It’s a noisy marketplace. How are you optimizing your online presence to make your voice heard? It starts with ensuring you are up to date on on-page SEO basics to provide peak performance for your website and visibility for your target audience.
Over the past few years, the on-page “rules” have changed drastically as Google tries to ensure they’re delivering the best results. Now, a standard search result page shows pages that don’t necessary have the exact match query—or keyword—in their title tag or meta description.
Now, we’re dealing with ranking algorithms that include Hummingbird, Panda, Rankbrain and semantic importance within the page.
What is On-Page SEO?
If you type “on-page SEO” into Google, Moz will tell you—through a featured snippet—it is “the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals.”
It takes into account all aspects of the webpage that, when added together, will improve your rankings in the search results. As Google becomes more sophisticated, one of the major factors influencing on-page optimization is relevance. How relevant is your page to the query? That’s how you have to think when you’re developing the page.
Think of these tasks as a benefit to your end user. You have about eight seconds to influence a visitor to interact with your website. The more interaction and engagement, plus the longer your users stay on the site, the better their experience.
If you put effort into these categories and strategies, you’ll see a boost in traffic and a rise in your search presence. Once you understand everything that goes into your on-page SEO efforts, conduct an analysis of your site to see how the anatomy of your page is performing.
Perhaps the most vital aspect of your on-page SEO efforts is the implementation of tags. Some are not as useful to SEO as they once were, but if written and utilized optimally, will improve your traffic.
Meta tags are used to provide search engines with information about your page. To achieve high rankings, it has to do with relevance and user satisfaction, but including custom meta tags will influence users and increase your click-through-rate.
There are multiple tags on your page. The most important is your title tag. The title is what users see in the search engines for both organic results and paid ads, and the words that appear at the top of each tab in your browser.
The title tag outlines what the page is about. When ranking web pages for particular queries, Google looks at the title tag and compares that to the rest of the content on the page.
If you’re working in HTML, the code for the title tag looks like this:
<title>Everything You Need to Know About On-Page SEO</title>
However, the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast allows you to create a custom title tag within the platform. Keep your title tags descriptive and short. Google recently increased the character limit for page titles to 70 characters before showing ellipses.
Best practice is to ensure you stay below the character limit so your titles display properly. You can use Snippet Optimizer to simulate how your title and meta description will appear in SERPs.
Use your title tag to stand out from your competitors, appealing to your visitors. Make sure all the pertinent information is included, including your keywords and location for local businesses.
While it’s recommended to use your core keyword within the title, Google is shifting toward relevance and semantics in the results. Users aren’t blindly clicking on the first result, reading the titles and descriptions to find the best answer to their query.
The meta description conveys what users will find on the page. While not a direct ranking factor, search engines read the meta descriptions to determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value.
A well-written meta description can generate a competitive advantage in the search results, creating a higher click-through rate with a greater chance of conversions. While there is a possibility that Google will omit the custom description and pull an excerpt of the content on the page, it is recommended that you fill in the meta description for every page of your site.
The best way to check which pages are missing a meta description is to run your website through Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider. It shows you every URL under your domain, the meta description, and its length.
Earlier in 2016, Google extended the length of descriptions for both desktop and mobile. For desktop, users will see up to 200 characters, while on mobile they’ll be shown up to 172 characters. To appeal to users on both devices, keep your description between 165 and 175 characters.
Clearly outline what users will find on the page. Add your brand name and sprinkle in a keyword or two if they don’t sound forced. Think about synonyms and other terms that will get the point across.
This is the first interaction many visitors have with your brand. Make it welcoming.
Tell users what’s in it for them to click through to your site. Include an offer or call to action to entice a click. You’ll also see some websites show multiple site links to direct users to the page they’re looking for. My company, 1SEO.com Digital Agency, has multiple pages you can click on to find out more about the agency.
To find success and steady traffic to your site, it starts with your title and meta tags. Once you get the clicks, it’s up to your user experience and quality content to maintain engagement.
Your landing page or blog should include multiple heading tags, from the h1 down to a potential h6. The most important is the h1. You should never have more than one h1 tag on any page. Include multiple h2’s or h3’s as users scroll down the page. These are used as subheadings.
Use the headings to represent the different sections of the page. You’ll notice the impact from both an SEO standpoint and a usability standpoint.
