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On Page SEO Basics – 25 Tips That’ll Boost Your Rankings & Traffic in Less Than 7 Days

Want to give your rankings & traffic a maximum boost with minimum cost?

If you do (who doesn’t?), read this post and apply just a handful of these 25 on page SEO basics to your site.

In less than 7 days you’ll see some great improvements in your rankings and traffic.

All from a few simple tweaks that you can do yourself in your spare time.


This is preschool SEO, the very basics which most sites I review tend to have overlooked.

The majority of clients I take on have already had some kind of SEO work carried out on their sites, be it by having a go at it themselves (which normally results in repeatedly banging their head against the wall), or they’ve been paying an SEO company to do it for them (who typically have no idea what they’re doing).

Either way, the only reason they’re reaching out for help is because whatever it is they’ve been doing obviously isn’t working!

So I’ll review their website and see what needs to be done to get them ranking.

90% of the time their website is missing the bare basics, it doesn’t have enough keyword optimized content, their target keywords can’t even be found on the site, it’s missing important files like robots.txt and a sitemap, it’s got duplicate or missing meta tags, duplicate and thin content pages, there’s broken links, over sized images, etc.

Yet they’ve been paying an SEO company £1,000 a month for 6 months to do link building!

bad seo company - you're fired

Are backlinks important? Hell yeah. But building links to an unoptimized website is just as effective as putting fuel in a car with 4 flat tyres… you’re not gonna get very far!

Before you start investing money into backlinks, first get the foundations right, make sure that your website is:

  1. “Google Friendly”
  2. Properly optimized for the keywords you’re targeting

Otherwise, the backlinks you build won’t deliver their full ranking potential.

In this post I’m going to walk you through, step by step, all of the on page SEO elements which you need to get right before you even think about links.

Whether you’ve got a fresh local business site or a huge established eCommerce store, you’ll see a big boost in rankings just by applying a few of these simple techniques.

All without spending a penny.

(if you’re doing the work yourself)

I’m not gonna lie, there’s a lot to go through so I’ll try to make this epic geek fest sound interesting by using funny analogies and niche examples to keep you reading.

If you have any questions, leave me a comment at the bottom 🙂

So let’s get on with it, here’s…



On Page SEO Basics – 25 Tips That’ll Boost Your Rankings & Traffic in Less Than 7 Days

Before you make any changes to your site you’ll first have to diagnose it to see what opportunities there are for improvement.

(there. are. always. opportunities for improvement)

Forget all the automated SEO report generating tools out there, they’re mostly wildly inaccurate and full of useless, generic information.

To diagnose your site properly (so you know EXACTLY what needs to be done) you’re going to need the following:

  1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
  2. Pair of Eyes
  3. Half a Brain
  4. Keg of Coffee



Screaming Frog is a tool which spiders your website (just like Google does) and gathers all the raw data we need to review your site.

All the data is displayed in boring arse tables like so:



Don’t worry if all that data looks overwhelming, we don’t need to look through all of it, I’ll show you exactly what buttons to click to get the data we need.

And if working with boring data discourages you, suck it up – this is gonna make you money.

Go download the software (the free version is good enough for now), install it, put your domain name in the search bar at the top and start spidering your site.

Meet me in the next section when you’re done…




The SEO Review

Ok so hopefully you’ve got Screaming Frog opened up with all your data ready.

Time to review your website to find out what needs fixing or improving.

I break on page SEO down into four parts:

  1. Behind the Scenes
  2. Under the Hood
  3. Keyword Optimization
  4. Finishing Touches



Behind the Scenes SEO

There’s lots of “behind the scenes” things which Google takes into account when ranking your website, if you’re new to SEO you probably won’t have a clue what most of these are, but bare with me and I’ll guide you through it.

Here’s 8 “Behind the Scenes” things you need to get right before anything else…



1. Use an open source, SEO friendly CMS

WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Joomla, Godaddy, 1&1, Wix, Weebly, Magento, Squarespace, Shopify, Webs…

There’s a million ways to build a website, but there’s only a handful of platforms which are good for SEO.

Most cheap website builders may seem great value for money, but building and hosting your website on the wrong one can be a bad decision for your rankings.

