August 05, 2019

Keyword Research: The Ultimate Guide [2019]

This is the ultimate guide to keyword research and SEO in 2019.

In this detailed guide I’ll answer:
  • What does keyword research mean?
  • How do you do keyword research?
  • How to choose the right keywords?
  • How to use keyword research tools
  • How important is keyword research?
  • What is the best keyword research tool?
  • How do I generate keywords for SEO?

and lots more.

So if you wish to rank higher on Google Search and drive in more traffic to your blog, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

Keyword Research and SEO
Keyword Research and SEO

Overview:


Keyword Research Basics

To learn about Keyword Research one must have a clear idea of its fundamental properties.
To do keyword research you must know what is keyword research? Why is keyword research important for a site's SEO?
I'll add my practical experiences concerning my site's growth using Keyword Research.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of discovering words and phrases that people use in search engines with the ultimate goal of optimizing content around those terms.

Importance of Keyword Research in SEO

Keyword research affects every other SEO task that you perform, including finding topics for contents, on-page SEO, and outreach and promotion.

That’s why keyword research is usually the first step of any SEO campaign.

Put another way:

Keywords are like a compass for your SEO campaigns: they indicate the direction you should approach and whether or not you’re making progress.

As a bonus, researching keywords help you figure out the thoughts, fears, and desires of your target market. That’s because keywords research gives you tremendous insight into what potential customers searching for… and the exact words and phrases that they use.

How Keyword Research Helped My Site’s Traffic Grow?

Today, my site generates 2,800 visitors every month:

Number of visitors
Number of visitors

And 1,820 of those visitors (65.7%) come from Google:

Organic Traffic
Organic Traffic

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that went into my site’s growth with SEO, including content I publish, on-page optimization, link building and technical SEO.

But the #1 factor that contributed to my site’s traffic growth was keyword research.



For example:

A few months ago I used the strategies from this guide to uncover an awesome, low-competition keyword: infinite amp blogger template.

And I created a piece of SEO-optimized content around that term: Infinite AMP Responsive Blogger Template.

Because that keyword wasn’t super competitive, my site quickly hit the #2 spot in Google:

ranking-on-google-search
Ranking on Google Search

And thanks to that #2 ranking, that single page brings in hundreds of visitors from Google every month:

Traffic Landing Page
Traffic Landing Page

How to Find Keyword Ideas?

Now it’s time to get into the depth of keyword research. Specifically, it’s time to generate a list of keywords. In this part, I’m going to show you proven strategies that you can use to come up with keyword ideas.

Let’s dive right in.

Brainstorm a List of Topics

Here’s where you come up with topics that your target visitor is interested in. For example, let’s say that you run a digital marketing agency. You'd definitely be concerned about: ”What topics do people search for that are related to my business?”

Some topics that come to mind would be things like:
  • Website traffic
  • Social media
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC
Note: They aren’t keywords. They’re broad topics that you’ll ultimately use to dig in to find specific keywords.

Use Google and YouTube Suggest

Now that you have a list of topics, type each one of them into Google.

Google Search Backlink Checker
Google Search Backlink Checker

Check the terms that Google automatically suggests you.

Google Search Results
Google Search Results

These are great keywords to add to your list. Why?

Simply because if you see Google is suggesting you a keyword, you should make it out that people are searching for it on Google.

You can implement the same idea on Youtube suggest as well:

YouTube Search Results
YouTube Search Results

"Searches Related To"

Another interesting way to find keywords is to check out the “Searches Related to” section at the bottom of Google’s search results.

For instance, let’s say one of your topics was “backlink maker” and you'd want to search for that keyword on Google. Once searched, scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll find a couple of keywords that are closely related to your search term.

Searches Related To Results
Searches Related To Results

Just like with Google Suggest, these are keyword ideas that come straight from Google. So you don’t need to guess whether or not they’re popular. Google is actually telling you: “Hey! A huge number of people search for these keywords.”

Find Keywords on Reddit

Reddit is a popular forum. That is an undeniable fact. Have you ever imagines that forum can actually serve a lot more purpose by building your keyword research? Did you ever give this a thought?
Let’s say that you run a site that sells mobile accessories. You’d run into Reddit. Then search for a broad topic that your target audience is interested in… and something related to what you sell.

