Proven On Page SEO (Improve 38.69% Traffic in 6 Months)

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On Page SEO BannerToday, I will be sharing a detailed plan with you regarding how Ascelade helped a food blogger by optimizing on page SEO on her blog, which led to 38.69% improvement in search traffic within 6 months.

Even though the blogger uses WordPress, the principles of On Page SEO apply to all website platforms out there.

This post has more than 3000 words, so I created jump links to the different parts of content to help you;

 

The Story | The Problem | Technical SEO | On Page SEO | Best Practices | InfographicConclusion

The Story of MissTamChiak

Maureen Ow, AKA MissTamChiak is a well-known food blogger in Singapore, she has been blogging since 2007.

The blog started with an interest in sharing great food and in simplified Chinese words.

In 2012, Maureen decided to target the English speaking audience as most of the people living in Singapore uses English to search on Google and Yahoo.

MissTamChiak.com now has a good number of food lovers in Singapore and overseas who read about her food reviews.

MissTamChiak’s SEO Problem

Maureen realised that traffic to some of her posts was consistent, while most missed out on the same. She knows SEO briefly but was not an expert and didn’t implement the necessary SEO practise into her blog.

She went around asking friends for a reliable SEO company, and she found us, Ascelade.

Maureen told us her goal is to get a million searchers per month from the search engines like Google and Yahoo, and to create a brand new look for MissTamChiak.com.

So we did some research on her then website and on her search rankings. Here’s how her blog looked previously;

MissTamChiak Previous Blog Look

We realised that her blog could be found for some high traffic food related terms and cafe or restaurant names in Singapore or South East Asian countries, BUT not on general search terms we found on Google Keyword Planner.

We found out that most of her fellow food bloggers in Singapore ranked for most of the search terms in the Singapore food arena.

The good thing is we found that her blog had a domain authority of 41, which is the top 3 compare to all Singapore food bloggers.

The most important issue was that there was no on page SEO done on all of her blog posts. Wow!!!! Without doing a proper on page SEO, MissTamChiak was able to have 150,000 to 225,000 monthly organic visitors to her blog (5,000 to 7,500 daily).

We wanted to make sure that search traffic to MissTamChiak improves and reaches 1 million search visitors monthly. So we have to take into consideration on the technical SEO and On Page SEO of the blog.

What is Technical SEO? How it can help you rank better in Google.Technical SEO

Technical SEO is all about how well search engine spiders can crawl your page and enhanced user experience on your website. It consists of;

  1. Fast speed web page loading (preferably to be 3 seconds or faster),
  2. Mobile friendly or mobile responsive website for different,
  3. Providing good website user experience, like responsive website, website search function, no broken links, or images are on the web pages, thereby encouraging users to view more.
  4. Making Search Engine Robots’ job easy. By helping them to find new and old content in a more structured way, and to help the robots understand your website too. It consists of linking Google Search Console and Bing Webmastertools to web hosting, submitting sitemaps, etc…

Firstly, we found out that the blog was not loading fast. It had an average loading time of 12 seconds of loading time for most of the pages. So we advised Maureen to move to a SSD web hosting, which will ensure faster loading time for her blog.

Traffic Planet Hosting

We decided to use Traffic Planet Hosting (currently is called https://wpxhosting.com/). They offer great support, and will respond to you within an hour. They also helped us to migrate MissTamChiak.com for free to their hosting. Traffic Planet Hosting’s staffs answered all of our questions regarding the hosting, and have helped us professionally with a step-by-step instructions.

But I need you to note that their SSD web hosting is kind of a premium service, but it’s all worth it as Google shared that page loading speed is a ranking factor and provides great user experience for users.

If you like to find out more about web hosting, I recommend you reading the web hosting guide here. It will give you an idea what, why, and how to choose a web hosting.

Secondly, we found out that there were a lot of broken links within the blog.

Broken Link Checker

So we used the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin to help us find the broken links. After this we remove the links that were not working.

Thirdly, we proposed a great web design which was mobile friendly and focused on her target audience. It worked out great for both sides.

Fourth, we made sure that the design of the new blog was responsive. Google shared that mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal in Google search engine, because more searches are done on mobile devices than on desktops.

We went through a few mockups on MissTamChiak’s logo design and website designs. Maureen chose the current website design and requested some customization on her blog, which will make it stand out.

Once the design was confirmed, we prepared for a mock up and a test run with all the contents on MissTamChiak.com.