Most come with very over-simplistic control panels and the SEO options inside are normally very limited, making it hard (and in some cases impossible) to make any necessary changes.

More often than not you’ll simply be renting your website, if you can’t log into your server to view your website files via FTP – you don’t own your website… bite the bullet now and get out of there!

I advise all of my local business clients to move their sites over to WordPress as soon as possible.

(If you’re running an e-commerce store, WordPress or Megento is the way to go)

WordPress is the most flexible, user friendly, Google friendly, open source CMS available.

There’s a million and one out of the box themes and plugins you can use to make your website look great and work just the way you want it to from day one.

Need a certain feature on your site? Sliders, galleries, forms, social icons, ecommerce, memberships? There’s a thousand plugins for that.

Not to mention how easy is it to optimize your website for free using a plugin like Yoast SEO.

With most DIY website builders the available themes, plugins and widgets are very limited because they’re not open source.

You’re basically stuck with whatever the company cooks up.

And if you can’t access your websites source code and server files (like robots, sitemap, htaccess etc) it’s going to make ranking your website more difficult than it should be.

Trust me.

Although converting to WordPress isn’t a change you can make in a day, your CMS (Content Management System) is the foundation of your website and should be chosen carefully.

You wouldn’t build your house on quicksand would you?

Whether you’re doing SEO yourself or paying somebody else to do it for you – WordPress makes it easier. And cheaper.

You can check which CMS your website is currently built on using Built With.

COntent Management System



2. Set Your Canonical URL

Did you know… in the eyes of Google, www.yoursite.com and yoursite.com (without the www.) are two completely different websites?

If you’re not redirecting one to the other then you may have duplicate content issues for every page of your site, which is bad for your rankings.


To see if your canonical URL has been set, do this:

  1. Open 2 tabs in your browser
  2. In the first tab visit www.yoursite.com
  3. In the second tab open yoursite.com
  4. Once the pages have loaded, switch between the two tabs and look at the URL’s
  5. If both URL’s are the same (www. or none-www.) then a redirect has happened in one of the tabs, your domains canonical is already set, you don’t have to worry about this, move on.
  6. However, if both pages have loaded but you’re seeing 2 different URL’s (both www. and none-www.), there is no redirect in place and you may be experiencing some duplicate content issues.
  7. If a redirect isn’t in place, check whether you have a canonical tag in the pages source code, if there isn’t one – read below and fix it.


Here’s an example of a website which hasn’t set it’s canonical URL, notice how the same page loads for both www.catflapfitters.co.uk and catflapfitters.co.uk:



Both of those pages display exactly the same content on two different URL’s.

Same story for every page on the site.

If your domains canonical URL isn’t set you’re going to have to set it.

But before you do, head over to Majestic SEO and see which version is the strongest.

Search for both versions (www. and none-www.) and take note of which has the highest Trust Flow.

Once you know which one to use, head over to this guide and implement one of the redirect methods.




3. Check Your Robots.txt File

The robots file allows you to control how Google’s spiders and other bots crawl your site, you can block unwanted bots from using your bandwidth or block certain pages on your site (like login pages) from being crawled and indexed in Google.

This is the first file Google looks for when it lands on your site, so it’s important to ensure it’s present and correct.

A client I took on a few months ago told me that Google just wouldn’t index his website, he’d tried everything, he’d waited months,  he thought he had a penalty, I checked his robots file – it was blocking Google.

Make sure you’re not making the same mistake.

Go to yoursite.com/robots.txt

If you’ve got one – a page looking something like this will load:

robots file

If you hit a 404 error (or anything else that doesn’t look like the image above), you need to create one.

For WordPress users, use this plugin – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-robots-txt/

For anything else, check your CMS for robots file instructions, or use this tool – http://www.mcanerin.com/EN/search-engine/robots-txt.asp

Once you’ve created one, use this tool to validate it – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/robots-testing-tool




4. Use a Google Friendly XML Sitemap

A sitemap is a file which lists every page on your website, much like a table of contents in a book.

When a spider visits your site, this is the second file it looks for after it’s been granted permission to do so by the robots file.