As an SEO factor, complementing the title of the page with the words used in your heading tags should provide users with a clear view of what the page is about. The search engine algorithm compares the section of content underneath each heading tag to establish relevancy.
Your headings should be used to structure the page. Make sure the content supports the heading.
The primary keyword of the page should be included somewhere in your h1 tag. Avoid skipping the h1 on a page, as it lets both your visitors and Google understand its subject. Many blogs, especially those in WordPress, automatically include the title of the blog post as an h1. Make sure to look at the HTML version of the page to ensure the h1 tag is present.
When it comes to headings, there are factors you want to avoid to maintain your presence in the search engines, notably stuffing unnecessary keywords in the tags.
Don’t use the same h1 tag on multiple pages of your site. This can have harmful effects on your SEO as Google won’t know which page to rank for a query containing that heading.
The Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress helps you understand how strong each page is. It analyzes on-page factors to help ensure your page is fully optimized. An added benefit, it alerts you of any issues with the page title, meta description, headings, images, content, and more.
For landing pages and some blogs, keep in mind that your users are not reading the entire page. They’re scanning and browsing quickly, looking for a section that answers their questions or provides value.
Headings and subheadings split up the page, making the presentation look cleaner.
Subheadings help users navigate throughout the page. If you’re changing the subject or discussing a different aspect of the service, use h2s. If you break it down further and need a sub-sub-heading under an h2, use an h3 tag.
Headings should not be overlooked. They hold more weight on the page than a standard paragraph <p> tag or a bolded word. Always be sure to keep your readers in mind when writing headings. They shouldn’t sound—or read—like your forcing a keyword for the sake of further optimizing the page.
When it comes to writing URL strings, they should be short, concise, and easily readable. How can we create the perfect URL string?
When analyzing the length of URLs, Ahrefs found that shorter URLs tend to rank better. The study looked at the length of the URL and a number of folders. They counted each root domain as one folder, and each backslash after the root as another folder.
- http://domain.com (Folders = 1)
- http://domain.com/folder1 (Folders = 2)
- http://domain.com/folder1/folder2 (Folders = 3)
The report concluded that URLs with fewer folders tended to rank better, as well. Rand Fishkin of Moz said more folders can “create a perception of depth for both engines and users, as well as making edits to the URL string considerably more complex.”
From interior product or service pages to blog posts, the way we write URLs is an SEO practice that you must consider. Each word in your URL should be separated by a hyphen (-) and not an underscore (_).
When you have two pages displaying almost the same content or information, set up a 301 redirect or canonicalization tag (rel=canonical) to the stronger page. This avoids duplicate content and shows Google which page to rank.
Keep your URL short. The shorter the URL, the easier it is to share or embed while creating a better user experience. You want your readers to quickly identify what your page is about without seeing numbers, categories, symbols, or a mixture of everything included in the string.
Utilize your primary keyword in the URL. Like other factors of on-page, don’t let your URL string sound unnatural or forced with keywords. Try to make it around five words, clearly outlining the information your users will find.
Don’t leave your visitors left wondering what’s on the page before they click. The title, meta description, and URL should make it clear.
User-Friendly, Authoritative Content
As Google crawls your page, they’re looking to match user intent. Your content should clearly explain what product or service you’re offering, or the exact topic of your blog.
The internet is cluttered with content, and it’s important that you ensure yours is unique. One of the most common sayings you’ll hear in the world of SEO and content marketing is “content is king.” In fact, SEO and content marketing do a lot of overlapping.
They complement each other. Content involves the use of words—keywords—and writing for human value while still appeasing the search engines. This is what makes the foundation of SEO and the vast majority of your on-page.
Think of content as having a conversation with your readers. Are they going to be interested or entertained? Or are they going to be bored and leave your site?
When you create content, it must prove you’re an authority in your field. The best content speaks directly to your customers, shows them the value you offer and entices them to read further or contact your company.
To improve your on-page and SEO to increase your traffic, content must solve a user’s problem while being well-written without spelling or grammatical errors. Be careful not to run into any problems by failing to adhere to the major Google algorithm updates.
Be Aware of the Google Algorithm
To help weed out the websites that achieved high rankings with spammy, keyword stuffed, and thin content, Google unleashed the Panda algorithm in February of 2011, updating it regularly. If you still have low quality and thin content, your website won’t be found online.
