Top 10 On Page SEO Techniques (Backed by Data)


Have you ever wondered if the on-page SEO tips that experts are recommending actually work? I mean, does using your target keyword inyour URL really have an impact on SEO? Does site speed really play a factor in rankings? In this video, Im going to break down thetop on-page SEO techniques that you can use to get higher rankings in Google,backed by hard cold data. Stay tuned. [Music] Whats up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. We have a lot of solid on page SEO techniquesto cover so lets get this party started with our top 10 tips. Number 10, use short URLs for your pages. Heres a short URL. And here’s a long one.So true or false? Do short URLs rank better in Google? Our study on on-page SEO factors shows thaton average, short URLs with a median of around 17 or so characters ranked visibly better than long ones. If youre a WordPress user, then all youneed to do is click in the URL box here, and enter in your short URL. But does this mean that you should go andchange all of your long URLs to short ones? I wouldnt say so. Even though theres a small correlation,I dont think its a significant enough ranking factor to change your existing ranking pages. Number 9, use your primary keyword in your URL. If I were writing an article about SEO tips,then my final URL with my keyword target would look like this. So does this actually help you rank high in Google? The answer according to our study is… False. Interestingly, out of all keyword-relatedon page SEO factors that we studied, this was the only one that showed a negative correlation. In fact, John Mueller from Googlewent on the record and said: “I believe that is a very small ranking factor.So it is not something Id really try to force. And it is not something Id say is evenworth your effort to restructure your site just so you can get keywords in your URL.” But do I recommend using it? Absolutely. Two reasons: When your link gets shared, people can easilyidentify what the page is about without even clicking through to the page. This should increase referral traffic comparedto having links that look like this.Or this. And second, the exact match keyword that youwant to rank for will be included in the anchor text of every naked URL backlink that you get. And we did a study on anchor texts, whichshows that top ranking pages tend to have a larger percentage of exact match anchortext links in their backlink profile. So take 10 seconds to customizeyour URLs and reap the benefits. Number 8, use your keywordin the headline, so the H1 tag. In our study, we found that around 85% ofpages that rank in the top 10 of Google, don’t have their keyword in their H1 tags. But there was still a small correlation, soI still recommend using various keywords in your headings and even subheadings. And the main reason for thisis more user experience based.A study from Neilsen Norman Group found thaton average, a user will read, at most, 28% of the words on a page. But then they said that 20% is more realistic. Heres the thing: Scanning text is an extremelycommon behavior for users. You probably look at a page, scroll for abit, and if something pops out to you, you read that section. And if you think that sectionwas awesome, then you think: oh shoot, did I miss out on anything else? So you scroll back up and then you read the post. Using trigger-like keyword phrases in headingsand sub-headings may be enough to pique a users interest and have themstick around a little bit longer. Number 7, add external links to authoritative websites. Again, John Mueller said that adding externallinks to other sites is not a ranking factor in Googles algorithm. But Reboot Onlines study disagrees. They ran a fun little experiment on thesetwo completely made up words, which I wont even attempt to pronounce. They set up 10 different websites, 5 thatlinked to authoritative sources like Oxford, Cambridge, and And then the other 5, they had no external links at all.And the results were clear: the sites that contained external links, rankedhigher than the ones that didnt for both keywords. And in our own study, we found a small positivecorrelation of pages that link to Domain Rating 70+ sites ranked in the top 10 of Google. So heres an easy takeaway. Dont be afraid to link out to other resourcesthat will enhance the experience for your readers. For example, if youre writing a blog poston the best golf gear and you found a great comparison of golf balls, then link out to them. But dont just do it for the sake of it. Number 6, add internal linksto pages that you want to rank. Internal links are links that go from onepage on a domain to a different page on the same website. And these have been proven timeand time again to help with rankings.So a quick tip is to look at your pages thatare currently ranking on page 2 of Google, add some internal links to relevant pagesthat you want to rank, and hopefully itll be enough to give your pages a small boost in rankings. You can find pages that rank on page 2 bygoing to Google Search Console, click on search traffic, and