It wasn’t very difficult to rank an empty page among the top positions of SERPs about a decade ago; all it took were a few backlinks.
Today, all digital marketers agree that quality content should be the top priority of every online business.
About 93% of all internet traffic comes from search engines, and an online business can’t survive without indexing with them. Search engines have some very specific requirements for people who want to run websites with their help. The first and foremost requirement is the best user experience.
Google has retained billions of users because it focuses on providing the best user experience by delivering an accurate solution to all their problems. It doesn’t have an answer to every problem in the world. That’s why it indexes other websites and shows their results that are most appropriate.
Now, why would it show your website in the results if you don’t have the right answer?
It has been working on separating relevant quality results from the crowd and ranking them accordingly for over two decades. Today, it’s almost near to perfection at this job.
All digital marketers and bloggers have realized that backlinks don’t do any good if you don’t have content that matches the exact requirements of search engines.
Here I have shared all On-Page SEO factors to create content that easily ranks.
Keywords are Still Important
The importance and use of keywords are one of the first things taught in SEO for beginners. However, there have been arguments whether the use of keywords in content makes a difference in 2020. Some say that Google can now judge the relevance without the keywords, while many disagree as it would require a high level of machine learning that is still too advanced even for Silicon Valley.
Both theories are correct and still relevant to some extent.
You have to use the target keywords in the content, but they don’t have to be an exact match.
You can now use synonyms of the keywords and add prepositions and helping verbs in keyword phrases to make them look natural and understandable for search engines.
Understand Search Intent
You must know the right use of keywords to bring organic traffic to your website. If the search intent doesn’t match with your content, the visitor will leave your site immediately. Create an audience persona if you have to, but make sure you provide exactly what the user wants.
Keyword in Title Tag
Even though it is old school, using a target keyword in the title and H1 tag still makes a significant difference. You can see that most of the top ranked results have the searched keyword in the title, although they don’t have to be an exact match.
Keyword in Description & Headings Tag
The use of focus keywords in the Meta Description isn’t as important as it used to be, but many leading digital marketers still recommend it. On the other hand, you should always try to use the target keyword in some of the headings in your content if they naturally fit.
The most appropriate keyword density has always been between 0.5% and 3%. You can use Yoast Real-time Content Analysis to check the density, but it only counts the exact match keywords. You should fulfil the minimum density criteria and then use partial match and LSI keywords to show relevance to search engines.
Keyword in URL
According to the SEO Learning Center of Moz, the focus keyword in the URL can act as a ranking factor. All other leaders of this industry, like HubSpot, seem to agree with this notion. Furthermore, keep the URL as short as possible.
User Interaction Checks
Google wants you to provide the best user experience. So, it records how every visitor interacts with your website. If the behavior of the majority indicates that you couldn’t provide the solution they were looking for, you won’t be a priority in the ranking of any search engine.
Organic CTR for All Keywords
A result that gets more click-through will, without a doubt, be considered more relevant to the query. The user decides to click a result after reading its Title and Meta Description. You should record the click-through rate of each page on your website to find effective pain points to show in the search results.
It is called Pogo-Sticking if a user ignores your results on the SERP and goes for the one ranked below it. This shows the search engine that your result was irrelevant or less suitable for the searched query compared to other results. Although it’s still argued if Pogo Sticking is used as a ranking factor, most marketers believe it to be important. This again depends on the Title and Meta Description of the page.
A user is said to bounce if he left your website after visiting only one page. The percentage of bounced visitors is called the bounce rate. A low bounce rate means that you failed to engage the user.
Direct and Repeat Traffic
Users that enter the URL in a browser to visit a website are its direct traffic. You must be offering a good service if a user remembers the address of your site. On top of that, the repetition of the same traffic is also considered a good point for your content. With the help of the right professional content writing services, you can control this user behavior.
The time a person spends on your website before going back to the search engine result page is called Dwell Time. Common sense indicates that a visitor is likely to stay longer if he finds something useful. It means you need to catch the attention of the reader at the start of the page and then keep him engaged.
Number of Comments
Comments on a blog post, although not widely accepted as a ranking factor, show signs of engagement. You should prompt the reader to share their views in the comment section and reply to each one to encourage others.