Jennifer Slegg wrote an informative and definitive guide to understanding the Panda algorithm. She quotes a Google spokesperson as saying, “At the end of the day, content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”
Now, Panda is a core ranking signal, and you’ll receive a boost in rankings if you are consistently meeting the expectations of your users. While continuing to roll out and update, make sure you focus on creating quality content that is optimized for a high-volume keyword and is written with the user in mind.
As we move into the age of artificial intelligence, SEOs and marketers have been trying to figure out the effects of Google RankBrain. The machine learning system was implemented around the spring of 2015, and has become the third highest ranking factor.
Search Engine Land answers frequently asked questions regarding RankBrain, where they attest it is part of the Hummingbird algorithm. The main point you have to consider, which has been said time and time again, is to write in natural language. That’s the best way to “rank” under RankBrain.
In the article, Danny Sullivan says, “RankBrain is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for.”
RankBrain was put into place to help determine how to rank queries there is no historical data for. It has since evolved and is used in almost every query to affect the rankings of most searches, so be sure to optimize your content for the ranking signal!
For best practice, answer user’s questions in the least amount of time as possible. Google is garnering the ability to learn user intent and return the best results, especially with the rise of voice and natural language searches.
Look at the long-tail queries and use a conversational approach to your content. While keywords play a significant role with your on-page SEO, Google is using semantics more and more to deliver the best user experience.
Keyword Targeted Content
While you must maintain a user-friendly and authoritative tone, the focus keyword is still of vital importance. Like with your meta tags, you will either outline meta keywords for a product or service page that is targeting multiple queries, or a single focus keyword for blogs.
All of this is available in WordPress pages and posts. But why is targeting a keyword important? Using them correctly will directly affect the return on your digital marketing investment. The more you understand about keywords, the better you will strategize with your marketing.
Always make sure you’re providing the most value for your brand by targeting keywords that have search volume.
To get the most of your on-page, perform keyword research and be confident your company can convert for the targeted terms. There’s nothing worse than appearing first in the results for a query that leads to zero conversions.
Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see search volume, or analyze what your competitors are targeting with SEMRush. The Keyword Planner offers you similar variations of your keyword that you can include on the page for further optimization.
Through content marketing, employ keywords strategically.
Think about the types of keywords and what will work best for your company.
- Informational Keywords: A term like “on-page SEO” when a user wants to learn more about a topic.
- Transactional Keywords: Words targeting users looking to buy a product or service. Typically include adjectives like “best” or “top” and are more long-tail.
- Location-Based Keywords: When users are looking for a local business or physical location.
To determine the relevance for a particular query, Google looks at LSI keywords, or synonyms for the searched keyword. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, determining patterns within the terms, topics, and concepts of a page.
When writing long-form content, you can include LSI keywords more naturally. According to Bruce Clay,
“In latent semantic indexing, Google sorts sites on the frequency of a variety of terms and key phrases linked together instead of on the frequency of a single term.”
The content shouldn’t have just one focus keyword. Your goal with on-page SEO should be to rank for all synonyms and related queries.
Back to the term relevancy. Though your focus keyword may have 50,000 monthly searches, your page can rank higher for the similar query that only has 1,000 monthly searches.
Write content that will drive traffic from many related queries. The goal is to generate clicks and use the factors of your on-page to increase conversions.
Internal Links and Outbound Links
Links carry the most weight in your SEO. Earning links from quality sources and authority sites strengthens the domain, while linking internally throughout the site benefits the user experience and enhances your SEO.
The actual practice of earning links is part of your off-page SEO strategy. Use additional content marketing, email outreach, and other creative ways to build links back to your site. Backlinko has published an all-inclusive guide to link building that offers value when you’re starting your link building campaign.
Focusing on the page, internal linking to other pages of your site will strengthen the keywords and enable Google to determine where to rank a particular keyword. Linking internally—between service pages and blogs—helps improve the crawlability of your site, showing Google the site’s most important pages.
If you include a new link on your homepage, it becomes easier for Google to see that you’ve updated your site with fresh content than crawling the entire site for the new material.
The benefit of internal links is giving your audience further options to stay on your site. The more engagement to relevant pages, the more Google takes notice. Don’t put an internal link in every sentence, but include multiple links per page to bolster your SEO.
Optimize Your Images
When you’re adding images to the page, it benefits the user experience. But, you can also help your SEO strategy by optimizing the image. Make your top targeted keyword the alt text and create a title that is unique, but stays applicable to the image. The featured image of this article has a unique title and the alt-text of what this post is about.