then search analytics. Then make sure you check these boxes up here,and then sort the positions in descending order.You can quickly scan through the impressionscolumn and try to spot bigger numbers, which suggests that theres a higher search volume. But these are average positions,which isnt very accurate. You can do this more effectivelyusing Ahrefs Site Explorer tool. Just type in your domain or a subfolder. So Ill use and run the search. Next, go to the Organic Keywords report. Here, you can see all of thekeywords that our blog ranks for. So Ill narrow down our results by settingthe positions filter to only show keywords that rank in positions 11 to 15. And you can see that our post on SEO toolsranks in position 11 with 16,000 monthly searches. If I click on this icon here, you can seethat weve been hanging around the top of page 2 and bottom of page 1 for this keyword for a little while now. So this would make a great targetto point some internal links to.Now we need to find pageswhere we can add these links. You can do this by going to Googleand type in a search query like:, and Ill add SEOtools in quotes for a phrase match search. And you can see that there are a good numberof pages where we can add internal links from. Clicking through to this page, and then doinga find for the phrase SEO tools, you can see that this would be a great place to add the link. Number 5, re-optimize titles on under performing page one rankings. Ill level with you: even if you have the perfect title and metadescription combination, it wont really matter much unless youre on the first page of Google. Why? Because as the saying goes: The best place to hide a dead body is onpage 2 of Googles search results. First, you need to identify the pages thatare ranking on page one.Again, you can do this in Google Search Consoleand look through the different positions versus click-through rates. And as a very general benchmark, the #1 rankingspot sees an average CTR of 33%, #2 gets 15% and #3 gets around 10%. If you see anything below that, make a noteof it and start playing around with your titles and meta descriptions. Here are a couple ways to getsome great ideas for new titles. Lets say that Im creating an epic poston hotels in San Francisco. Looking at the organic Google search results,you can see that they appear to be mostly list posts of the top or best ones. And two of them actually include prices in the title. This can tell you a lot about theintent behind a searchers query. So you might want to create yours in a similar way. Next, look at the ads. Since a lot of the big players are constantlyexperimenting with ad copy, you can bet that for high CPC terms like this, youll findsome solid title and description ideas that can boost your CTR.Theres an awesome data-drivenway you can do this too. Ill click through to this ad. Next, Ill copy the URL without the parameters. Then Ill go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tooland paste the URL here and run the search. After the page loads, click on ads underthe paid search category. And right away, you can see all of the differentad variations and see which ones have been attracting the most clicks for them. If youre still stuck, borrow some ideasfrom viral sites like Upworthy or Buzzfeed. For example, if I do a google search for “San Francisco” hotels, youll see a few cool ideas thatyou can work into your title tag.Number 4, create in-depth articles. People have been raving about long-formcontent” for quite some time. In fact, our study showed that content lengthhad the second best correlation across all on-page SEO factors that we studied. But how long is long-form? 1,500? 2,000? 5,000 words? We found the median value for a #1 rankingresult to have 800 words, which I dont think quite fits into the category of long-form.” So instead of focusing on word count, focus on coverage. For example, if you’re writing a piece onmaking the perfect cup of coffee, you can’t just say, say: “grab a Kcup, put it in themachine and wait.” If you truly want to deliver on making theperfect cup of coffee, you’d want to talk about beans, water temperature, brewing methodslike French press, drip, or using an Aeropress. An easy way to find related subtopics is toGoogle the keyword phrase you want to rank for and skim through the sub-headings from the top ranking pages.Clicking through to this one, youll seethat they covered a few different methods like pour overs, French Press and Aeropress. And on top of that, they included a helpfulbullet point list for each method with preferred types of beans, brewing time, andflavor profiles you should look for. To expand your coverage, you can copy theURL and paste it into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Next, click on the OrganicKeywords report in the sidebar. And on this page, you can see all of the keywords that this page ranks for in Google. So bottom line? Forget word count and focus on covering thetopics and sub topics that will serve the searchers intent.Number 3, use modifiers in your titles. Modifiers are add-on words to a base keyword. My