On-page SEO for developers made easy
Doing SEO for your side project, personal blog or other outlet is really simple. It’s just like a game and you have to follow the rules.
I am a developer and can understand the struggle that devs undergo when having to deal with SEO. Where do I begin? No one likes doing the research, but if you want to be on the map you have to follow the rules like everyone else.
Developers are great at following rules and reading advice on Stack Overflow, so here are some simple yet powerful things that you can do to achieve good SEO of any page on the web, specifically for Google.
In the game we’re playing, the SEO game, you follow the rules set by Google.
Google accounts for about 90% of the world’s search. Optimizing for it, is a great idea.
Your goal in this game, is to rank at the top of a Google search page of a keyword or set of keywords.
How can you do that? Like in every game, strategies that you can follow, with precision, to achieve faster and guaranteed results.
Type in google:
tips for streamers
See who’s at the top? THE SEO GAME IS SIMPLE, IF I CAN WIN IT SO CAN YOU.
A lot of pages on the internet will sell you SEO packages, but you have all the tools in the world to do SEO optimization yourself and then by reading a lot of articles, you can come up with your own “hacks” of how to boost your page into higher rankings, into more leads, into more views, or pretty much anything you want. Today we focus on on-page SEO.
What’s on-page SEO
On-page SEO helps you advertise to Google and other searche engines that you’ve got relevant content for a certain search keyword.
People use keywords to search for things on the internet.
Some keywords are used together and create a search phrase: for example, “on-page SEO for developers” is a search phrase.
Most of on-page SEO strategies are achieved by utilizing HTML tags.
Failing at completing any of the below points, will severly penalize your on-page SEO setup
This is how you do basic on-page SEO:
- Keywords that you are trying to rank for, must be placed inside of these tags:
<p>of your page’s content
- Anchor tags from other websites that link directly to your page need to have the appropriate content.
- Example of what I mean:
<a href="YOURSITE.COM/YOUR-PAGE" ALT="THE TEXT HERE MATTERS">BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY THE TEXT HERE MATTERS</a>
- Example of what I mean:
- Using the keyword in the URL of the page published
- Not using a sub-domain
Other factors that matter to increase on-page SEO:
- Meta tags
- Quality of content, including any “extra content” (media, videos, downloads) and quantity (at minimum 300 words)
- Amount of views
- Speed of your site
- Usage of HTTPS
The importance of Meta Tags
Meta tags are crucial for SEO, the bread and butter of what you have to work on as soon as you create or look to optimize a webpage.
Meta tags are like quick snacks to the diligent Google bot that crawls the web looking for content to index.
These need to be between the
<head> tags of your site and missing them can be extremely detrimental for the optimization of your page. You can and WILL be penalized for bad practice.
- Title Tag
- Meta Description
- Canonical Rel Tags
- Open Graph
Why use Meta Tags for SEO?
They provide information to the crawling bots. You can use whichever method you prefer to compute and insert these tags in your pages. Most people are probably using a plugin on Wordpress, if you’re a developer reading this, you will have to come up with some method that works for you and your project.
Whichever method you choose make sure the tags are properly rendered in the final HTML.
There are many meta tags out there: In particular look at open-graph tags that are needed for correctly sharing information on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. They’re all listed here on the OPG website, specifically they’re here for Facebook and here for Twitter
There’s one meta tag that is really controversial, some people vouch for it others say it is useless.
That is the
keywords meta tag. I personally always add it but it might just be a habit. Each keyword is placed inside the content attribute and is comma delimited. Like so:
<meta name="keywords" content="car, vehicle, sales" />
Meta tags are important, make sure you use them right, and follow the same logic throughout your whole site..
When building content on the web we’ve got to always think about keywords.
Put the keyword(s) at the start of your
<title> tag and keep the lenght of the title between 10 and 60 characters.
Make sure you don’t have duplicate titles throughout your site.
While using keywords think about data, is there a number that you can attach to the keyword you’re trying to rank for?
If so add it next to your keyword.
There are modifiers like “best” or “top” or “how-to” that work really well with keywords.
Description tags can vary and be of a length between 100 and 320 characters. Again use keywords at the beginnin of the description. Try to provide answers or the intent that you have all of the ANSWERS. When users read the title and the description that you created, they will want to click on your result and not someone elses.
If the user stays on your page for a minute or two, reading the content you’ve put out Google will take that as a sign that your page is interesting.
On the other hand if they bounce (leave the page few seconds after the load has finished) that will penalize you!
When you create pages with the same content but different URLs that point to such content to increase your ranks on different yet related keywords you need to use canonical URLs meta tags that point to the original piece of content you wrote.
Let’s assume you have three articles:
- How to build a startup
- How to build a small company
- How to be an entrepreneur
Now all these three pages have pretty much the same content regarding the topic you’re writing about.
You want to pick one of these to be the canonical page (the original page), while the other two pages will have canonical meta-tags in them as so:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://opensauce.it/my-original-article" />
So you’re going to create 3 titles, create 3 unique articles that use similar content then you better be using canonical meta tags to tell the search engines that the content is pretty much the same and you won’t get penalized (because you’re doing it right).
After your page has been optimized to SEO, the work continues elsewhere.
Hopefully in this short guide you’ve understood how on-page SEO works.
It’s easy to insert the right markup in a webpage if you know what you need to do. The hard part comes with creating the content that will go inside those tags. My suggestion is to use a Google Spreadsheet and do 3 columns.
Crawl your competitor’s #1 and #2 sites and compile the results below.
Then simply find a balance and come up with your descriptions and tag contents.
|Your competitors #1||Your competitor #2||Your Product|
|Title||Their Value #1||Their Value #2||Here is where you define your values|
|Description||Their Value #1||Their Value #2|
You’re now ready to deploy your on-page SEO strategy