Optimizing the alt tags gives Google another indication of what your page is about. The alt tag should be used to describe what’s on the image, so we’re back to relevance again. It won’t make sense to have a picture of a Hummingbird with the alt tag “panda.”
Here’s the value of the alt tag. Think about when the image won’t load, what will the user see? The alt tag. Don’t stuff your keywords into alt tags. Make sure they fit with the image and make the picture relevant.
As Yoast says, “The image should reflect the topic of the post, or have illustrative purposes within the article, of course.”
Images play a crucial role in conversions. For SEO purposes, make sure they’re scaled correctly. The larger the image, the longer your page will take to load. Scale the image appropriately and make sure it shows in the smallest possible size.
We’re living in a visual world, and while content is the most important, make sure your images are capturing attention, as well.
For your page to be found relevant and your on-page SEO to improve, your website needs to be mobile-friendly and responsive in 2016 and beyond. Responsive websites provide the same experience with your brand no matter what device they’re using.
There are multiple benefits to making your website responsive and appeal to mobile users. You’ll see a positive ranking signal thanks to the 2015 Mobile Algorithm Update that continues its aim to provide the best results.
Over 50% of users are spending their time browsing and searching on mobile devices over desktops. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to understand how a Googlebot is viewing your page.
To continue to provide users with the fastest and best experience, Google started showing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in the search results. Mainly beneficial for news outlets and articles, these pages load instantly and are easily identified with a lightning bolt symbol. The faster the load time, the more appealing it is for mobile users. You can learn all about AMP and its impact on your SEO in this article by Search Engine Journal staff member Anna Crowe.
Remember that when users access your website or blog, chances are they’ll be on their mobile device. You can check to ensure your website is mobile friendly through Google’s test tool. If your site is not mobile-friendly, Google will outline what you can do to fix the issue.
You’ll satisfy your customers with its functionality, making your website more relevant.
In today’s technology age, speed is essential. We don’t want to wait. If a page isn’t loading right away, we find another website that will. Are you helping or hurting your user’s experience?
Nearly half of all mobile users will leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Backlinko.com found that fast-loading websites are significantly more likely to rank in Google.
Keeping visitors happy increases your conversion rate. According to an infographic from Kissmetrics, 58% of mobile users expect your mobile site to load as fast, if not faster, than the experience seen on a desktop.
Optimize the site and take care of underlying factors that will shed some seconds off the page load time. Look at your site and see if there is anything slowing down the speed.
- Leverage Browser Caching
- Optimize Plugins & Images
- Use GZIP Compression
- Switch to Faster Hosting
- Clean Up HTML & CSS Coding
- Eliminate Ads
- Minimize Redirects
According to a report from Radware, image compression and optimization are vital factors in the speed of your website. The study says that images hold 50 to 60% of the total weight of the page. If your image files are too large, they could be dragging down the site’s performance.
There are tools you can use to ensure the performance of your site is up to your—and your visitors—standards. If you have a Google Analytics account, you can look at your site speed under the “Behavior” tab in the left sidebar.
Other tools that provide performance tips and feedback on page speed, along with suggested fixes, include:
The faster your website loads, the more engagement you’ll receive. Once all other on-page SEO factors are in place, focus on minimizing the load time. Your customers will prefer your site to others.
The Perfectly Optimized Page
From the top down, make the use of your website seamless. From the appearance of the page to the backend technical aspects to the optimized meta information, the perfectly optimized page incorporates all aspects.
Digital marketing is about communicating with your audience. Guiding them to make a decision while educating yourself on what aspects are benefiting your search presence. It boils down to this:
- Quality Content
- Properly Written Meta Tags
- Marked Up Structured Data
Ensure you’re providing Google with the right signals. Implement custom meta tags, title tags, headings, and always write quality content. Provide your visitors with the information they want, and learn how they interact with your site through analytical tracking.
That goes into the technical side of SEO, away from the techniques and optimization strategies included on the page.
When everything is in place, look into your Google Analytics and Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) to see how your site is performing.
As search engines cache and crawl your page, are they running into any crawl errors? This could hinder your performance. Crawl errors include broken links, dynamic pages, 404s, errors in the robots.txt files, sitemap errors, and more.