If the spider can’t find it, or the file is outdated, you’re not scoring any SEO brownie points with Google.

To check whether you have a sitemap, try one of these locations:

  • yoursite.com/sitemap.xml
  • yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml

If you can’t find anything, you’ll need to create one.

To create your sitemap on a WordPress site, use Yoast SEO.

For other website, use this tool – https://www.xml-sitemaps.com. Then upload it to your root folder via FTP (use Filezilla).

Once you’re done, use this tool to check it’s formatted correctly – Sitemap Tester.




5. Fix Broken Links

If you’ve ever deleted a page on your site, changed a page’s URL, or mistakenly linked to a page using the wrong URL, chances are that when Google crawls your site it’s going a hit a “404 error – page doesn’t exist”.

404 errors are bad for rankings, they’re dead ends and in Google’s eyes and they create a bad user experience – Google doesn’t like that.

Not only does Google frown upon dead links, but if a deleted page on your site is still indexed in Google then it’s most likely going to be bouncing back users who click on it from the search results.

To check for broken links we’ll be using Screaming Frog.

Open up the tool and follow the steps below, use the image as a guide.

broken links seo



  1. Click on Filter > HTML
  2. Click the Status Code column twice to arrange the numbers in descending order
  3. Check at the top of that column for “404” (404 means page not found, aka – broken link)
  4. Click on the URL in the “Address” column which is causing the 404
  5. To see which pages on your site these broken links are located, click on “In Links” at the bottom
  6. Here you’ll see all the pages which contain that broken link
  7. Fix them!

Once you’ve fixed the broken links, re-spider with Screaming Frog to ensure they’re all fixed.




6. Ensure Your Site Loads Fast

Page load speed is now a critical factor in Google rankings.

In order to provide their users with a good experience, Google doesn’t want to display websites at the top of the search results if they take a long time to load because it creates a bad user experience.

People today are click happy and impatient and won’t wait around.

If your site takes too long to load, a high percentage of the people that come to your site via Google will be clicking the back button and landing back on the search results page.

This increases your bounce rate.

And a high bounce rate from organic search traffic will lower your rankings.

To prevent this, make sure you webpages load fast.

The ideal page load speed is 3 seconds or less. Anything over that and you’ll be losing visitors, increasing your bounce rate and harming your rankings.

To check your current load speed use the Website Speed Test tool.

If your load speed is over 3 seconds here’s 15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website.




7. Install Google Analytics

Using GA won’t directly affect your rankings, BUT… the amount of data you get from this tool is invaluable, and you’ll definitely be able to use that data later to increase your rankings, traffic and conversions.

It’s a good idea to get this installed from the get go so you’re collecting data from day one.

The sooner you install it the more data you’ll have later on, and the more data you have the easier it’ll be to make accurate decisions when you want to apply changes and perform tests on your site in the future.

And you (or whoever you’re hiring to do your SEO) WILL have to make important decisions down the lines (when there’s a Google update for example).

Here’s what Analytics will show you:

  • How many visitors you’ve had to your site
  • Where they came from
  • How long they were on the site
  • What they did whilst they were there
  • How they converted
  • What percentage of people bounced from your site
  • What traffic sources your conversions are coming from


And here’s what that data will help you to do:

  • Improve the usability of your site
  • Identify your most profitable traffic sources
  • Increase your conversions
  • Lower your bounce rate
  • Increase your rankings
  • Increase your conversions

It’s free, the data you get will help you to increase the revenue you generate from your website, and there’s no reason not to install it right now by following this easy walkthrough from Google.




8. Install & Optimize Google Search Console (was Webmaster Tools)

Google Search Console is possibly one of the most valuable free tools you can use on your website.

You definitely shouldn’t skip this part.

There’s a helluva lotta things you can do with the Search Console, I’ll bore you with a full post on it later, but for now here’s an overview:

  • Spot new keyword opportunities
  • Get realistic search volumes
  • See if Google has found any errors whilst crawling your site
  • Get the latest incoming link data
  • Add sitelinks
  • Remove URL’s from the search results
  • Insert structured data markups with the Data Highlighter tool
  • See if Google’s issued any manual actions (penalties) to your site
  • Check your mobile usability
  • See what pages Google has indexed (and which they haven’t)
  • Test your robots file and sitemap
  • Spot any security issues
  • And lot’s more…


Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use it yet, for now you just need to get it installed.

Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to do it – Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Console

Once you’ve signed up and verified your site, make sure you do these 7 things inside your account before moving on:

  1. Verify both versions of your website (www. and none-www.)
  2. Set your preferred URL (www. or none-www.)
  3. Check your inbox for any site improvement messages from Google
  4. Set your country targeting
  5. Submit and test your robots file
  6. Submit and test your sitemap
  7. Use the Data Highlighter tool to highlight important information (like local business info – business name, address, phone number, etc)




Under The Hood SEO

Once you’ve got the behind the scenes stuff sorted, it’s time to pop the bonnet on your website and see if there’s anything in the code that needs fixing.

I don’t care how good your website looks…there’s always stuff which needs fixing!

Forget about keywords for now, all we’re going to be doing here is looking for mistakes that need correcting, we’ll move onto your keywords once your website is 100% “Google Friendly”.




1. Check Your Meta Tags

Meta tags are very important places to insert your target keywords, but don’t worry about keywords for now, what we’re looking for here are:

  1. Missing meta tags
  2. Duplicate meta tags

Open up Screaming Frog again and follow these instructions…

To check title tags:

Screaming Frog Meta Titles



  1. Scroll down the right sidebar and click on “Page Titles”
  2. Below you’ll see any missing and duplicate titles
  3. Also, look for any titles below or above the optimum title length of 30-65 characters
  4. Fix any errors here

For meta descriptions:

  1. You’ll find “Meta Description” information below the “Page Titles” in the right sidebar
  2. Perform the same checks and fixes here too


If you’re using WordPress you may notice multiple missing or duplicate meta tags on category, tags and attachment pages.

These pages are normally produced automatically and can bloat your website with lot’s of useless thin content, it’s best practice to clean these pages up by noindexing them or removing them completely.

(Double check they aren’t producing any traffic through before you remove or noindex them)

To noindex these pages, go into Yoast SEO and tick the “noindex, follow” options in the “Taxonomies” section:

Noindex Category Pages


If you’re not using WordPress you’ll have to Google “how to noindex pages on [your CMS]”.

If you’ve got lot’s of attachment pages (pages with a single image on), use this plugin to redirect all of those URL’s to the homepage.





2. Check Your Word Count

If you’re having trouble ranking your 6 page website… it’s probably because you’ve only got 6 pages on your website!

Use the word count column in Screaming Frog to spot any thin content pages:

SEO Word Count



  1. Select HTML from the “Filter” drop down menu.
  2. Scroll all the way to the right.
  3. Click the “Word Count” header a few times to arrange the numbers in ascending order.
  4. Here you’ll see any pages which have thin content (less than 500 words).

Typically, category, tag and image attachment pages will produce thin content pages on your site, I shown you how to deal with these in the Meta Tag section above.

Aside from those pages, ensure word count across the site is good (at least 500 words of unique content per page)

For any content pages which have low word count, consider expanding on the content of these pages.

The more words you have on your pages the more keywords you’re naturally going to rank for.




3. Check Your URL’s

Ugly URLs


This is an “Ugly URL”:


This is s “Pretty URL”:


Make sure you site is using “Pretty URL’s”.

To check this just look through the “Address” column in Screaming frog.

Pretty URL's vs Ugly URL's


Here’s a few pointers:

  • Be clear – make sure the URL describes what is on the page
  • Use your keywords
  • Use hyphens (-) for spaces rather than underscores (_)
  • Keep it short


WARNING: If your website is already indexed AND getting traffic from Google – don’t mess around with your URL’s.

If you need to change your URL’s, make sure you 301 redirect all of your old URL’s to your new URL’s. Use the 301 redirect generator to do this.




4. Check Your Heading Tags (H1, H2)

Heading tags aren’t a huge ranking factor but they’re still a step in the right direction.

For best practice ensure that all pages have unique and keyword rich headings.

