6 Key Elements of SEO That Influence Your Search Rankings

For best results with SEO, it is important to take key steps when creating content. On-page SEO is not difficult to implement, it is just a matter of going through each step to ensure that you are maximizing your SEO opportunities for each post.

You can create a checklist for your blog posts to follow each time you write and publish a post. With a systematic approach to optimizing your on-page SEO, your site will see noticeable improvements in your traffic volume.

On-page SEO is an important building block in getting your pages to rank in organic search and match with the correct queries driving visitors to your site who are genuinely interested in what you are writing about. This guide will help you learn six key concepts of SEO that will drive your search rankings.

Choosing a Keyword

Choosing a keyword or keyword phrase for your content is how interested searchers find you. The idea is to find words or phrases that match queries that people enter when they search for your products or services on Google.

Keywords change over time depending on language changes, regional language differences, and current events throughout the world. It is crucial to update your keyword research periodically to keep your site up-to-date. These tips will help you get started:

  • Understanding which websites already rank for your keyword gives you valuable insight into the competition, and also how hard it will be to rank for the given term. (MOZ)
  • Keywords are like a compass for your SEO campaigns: they tell you where to go and whether or not you’re making progress. (Backlinko)
  • Make keyword research a supporting piece of your overall search marketing efforts so that your researched keywords actually lead to profits for your business. (Wordstream)
  • A way to come up with keyword ideas is to figure out which keywords your website is already getting found for. (Hubspot)

 

Pro tip: be sure to check out one of our favorite keyword research tools, Übersuggest and Google AdWords: Keyword Planner.

Meta Data

Meta data is not visible to visitors to your site and some people forget to include meta data in their on-page SEO implementation. Including your keywords in your meta description, title and tags will improve your chances for SEO matches. Not all content programs use meta tags. Consult your platform to see if you need to consider them in your on-page SEO plan. Meta data is often used by search engines as titles or descriptions.

  • Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page . . . The meta description should employ the keywords intelligently, but also create a compelling description that a searcher will want to click. (MOZ)
  • Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code. (Wordstream)

 

Here's how meta data should be formatted (source):

<head>

<meta name="description" content="This is an example of a meta description. This will often show up in search results.">

</head>

Pro tip: if you're looking for a free program that will show your meta data for every page on your site, check out Screaming Frog. With Screaming Frog, you can see all of your pages, their meta data, 404 error links, and much more.

Internal Linking

Internal links show your visitors which pages are important in relevance to the page they are on. In-content links should link to related pages on your site to show your visitors where to go next. Other links to related pages on other sites are also helpful for SEO.

  • The basic theory is this: Internal linking strengthens the overall search-optimized value of a website. Inner linking does so by providing clear paths for spiders, prolonged sessions for users, and a tight-knit network of pages and posts. (Kissmetrics)
  • Internal linking is one of the few methods site owners can use to tell Google (and visitors) that a particular page of content is important. (Search Engine Watch)

 

Pro tip: checkout Open Site Explorer (by Moz) if you want to see all of your internal links in one report. Take a look at the link report, then filter it by inbound links on "this root domain" (the domain you've entered), "only internal" links, and then "all links."

how-to-find-internal-links-on-your-website-1.png

Where to Put Your Keywords

Keywords should be included in the places that search engines include in their algorithm. However, that doesn't mean that you should stuff keywords into content.

Here are some of the most important places to optimize for your chosen keywords on your site: (Hubspot)

  • Titles
  • Descriptions
  • Headings and Content
  • Image file names
  • URLs

 

Pro tip: check out HubSpot's website grader to see where your site can be improved.

Creating Content

Stuffing keywords into content is a big no-no for search engines. It is a good way to get your content blacklisted. A better strategy is to create content that offers meaningful information to site visitors. Search engines are sophisticated enough to figure out your topic through the context, so you do not need to slam your keywords down their virtual throats. Write content for people that uses keywords naturally within. Focus on meaning and use related words as your construct your content.

  • When optimizing your web pages, keep in mind that keyword relevance is more important than keyword density in SEO. (Wordstream)
  • An optimized page doesn't just provide unique content, but unique value. (MOZ)

 

Pro tip: check out SEOBook.com's keyword density tool to see where your site can be improved.

Images

Images have their own search pages on Google, and you can help your pages get found through image search. By adding a description to your images, including a short description in the alt section of code for the image, you will enable search engines to "see" your images in order to put them in their image search results.

  • Describing the picture appropriately you’ll be using the words that are most appropriate for that image and thus, what it should be ranking for on image search.

 

Pro tip: head back up to the section of this article that talks about meta data, and download Screaming Frog. It will show you the name of your images and alt tags used. Using a tool like this makes it easy to see what images you need to optimize. 

And remember to publish consistently!

Google loves fresh content. The more you publish content (especailly content that includes these elements for search), the more chances you have for ranking for your target keywords. And, of course, the higher you rank, the more traffic you get! 

Use our free blog editorial calendar to organize your efforts and make sure you're writing good, quality, optimized content: 

Free blog editorial calendar

 

About the Author: Gregg Anderson

Gregg Anderson

Gregg is principal and senior advisor of 41 Orange.