Search on Reddit
Search on Reddit

Then, go for the subreddit which you expect your audience to visit frequently:

Subreddit Search
Subreddit Search

Finally, check the one thread that has the maximum number of comments:

Reddit Popular Thread
Reddit Popular Thread

In this case, you’d add “avenger images” to your keyword ideas list.

There is an awesome tool that extracts common words and phrases from a subreddit with a free keyword tool called “Keyworddit”. Check what I got when I searched for "gaming".

Keyworddit
Keyworddit

Wikipedia Table of Contents

Wikipedia is a much-neglected chest of niche research. You'll have a hard time scratching your head and find so well-curated articles with such awesome categorisation. So how to exploit the facility?

Here’s how to use Wikipedia to find keyword ideas.

First, head over to Wikipedia and type in a broad keyword:

Wikipedia Search
Wikipedia Search

That will take you to the Wikipedia entry for that broad topic.

Then, look for the “contents” section of the page. This section lists out the subtopics covered on that page.

Wikipedia Contents
Wikipedia Contents

You might find some related keywords within the table of contents.

You can also click on some of the internal links on the page to check out the "See Also", closely related entries.

Wikipedia See Also Links
Wikipedia See Also Links
This list is lit! The keywords are all linked somehow or the other to the query initially made.

Find Popular Topics Using Forums

Forums are like having live focus groups at your fingertips 24×7.

You can easily locate your target audience forums using the following search strings on Google Search:
  • “keyword forum”
  • “keyword” + “forum”
  • “keyword” + “forums”
  • “keyword” + “board”

Once you find a forum, note how the forum is divided up into sections: Each of these sections is potential keywords that you can add to your list.

XDA Developers Forum
XDA Developers Forum

To dig deeper, check out some of the threads on the forum to find other specific topics that your target audience struggles with.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Research is made possible by a variety of ways. One way can be simple manual methods, the other, by using tools.

Manual methods include strict observations and require high labour. Tools, on the other hand, make the work more efficient and accurate.

Following are a few tools which I personally work with to get help on keyword research.



The Google Keyword Planner

Google’s Keyword Planner is the most reliable source of keyword information online.

Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner

That’s because, unlike most other tools, the data you get from the Keyword Planner come straight from Google.

(So you know they’re accurate)

The big downside of the Google Keyword Planner is that it’s designed to help people with their Google ad campaigns… not with SEO.

That said, you can still use the Google Keyword Planner to get lists of keyword ideas.

Keyword Ideas
Keyword Ideas

Also, find search queries that get lots of searches.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere might be my favourite free keyword research tool.

Why?

Because it shows you keyword ideas from different places around the web (including YouTube, Bing and Google Analytics).

Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere

All you need to do is install the Chrome extension. And the next time you visit one of the sites that Keywords Everywhere integrates with, you’ll see a list of keyword ideas… and data on each keyword.

Keywords Details
Keywords Details

SEMrush

If you want to invest in a paid keyword tool, I highly recommend SEMrush because it is a huge time-saver.

Here’s why...

Instead of popping random keywords into a tool, SEMrush shows you the exact keywords that a site already ranks for.

So if you have a site that you’re competing against in Google, just pop it into SEMrush.

SEMrush Search
SEMrush Search

And steal all of their keywords.

Organic Keywords
Organic Keywords

Ahrefs

Most people see Ahrefs as a link building tool. Unfortunately, not most of the people out there know it's utility. What’s nice about Ahrefs “Keyword Explorer” is that you get a ton of helpful data on each keyword.

Ahrefs Keyword Research
Ahrefs Keyword Research

Which can help you decide whether or not it’s a keyword that’s worth going after?

The only drawback that I came across is that it's not great a coming up with new keyword ideas. It usually generates keywords that are just simple variations of the keyword I typed in.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest was first Google suggest scraper that I used. And last year the tool got a massive upgrade and overhaul.

Ubersuggest
Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest still generates keyword ideas from Google’s search suggestions. But it also gives you data on each keyword (like search volume, CPC, keyword difficulty and more).

Keyword Ideas
Keyword Ideas

Keyword Difficulty

If you choose a super competitive keyword, you can find your site buried at the bottom Google’s third page. But if you can find a keyword without a ton of competition, you have a good chance of cracking the top 3.