Here’s how to easily do so in Screaming Frog:

Heading Tags



  1. Click on the “H1” tab.
  2. Check the H1 section to the right for any missing, duplicate and over sized headings.
  3. Fix any that need fixing.
  4. Repeat for H2 tags.


Each page should have only 1 H1 tag, you can have as many H2, H3 & H4 tags as you like.

If you’re not sure how to use heading tags properly, it goes like this:

<h1>Main Heading</h1>

<h2>Sub Heading</h2>

<h3>Sub Section</h3>

<h3>Sub Section</h3>

<h2>Sub Heading</h2>

<h2>Sub Heading</h2>






5. Check Your Images

Large image files are the main culprit for slow loading websites, and slow load speeds aren’t good for your rankings.

To avoid slowing down your site ensure that all images have been properly compressed before they’re put on your pages, try to keep all below 100kb in size.

Also, make sure that all images have a proper keyword rich alt tags.

Alt tags are alternative text for images and serve a duel function:

  1. Web accessibility – So people using screen readers can hear descriptions of images present on web pages.
  2. Search Engines – Providing a semantic meaning and description to images which can be read by search engine spiders.


They’re the biggest ranking factor for getting ranked in Google images (important for ecommerce sites), plus the alt tag is one more place you can further optimize a page for your target keywords.

To check your images in Screaming Frog do this:


Image Optimization


  1. Click the “Image” tab at the top.
  2. Check the “Image” section to the right to find any images which are over 100kn in size, have missing alt tags or have overly long alt tags.
  3. To locate which pages these images are on, click the image in the “Address” column.
  4. Then check the bottom panel to see which pages display the image.

Remember, if one image appears on multiple pages on the site, you may need to add alt tags to each page.

If you need to reduce the file sizes of your images try TinyPNG and TinyJPG.

WordPress websites can also use this sweet plugin to automatically compress images as they are uploaded.

AND this plugin will help to automatically add alt tags and title tags to images which are missing them.




6. Check Your Outbound Links

When Google crawls and assesses your site they’ll also take into account all of the websites which you link to.

If you don’t link out to any other websites, yet you have lot’s of inbound links – this doesn’t look very natural.

If you link out to irrelevant sites, or just the usual generic social profiles – you don’t look very resourceful for their users.

However, if you link out to high quality, relevant authority sites in your niche – you’ll look like a very resourceful site which Google will be more than happy to send their users too.

Don’t worry about losing traffic via outbound links, if a visitor likes your site they’ll stay, if they don’t – they’ll leave anyway.

For best practice I always make sure that my links to external websites always open link in a new window/tab, just like all of the contextual links on this page.

So if somebody clicks a link on my website – my site remains open in a tab.

Here’s how to check your outbound links in Screaming Frog:


External Links for SEO



  1. Click on the “External” tab at the top
  2. First check the “Status Code” column for any broken or redirected links (404, 301, 302), make sure all outbound links have a status code of 200
  3. Check through the links in the “Address” column, what you want to see here is a list of relevant authority websites in your niche, if it’s just typical social profiles or irrelevant links – you need to add some good ones


Who Should You Link To?

Try – Clients, industry authorities, relevant niche blogs, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, etc.

(Anyone relevant that isn’t your competition)




OK, we’re pretty much done with the  “Under the Hood” technical fixes, once you’ve gone through all of the steps above and corrected anything that needs fixing your website should be a lot more search engine friendly, time to optimize your pages for the keywords you’re targeting…



keyword-optimization seo

Although I shouldn’t, I’m going to assume you’ve already done your keyword research and you have a big list of keywords which you want to target.

Now we’re going to check if your pages are optimized for each one of the keywords you want to rank for.

To do this we’re going to use the following Google search operator:

site:yoursite.com intitle:your keyword

(Replace yoursite.com with your website and “your keyword” with your keywords)

This search operator does two things:

  1. Searches all indexed pages on your website only
  2. Searches all of those pages meta title tags for the keywords you’re targeting

We’re going to use this search operator to score your website against all of your target keywords.


Let’s create a list…

For a real world example, let’s say you own a roofing company.

