It doesn’t take much to increase search traffic.
Sounds weird, I know. But I’ll show you how in this in-depth article. I’m sure you’re sick and tired of reading blogs that share tips on how you can dominate Google organic results.
You want proven strategies that have generated results. Above all, you want to be able to implement a few strategies right away – you want to do it in style.
There’s a lot of bad advice when it comes to on-page SEO. If you’ve tried any of that baloney (nonsense or deceptive) and failed, the natural inclination is to try to avoid doing in-house optimization in some way.
Most times, the strategies you know seem like solutions, but they tend to worsen the situation – and prevent you from getting the most out of organic search.
Looking at a more accurate view of on-page SEO, you can see that on-page factors go beyond putting your primary keyword in the title – the theme of the page, use of related keywords, depth and value of content, and most especially, page’s user experience are all essential.
The core reason on-page optimization is confusing to most online marketers is charged in the fear of the unknown – they haven’t come to terms with the proper approach yet.
Before I share the 3 website on-page techniques that I implemented and saw a leap in search visibility, let’s get on the same page first.
Getting your Blog Ready…
When it comes to SEO, what are you paying attention to? For most people, getting all the links they can get is all they dream about.
Don’t get me wrong, backlinks are still the lifeblood of your online business. Without quality links, the great work you do on your website and its pages may not produce the best results.
However, you need to prepare your web pages for traffic. If you can, silo your pages so that your links can seamlessly pass SEO juice or value to internal pages on the same domain.
In like manner, on-page optimization is fundamental to effective link building strategy. Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz observed that smart webmasters and digital marketing consultants are focusing 30% of their time on off-page factors, and 70% on on-page factors.
Of course, this percentage may differ for other website owners and niches. But ultimately, on-page must be given top priority.
What is On-Page SEO?
Here’s the best definition from SaaS Brand:
“On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages in order to improve their search performance; generate more organic traffic and rank higher in the search engines.”
Through your on-page optimization efforts, you’ll either push your content pages to the top of the organic listings or get penalized for violating Google’s algorithm standards.
If you run with this quick definition, then you’ll miss out on the opportunities that are available to you.
On-page SEO actually begins when you understand your ideal website visitor – and what motivates them to visit your website and not your competitor’s. It covers content, performance, and technical SEO as well.
Before you can successfully optimize individual web pages, you need to get into the conversation with your target audience.
Hang out with them via online discussion boards, listen to them, go through their questions and pinpoint the intent. You’re looking for user data to include in your pages.
Once you’re armed with user behavior data, it’s time to launch a winning on-page strategy.
You can’t possibly fail if you know your audience well enough, before optimizing your pages. Even in the real world, knowing your audience gives you deeper insights as to what products and services they want to buy.
Having prepared your individual web pages for organic traffic, let’s discuss the 3 on-page SEO strategies that enabled me to increase search traffic to my blog. These strategies are proven to work for you – so don’t ignore them.
1. Boost your Page Speed
Back in August 2016, when I improved my page speed, I discovered that my search traffic and rankings increased at the same time. My eyes were opened – I realized how much money I’ve been lost in the past 8 months just by neglecting web page loading time.
The focus isn’t on the website but on the individual pages. If you optimize your pages, you’ll discover that your domain name will become more interesting and valuable to users.
Here’s the truth:
We live in a fast-paced world.
Fast food, fast results, fast everything. That’s why digital information products sell like crazy because consumers like to buy them, so they can download or access the information instantly.
They want it now!
In the same manner, the speed of your web page can have a significant effect on your sales, and ultimately, the overall user satisfaction.
Sadly, about 79% of online shoppers who were not impressed with the speed of a website said they won’t return to the website to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping on the website.
There’s no other way to crown your efforts with success if your page loads sluggishly. Not one of your target audience (especially, search users) have the patient to wait for more than 3 seconds.
Surveys conducted by Akamai and Gomez revealed that nearly half of web users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a page that doesn’t load properly within 3 seconds.