With that said, here’s how to figure out a keyword’s SEO difficulty.

Keyword Category Division
Keyword Category Division

Long Tails Are (Usually) Less Competitive

If you have started an all-new blog, it is a good practice to target less competitive keywords. I would recommend going for Long Tail Keywords.

Why? Let's look into it in detail.

Majority of bloggers who deal with the SEO, usually divide keywords into 3 main parts: the head terms, the body party and the (long) tail.


Keyword category division

Here’s a breakdown of each keyword type:

1. Head Terms
These are usually single-word keywords with lots of search volume and competition.

Examples of head terms are keywords like “loans” or “mortgage”. Because searcher intent is all over the place (someone searching for “loans” might be looking for a house loan, a list of easy loan providing companies or a definition of the word).

Head Terms usually don’t convert very well.

2. Body Keywords

Body keywords are 2-3 word phrases that get decent search volume (at least two to three thousand searches per month) but are more specific than Head Keywords.

Keywords like “house loan” or “mortgage applications” are examples of Body Keywords.

They have less competition than Head Terms.

3. Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are long, 4+ word phrases that are usually very specific. Phrases like “apply for house loan at less interest” and “mortgage calculator based on earning” are examples of long-tail keywords.

These terms don’t get a lot of search volume individually (usually around two hundred searches per month). But when you add them together, long tails make up the majority of searches online. Since they don’t get searches for that much, long-tail terms usually aren’t very competitive.

There’s no “best” keyword category to focus on. All the above have their pros and cons.

But when it comes to competition, long tails are usually the least competitive of the bunch.

Authority of Sites on Google’s First Page

Here’s a quick way to evaluate a keyword’s competition level.

First, do a Google search for your keyword. Then, look at the sites ranking on the first page.

Keyword Competitiveness
Keyword Competitiveness

If the first page is made up of high authority sites (like Wikipedia), then you might want to cross that keyword off from your list:

High Authority Sites
High Authority Sites

But, if you find few smaller blogs on page 1, that’s a sign that you have a shot to hit the first page too.

Keyword Difficulty Inside of Keyword Tools

The majority of keyword research tools have some sort of keyword competition feature, including SEMRush, Ahrefs, KWFinder and Moz Pro.

I find that they all reshape keyword difficulty based on a combination of page authority and domain authority. So they all tend to come up with the same competition numbers.

Thus you can simply work on a single tool and find out keyword difficulty.

CanIRank

There is an entirely different tool dedicated to sorting out keyword difficulty: CanIRank.

CanIRank
CanIRank

What I like about this tool is that it doesn’t just spit out a keyword difficulty number. CanIRank is the first SEO software using AI to give you specific action recommendations rather than just data.

How to Choose a Keyword?

Unfortunately, there’s no tool out there that will tell you: “This is the best keyword on your list”.
Instead, you need to size up each keyword based on a handful of different factors. Then, pick the keyword that’s the best fit for your business.

As you might expect, that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this chapter.



Search Volume

Search Volume, in the literal sense, refers to the number of searches made by users on a particular keyword.

But, it is a variable quantity that depends on the Keyword Searched.

For example, a long tail keyword in the insurance niche (like: “insurance companies in India”) gets up to 10K searches per month.

But a long tail keyword in a B2B space like digital marketing (like: “best SEO software”) only gets 100-1K monthly searches.

Clicks and Impressions
Clicks and Impressions

That’s why you want to figure out what a “high” and “low” search volume number is in your niche.

Then, choose keywords based on what’s normal for your industry.

Organic Click-Through-Rate

It’s a transparent truth that the number of Google searches that click on an organic search result is way down.

Google – Organic CTR
Google – Organic CTR

Post introduction of Featured Snippets, viewers receive their answers by not even visiting the site. Also, Google Ads eat up the top position like never before.

Google Ads and Featured Snippets
Google Ads and Featured Snippets

Search Volume is not the ultimate indicator of Keywords Ranking, what plays is the Organic Click Through Rate.

Here are two simple ways to do it:

First, you can look at the SERPs (Search Engine Result Page) for your keyword.

If you see a lot of stuff on the first page (like a Featured Snippet and multiple Google Adwords ads), then you know that you’re not going to get a ton of clicks, even if you rank #1.

