On-Page Optimisation for WordPress

On Page optimisation refers to everything you do to your actual page content to make it search engine friendly.

On-Page SEO includes:

  • Page Load Speed
  • Mobile Friendliness (Responsiveness)
  • Hosting Quality
  • Keyword Density
  • Content Quality
  • Content Structure
  • Unique Content
  • Engagement Metrics
  • Bounce Rate
  • Social media Signals

If you have followed the previous WordPress Set Up Tutorials so far, you will have already addressed some of these issues, leaving the actual page content and how it is structured. If you haven’t worked through the WordPress Set Up yet, do so now… otherwise, no amount of tinkering with your content will fix your problems.

We will assume (I know, the mother in law of all fuck ups), that you have already checked your server is fast, improved your page load speed and made sure that your site is Responsive?

This leaves us free to look at your page structure, content and engagement metrics.

WordPress Page Structure

Your Page structure is another critical non essential required to make your site work.

Content Structure

The accepted and proven sales structure for page content is as follows:

  • Identify the problem
  • Empathise with the problem
  • Present your solution
  • Demonstrate Social Proof for your Solution
  • Call to Action / Next Steps

This format works for almost any website content. Whether you want to admit it on not, you are a problem solver.

People search online for solutions to problems. A product, a service, advice, information, etc. the form that the solution takes is almost irrelevant at this stage.

The moment a visitor lands on your page, you need to demonstrate several important things…

  1. They are in the right place
  2. You understand the problem they are facing
  3. You have a solution that will work for them

If your visitors arrive via a Google search, it is very important that they find congruent content. If they searched for “Blue Widgets”, landing on a page all about “Red Thingimabobs” will only make them hit the back button.

That in turn sends Google negative signals that the page isn’t relevant for the search for “Blue Widgets” so you will drop in the rankings.

For this reason, it is important that your images, page headings etc. all relate to “Blue Widgets”… that way, your visitors will be happy that they have found relevant information to provide the solution they are looking for.

The more precise you can be for a specific solution to a problem, the more targeted your audience will be & the higher your engagement rate will be.

So that’s the structure sorted, but what about the content itself?

You have probably heard the term “High Quality Content” before, but what does it actually mean?

Content needs to tick several boxes if it’s going to work for you.

Unique – Don’t scrape content from anywhere else and copy it onto a page. It is really easy to check that content is unique, to identify which other sites have the same content & most importantly, to establish who published it first and who copied it. If you copy content you WILL NOT RANK IN GOOGLE!

High Quality – Do you actually have something to say? Are you filling a page just for the sake of it? Does your page provide useful, helpful information for your visitors? Are you adding value?

If people like your content then search engines will like it too.

Page Structure – your page needs to have all the key ingredients to send as many positive signals to search engine bots as you can;

  • 1 x H1 tag
  • 1 or more H2 tags
  • 1 or more H3 tags
  • relevant description tag
  • empty keyword tag
  • 300 words minimum of relevant content (500+ is better)
  • relevant ‘alt text’ for all images
  • cross linking to relevant content
  • call to action
  • further reading links
  • social sharing buttons

If you get all these points right, your content will be focused on a specific topic or issue, contain the optimum structure and a format that the majority feel comfortable reading.

Into this structure, you need to place your relevant keywords.

Ideally you will have several related terms for your page; “Blue Widgets”, “Cheapest Blue Widgets Online”, and “Best blue Widgets”. Use Google Keyword Tool to identify suitable keywords for your page… see more about keyword selection.

WordPress Keyword Implementation

The Yoast SEO Plugin is a great tool for optimising your content and for checking that you have included your main keywords in the right places.

The free version only allows you to check your page for your primary keyword / search term, but the paid version lets you add more secondary search terms and optimise your page for those too.

If this is your first foray into website optimisation, I suggest that you focus your efforts on your primary keywords for the time being and once you have achieved some success can come back and attack your secondary search terms.

To stand a chance of ranking for a keyword, your page content needs to be relevant to the term.

You then need to add your Primary Keyword (s) into;

  • Page URL
  • Title
  • Meta description tag
  • H1
  • H2
  • H3
  • First sentence of first paragraph
  • Image name (if relevant)
  • Image alt text
  • Content at 2% density across the page

Once you have your content format as above, test your page using the Firefox / Chrome plugin SEOQuake which has two important tools.

  • Diagnosis Tool
  • Density Tool

The Diagnosis tool will analyse the various elements on your page and report on their contents and use.

The Density tool will show you your overall keyword density, how many repeats of each word you have and where they appear. Additionally, it will also show you your two word phrase density, three word density and four word phrase density.

These four density prominence scores will show you how relevant your content is for specific terms.

This tool will also show you what other elements of your site (such as navigation, footers, blog feeds etc.) impact your page content and affect your keyword density.

The precise keyword density you can use does vary depending on the page word count, your off page activity which is mostly the link text used in backlinks pointing to the page.

In short, the more exact match anchors (i.e. the same as your page primary keyword), the lower your on-page keyword density should be.

If you analyse enough sites, you will find one eventually that ranks well in Google for a term while having an on-page keyword density of 4 – 6%… which may make you think that you need to do the same thing….. but don’t fall into that trap…… if you stick to 2% then your page will be healthy to rank and not liable to future penalties as and when Google decides that 4 – 6% is no longer acceptable.

WordPress On-Page Optimisation

If you follow this guide you will have a page of content that is healthy enough to rank.

It is important to point out that your off-page optimisation is the factor that will have the largest impact on your page performance in search.

This on page optimisation guide will give you a search engine ranking. Improving that ranking is then a combination of improving your page ‘trust & authority’ score (through off page SEO) as well as tweaking your content to improve user engagement metrics and the quality of content.