Using some of the SEO tools and resources I have outlined in SEJ’s Beginners Guide to SEO, you can test the performance of the site and see if you have any crawl errors. This means that some pages are not accessed easily by the search engine bots. Google lets you address and update the health of your entire site.
Your goal is to generate conversions. Implementing these on-page SEO tactics will set a strong foundation that informs Google and entices your users.
It will increase traffic, improve your search engine rankings for the most relevant keywords to your business, and drive leads. Do you have everything implemented for the perfectly optimized page? How are your results?
Featured Image: Image by Gregory Dyson. Used with permission.
In-post Photo #1: bakhtiarzein/DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo #2: Image by Gregory Dyson. Used with permission.
In-Post Photo #3: Image by Gregory Dyson. Used with permission.
All screenshots by Ryan Clutter. Taken September 2016.
This is the third article in a series of guides for content specialists on how to write successfully both for people and search engines in 2017. Check out previous one and stay tuned for new updates.
Top-rated bloggers don’t only have excellent writing skills, they also take responsibility for their content’s performance in search engines. They’ve learned one simple trick – you have to write both for people and search engines.
Of course although over the time search engines have become smarter, and learned to understand the context, not just the separate keywords, search engine optimization is not going anywhere just yet. The good thing is, it is becoming technically easier to promote the website now than it was a few years ago, because there are a lot of tools that do all the boring work for you.
In this article, we’ve collected the complete list of the tools that can be used for content optimization of your page. Step by step, following the logic of SERP anatomy, we’ll explain how to make each detail of your article attractive to both users and search engines.
On-Page SEO Checklist
As a writer, you sure understand the power of a good title. It’s highly important for attracting the user’s attention and increasing the page CTR: they will see your title on the SERP, and if they don’t like it, they will most probably not read your article.
From the SEO point of view it makes sense to put your keyword in the title only if it is short and high-volume: the recent SEMrush research on ranking factors confirmed it. If you are trying to promote for a long-tail keyword, it will be quite tricky to put all of it into the title, so better focus on the quality of the content, Google and social shares will do the rest for you.
The title should be there not only for users, but for crawlers as well. So make sure you have title tags on your page. Also notice that while your H1 tag and title should not necessarily be repeating each other, you would still want them to be related.
Check out this article whenever you run out of ideas for great headlines: How to Write Great Headlines for the Web.
On Page SEO Checker gathers information about the correct H1 and title tags and checks keyword stuffing there.
Before anything else, your URL has to be descriptive and meaningful (please avoid weird number and random letter combinations!). And of course the URL is a very good place for your keywords.
Also don’t forget that in a year you may want to update your content (including the title), so make sure your URL is evergreen and can be later applied to slightly or even drastically different content. If you decide to change the URL, do not forget about redirection in order to avoid 404 mistakes.
Your URL length matters — it’s best to keep it around 3 to 5 words long. Also, when it comes to URL structure, using underscores as word separators is not recommended.
Want to learn more? Check out this article: On-Page SEO Basics: URLs.
SEMrush Site Audit checks all the URLs on your website for length, for underscores and helps you make sure none of the URLs has too many parameters in them.
Meta description does not impact your rankings in any way, but as I said earlier, you have to think about your users as well. Well-written meta description will help them better understand what your article or page is about.
Also do not just let Google choose the meta description for you: if you do, you may find a random phrase from your page residing there. And avoid duplicate meta descriptions across different pages.
Get some more ideas here: On-Page SEO Basics: Meta Descriptions.
SEMrush On Page SEO checker — the group of Content ideas provides you with all the tips you need to make your content better from the SEO standpoint. For example it will help you make sure that you put tags to all the right places, and if your SEO specialist resorts to the old keyword stuffing in <meta> tag.
SEOmofo is a SERP view generator. Enter your URL, title and description to manage the number of symbols and preview your article’s appearance on SERP.
Portent – another SERP view generator.
Keywords and Semantically Related Words
To provide users with the most relevant results for their particular search terms, use your target keywords within the first 100-150 words of your text and add some additional weight by placing semantically related words.
To improve your understanding of the idea of semantic search, check out this recorded webinar: The Future of SEO: 5 Ways to Adapt Your Content for 2016 with Andy Crestodina.
SEMrush SEO Content Template gives you a whole list of semantically related keywords for the ones you plan to create content for. There you also get examples of content the top-10 ranking websites put on their pages.
SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool gives you a huge list of keyword ideas based on your single seed keyword.
Structured text is easy to read and navigate through. There are plenty of methods for text structuring. If you are dealing with a lot of information, you can use a list with numbered bullet points – it’s easy to perceive and allows you to include plenty of information in the article without sacrificing the user’s attention.
The second way is more ‘classic’ - write an introduction pointing to the problem and then divide the text into 3 to 5 main points and title them with descriptive subheads. In my experience, 3-5 statements within one article is more than enough to prove your point. (Fewer might not look like enough to convince a reader, more might make the article difficult to read.)
In SEO language – don’t forget to use H1...H6 tags for your subheads (and place your target keywords in the subheads, of course). Learn How To Use H1-H6 HTML Elements Properly.
SEMrush Site Audit helps you avoid a lot of troubles with H1 tags: it will tell you if any of them are duplicated, missing, or in abundance on the page. Any of these things can become an issue in the eyes of Google.
Adding video content to your page can also help you structure it and get more attention. It also attracts the audience that prefers visual content.
Although it hardly benefits you from the SEO point of view, absence of videos can harm your visits, especially if everyone else in the niche has them. Also, having a script besides the video has become a common practice, because it helps both, users and crawlers, notice your content.
If you are placing your own videos, don’t forget to optimize them as well. Check out this guide: Advanced Hacks for YouTube Optimization.
SEMrush On Page SEO checker – this instrument will check if websites with a higher position for a particular keyword have video content on their pages.
SEMrush Social Media tracker provides you with detailed analytics for your video content and its performance through all social networks. You can monitor video metrics, such as likes, dislikes, and shares, track the audience activity, engagement, and interest trend for every video posted by you or your competitors.
It’s been proven that “content with at least one image significantly outperformed content without any images. However, we didn’t find that adding additional images influenced rankings.” And, as we mentioned above, it’s a great way to structure your article and customize it. Some experts recommend to insert an image in the text in depth of one scroll, so the user would always have an image on the page while reading. We think it’s optional if you have some other eye-catching elements on the page like subheads or quotes.
Do not forget that the image format changes from platform to platform (they are cropped differently on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network or search engine), so pay attention to microformats. Make sure that links to your domain and header images will look good on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other platform.
Talking about SEO: images that are too large can slow down your site speed – one of the most powerful user experience constituents. So be sure to use the right file size and format, and use image compressors correctly to reduce image size while maintaining visual quality.
Descriptive image file names and the use of ALT tags can help images from your page appear in Google image search results.
For more information, check out this great article by Shopify: 10 Must Know Image Optimization Tips.
SEMrush Site Audit checks all the images for the presence of ALT attributes in the page code.
You have to be sure that your content is long enough – it’s good for readers and search engines. But keep in mind that there is no exact ‘perfect’ content length; it all depends on your goals and the content purpose.
The main point is: people love longer content because it implies deeper topic coverage.
And it’s a proven fact that longer content tends to rank higher.
Here’s more proof of why big content wins, along with some recommendations on writing lengthy texts: 10 Things to Keep in Mind When Working on Big Content.
SEMrush On Page SEO checker will provide you with the information about your (and your competitors’) content length on a page ranking for a particular keyword.
SEMrush SEO Content Template tells you how long your future content should be so that it’s on the level with your competitors’.
There is another important content metric — readability, which shows if your content is easy or difficult to read. Readability level depends on a lot of factors. Not only grammar and syntax play an important role, but also the design and structure of the text — everything that can influence our perception. Basically, the secret is simple — know your audience (are they advanced specialists or beginners?), good writing skills and focus on the message will help find a balance. If you want to check your text’s readability score — there are some tools that can help.
For more information and recommendations about readability tools, check out this Raven’s post - Ultimate list of online content readability tests.
SEMrush On Page SEO Checker helps you make sure that your content is not less readable than your competitors’.
Readable checks the pasted or typed in text for readability.
Readability Test Tool checks how readable is the text under the specific URL.
Internal linking helps you enrich your content with additional useful information for readers while attracting attention to the related content you’ve created. Also, internal linking is one of the SEO essentials – it has a big influence on search engine bots’ behavior. Crawler starts visiting pages that could otherwise be lost. And in case you did not have time to dive deep into backlink building, internal linking may be a good place to start.