Second, you can use any tool like Ahrefs and Moz Pro, as both estimate organic CTR.

Having said that, I wouldn’t neglect a keyword just because it has a low CTR. If lots of people search for that term, it might still be worth going after.



Difficulty

As I've mentioned before, if you're site is new (or doesn’t have a ton of links yet), target low-competition terms at first. Then, as your site grows in authority, you can start to target more competitive stuff.

For example:

When I first launched TechGyd by Sukalyan, I targeted almost 100% long-tail keywords (like: “how to flash custom ROMs”).

Since I didn’t have a ton of sites to compete with, I was able to crack the first page within a few weeks.

CPC

Search volume is nice but if the person searching for that keyword is broke, then there’s worthless targeting that term.

Also, you may sometimes get a great return on investment from a keyword that doesn’t get that many searches if the CPC(Cost Per Click) is high enough.

For example, one of my target keywords is “off-page SEO checklist”.

According to the Google Keyword Planner, this keyword gets around 100-1000 searches per month.

Off-Page SEO checklist
Off-Page SEO checklist

So if I only looked at search volume, I’d say: “This is a horrible keyword”. But it’s super important to also look at CPC.

The CPC on that keyword is $16.5.

Which means that people are spending $16.5 every time someone searches for that keyword clicks on an ad. So even though the search volume for that term isn’t that high, the CPC more than makes up for it.

Based on CPC (and the fact that the keyword wasn’t super competitive) I decided to create content optimized around that term.



Keyword Trends

Finally, you want to see if your keyword is growing fast or lagging slow. The best way to do that? Google Trends.

For example, last month I was considering the keyword: “blogger templates”. But I decided to check that keyword into Google Trends before pulling the trigger.

As you can see, interest in that keyword is growing fast.

Google Trends – Blogger Template
Google Trends – Blogger Template

Which is why I optimized this page around that term.

Blogger Template SEO study
Blogger Template SEO study

Even though that piece of content only brings in about 100+ daily search engine visitors, the trend tells me that traffic to this post should increase over time.

Advanced Tips and Strategies

Now that you’ve mastered the basics of keyword research, it’s time to cover some cool advanced stuff. Specifically, I’m going to reveal a bunch of tactical keyword research tips that you can implement right away.

So without further delay, let’s dive right into the tips.

Google Search Console Keyword Research

The Google Search Console is a huge stock of keyword ideas. How? Let's find out.
First, log in to your Google Search Console account and head over to the “Performance Report”.

GSC Performance report
GSC Performance report

This report shows you the terms that bring in the most clicks from Google search.

GSC Performance links
GSC Performance links

Then, sort the list by “Impressions”.

Sort by Impression
Sort by Impression

This shows you keywords that get lots of impressions but not necessarily clicks.

Clicks vs. Impressions
Clicks vs. Impressions

Finally, create a piece of content optimized around that same keyword.

Why is this a powerful strategy?

These are keywords that you know people are searching for. You also know that Google sees your site as a good fit in the search results.

You just need to publish content that’s solely focused on that specific keyword and you’re all done.

Barnacle SEO

Let’s say that you found the exact keyword and you rank in the top 3 for that term. But is that all?
As it turns out, you can get even more traction from that keyword with Barnacle SEO. Barnacle SEO is the practice of using other sites’ authority to rank on the first page.

If you find an amazing keyword, you want to take up as much first-page real estate as you can.

First, create content on that topic on your own site. Then, publish keyword-optimized content on authority sites, like YouTube, LinkedIn, Medium and more.

Optimize Content around Synonyms and Related Keywords

You can get even more search engine traffic to your page by optimizing it around synonyms and closely related terms.

I'll explain how this works.

A few weeks back I wrote an article about Google RankBrain, it now ranks on the first page of Google, when the search query is "google rankbrain 2019 definitive guide".

google rankbrain 2019 ultimate guide
Google RankBrain 2019 Definitive Guide

However, when the query is "google rankbrain 2019 ultimate guide" it still ranks up in the same first page. The position does vary though.

google rankbrain 2019 definitive guide
Google RankBrain 2019 Ultimate Guide

Thus try to use similar words and punch them together in the meta description.