Pay Attention to All Links
Backlinks are the strongest ranking factor. But I’m talking about outbound links – the ones you add in your content to other pages.
The links to the same domain are called internal links, and links to other domains are called external links.
The use of links in your articles is not a direct ranking factor, but it improves user engagement and makes content appear research-based to search engines.
External Links Quality and Quantity
Moz researched search engine rankings factors and found external links to be important for higher rankings in Google SERPs. Your content must ensure that you don’t use more links than needed and definitely not to irrelevant sites.
Spam or Broken Links
Linking to spammy or broken links devalue your content. You have to make sure that you only link to credible sources, preferably with high domain authority. Moreover, if not necessary, avoid giving Do-Follow links.
Number of Internal Links Pointing to Page
Many experienced SEO analysts first design a model for internal links when preparing a site for search engines. Create a tree of the links starting from the home page and descending down to relevant internal pages. This will allow you to decrease the bounce rate and present a well-structured and planned content.
They Want Up to Date Content
The new age of Google goes beyond just backlinks and the number of words of the content. Today is the era of deep learning in information technology. Google algorithms judge the quality and relevance of content to ensure the user gets the most up to date information.
Google favors fresh results in its ranking. It tries to judge the importance of the latest content according to the niche and prioritizes results accordingly. For example, news articles are prioritized even by one day. While you can’t keep re-uploading the same article to maintain its freshness, you can keep updating it.
Magnitude of Content Updates
Every time to update the content, make sure it’s not just a small change. Google is also believed to check the magnitude of each update to ensure you were not just trying to trick it.
History of Page Updates
The number of times you update the content is also considered to be of importance. Although many argue it can’t be a ranking factor, no one denies that it might be used to judge the quality of content by search engines.
Enhance User Experience
Since the entire content is for the user, you should provide it the best way you possibly can. Content is one of the first things SEO experts improve when trying to recover from a negative SEO attack. User experience is more important for SEO of the content than the use of keywords. We have discussed how Google judges the user interaction, now the question is, how you can enhance that experience.
Improve the readability of your content if you want the user to read the entire article. The user doesn’t know if it’s poorly written. He just won’t feel like reading if you don’t make it easy for him. It’s the art of good content writers that make even the most technical concepts very simple for the reader.
Here is one of the best pieces of advice one can give a web content writer: Write for a 12-year-old.
Your reader might be an educated adult, but every internet user is very lazy. They want everything fast and perfect. If something is taking effort, they will hit that back button to look for an alternative increasing bounce rate and decreasing dwell time of your website, both of which you can’t afford.
A page without any colors and images looks dull. It is important to use images and short videos in the content to enhance user experience. That’s why Google recommends the use of good quality images in every article.
However, just the use of decorative images is not enough to impress today’s internet users. You have to add images, GIFs, and short videos that add value to the content and make it easy to understand. Furthermore, the right SEO of images makes the page more likely to rank.
References and Sources
Educated users, as well as all search engines, look for references and sources in the web content. Anyone can write anything on the internet. That’s why people need reliable sources. Use links to relevant high authority sources in the content to make it appear more credible and easy to rank.
Bullets and Numbered Lists
Lists work in a similar way as images. They provide a lot of information in an easy and fast manner. However, the entire article should be in this form. Make headings, write paragraphs, and use lists where possible. This mix of styles keeps the reader engaged.
User-Friendly Schema Markup
Not many people understand the importance of a layout. Each article should be planned before you start writing it. A layout not only makes the content easy to read for the user but also helps Google crawler understand it. You should structure your content with schema markup.
Schema markup gives search engines information about your content. It optimizes your content for featured snippets and voice search. Many leading digital marketers believe it to be the future of SEO as the number of people using voice searches is increasing exponentially.
Unique and Useful Content
The most obvious and the most important SEO factor of the content is the value it provides to the user. If there are dozens of other blogs with the same content as you, then how will a search engine differentiate your page? Select keywords and topics that not many bloggers are working on. Do thorough research, understand the needs of the audience, and create unique content; and unique doesn’t just mean plagiarism free.
Plan every sentence of each article. Create an outline as the first draft with H2, H3, and H4 headings. If you feel that a phrase, sentence, or paragraph doesn’t provide value to the reader, remove it. Furthermore, consider all ranking factors and tips discussed in this article when writing an article.