You have 2 main services, these are your root keywords:

  1. Commercial Roofing
  2. Roof Repairs

And you cover 4 areas, these are your variables:

  1. London
  2. Birmingham
  3. Manchester
  4. Newcastle

Combing your root keywords and variables will give you 8 target keywords:

  1. Commercial Roofing London
  2. Commercial Roofing Birmingham
  3. Commercial Roofing Manchester
  4. Commercial Roofing Newcastle
  5. Roof Repairs London
  6. Roof Repairs Birmingham
  7. Roof Repairs Manchester
  8. Roof Repairs Newcastle


If you have a lot of root keywords (you provide lots of services or products) plus a lot of variables (you want to rank for those services/products in a lot of different areas) you can use this tool to save a lot of time and quickly combine all of your root keywords with your variables – Keyword Multiplier.

Once you’ve got your final list of target keywords we need to create a list of search operators which we can copy and paste into Google to see if any of your website pages are at least partially optimized for your keywords:

  1. site:yoursite.com intitle:Commercial Roofing London
  2. site:yoursite.com intitle:Commercial Roofing Birmingham
  3. site:yoursite.com intitle:Commercial Roofing Manchester
  4. site:yoursite.com intitle:Commercial Roofing Newcastle
  5. site:yoursite.com intitle:Roof Repairs London
  6. site:yoursite.com intitle:Roof Repairs Birmingham
  7. site:yoursite.com intitle:Roof Repairs Manchester
  8. site:yoursite.com intitle:Roof Repairs Newcastle


I use Excel to perform these checks, just paste those search operators into column A in Excel, like so:

Search Operators

Now paste those into the Google search bar one by one and check your results.

What we’re looking for here is – can Google find any pages on your website which already have your target keywords in the title tags?

(The title tag is one of the most important on page optimization elements, it’s much easier to rank a page with the keyword in the title tag than a page without)

As you’re searching those search operators, if Google shows you any pages from your website – mark that keyword in yellow and paste the URL of the top ranking page into column B.

(you’ll still need to perform further checks on these pages later)

If Google shows you this:

No Optimized Pages

It means that Google can’t find any pages on your site which contain those keywords in the title tags.

Mark that keyword in red.


Once you’ve gone through the whole list you’ll have two types of results:

  1. Yellows – A list of pages which need further review.
  2. Reds – A list of keywords which you need to create and optimize pages for.

Your Excel sheet should look something like this:

Keyword Optimization Results

The red cells show keywords which you don’t have optimized pages for yet – you’ll need to create some using the instructions in the next section.

The yellow cells show keywords which you may have optimized pages for.

These pages still need checking to see if they’re fully optimized though so don’t get too excited!

We know your target keywords are in the titles of these pages… that’s a good start, but there’s several more things that can be done to further optimize the page.

Follow the instructions below to create new keyword optimized pages for the keywords you’re not already optimized for, or to increase the optimization (and rankings) of your under optimized pages.




On Page Optimization Elements

The following instructions will show you how to properly optimize a page for each of your target keywords.

But before we start – you’ll need to get yourself a list of LSI/related keywords for each keyword…


LSI/Related Keywords

Brucey BonusUsing lot’s of different keyword variations throughout your pages will dramatically increase the relevancy of each page, you’ll avoid over optimization penalties and as a Brucey Bonus your pages may also start ranking for all of the related keywords too.

You’ll need about 6-12 LSI keywords for each of your target keywords.

(If you want to know exactly what LSI means, see here)

The fastest & easiest way to find your LSI keywords is to use the wildcard search in Keyword Researcher.

For this example, let’s pretend we own a removals company in Essex.

One of our target keyword is “Essex Removals”.

To find our LSI keywords we’ll add a few wildcards (*) to our target keyword, like this:

Essex Removals *
* Essex Removals
Essex * Removals
Removals * Essex

…and paste this into the “Wildcard Search” section of Keyword Researcher, like so:

Keyword Researcher - Wildcard Search


Hit play and the software will scrape Google suggest, in less than 10 seconds you’ll have all of the LSI keywords you’ll ever need.

Run through the list and choose the most applicable keywords.


