If you have done any sort of On-Page SEO for your website, I am sure you have made a few blunders like over-optimizing On-Page SEO that is costing your site some serious search engine traffic.
Before I reveal them, a little SEO history lesson:
Turning Point Of On-Page SEO
Back in the day around 1999-2003, on-page was all the madness. Webmasters went absolutely mad with their on-page SEO –stuffing their sites silly with meta keywords, bogus links, and keyword-packed content.
Then after a Google algorithm update that wiped many of these sites from the map– site owners put all their effort into acquiring backlinks.
Things stayed that way until a young Malaysian SEO guru named Daniel Tan released a WordPress plugin that changed SEO forever. His tool named SEO Pressor was brilliant in that it automatically scored your WordPress posts and pages for their SEO value.
Since its release in 2009, SEO Pressor has gone on to sell a jaw-dropping 15,000,000 copies. However, many SEO experts claim that Google has caught on to SEO Pressor’s on-page SEO optimization and are again penalizing sites yet again for overly ambitious on-page SEO.
Over Optimizing On-Page SEO
Too Much Decoration
Don’t you think it looks weird to bold, italicize, and underline your keywords in every single post that you write? Google does too. Like an apartment, too much decoration of your content’s words looks strange.
I do recommend bolding your target keyword once in approximately 25% of your articles which gives you a smidgen of SEO value without setting off any alarms.
I can’t believe it’s almost 2012 and we’re still talking about keyword density. Keyword density has very, very little to do with how Google values your content.
Simply mention your target keyword a handful of times per article, make sure it’s in the title and description of the page, and you’re good to go.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t even know there was an H3 tag until SEO Pressor and its clones came along (and I’ve studied HTML for years). You don’t need to H1, H2 and H3 tag your target keyword. I’d just make sure that your keyword appears in the title (H1) tag and occasionally your H2 tag.
Nearly all of my clients make this mistake and fixing it almost always boosts their Google ranking (I blame shady SEO firms).
Internal linking is a fantastic way to spread link juice around your site. However, having links all over your homepage that link back to your homepage doesn’t look remotely natural. I mean, why would I link to a page that the user is already at?
There’s nothing wrong with a keyword-rich link on your footer pointing back to your homepage, but I’d leave it at that.
On-Page SEO Checklist
I’ll save you the $97 price tag on SEOPressor and show you the exact steps to make sure that every one of your site pages whether it’s running on WordPress or is a static HTML is perfect from an SEO standpoint.
Google’s original patent states that they value longer content. This makes sense: how likely is it that you’re able to thoroughly cover a topic in 250 words?
How much is enough? There are no hard and fast rules, but consider 900-words the “13 pieces of flare” bare minimum. I prefer to go for 1500-3700 words. Long content also makes sure that you write the LSI Keywords that Google’s looking for.
Keyword in Title
Probably the most underrated on-page SEO factor there is. The title tells Google and your readers what the article is about. Tip: put the keyword at the beginning of the title, like this: “Keyword: Why I Love Keywords.”
Keyword in URL
Your page’s URL/permalink should contain the keyword. If your target keyword was “lady gaga song” you’d want the URL for the page to be something like: “LadyGagaFanClub.com/my-favorite-lady-gaga-song-ever.
Keyword at the Beginning of the Post
Although they’ve never stated it publicly, it makes sense that Google would value content at the beginning of an article.
The beginning is where you fly over your topics and perhaps do a summary of what you’re going to discuss. Make sure your keyword appears once in the first 150-words of my content, and preferably in the first paragraph.
Use Your Keyword a Handful of Times
No need to keep track of keyword density, but you should obviously use your target keyword a few times in your content. In fact, this is something that tends to happen naturally when writing good stuff.
If you do add an image to your content, don’t ignore the Alt tag. Add your keyword as the Alt tag. Black Belt Tip: Use an LSI keyword in your image’s caption (more on LSI next).
LSI is a nerdy acronym developed by nerdy Google engineers in an effort to confuse nerdy SEO people. All LSI (which stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, by the way), is a synonym.
Google checks your content to see if it contains certain words that are generally found together. For example, if you’re writing a page about French food, you’d probably have words like “Croissant”, “Baguette” and “Frogs Legs” (gross), in your content.
LSI-checking is a quality control measure to make sure your content is relevant and will make sense to human readers. I find that LSI words tend to find themselves in my articles.
But if you need a little inspiration, you can try searching for your target keyword in Google and scroll down to the bottom. You’ll notice an area dubbed “Searches Related to…
Handpick a few of those and sprinkle them in your article to make 100% sure that you’ve got LSI covered.
Is It Awesome
With thousands of pages added to the internet every minute, it’s not enough to write something good: it has to be truly awesome to get noticed. Awesome content makes sure your users stay on the page and send natural links your way.
Unless your site is about trampolines, you don’t want any bouncing to happen on your site. In SEO parlance, a “bounce” means your user visits and quickly leaves your page. Google closely tracks this and considers bounces an indication of whether your content is relevant or useful.
A high bounce rate can hurt your ranking more than many webmasters realize. Quick and dirty ways to decrease your bounce rate include adding a video to the top of your page, writing an awesome headline and first paragraph, and engaging the reader on an emotional level.
That’s really all there is to it. Also, keep in mind that on-page accounts for less than 5% of where a competitive page ends up in Google search. Onpage SEO is important, but in the end, it’s still all about backlinks.
I was interested in knowing your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to share your views on On-Page SEO in the comments below.