Ahrefs Content Gap

Content Gap is one of the most liked features from Ahref.

Here’s how it works:

Just like with SEMRush, you can use Ahrefs to see the exact keywords another site ranks for. With Ahrefs Content Gap, you can take this type of competitor analysis to the next level.

Head over to Ahrefs content gap and add 2-3 competing sites.

Ahref Content Gap
Ahref Content Gap
This will show you keywords that at least two of your competitors rank for but you don’t.

Competitor Keywords
Competitor Keywords

Since multiple competitors rank for these terms, you know that you also have a good chance of cracking the top 10.

Analyze Keywords Based on Searcher Intent

To understand Searcher Intent, try and think what would you have wanted to search based on a particular keyword?

Whether they are looking for any product to purchase, they are searching or specific information or, they are subscribing to any offer!

Types of user intent
Types of user intent

If the Searcher Intent is “Navigational”, then you may want to avoid that term, even if it has great CPC and monthly search volume numbers.

But, if Searcher Intent is “Informational”, then a piece of content optimized around that term could do great.

Find “Shoulder Keywords”

It is a natural practice for the majority of the bloggers out there to optimize their site around the product they are willing to sell. But for two major reasons that turn out to be a big mistake.
  1. Keywords that are used by people to know about any product are usually excessively competitive.
  2. There are thousands of keywords that your potential customer searches for when they’re not searching for that you sell.
And if you can get in front of your customer with an awesome piece of content, chances are highly likely they would buy from you down the road.

For instance, as I mentioned earlier, I run a blogging tutorial-based company. But I don’t optimize every page on my site around commercial terms. (Like “blogging tutorials” and “blogging courses”).



Instead, I rank for keywords that my customers search for when they’re not looking for blogging courses. (Keywords like: “link building”, “SEO” and “blogger templates”).

There are certain keywords which aren’t directly related to what you are selling. Yet those are keywords that your customers search for. Which makes them worth going after. Let's look at the following example:

Assume, you run an eCommerce site that sells cellphone accessories. Obviously, you’d want to optimize some of your pages around terms like “get cellphone accessories online”. But don’t stop there.

In fact, someone interested in cellphone accessories may also search for:
  • How to choose proper back covers
  • How to get offers on mobile prices
  • Chargers for a removable battery
  • How to improve battery life

So you’d want to create content around these “Shoulder Keywords” too.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed going through my new keyword research guide. And now I’d like to read from you. Which tip from today’s guide are you going to try first? Let me know by leaving a quick comment below if you are practising some other tricks as well!

July 29, 2019

9 Must-do Off-Page SEO Strategies [2019 Update]

For all the many fields of SEO that people have come up with over the years, there are only two major kinds of SEO: On-Page and Off-Page.

9 Must-do Off-Page SEO Strategies [2019 Update]
Off-Page SEO Strategies

Overview:


What is Off-Page SEO?

As the phrase suggests, On-Page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) focuses on making sure that all elements (such as content and h2 tags) within a website are directed towards making it catchy to both users as well as search engines. I have written a detailed guideline on this post.

On the other hand, Off-Page SEO (or off-site SEO) is all about making an impact on your search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings by applying measures outside of your own blog and expecting they would play as off-page SEO factors.

While On-Page and Off-Page SEO are both fundamental, many would believe that the key to the success of your search engine optimization efforts would be the manner of Off-Page tasks that you do.

Off-page SEO, as a matter of fact, revolves almost exclusively on building rich links to your site, and we all know that it’s these incoming links that help you get some real traffic that would get you to the top spots of search engines.

As with on-page SEO, off-page SEO involves a lot of factors and understanding the essential ones will play a huge role in the success of your website.

Areas of Off-Page SEO:

Let’s review the main off-page SEO areas you need to take a look at

1. Number of inbound links

Search Engine giant Google prefers to count on the number of inbound links that a website has when establishing its authority. Inbound links stand as a fundamental criteria of domain authority.

Number of inbound links
Number of inbound links

The more links that link back to your pages, the better are your blog's chances of getting noticed by Google and other search engines. Ultimately, gifting a healthy rank in SERP.

2. Quality of inbound links

A few rich quality inbound links are far more efficient than several weak inbound links.

No matter which sites link back to your blog, the ones with higher authority will definitely levitate your authority manifold than that page which already has a feeble authority.



