So you have zeroed in on a niche. Now, you want to Start a BLOG about your niche. But, do you know how to optimize your posts to make search engines like google love your blog? Find out in this On Page SEO series of posts!
You have everything you need – passion, great ideas that can be transformed into some really awesome content. But, did you know that these are not enough?
Let us highlight a few facts first.
Ten years ago blogs were seen as a personal diary — your own virtual space where you can share thoughts, ideas, opinions, and experiences.
Тhen, the blogging revolution stared.
Now, blogging is no longer just a hobby.
Today, you can monetize your ideas, gain influence, or bring together huge audiences from around the world.
Today, there are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites in the world. Their authors account for over 2 million blog posts daily.
- About 33% of all websites worldwide are blogs.
- Out of all blogs in the world, WordPress, with all its advantages, alone hosts 60 million blogs.
- More than 2 million posts are published every single day.
You may have a LOT of quality content. (Yes, there is no substitute for quality content when you want to rank your blog in google). But, you are not alone with quality content or a passion for your chosen niche.
You must have started to realize that serious blogging isn’t a cakewalk anymore.
One hard fact to always remember while blogging is: someone is already doing what you want to do, and doing it better than you.
What You can Do
You have to find your space and make your own identity in an already crowded world of blogging. Kind of like real life, right?
The good part is – you can carve out your own space in the blog-o-sphere with a little patience, consistency, and better optimization of your content so that search engines like google can identify it, navigate it and understand it better.
This art of optimizing your content for search engines is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
We call SEO an art simply because it has evolved so much over the years. It is not just some technical jargon that professional website developers use among themselves, anymore.
Optimizing your website for search engines will give you an advantage over non-optimized or under-optimized sites and you increase your chances of ranking higher. This is one of the ways how you find your space in the blog-o-sphere, especially when you are not alone.
Nor, is it just about using the right keywords on your page. There are so many more aspects to SEO in 2020.
In this post and upcoming posts in the series, we will help you learn more about what you can do on your post or page to help make it google friendly. On-Page SEO is what the geeky term is for this, in case you were curious.
So… Lets get cracking!
On Page SEO – The Basics
On Page search engine optimization is the first step to making your blog Google friendly.
Here are some of the basic optimisations you need to make in every post.
We walk you through the basics first so that the more advanced stuff becomes easy to understand.
Post and Page TITLE Optimization
The title of the page is what your visitors will be looking at first.
Be it search results or social media shares of your Blog post, it is the title of the page that comes up first in the eyes of the reader.
Naturally, Google also looks at the title of your page first while crawling your site.
A few thumb rules you need to follow regarding the title of your Page or post are:
Uniqueness of TITLE
Each title should be unique.
You should not have more than one post with the same title. That creates an impression of duplicate content existing on the same website in the eyes of the reader.
Google will always try it’s best to determine how a human reader would view and analyse your blog, naturally.
A good way to grasp this is: If two post titles in your Blog make you think they are very similar or even identical, chances are, Google would think the same way and rank them both lower!
The uniqueness of post content begins with the uniqueness of the post title. This is considered a good On-Page SEO practice.
Limit TITLE to 60 Characters or Lesser
Your post title should be such that it conveys a fair idea of what value you are providing to the reader.
But, it should also display well in search results. You must have seen that Google tends to cut off or truncate the last few characters of search results having longer titles.
You must have noticed this: When you don’t get to see the full title of any particular result in google search, you tend to look at other results.
Even if that result had more valuable content, but, because of the visually uncomfortable title, you skipped it.
Since more than 70% of us now use our mobile devices to access the internet, it becomes very important to present information in the briskest and efficient way possible.
Make sure your title conveys what value your blog readers will get after reading your post. But, convey this in the most straight and brief way possible.
Keywords in TITLE of post is Still a Good Idea
Though some experts would say that this point isn’t valid anymore since Google is smart enough to know what keywords your post is to be ranked for, it is still a good idea to have your target keyword in your post title.
But, NOT at the cost of clarity to the reader.
Your post title should convey what keywords the post should rank for.
Example: Let us take the example of this article itself. This article is about the basics of On-Page SEO.
We could have easily chosen a title like “On-Page SEO basics” for this post. It explains in brief what this post is all about. It is fewer than 60 Characters and easily understandable.