If you look at the events that make up Behavioral Analysis, without a doubt, you can see that when a user searches for the particular key term on Google, they’re only interested in spending a few seconds on your page.
Image Source: Wikimedia
I’m sure you can relate to it. How do you react when you visit a web page that doesn’t load up quickly? You leave!
Those first few seconds are the most important for creating an impression.
Since Google incorporated page speed in the search ranking factors, it’s no longer an option – it’s either you increase page speed or lose out. Though page speed doesn’t weigh as much as the relevance of a page but don’t ignore it.
The purpose of optimizing for speed isn’t necessarily because Google said we should do it. It’s because it helps visitors to get to where they’re going quicker.
More so, if you were to choose between tweaking your metadata and optimizing for speed, the latter is a better use of your time. The results will also show.
How to improve your site load time
First, you need to determine your website speed. This is a no-brainer. Because if you don’t know how fast your website is at the moment, how can you make it better?
To achieve the best performance for your website, your images, stylesheets, scripts, and other resources should weigh around 130 KB.
You can use tools like the Web Page Test or Firefox browser plugins to determine the size of your website.
Simply visit the Google Pagespeed tools and click on the “RUN INSIGHTS” text.
Next, enter your blog URL (e.g., saasbrand.com) to analyze its performance. Then click on the “ANALYZE” button at the far right.
Lastly, your website will be analyzed for performance and results served. By default, you’ll see mobile analysis but you can toggle the Desktop analysis as well.
There are guidelines to work on your minimize image sizes, leverage browser caching, lower server response time, and much more.
Better yet, you can determine how much time it takes your website to load. We’re going to use the Pingdom Website Speed Test portal.
Simply enter your blog URL (e.g., Marketingprofs.com) and choose the geographic location (example: Dallas, Texas, US) you want to Test from. Then, click on the “START TEST” button:
Pingdom tool will analyze the blog URL, and present the summary like this:
At a glance, you can see that Marketingprofs.com loads at 1.51 seconds which is awesome, and exactly aligns with the 2 seconds benchmark that website visitors expect.
If you run a performance test on your website and discover that the size of your website is bigger than 130 KB, and load time is above 2 seconds, here’s my proven tips to reduce it:
- Make sure your scripts and CSS load in external files instead of cramping on your web pages.
- Optimize your images. Reduce image byte size with TinyPNG, or ImageOptim (for Mac users). Don’t rely on HTML to resize images.
- Use GZip compression.
- Cache the latest version of your WordPress pages using WP Super Cache plugin.
- Avoid unhealthy redirects.
Often times, you don’t need to know SEO in and out to boost your search visibility. When you up your page speed, you’re telling Google that you care about users.
For example, Property Heating Solutions improved website speed infrastructure, coupled with other on-page optimization techniques, and saw a massive organic traffic increase by 1141.9% in 19 months (July 2015 to January 2017).
2. Strengthen your Landing Pages
Which lens do you use to view your landing pages? To a person who runs Facebook ad campaigns, a landing page is usually a standalone page for building an email list.
To a webmaster and SEO expert, however, a landing page is that page where search users discovered your business. In other words, if search users are finding my “About Us” page, then that’s a landing page – it doesn’t matter whether I use it for capturing email leads or not.
You’ve got to strengthen your landing pages. It’s a powerful on-page SEO technique that took my organic traffic to approximately 70,000 sessions between 2015 and 2017.
We’ll discuss the various ways to strengthen these landing pages, but first, let’s find them.
Log into your Google Analytics account and follow this path:
Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
Once you’ve clicked on the Landing Pages tab, you’ll see how search users discover you in the search engines, and the pages they enter from:
Your landing page is a goldmine. Once you’ve identified your top-performing pages, it’s time to strengthen each one of them – so that they can, in turn, generate more search traffic for your business.
Often times, your landing pages are simply generating organic traffic and rankings without any effort on your part. Maybe you didn’t even target any specific keyword, or format the page well.
