5 Key Steps to Ensure On-Page SEO Best Practices

November 2022
 minute read
taking notes on SEO concept art cup of coffee

Creating content and optimizing your site isn’t an easy task. There are so many different factors to consider when using SEO to boost your website and your content including keywords, links, and current algorithm trends. As a leading web development agency in Pittsburgh, Responsival has been working with our clients to provide industry-leading SEO services across a diverse set of clientele. In the years that we have been providing on-page SEO services, we have come up with a few basic tips to help beginners better understand how SEO works.

If you are trying to optimize your on-page content for maximum SEO, then you’re in the right place! We’re going to break down on-page SEO practices step by step so you can begin creating content and auditing your website. Keep reading to learn more about how with the right keyword research, keyword placement, and links, you can start organically boosting your company website on the search engine results page.

1. Start by Conducting Keyword Research & Finding Long-Tail Keyword Options

As experts in on-page SEO services, we highly recommend starting your content-creating process with keyword research

keyword research SEO contempt art word cloud laptop and coffee
Find keywords that people are frequently searching for and use them to your advantage.

The first step you should take to start working with SEO is to conduct keyword research. Keyword research is the practice of using an SEO keyword tool to conduct research across a search engine. To get started, we recommend brainstorming some words that accurately describe your business and the services you offer. From there, you should input those words into the keyword tool. If you already have an existing site, you can look for commonly used words and input those in the keyword tool as well. Once you have those words input, you can search the web using your tool to identify similar or matching keywords that you can use.

It is important to pay attention to two key metrics when searching for keywords. The first one you need to look out for is search volume (SV). Search volume represents the number of times people searched the keyword per month. The second metric you want to look for is the keyword difficulty (KD). Keyword difficulty represents the number of links it will take to get your site to the front of the search engine results page (SERP). After that, you can identify a few keywords that fit within your brand and have an achievable SV and KD. Remember, keywords that are too common or too specific do not make for great SEO results. You want to hit the sweet spot where the keyword isn't too difficult, but there are still enough people organically using the keyword in their searches.

After that, you’ll want to find long-tail variations of your parent keyword. Think about the reader’s intent — what long tail options are the most likely to convert for the broader parent keyword? You can also review which content is already ranking on the site and consider deeper topics for blog content. For example, you can choose a similar or associated long tail keyword to build out a content cluster. However, it is best to be mindful here as not everything a site already ranks for is relevant or worthy of investing in optimizing. Always consider the reader and consumer intent and the path to conversion when choosing your long-tail keywords.

2. Choose Your Content Topics

As experts in on-page SEO services, Responsival knows that keyword research is the foundation for any great content topics

marketing team in a meeting brainstorming ideas for content
Your content should be powered by keyword research and match your brand.

Before developing topics for content, it’s important to develop a long-term keyword strategy, integrating the most relevant long-tail keywords associated with your target parent keywords. It is best to avoid very broad parent keywords as it limits the amount of content you can cover on this topic. It’s better to choose long-tail keywords that can inspire specific content that relates to your industry and long-term SEO strategy.

Let’s take a look at an industry for an example of this by inventing a business that offers custom men’s shoes. Since this is a pretty specific service, there is little worry about having too broad of a keyword. An example of a good keyword would be something like “custom footwear for men” or “places to buy custom men’s shoes.” You can even get more specific with long tail keywords like “quality custom shoes for men” or “custom men’s shoes near me.” By using these keywords, you can start to come up with content topics that will be well-suited for a chosen keyword. To finish out our example, a good blog title for a custom men’s shoe store would be something like “How to Get the Best Price for Custom Men’s Shoes” or “The Top Trends for Men’s Custom Shoes.” From there, you can begin doing research on your topic and writing out a content outline. If you choose to work with Responval for on-page SEO services, all of these steps will be taken care of as part of our discovery process.

3. Begin Creating Content for On-Page SEO

Now that you have your keywords good to go, it’s time to move to the next step of our on-page SEO service expertise

business owner writing content for their blog in home office
No matter how small you start, creating content is always a good idea for your business.