BUT, we gave the title as SEO SERIES: How to make your blog post Google friendly.
This title also means that this post is about the basics of On-Page SEO, but it gives more value to the reader.
Instead of targeting search engines directly, we made it simpler for our target audience to understand what this post is all about, giving more value to the reader who maybe an absolute novice.
After all, we are not writing this post for search engines. We are writing for you, the reader.
Many readers might not even be aware what On-Page SEO is in the first place. How will they even come up with the term On-Page SEO when they are searching for ways to optimize their content to make their blogs Google friendly?
Had this post been targeted to a more informed audience, we could have gone straight ahead with the title On Page SEO basics. That subset of readers would already know what it means.
Google has evolved a LOT and is smart enough to understand from the title and the post content what this post is all about. So we don’t need to specifically target the search engines anymore.
Whenever there is a choice between giving more keyword rich content to the search engine or giving more value to the reader – ALWAYS choose the latter.
Page Title Optimization = Good SEO Practice = Better Ranking in Google
Meta Description Optimization for On Page SEO
In search results, the content that you get to see right after the title is a small description of the page linked to it.
This description is what your readers will get to read before they decide to click on the link and reach your Blog post.
Note 1: The title is what induces interest in the reader. If they find your title interesting, chances are that only then will they spend their time reading the short description snippet along with it.
Back in September 2009, Google announced that the text in meta descriptions and meta keywords doesn’t factor into its ranking algorithms for search.
But, since Google measures click-through rate or CTR, they might indirectly improve your rankings by boosting your site’s organic CTR.
Here are a few tweaks you can make to the description snippet, as a part of On Page SEO optimization of your blog.
Keep the Description within 150-160 Characters
Just like the title, the description snippet gets cut off or truncated at the end if it exceeds the required number of characters, for that particular search engine.
Usually 150-160 Characters including spaces are enough for the description snippet. Anything more and it gets cut off at the end, making your space in search results visually unappealing. This of course, might reduce the chances of the reader clicking, thereby reducing CTR.
Description also should be unique for every page or post
Just like the title, the description of each post should also be unique.
Using the same description on multiple pages not only confuses the reader but it’s bad for SEO. It might cause all of the pages having the same description rank lower.
Primary keyword in description
Though it isn’t really needed anymore, it is still a good idea to use the primary keyword in your description if possible.
Of course, they have to be used in a way that the description looks natural. Once again remember, you are writing for the reader and not the search engine.
Meta Description Optimization = Good SEO Practice = Better Ranking in Google
URL Structure Optimization for On Page SEO
The URL is the web address used to access any particular page on your website.
It is the text beginning with http:// or https:// in the address bar of your web browser.
Since your readers would be accessing your blog using the URL, it is a very important resource for On-Page SEO.
Your URL needs to be structured in such a way so that it is easily understood by your target audience. After all, if they like your content, they might want to share your post URL on their social media accounts.
- Once again, if you have one primary keyword in your URL, it helps Google understand better what it might encounter while crawling your page. However, this can’t happen at the cost of clarity.
- If your URL seems out of sync with your content, you give Google one more excuse to rank your post lower in search results.
- It should ideally be lesser than 255 characters in length, including your domain name. Yes, this isn’t possible all the time but one should try to adhere to it.
- The general rule of the thumb is to make your URL match with the title of your post, so that your content and URL are in sync with each other. This is better for SEO. If you use WordPress, you can set this to happen automatically from the “Permalinks” option in the dash board settings.
URL 1: http://www.sitename.com/?p=123
URL 2: http://www.sitename.com/basic-on-page-seo-guide
It is easy to tell which URL is better for readability as well as SEO. URL 1 doesn’t give any idea about what the post or page is about. However, URL 2 gives you a fair idea that the page has content regarding On-Page SEO.
Since URL 2 gives more information and of course more value, Google understands that it is better for the reader who might be interested to know more about On-Page SEO.
Both URLs might have the exact same content but URL 2 has more chances of getting a better position in search results.
URL Structure Optimization = Good SEO Practice = Better Ranking in Google
In this post, which is Part 1 of the series, we have discussed in detail three basic components of On-Page SEO, that can help your blog become more google friendly.
There are many more SEO optimizations that you can do on your blog level itself in order to rank better in search results. They would be covered in detail very soon!
Have something to share? Do dicuss in the comment section below.