Here are simple ways to strengthen your landing pages:
i). Fix the title tag and meta description: You might be wondering why Google still uses title tag and meta description in the organic listings. The truth is that Google seems to be comfortable with them.
Check each of your landing pages (begin with the top performer) and see if it has its unique title tag and meta description.
Include a synonym of your target keyword in the meta description — it’s a simple way to prevent keyword stuffing and over-optimization.
Include your target keyword close or in front of the title tag. This will improve your click-through rate. For example, if you’re targeting “Social Media Strategy” then use a similar title tag like this:
- Social Media Strategy: How to Use Social To Build Your Sales Pipeline
- How a Social Media Strategy Can Help You Generate Leads and Revenue
Since users and search engines read the title tags and content of a page from left to right, be mindful of title tags that push your target keyword to the extreme right-hand such as:
- How to Get More Sales For Your Business With This Social Media Tools
- Why Your Website is Not Generating Search Traffic And What to do
ii). Create long-form content: Several studies involving more than 20,000 keywords have shown that long-form content pages tend to rank higher in the search engines. Here’s the average length of content pages that appear on the Top 10 results for most search terms:
Therefore, if your landing page has 1,248-word article, all you have to do is increase word count to 2500, 3000, or make it an ultimate guide (up to 5,000 words).
Don’t just pad text upon text, make sure you add value. Include current and credible statistics, use screenshots and other visual elements to make the content helpful and comprehensive.
iii). Make the page easy to share on social: Another vital tweak you can apply on your landing pages, especially after making it comprehensive, is to add social share buttons, and make the content easy to share.
Add a Sharebar WordPress plugin to your blog and activate social sharing buttons to appear at the left-hand side so that people can share the post while they’re reading it.
3. Use Deep Linking to Supercharge Internal Pages
Do you deliberately utilize deep linking strategy for your internal pages? I ask this question because I see a lot of supposedly great blogs falling short.
Every page on your website is relevant and dependent on the strength of other individual pages for optimal performance.
What is deep linking?
Though deep linking is a practice used primarily in mobile app development and deployment, it’s become a common practice for webmasters and SEO experts.
Deep linking is the effective use of anchor texts and images to link to other internal pages inside your blog (on the same domain). This encourages Google to crawl and index more of your pages — and to see the depth and value of your website.
Most people focus on getting search visitors to their homepage but struggle to rank their internal pages.
The reason is not far-fetched: There’s no authority on them.
Other than the homepage, the moment I started interlinking my pages (both new and old pages), I improved their SEO values and my web pages began to show up for tough keywords.
Deep linking your internal pages will reduce your bounce rate. In fact, this marketer’s bounce rate went from 45.32% to 24.45% within 30 days.
Why not interlink your landing pages?
I’m sure you’ve written some helpful content before. If you link to your internal pages consistently, you’ll reduce the workload on search engines. Because you’ll make it easier for Googlebot to quickly find and index your pages.
One of the reasons Wikipedia ranks at the top of Google organic listings for virtually every known keyword is because of deep linking. Try and count the number of internal links on this Entrepreneurship page:
Wikipedia uses deep linking to increase internal page authority. However, you must avoid over-optimization of your anchor text. You must be willing to mix things up — there really is no set rule.
To avoid getting into trouble when interlinking your pages, use your exact title as anchor text, or take advantage of the LSI keywords of the destination page.
For example, if the destination page targets “ecommerce website traffic,” you could use the synonym (such as online store visitors, ecommerce online traffic) as your anchor text
All in all, you need to have a blogging strategy. Because whether it’s deep linking, strengthening your landing pages, or improving your page speed, you need a blog to make your objectives come through.
If you’re looking for a shortcut to dominate or manipulate search engines, I don’t think there is. Or is there?
Always remember that a helpful and interesting blog post could sway potential customers in your direction. But you’ve got to be consistent.
There you’ve it: The 3 on-page SEO techniques that grew my blog’s search traffic. What would you do next?
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