We did not wish to disrupt the almost daily blog posting of MissTamChiak, as a lot social shares and comments are processing as I type.

So we set up a mock up site, where we designed the new look and feel. We let Maureen give feedbacks to us what she wants and we reminded her what her audience and clients want too.

Once the final design is confirmed, we set a date (24th Feb 2016, 3pm to 5pm) to show the world the new look of MissTamChiak.com.

Here’s what it looks now;

MissTamChiak New Look

Preparation for On Page SEO

Here’s what we prepared for MissTamChiak before implementing on page SEO.

1) Find out the Impressions in Google Analytics.

This is what impressions means;

Impressions: The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user, not including paid AdWords search impressions. Source

We wanted to find out which posts have the highest impressions in Google. So we log into the Google Analytics to find out the impression count on all pages.

Special Note: This only works when both Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmastertools) are linked together.

Google Analytics

Step 1: Log into Google Analytics, click “Acquisition”. You will see “Search Engine Optimization” on the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Click on “Search Engine Optimization”, you will see a new dropdown menu. Click on “Queries”.

Step 3: On the new page, you will see that the “Impressions” graph and the number of “Impressions”.

Step 4: Show all 90 days data. Click on “Dates” that’s on the top right. Choose from 4 months ago and today’s date. Google only shows the last 90 days data. When you choose 4 months, it will still show you the last 90 days data.

Step 5: If you want to draw these data out, first choose “5000” which is next to “Show Rows”. It will show a long list of 5000 data for you. Next you need to download it to excel. You should be able to see “Export” on the top left. Choose Excel (XLSX) or CSV type.

From here you will be able to find out what are the search terms that’s showing up most of the time in the website. Simple download it onto your computer.

Our intention is to focus on the blog posts that have the highest impressions first, then to the lowest.

Now that we found out the search terms and their impressions, we wanted to focus on the pages that have the most impressions to the least, and perform on page SEO on the posts.

What is On Page SEO? And why it’s Important to you!

On-Page SEO is optimizing the individual web pages on the website within the content and HTML source code of the web page. The main reasons for doing on page SEO are;

  1. Help search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing to understand what the web page is all about.
  2. Get higher rankings and more relevant traffic from the search engine.

Off-Page SEO has the same principle as On-Page SEO, just that it’s from another domain name URL, pointing page to a specific page of the website. It works like a vote of trust system. The more votes (links) the web page receives, the more trust the web page has.

On Page SEO Best Practices & Checklist

Here’s a detailed checklist for On Page SEO we did for MissTamChiak’s post.

We are using Yoast SEO WordPress plugin on MissTamChiak.com. It is a simple yet powerful SEO WordPress plugin.Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin Banner

It will tell us how to do on-page SEO in different areas of the web page that search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing look for to understand what the web page is all about.

If you are using any other website platform, the steps are the same, you may need help from a web developer.

Here’s how you can use it to improve your on-page SEO;

 

a. Focus Keyword

This is to inform the plugin what keyword you want to focus on. I would recommend the focus keyword to be no more than 5 words.

The reason being that if the keyword is too long, it will be hard for us to place the keyword at specific places on the web page.

I am using http://www.misstamchiak.com/gemmills/ as an example.

Below is how Yoast SEO will look like when you go to any new page or post in MissTamChiak.

Once you place the keyword (5 word or less) in the focus keyword, here’s how it should look like;

Focus Keyword

 

b. SEO Title (Very Important)

This is a little tricky to find. You need to click “Edit Snippet” to make the SEO Title appear.

Then you copy the title of the post from the “Add New Post” and paste it to the “SEO Title” section.

Yoast SEO Title

The title is considered to be the most important on page SEO factor, and it has been tested and proven by Moz that your focused keyword should be as close as possible to the beginning of the title tag.

Having said that, the main focused keyword does not have to be at the front. It can be in the middle or at the end of the title.

This is the part where creative title crafting has to come in. I used headline analyzer to help me in creating a title if I need to.

Here’s how title tag will look like in html form;

<title>Gemmills by Maggie Joan’s – Go by the back door for cakes</title>

Adding power words and related words will increase click through rate, and even rank for other related keywords terms too.

Important Note on SEO Title: Google has been known to ignore Title Tag for some unique searchers and replace it from the content.

 

c. Page/Post URL or Slug (Important)

This is the web page URL you want to show to the public.