A one-way link also has more weight than a reciprocal link. The factor of QUALITY over QUANTITY must be adopted. Also, there should be relevance to which sites one higher authority site is linking to.

A link from a electronics site to a pet food site, for example, won’t have as much impact as a link from a fellow electronics services company.

3. Speed of building inbound links

Now that we already are well aware of both the quality as well as the quantity of inbound links one must have for their blog, time's come we discuss the rate of building such links.

A rapid and blazing fast rate of link building will raise suspicion about your blog to the search engines.

Your one week old blog getting, say, 1,000 low-quality links in one day do appear strange, and that could lead to penalties on your site.

I would recommend a steady approach in this regard. A steady process of building rich links to your blog for a period of three months will highly push your posts on top of search rankings.

You can get links by guest blogging.

4. Number of Social shares

In 2011, Matt Cutts, then-head of Google’s Webspam team, confirmed that Google uses social shares as ranking signals.

Today, almost all websites have social media engagement. Social shares are also a clear indication of valuable content, or people wouldn’t share them at all in the first place. Search engines will consider this when determining which pages to put at the top of the SERPs.

I recommend adding social share buttons on your posts. You can do that using any of these plugins if you're on WordPress.

5. Local SEO

For businesses that have an actual brick-and-mortar store, local SEO is one off-page SEO factor on which they should put a lot of resources.

After all, a distinguished section of Internet users look for local services and goods online.



It’s also a fact that location directly influences most search results these days, regardless of whether the search was done on a desktop computer or a mobile device.

By integrating local SEO with its marketing campaign, a business boosts its probability of being discovered by online users.

6. Citations

Citations are inbound links that come to you through Yelp, Angie’s List, CitySearch, and other online directories.

If you want to boost your backlink profile and help make it easier for people to find you, then you would want to submit your site to as many high-quality directories as possible.

7. Anchor text

The typically blue text that appears and becomes clickable when you create a hyperlink is called an anchor text, and it is what search engines use to ascertain what kind of information can be found in the destination page.

So if the anchor text says “how to start blogging,” Google and other search engines will assume that indeed, the page provides content that will help people in starting their blog.

Naturally, that page stands a much better chance of ranking for that keyword and other LSI keywords.

8. Domain age

Domain age is one of the prime examples of what an off-page factor indeed implies. You have no grip over it.

Consequently, a domain that’s been active for more than five years looks better in the eyes of Google, and that is a factor that can help you rank better.



So if you can help it, never let your domain go in exchange for a new one if your site is already of a certain age.

But if you need to rebrand, use a 301 redirect from the old domain to your newer one.

Here's what Neil Patel said on 301 Redirect:



9. Business reviews

Goes without saying, positive reviews add up spice to your brand. Just like common people are attracted to the positive reviews about a particular brand, search engine giant Google takes positive reviews as a signal from users choice on a particular brand.

If you've been cooking something fishy: Pay for positive reviews, then I would strictly suggest you to avoid that.

Conclusion

There are several other off-page SEO ranking factors, and the ones discussed above are just to get you started. Exploit these off-page SEO ranking factors, and you will eventually boost your online presence and brand awareness, and improve your ranking in the SERPs.

Now that you've reached all the way here, why not add up your favourite Off-Page SEO factor down in the comments. I'll see y'all around.

July 22, 2019

15+ On-Page SEO Tips to Rank #1 on Google [2019 Update]

Google has over 200 factors that determine the SERP of a particular blog. Alas, a lot of us are not aware of it when we step into the world of blogging.

In the early days, I found it hard to chalk out what could've been wrong that my post was not getting ranked. I went through multiple guides on the internet to work on it and write an article that would be search engine friendly.

On Page SEO tips
On-Page SEO tips

Now, after over a year, I finally started figuring out every loophole and write my articles in such a manner that they rank well in search results.

In this post, I have shared my tips about On-Page SEO (the ones that I tried to rank posts on this blog). Following them, you shall witness steady growth in traffic and ranking of your blog posts even when you're on a vacation.

Let's now hop in to learn On-Page SEO techniques!

Overview:


What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO refers to the tweaks that you can make to your blog to push it to better rank on search engines.