Here’s the 12 most relevant LSI keywords I found for my target keyword:

  • Budget Removals Essex
  • House Removals Essex
  • Home Removals Essex
  • Furniture Removals Essex
  • Domestic Removals Essex
  • Removals Companies Essex
  • Removals And Storage Essex
  • Essex Home Removals
  • Essex House Removals
  • Removals Firms Essex
  • Essex Removals Companies
  • Essex Removals And Storage


(Keyword Researcher is a paid tool with lot’s of great features, but if you don’t want to splash out on software just yet there’s a great free tool called Tiny Suggest which does the job for scraping Google Suggest)


Once you’ve got your list of related keywords – move onto optimizing your page…




1. Keyword in Title Tags

This is the most important place on the whole page to insert your keyword as it’s shown directly in the search results as the title of your listing and the clickable link to your page.

If you were targeting the search term “Essex Removals” then your meta title should look like this…

Keyword in Title Tag

Although the official character limit for the title tag is 67, the average search result only displays an about 52 characters, so make sure you don’t make your title too long and always have your main keyword as close to the start as possible.

If your keywords are in the title tag they’ll be bolded, also notice how this website is using the special characters “? and !”, these factors both help to increase your organic Click Through Rate, and Rand Fishkin of MOZ has shown that a good CTR can positively affect your rankings.


2. Keyword in Description Tags

The description tag is another valuable asset as it gives you direct control of the contents of your listing in the search results.

Keywords in Description

Use your keywords in the meta description tag and you will increase your pages optimization and the click through rate in the search results.

(You can check the character counts of your meta tags here)


3. Keywords in URL

Websites with keyword rich URL’s tend to do a lot better than those without.

Keywords in URL

If your site has ugly URL’s like:


Change the permalink settings to something more keyword rich, like:


(As mentioned earlier in this post, if you’ve got a site with ugly URL’s and you’ve got lots of pages already ranking in Google and generating traffic, or have already built links to your ugly URL’s, hold your horses and contact an SEO expert before making any changes to the URL’s. Seriously.)




4. Keywords in Content

I’d advise creating no less than 500 words of content for each page you’re trying to rank.

The more content you have on your page the more resourceful your website will appear to Google.

Take those LSI keywords you found earlier and sprinkle those throughout your content to increase the relevancy of the page.




5. Keywords in Headings

Content is easier to read and digest when it’s presented in bite size pieces, so make use of multiple headings.

Use your exact match keyword in the main page heading (H1).

And use your related keywords in your sub headings (H2, H3, H4 etc).




6. Keywords in Alt Tags

SEO Image Alt TagsUsing images throughout your content will not only make your page look more appealing to read, it’ll also help with your rankings by keeping people on your site longer and lowering your bounce rate.

Make sure each image has a descriptive alt tag which includes your exact match and related keywords.

(Image stolen from Apple Marketing)




Finishing Touches SEO

If you’ve read this far in one go you’re absolutely mental. High five.

Just a few more things to do and then we’re done…


1. Interlink Your Content

Most websites I review overuse the navbar to link to all their pages and their websites internal structure ends up resembling a pair of vertical window blinds.

This isn’t good for search engines (or your readers).

Linking your pages together contextually (from links within the content of the page) helps both search engine spiders and humans better navigate your website.

Contextual links pass link juice better than nav bar, side bar and footer links – so interlink your pages contextually to spread around that ranking power.

And as Pro Blogger explains – internal, contextual links also help reduce your bounce rate by driving your search traffic deeper into your website.

Anchor text matters too – so link to your other pages using the keywords which you’re trying to rank the target page for.

I prefer to do this manually, but if you’d like to automate the process there’s a few WordPress plugins you can use, you can read about them here- http://www.shoutmeloud.com/wordpress-post-interlinking.html



2. Add Outbound Links

We’ve already talked about the importance of outbound links, so just to recap – make sure you’re linking out to other sites.

Don’t worry about losing traffic, just make sure your links open in a new tab so your visitors don’t physically leave your page.

Linking to deep relevant pages on authority sites is best practice.

For more tips on outbound links, Ask Akshay at Go Blogging Tips.



