In the search results for the keyword blockchain copywriter, my blockchain copywriting service page is now ranked first on Google at time of writing.
It is true there are some factors beyond our control — how people use Google to search for what they’re looking for, the competitiveness and search volume of keywords, gaining enough backlinks to boost your rank without getting penalized, etc.
In fact, for certain keywords that are highly competitive, you will need backlinks and off-site optimization on top of the on-page tips you read here. However, there is a lot we can do just on our website to really make a difference, especially for long-tail keywords that are within reach without employing off-site optimization. In this post, I share some of the on-page tasks I’ve done to bring my page to the top.
Nine Surefire SEO Tips to Propel Your Site to the Top
1. Use Only One Idea Per Page
Each page should be tightly focused on one single idea. Not two, not three — just one.
This idea could be of one topic, one service, or one product. This is not just about refraining from confusing the search bot crawlers with too much information. Even more importantly, this is primarily about delivering clear content that your readers can easily understand.
Although Google’s algorithms and bot crawlers aren’t human, they are becoming smarter over time with the help of its artificial intelligence technology. It won’t be long before bot crawlers have the ability to comprehend hundreds of variations of a single keyword in the same way a human brain can. Perhaps this is already happening now, but Google isn’t telling us a whole lot about it.
2. Craft a Clear and Focused Page Title
Your page title should not only contain the keyword you want people to find you with, but it should also clearly tell what your page is about. Your page title shouldn’t be too long, lest it gets truncated in Google’s search results. But it shouldn’t be too short either.
The title should also be compelling enough to grab attention and get clicks. Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) are also performance-based, meaning the search results that get clicked the most are bound to rise in search rankings.
Without being gimmicky or clickbait-y, your title should be concise, clear, compelling, and most importantly, on point.
3. Fix Site Level Issues
This is where a little tech savvy comes in. It’s almost inevitable that every website will have some sort of technical issue that needs to be fixed. It could be as simple as updating broken links or a missing page that returns a 404 error, to which you can apply a 301 redirect. Google will eventually pick up the redirect and the 404 error will disappear.
Other site level issues may be more complex, such as lack of mobile responsiveness, problems with title or meta tags, or incorrect entries within your robots.txt file. For further reading, here’s an ultimate guide on robots.txt files from Yoast.
For tips on fixing complex technical issues for SEO, see 15 Common On-Site Technical SEO Issues and How to Fix Them.
Another site level issue essential for SEO is page load time, which is important enough to deserve its own paragraph.
2.6 seconds. That’s how long most people will wait for a page to load before giving up and leaving.
Google knows this.
Therefore, page load time has a huge impact on SEO. You can use the following tools to check to see how long it takes for your page to load:
Unfortunately, some of these suggestions that appear when clicking Show how to fix may sound like an alien language to you if you don’t have a deeply technical background of how the Internet works.
If you are using WordPress, check out How to Score 100/100 in Google PageSpeed Insights with WordPress. While it’s highly unlikely you will score 100/100 (how’s that for a catchy title?), these instructions are easy to follow–and it works.
Be warned that in some cases, however, you may have to spend more money to upgrade your hosting plan, or even switch hosting providers to see a significant improvement — particularly with caching issues.
Case in point:
Just by switching hosts and making a few minor changes, I was able to reduce my page load time from 4 seconds to just a little over 1 second! As a result, my SEO has been much improved than before I switched hosting providers.
5. Write a Clear Meta Description to Enhance Click Through Rates
As I’ve mentioned, SERPs are based on performance and the results that receive higher click-through rates (CTR) are bumped further up in rankings.
Not only do you need a clear and concise title that compels people to click the link, you also need a clear meta description that further describes what your page is about in detail. You can even entice people to click your link by using a call to action.
In the following image, the meta description is indicated by the red rectangle.
6. Implement Suggestions From Your Favorite SEO Plugin
Your SEO plugin is not just for creating meta descriptions. It automatically evaluates each page or post on your site, and gives suggestions on how to further optimize around a keyword of your choice.
Once you choose and activate your SEO plugin within WordPress, you can begin optimizing a page around your chosen keyword. In the Pro versions, you can optimize a page for multiple keywords.
By making improvements to your page using the suggestions given in your plugin, you further optimize your page for SEO.
To illustrate this, below is a screenshot at the time my page ranked first on Google for a particular keyword.
7. Fill In the Alt Text for Each Image On Your Page
Because on-page SEO is as important than ever, it would be a mistake to not make images part of your optimization strategy. There are two things you need to do for images: 1) give it a relevant file name, and 2) give it an alt text.
Search engines cannot see images on websites as the human eye can, so it is essential to give the image an alt text and relevant file name to tell Google what the image is all about.
Name your image files in a way that is indicative of what the image is itself, rather than something like IMG56613970.jpg. Can’t think of a good image file name? Hint: use your keywords!
Alt text is also very important. In case your images fail to load on your website, users will see the alt text instead of the image itself. Google has made this a fairly big factor towards search rankings.
Finally, the image file type matters. The types that are indexable by Google are GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, BMP, and SVG. Make sure to use only these image file types on your website.
8. Optimize Your Site for Mobile Responsiveness
There are several ways to optimize your site for mobile devices.
First, you can design your website using a mobile-first approach.
Third, if the first and second ways are too technical for you, you can just install a WordPress plugin to make your site mobile responsive. Here’s a list of plugins that do exactly this.
Fourth, you can configure AMP on your site. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. See the AMP Project for more information.
Whichever method you use, make sure you don’t use too much bloat on your site as that slows down page load times. The key is to keep page load times fast while making your site responsive to mobile devices. For example, using certain plugins may enhance your SEO, but having too many plugins may slow your page load time, thereby negating any SEO benefit you receive from these plugins.
9. Secure Your Site With SSL
There is a clear SEO benefit to enabling SSL on your website. If your website only starts with http:// not https://, this means you do not have SSL enabled.
The extra “s” indicates the site is secure and encrypted, and you’ve probably noticed this when paying online or submitting sensitive information through a website. Simply put, hackers cannot intercept any of your data. The technology that powers that little “s” is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer.
From an SEO perspective, Google has publicly stated they will favor SSL-enabled websites and give them higher rankings than those without.
See more on SSL (scroll down to #9).
BONUS TIP: Aim to Optimize Your Page Towards a Featured Snippet
This is something I’ve stumbled into purely by accident. I didn’t even know what a Featured Snippet was until one day I googled software copywriter. To my utter shock, I found my own Featured Snippet at the top of the first page.
Here’s a good article about Featured Snippets and how to optimize your content for these.
This is still pretty new to me, so I don’t have much else to say here at this point. Since I have my own Featured Snippet already, I will be sure to take some time to learn more about it! Honestly, if it were up to me, I would have chosen different text and perhaps some bullets for the snippet.
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