favorites are best, top, buy, and the current year. For example, someone might search for golf clubs. But they might also search for best golfclubs or even best golf clubs 2018. A super cool way to find modifier keywordsthat actually have search volume is to type in a seed keyword in Keywords Explorer. Next, go to the phrase match report in the sidebar. And you can see that there are well over 2million keywords with the keyword golf in it. Next, click on the include search box andtype in a modifier keyword like best. And you can see that there are some greatkeyword ideas where you can add modifiers to your title.Best of all, for the golf niche, the keyworddifficulty scores are extremely low on these, which makes them potentially great keyword targets that you can go after. Number 2, dont have slow loading pages. In 2010, Google announced a new signal intheir search ranking algorithms: page speed. And as of this month, July 2018, page speedwill become a ranking factor for mobile searches. But according to the results of our research,the correlation of this on page factor with higher positions in Google is very small. So should you even bother optimizing for page speed? Absolutely! This deals more with user experience andit will affect your bottom line: revenue. Google performed a study on 11 million mobileads and found that as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds, the probabilityof bounce increases 32%. And as the load time increases,so does the probability of bounce. Here are a few tips you can use to speed up your site.First, go to Google Pagespeed Insights andenter in the URL that you want to analyze. You can toggle between your mobileand desktop page speeds here. Then scroll down a bit to seethe optimization suggestions. Often, youll see that slower page speedsare attributed to files like images, scripts, and style sheets. You can click here to download optimized versionsof these and make the appropriate replacements on your page. Next tip, use a content delivery network (or a CDN).For example, if your hosting server is locatedin New York, but your visitor is in Australia, it can take quite a bit of time forthe transfer of data to complete. CDNs minimize the distance between where thevisitor is browsing from and where your website server is hosted. The next tip is to use an image compressor. Images in their raw form, they can be quite large. So you can use a tool like Shortpixel to optimize your images for the web. Ill just drag and drop a picture of thishandsome fella here and soon after, you can see that it compresses the image by quite a lot.Final page speed tip is to cache, cache, cache! If youre a WordPress user, you can useplugins like W3 Total Cache and get a solid configuration without a technical bone in your body. And finally, we’re on to number one! Are you ready for this? Improve your UX by enhancing your UI. This last tip almost summarizes all of theon page SEO factors into one. So Googles job is to provide the best resultsto their users for any given search query. And in order to help Google achieve that,you need to foster that user experience for their visitors.Aside from the content itself, the user interface,or the way the page looks, can have a significant impact on how people interact with your site. First is to improve visual readability. If you look at these two pages side-by-side, which one is easier to read? Obviously the first one. Let me break this down for this article whichis about how to write a resume. They use a readable font-size, they writein short sentences and short paragraphs, they have standout images like this one that instantlyconnects with the someone wanting to learn how to write a resume. They have nice little breaks for checklistsand pro tips making it hyper-scannable. And they provide some solid visual examplesof what a resume should look like. Some other tips to improve user experiencethrough your user interface is to include a table of contents for long posts like this. And you can even make it scroll down withthe user so its easy for them to jump to different sections.And the final one that I think will gain popularityover time is to include interactive features within your blog posts. You can do this in simple ways by sharinga slide deck, videos, surveys, polls, and in more complex ways like interactive tools. You can obsess over low-hanging optimizationslike keywords in titles, but you need to know that there is power in cumulative value.Now, while our data supports a lot of theseon page SEO factors, there is very little correlation in most of our findings on an individual level. But as you implement all of the differentoptimizations together, you should start seeing more results. Most importantly, always focus on fulfillingthe searchers intent the best you can and youll be on your way to perfecting your on-page SEO. If you enjoyed this video, like, share andmake sure to subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. So keep grinding away, get results, and Illsee you in the next tutorial..

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