These modifications can be either applied to the content (i.e. text) or to the design (i.e. look) of your blog.

It’s a simple checklist that drives in more organic traffic from every piece of content that you publish!

On-Page SEO Checklist-

Use SEO-Friendly URLs

Matt Cutts from the Google Algorithms team stated that the first 3-5 words in your URL are given more weight.

A study conducted by Backlinko found that short URLs may have a lead in the search results.

Short URLs
Short URLs

So if you want SEO-friendly URLs, make them short and simple.

Don't forget to include your target keyword in your URL.



When it comes to choosing the slug, try to make it as short as possible while still fitting your keyword in.

In some cases, stop words should be removed but it’s fine if you leave them there. (Stop words are words like “a”, “the”, “us”).

Start Title With Keyword

The title tag is the most important on-page SEO factor of your website.
In general, the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title tag, the more weight it has with search engines. Here’s an example from my article on Google RankBrain.

Keywords in Title Beginning
Keywords in Title Beginning

However, the above tip doesn't seek permanent placement of Keywords at the beginning of the title. The title should be meaningful and attractive too.

My motive is to get those keywords in the proper place to form meaningful title as well as let you rank high.

Add Modifiers To Your Title

Using modifiers like “2019”, “top”, “best”, “guide”, “fast” and “checklist” can help your articles for long-tail versions of your target keyword.

Believe it or not! Half of your organic traffic is driven via long-tail keywords. These long-tail keywords span from 6-8 words.

Interestingly, none of them ever appears in any keyword research tool.

So if you are planning to write on SEO for beginners, try putting up a title like this:


Blog Post Title to be in an H1 Tag

The H1 tag is your “headline tag”. Those who are blogging on WordPress will find their post title is automatically quoted in the H1 tag. If that’s the case, you’re all set.
But some custom themes(especially in Blogspot) override this setting. Check your site’s code to make sure your title gets the H1 tag it deserves.



Make sure you have only one H1 tag per page and that H1 tag should contain your target keyword.

Wrap Subheadings in H2 Tags

Place your target keyword in at least once subheading and wrap it in an H2 tag.

However, doing such won't bring about a significant change in your on-page or off-page SEO efforts. After trying this trick on several posts of mine, I did notice a certain upward push from the search engine results page.

Here’s an example of this strategy in action (target keyword= "AdSense Ads"):

Wrap Subheadings in h2 tag
Wrap Subheadings in h2 tag

Drop Keyword in First 100 Words

Whenever you are writing an article, try to keep the target keyword within first 100-150 words.

Keywords within first 100 Words
Keywords within the first 100 Words

Although, the introduction of any content naturally includes the keyword.
But a lot of bloggers pen down their posts off with a lengthy and detuned intro…and use their keyword for the first time later.

When you put your keyword somewhere in the first 100 words or so Google understand what your page is all about.

Use Responsive Design

Google started penalizing mobile unfriendly sites in 2015. And with Mobile-first indexing now live, a mobile-optimized site is a now an absolute must. What’s the best way to optimize your site for mobile devices? Responsive Design.

If you take a look at the stats below:

StatCounter Monthly Statistics
StatCounter Monthly Statistics

The StatCounter Monthly Metrics clearly indicate:

Mobile vs Desktop vs Tablet
Mobile vs Desktop vs Tablet

And if you’re going to make your site mobile-friendly, it is highly recommended that you install a responsive design. In my opinion, it’s ideal for user experience. Also, Google prefers it.

Use Internal Links

You'll find professional bloggers have one thing in common and that's internal links in their articles. In fact, I would suggest you add a couple of relevant links to your own articles.

One great example of internal linking is found in Wikipedia. Goes without saying, Wikipedia is there on the first page in the majority of search results.

They add keyword-rich internal links to every article:

Wikipedia Internal Linking
Wikipedia Internal Linking

But they are Wikipedia. In every post they have on the web, there are at least 10-20 internal links. Some posts even cross 50. But that's Wikipedia.

I would recommend, place at least 5 internal links to your previous posts.

Use Outbound Links

Outbound links to related pages help Google figure out a niche of your page. Google is made aware that your article is a stock of quality info.




Lots of experienced bloggers out there have a misunderstanding about out linking. They believe they are providing backlinks. But, that's not the reality. I practice keeping 2-4 outbound links to those pages which I studied before writing my content.