Check out this article for more information: 3 Internal Linking Strategies for SEO and Conversions.
SEMrush On Page SEO checker lets you know if the page has any internal links leading to it.
SEMrush Site Audit compiles all the internal links that are broken in one list so that you can fix them quickly.
Social Sharing Buttons
Social shares don’t count as links, but they will help your content earn more SEO badges and cover bigger audience — add social sharing buttons and make them noticeable. And it seems that content with a lot of social shares is more likeable and trustable in the eyes of random users. Also, if an opinion leader or someone with a big scope of followers likes or reblogs your content, it’s very likely that it will attract new readers to you.
SEMrush Social Media Tracker searches for your rivals’ posts that gater a lot of user interactions and helps you gather ideas for the topics and formats of your future content.
Click to Tweet – use Click to Tweet tool for sharing the main statements of your article. Choose a quote, insert it into Click to Tweet; embed generated a link to your blog and you’ll get tweetable, noticeable quote with Twitter logo on it.
Duplicate content is one of the most common SEO problems. Our recent study shows that 50% of websites have some pages with duplicate content. It won’t give you a penalty, but it’s a signal to search engines that your website has little to no value for your readers. Needless to say – your readers won’t appreciate it either.
All aspects of the duplicate content problem are covered here: Duplicate Content SEO Advice From Google.
SEMrush Site Audit provides you with the list of all pages with duplicate content on your website.
Can’t see your article in SERPs, although you think you did everything right? Make sure that your website was not blocked from crawling, otherwise, you did all your work in vain. Crawlability is a difficult technical question most content creators are probably not familiar with, so talk to your webmaster and find a solution.
Meanwhile, check out: 18 Reasons Your Website is Crawler-Unfriendly.
SEMrush Site Audit not only checks if all the pages of your site are crawlable, but also provides you with the info about all necessary tags (e.g. headings, <meta> tags and other important HTML attributes).
Page Loading Speed
It’s not even a second – it’s a millisecond delay that can force a user to close your article and go to another website. Sometimes the reasons for delays can be simple, such as images with large file sizes on a page; sometimes they are more serious, including problems with your server. No matter the reason, it’s crucially important to be aware of any page speed issues.
SEMrush Site Audit checks load speed and page compression, which are both responsible for the page load time.
Google Pagespeed Insights – the easiest way to check your page load time.
If your company's website is still not mobile-friendly, you are probably missing a part of traffic flow. No, let’s put it this way — you’re losing traffic. Of course, responsive design and mobile website development requires time and effort. It’s not something you can do in a day but it is worth every second you spent on it. Mobile-friendly websites have a strong priority in mobile SERP.
Google Mobile Friendly Test – solution from Google for checking website mobile-friendliness.
We’ve already talked about the importance of your content's SERP appearance. Markup implementations can increase your CTR in times, and the best thing of it, that microdata can be applied to different types of content no matter what topic you are covering.
Look at this great example. Both sites are using Schema markups to provide more information to the user: a list of ingredients, reviews, cooking time and even calorific value.
How does this influence your SERPs? Not in any way. Schema implementation has nothing to do with the direct impact on your ranking. But do you remember about CTR? Exactly! Everything that’s good for your reader is good for SEO.
SEMrush Site Audit – will give you information about the percentage of pages with implemented markups: Schema.org, Twitter Cards, Open Graph, Microformats.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool – will check if there are no mistakes in markup implementation on your page.
As you can see, Google is doing a lot in trying to help unique, informative content get better ranking. But it’s not just Google who decides if your content deserves a higher position – it’s your readers as well. Google doesn’t read your work and grade you with an “A” for excellent wording or exclusiveness of insights; it estimates a level of interest for your article by taking into account users’ behavior and your text’s availability.
You might be surprised to know that some on-page SEO issues have a little to no impact on rankings. At the same time, some issues which have nothing to do with SEO directly, but mostly with writing and content appearance, can have a giant impact on page CTR, time on page and bounce rate – user experience signals which Google relies on to determine page quality and SERP positions.
Which of these on-page and text elements do you think you might sacrifice without any negative impacts on your article's ranking? One? Two? Maybe five?
Well, of course, some of them can be ignored, but we intentionally didn’t point them out. Don’t think about a bare minimum. Create a good story and do as much as you can to make your text attractive and noticeable to readers and you'll maximize your content's impact.