). Insert that same title in “SEO Title:” in WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. Now you can begin writing. The main point is to write a good, engaging, informational or useful article. It’s all about the readers, so don’t think about keywords. Usually, in 9 out of 10 cases you can easily repeat your keywords multiple time throughout the article, effortlessly.
When you are done, select 2 sentences with your keyword and make H2 and H3 titles out of them, if possible (you need to make them stand-alone sentences before that, because otherwise your whole paragraph will become H1-H3). Find a picture and insert it in the article. Use a keyword as alt tag, but not just bare keyword, add a word or two after it, or before. So in this case, my keyword is “on-page optimization” and my alt tag for the image is “on-page optimization best example”. You can use 2-3 images, Google loves them. But use different alt tag for every image.
You can always use H4-H6 tags, but it’s almost impossible to make your article look good with all those tags. Frankly, it will look like shit if you use them all. That’s why you must use a great looking font (choose from Google fonts) for your H1-H3 title tags, and make these titles much smaller, by default they’re incredibly big and ugly. Just look at the screenshot above and you’ll see.
Instead of those 3 additional title tags, I use additional keywords at the bottom of the article. I color them into something very similar to background so they become barely visible. Don’t use exact color of your background – your text will disappear. And that old trick was punished long time ago by Google, so don’t try to stuff a lot of invisible keywords everywhere. But the Google bots aren’t that smart to identify my little trick, so it’s absolutely safe :) And it gives you the keyword in the last sentence, which is another plus.
After all this is done, write a meta description – just a short overview of the post, under 150 characters. Use your keyword closer to beginning, if possible. Then create tags with Digi Auto Links plugins manually and remove the ones that are very similar. Then use your exact keyword (in this article it’s “on-page optimization”, for example) in 2 fields: SEOPressor Keyword, and focus keyword in WordPress SEO by Yoast. You will see these 2 fields just below your post area. That’s it! Everything else will be done for you, by these SEO plugins. They will automatically find your keywords, and SEOPressor will make them bold/italic/underlined.
It’s a good practice to link to any of your other pages from the article. I don’t do that, because my theme has a built-in function which finds links to related articles just under my post. But if your theme doesn’t have such function, I encourage you to link to homepage or to few related articles.
Also, it’s good to link from your post to relevant authority sites, like wikipedia, yahoo news, etc.. Just make sure that the link is “do-follow” (it’s “do-follow” by default in WordPress, so don’t worry about that).
It’s rather unknown method, but it’s effective – Google rewards you for linking back to relevant authority sites, allowing your visitors to read more about the subject. It must be “do-follow” because Google knows that affiliate marketers are extremely wary of giving out links to anyone. So if all your links are “no-follow” (which means they don’t pass any of the backlink power to external website), your rankings will suffer. Personally, I haven’t tested if this penalty is true, but it’s just not worth risking.
Let’s look at our WordPress SEO plugin dashboards:
Basically, all you need to know is this – everything must be green, then you are in a really good shape :) If you can get your score in SEOPressor up to 93-95% – fantastic! But don’t sacrifice readability and looks for it, 80%+ is nice already. Optimal keyword density is anywhere from 1.5 to 3%. 1% is okay too, don’t sweat too much about it. More than 4-5% and it’s getting spammy, and Google will not like that. I think the biggest score I got out of SEOPressor naturally was 98.87% or something like that.
It’s possible to do optimization without plugins too, but it takes more time (you need to do everything manually) and you must be focused, since it’s easy to forget little things like underline/italic/bold. And of course you can’t really tell what’s your keyword density.
Another little thing is using optimized categories. Categories are important in WordPress (tags have very little importance on the other hand). If you can fit your keyword(-s) in the category name, description and title – perfect! If you can’t, don’t worry too much. It’s impossible to include keywords from every post you’ve made, so keep categories names short and specific, and not spammy.
Creating a category for each post will do you no good. For posts about or related to Empower Network, for example, I have category called “Empower Network”. Because it has multiple posts in it, it ranks very well. Actually the category itself ranked on the bottom of first page of Google for “Empower Network” for some time. And that’s not even a post! So when you can use appropriate categories – do that.
I didn’t plan to talk about homepage optimization, but here is a quick tip – include few keywords in your title and meta description, not just one. Other than that you can include your name to always appear on top for it. Because it sucks to be beaten for your own name :)
And one more thing – be careful with URL’s of your posts and pages. If one day you decide to come back and change it, all your backlinks to that post/page will be evaporated, because you’ve changed URL structure. So make sure you remember that.
I think that concludes on-page optimization tutorial. I will come back and add more material, if I missed something.
If you have any questions, ask in the comments below! And please share this post!