3. Add Social Sharing Elements

Social signals are good for your rankings. <- Full Stop.

If you don’t make it easy for your readers to share your content – they probably won’t.

Add social sharing icons to your web pages, write good content, entice your readers to share it and you’ll increase your traffic and rankings.

If you’re on WordPress – check out this post for plugin ideas.





OK, time to recap everything we’ve just talked about…

LOL JK I’ve just written 5,574 words and I’m going to bed!

If you like this post – be a bro & share.

If you’ve got something to say – leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading,




20 Responses so far.

  1. Sara says:

    Wow – fantastic post! Have bookmarked it to come back so I can go through it properly on my site. Thanks 🙂

  2. Loved this post – I can see you’ve worked hard on this and it really covered so many SEO basics. Great stuff & thanks.

  3. Randy Lyons says:

    Wow! That’s a ton of great information and will take some time to digest.

  4. Ian says:

    An excellent guide. Thanks for putting in so much effort. There are several things here I have learnt!

  5. Rankpusher says:

    Really detailed post on on-page optimization.This is really important, because many people start with link building early, without to properly optimize their pages and did not achieved good results. Another point that I would suggest to include is about the mobile friendly design, as you know Google has an update about this 🙂

    • Shalini says:

      Best thing is to make a different design for mobile and desktop. Is not such an important factor, but it does help you a lil’ bit more since you’re thinking in the smartphone/mobile user experience too in your website.

      Maybe a responsively designed web page can do the work, but Google doesn’t take it as a mobile design

  6. Excellent article, little lengthy but if people actually take the time to read this could prove to be really beneficial for anyone!

  7. Thanks for the fantastic post. It is very detailed which makes it good for a beginners. Maybe you could write an alternative, short version for more advanced users.

  8. Those are some comprehensive SEO basics, good stuff. I’ll reference this when I have clients who can’t afford my level so they can do some basics themselves 😉

  9. Jamey says:

    Great article – shows how much work goes into just basic On Page SEO.

  10. Bryan says:

    This a great evergreen guide Carl. As you quite rightly pointed out at the start, all of your link building efforts will be affected if you don’t get your basic on-page SEO right. Bookmarking for future use.

  11. Andre says:

    Awesome guide. Thanks Carl.

  12. John says:

    Hi Carl

    Seriously good info on this site. Being from the UK myself (Newcastle) I think this is one of the best UK resources. It deserves abit more exposure.

    I have a quick question.

    Say you were going after this word “Roofing Contractor London”

    You would include it as a descriptive exact match alt tag.

    so for example

    “AAA Roofing Contractors London Home Show Awards”

    If you had another 10 images would you include the location in every alt or just the LSI of “Roofing Contractors”


    Roofing Services
    Roofing Companies

    etc etc

    Or would you include London everytime?



    • Carl Reed says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks mate took me ages to spell it all out!

      I’d do it the first way mate, only use the exact match in one alt tag to avoid triggering any over-optimization penalties but use lot’s of LSI keywords to increase the relevancy.

  13. Great stuff Carl! You mentioned 6 to 12 LSI keywords per article. Sometimes, it is very hard to implemented all these keywords in the same article. Do you have some tips when it comes to adding them to your content?

    • Carl Reed says:

      Hi Nikolay, only rule I stand by for this is if it looks spammy just expand the content until it flows, the more content you have on the page the more resourceful it will appear to Google and the more long tails you’ll be able to rank for, just don’t make it look keyword stuffed and you’re fine

  14. Javel says:

    Carl, second post I read, and second page I bookmark. You pack a lot of value in your posts. Thank you sir.

  15. Vince says:

    Amazing, indeed!On page is really powerful. I want to share my personal experience about on page optimization. When I started optimizing the content and title of my page which includes putting keyword in the Title, in the content, and in meta description really helped me a lot to increase my site rankings in the search engine.

  16. David Holme says:

    Carl, That’s a great post. Very thorough and all the right steps.
    Many thanks.

  17. emmereyrose says:

    Lots of meat in this article Carl. Thanks for sharing! I was wondering what are your thoughts about keyword density? do you think it still matters?

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