In fact, you can even mail the admins of such pages and write to them about your article. If they do like those, there is a high chance they will share it on social media handles.

Boost Site Speed

Google has stated on the record that page loading speed is an SEO ranking signal (and they recently made PageSpeed even MORE important). By using a CDN, compressing images, and switching to a faster hosting plan, you can boost site loading speed.

Check if your site load time is less than 4 seconds or more: MunchWeb found that 75% of users wouldn’t re-visit a page that took more than 4 seconds to load.

You can easily check your site’s loading speed using the excellent GTMetrix.com:


CDNs and cache plugins are nice, but investing in premium hosting is the #1 thing you can do to make your site faster.
$5/month hosts are decent for the money you’re paying. But they don’t gift you up with decent speed.



I have not moved on to WordPress yet. I love to stay on Google-hosted Blogspot. Yes, Google owns it all and there are risks of losing your site if you void their Terms and Conditions. I'm still working on a decent Hosting Plan before shifting my website.

Distribute LSI Keywords

LSI keywords are synonyms that Google uses to determine a page’s quality. Add them into every post.

Those bloggers who jolt down huge articles have a natural tendency of including LSI keywords into their posts.

If you want to check that you’re using LSI keywords or not, search for your keyword in Google and scroll down to the “Searches Related to…” section at the bottom of the page:

LSI keywords
LSI keywords

Toss one or two in your articles.

Image Optimisation

Infographics and images add flavour to an article. Viewers are also helped greatly by such tools.

As a publisher, one must add the keywords in the image name following a proper format. For example, "on-page-seo-checklist.jpg" is an ideal image name for SEO.

Also, don't forget to add Title and Alt Text tag to the images.

Image Optimisation for SEO
Image Optimisation for SEO

Search engines get clue about what topic is the page written.

When Google sees images with alt text “on page SEO tips” it tells them: “this page is about on page SEO”

Use Social Sharing Buttons

Today's netizens reside mostly on social media. They browse through digital mode of information provided by different sites.

Those who love reading your article will definitely share with their community. Social media has the power to drive countless traffic overnight. So don't hesitate to add social share buttons on your blog.

BrightEdge, in a study, found that popular social sharing buttons can escalate social sharing by 700%.

Social signals aren’t an important part of the Google algorithm. But social shares on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may give you an indirect rankings boost.

That’s why we put social sharing buttons in the sidebar of every post:

Social Sharing Buttons on TechGyd
Social Sharing Buttons on TechGyd

Post Long Form Contents

The SEO aphorism “length is a strength” was aided by an industry study from Backlinko which found that longer content tends to rank significantly higher on Google’s first page.

Long Form Contents
Long-Form Contents: Backlinko

The target should be for at least 2000 words for every piece of content that you publish on your blog.

Whenever you are writing a blog post that you want to rank, you want to make sure you are including as much detail as possible.



Search Engines have been rewarding long-form content and in 2019, you won’t rank unless you write at least 1500-2000 words per post.

In fact, when you are writing long-form contents, you get to explore a topic in-depth, which in turn increases the time that some visitor spends on your site and Google understands your content is awesome.

Longer content helps you rank better for your target keyword. It also brings in more long-tail traffic. A win-win!

Conclusion

I’ve shared with you my own SEO hacks that I have been practising for quite a while.

These are the top on-page SEO steps out there that have driven over 10,000 visitors per month to my site.

If you follow this checklist, you will notice more traffic and better SERP positions.

To sum up, you need to:

  1. Select the right keywords and their variations
  2. Write long posts of over 2000 words
  3. Use compelling meta copy to increase CTR
  4. Aptly add outbound links
  5. Beautify the code structure like heading tags.
  6. Add images and videos
  7. Clean up your permalinks
  8. Encourage sharing and commenting
  9. Create backlinks to your article
  10. Review and update your articles every so often
  11. Ignore the blackhat temptation

Here’s a useful infographic about On-Page SEO techniques from Brian Dean from backlinko.com to summarise whatever I have explained above:

On Page SEO Tips
On-Page SEO Tips

I believe this article was helpful for you.

If it is, drop a comment telling me which factor you just came to know about and share this article with your marketing friend.