Now that you are ready to start creating your on-page content, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind to make sure you are getting the most out of your content. When you start writing copy for your business by starting a blog, make sure to keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep blog topics focused—don’t address too many topics in a single post
  • Make sure keyword placement fits well within the text—that means no keyword stuffing
  • Word count should be between 1000 and 2500 words per post
  • All copy need to be written at an 8th grade reading level to appeal to the widest audience
  • Photos should be carefully chosen to draw the reader's eye
  • Write alt text for all photos
  • Each paragraph break requires a subtitle and a related image
  • Content needs to be broken down into easily digestible paragraphs or lists
  • All lists should be properly formatted with either numbers or bullet points (just like this one!)

If you follow all of the tips we’ve just listed, you’ll be well on your way to producing engaging content for your readers that will drive site traffic and conversions.

4. Optimize Your Content with Internal Links and Backlinks

Internal links and backlinks help boost your site’s credibility

link building concept art on notebook surrounded with office supplies
Choose your backlinks carefully.

As all on-page SEO service providers know, linking is a practiced skill that comes with experience. That is to say, there are a lot of rules you can memorize, but it is best to try linking and backlinking for yourself to get the hang of it. First, we are going to discuss internal linking before we move on to the more stringent rules required for effective backlinking.

Internal links

There isn’t a whole lot to worry about when it comes to internal links. Internal links should be strategically placed at the top of the content page and should be placed on the most relevant text. Since the link is internal, you can link right on your main keyword chosen for the blog. You can also place a link on a brand or on an explicit call to action without being penalized by the algorithm. The anchor text for the link should also be between 2-5 words. It is not advisable to link internally to a single keyword, nor is it recommended to use an entire sentence as your anchor text. Another thing you want to avoid is a prompt to “click here.” Readers know how links work. Instead, link the relevant word or phrase that accurately describes what they will find on the page. 

External links (Backlinking)

Backlinking is one of the many ways to build your site’s reputation. By externally linking to trusted sites, you are showing the algorithm that you are a legitimate authority on the topic of choice. The external links also provide deeper insight into topics you only touch on in your post for readers who are interested. The same as with internal links, the anchor text should be telling the reader what they will find on the landing page. When searching for external links, it is best practice to make sure that the links are strong authoritative sources for your material. Think of these external links as citations in a research paper, if that helps.

Potentially the most important thing to remember when choosing your external links is to avoid linking to any direct competitors. This is more difficult than it sounds, as other businesses similar to yours are probably putting out well-researched content. If you mistakenly include a competitor link, you are boosting their SEO rather than your own.

5. Place Keywords to Maximize Your SEO

Knowing where to place your keywords is an important skill for creating SEO-optimized content

writing keywords on a typewriter keyword placement concept art
Make sure your keywords fit seamlessly into your on-page content.

When it comes to keyword placement, it is not an exact science, there are a lot of different ways that keywords can be strategically placed so that they feel organic and draw the reader’s eye.

Here are a few guidelines to help you with keyword placement in your written site content.

  • Your keyword should never sound forced or awkward
  • You shouldn’t use the exact keyword for every instance
  • Use a keyword in the title or subtitle
  • Use a keyword in the section headers or subheaders
  • Use a keyword in the introductory paragraph or in the first bit of the body text
  • Keywords can be used in captions and alt text where appropriate
  • Keywords can be used in title and meta descriptions

Remember, you don’t need to use all of these strategies at once or you could risk keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing will trip the algorithm and your content will be penalized for trying to outsmart the algorithm.

Overall, the key to creating great on-page content is to produce quality content that people want to read. By establishing yourself and your company as an authority on a variety of topics, you will see more traffic driven to your site and your SERP position will begin to improve. If you aren’t sure where to start producing content for your website, Responsival is an expert in on-page SEO services. To get started you can contact our team today to learn more about how we can help your rankings and engagements on your website.

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