On Page SEO Basics: A Quick Tutorial

Posted in WordPress on May 15, 2014

On page SEO is an essential part of any web page but it’s amazing how many people either ignore it or get it wrong. It doesn’t take very long to do yet on page SEO makes an incredible – and positive – difference to the chances of your pages being found in the search results.

Page titles

These show up in the tabs in your browser and act as a quick reminder about the various tabs you’ve got open while your browsing.

But before people even click through to your page, they show up in the Google search results.

You’re limited to approximately 65 characters that show up in the search results. Titles longer than that run the risk of having an ellipsis put at the end to indicate that they’ve been truncated.

You need to get your chosen keyword phrase into the page title as naturally as possible. That means that you may not be able to get the words in the precise order you’d like but the closer you get to that order, the better. Google is intelligent enough to work this kind of thing out – you can see that from almost any search result.

Page descriptions

Even though these don’t show up on the actual page, they’re very important.

If you don’t put in a page description – there’s a “meta” tag that does this and SEO plugins like Yoast for WordPress help you gain control of it – then Google will just make something up.

You’ve got a maximum of 156 characters before an ellipsis appears in the search results to show that not all of your description was used. If you’re using WordPress, 13 of those characters are usually taken up with the date of the post, so you can’t completely rely on the preview that you’re given if that’s the case for your site.

Words from the search will be bolded which gives searchers a quick visual clue that the page is probably relevant to their search.

Make sure your description is unique to each page and make it as compelling as possible.

Page content

This covers near enough everything else that’s on your page: the words, pictures, videos, links, etc.

Generally, Google does a much better job of indexing the words that are on a page than anything else. It has more than enough information in its database to know synonyms for words and differences in the order of words – so it will know that “SEO basics” and “basics of SEO” cover much the same thing.

Plugins aren’t as sophisticated so they’ll give you a lower keyword density score if you don’t have the words on your page in the same precise order. Don’t worry about that – write for humans and let the search engines figure things out.

Aim for at least 300 words of content on a page, ideally nearer 500 or more.

Use sub-headings, bullet points and short paragraphs to make this length of content look easy to read. Add in images and videos to break things up as well.

There are lots more subtleties but those three things will put you ahead of most of your competition in all but the most competitive markets.

By Trevor Dumbleton

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