Remember the “Focus Keyword”. Our focus keyword is “gemmills”. So the URL should include “gemmills” too.

The length of the url should be no more than 5, and below is a perfect example;

http://www.misstamchiak.com/no-more-than-five-words/

Important Note: Try not to put stop words into the URL. But if the targeted keyword has stop word as part of the search term. It’s ok to use it.

 

d. Meta Description (Not That Important, But Still Must Do It Excellently. Here’s Why…)

This is where you can summarize and entice the audience to click the title link in search engine results.

Here’s how the description tag will look like in html form;

<meta name=”description” content=”The people behind Mediterannean restaurant Maggie Joan’s have opened a new all-day dining concept called Gemmills. Read more.”>

 

Although Google has stated that Meta Description does not help in SEO ranking, but it does help improve your click through rate (CTR).

What is Click Through Rate?

Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or an advertisement. It is commonly used to measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a particular website as well as the effectiveness of email campaigns.

The calculation goes like;

Click Through Rate Formula

You May Think Why Would it Matter to You?

Traffic! That’s what matters!

Remember that my goal is to increase traffic, so to me it still makes sense even if my page is ranked 7th for a particular keyword with monthly search volume of 100 and still get 10% CTR.

Compare this to my competitor who is ranked 5th but has 4% CTR. I will have 5 more search traffic than my competitor even when I am ranked lower.

Do note that there should be no more than 156 characters, and it includes space and special characters.

Title and Description Tag Example

Important: Under both “SEO Title” and “Meta description”, there’s a green bar. If it’s green, the length of the title or description is good.

What happens when the length of the title and description is too long. See below.

Bad Example for On Page SEO

This is a bad example, DO NOT FOLLOW.

If it’s in red, we advise you to shorten them. Because for search engine like Google, can only show certain number of characters on the search results.

Another reason why you should optimize the description tag, is that a good CTR helps to improve your search result ranking.

This is still debatable but there is a lot of  evidence to prove that good CTR does help in Google search ranking.

Rand Fishkin tested the CTR factor back in April 2014. You can read more about the findings here.

Here’s how you can improve your Click Through Rate;

  • Search the keyword term which you want to rank on Google.
  • Take note of the Adwords ads that you found on the search result.
  • Consolidate the Adwords ads onto a Word doc.
  • Find out the power words that keep appearing on the Adwords ads.
  • Use those power words as part of your description tag.

This is where you need to do some testing.

As MissTamChiak.com’s site has more than 3000 indexed pages on Google, and there’s only a handful of Adwords ads that can be found, most of them are not relevant at the same time.

So we did not proceed to use Adwords ad copy for reference.

 

e. Header Tag or H1 & H2 Tag (Very Important)

The header tag, or the <h1> tag in HTML content, will usually be the title of a post, or other emphasized text on the WordPress page or post. It can be found on the “Add New Post” option where you “Enter Title Here”.

So all you need to add is a H2 tag in your WordPress website.

If you are NOT using WordPress as website platform, you will need to add H1 and H2 tag within the content.

H1 tag is considered to be the 3rd  most important factor for on page SEO factor at Ascelade. Your focused keyword should be in it, and you will need to be creative to draft a title that makes one wants to continue to read more.

Here’s how the H1 tag will look like in html form;

H1 Tag HTML Example

f. Optimize Images On Your Content (Good To Do It, No Harm Doing)

As MissTamChiak.com is a food blog, images are very important to it’s target audiences. It is a highly visual oriented website with high quality food photos.

Fun Fact:

Our human brain process image 60,000 times faster than text

 

Important to follow!  ***

  1. Name the photo with the focus keyword and add in descriptions.

Example: gemmillscoffee.jpg,

But if you are not able to do this, it’s ok. I understand that there are tons of images on your website.

But you MUST do the next thing for the image.

1) Place “Focus Keyword” plus description of the image on the image tag. (MUST DO, Very Important)

Here are the steps;

Step 1: Once you have added the images into the content, go to the image you placed in the content.

Step 2: Click on the image, and an additional column of logo will appear. Click on the one with “Pencil”, that’s the “Edit” button. See below.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 4.46.14 PM

Step 3: Once you click “Edit”, a new page called “Image Details” will pop up. You will see “Alternative Text”. Place your Focus Keyword and short description in it. See example below.

Remember to click “Update” when you are done.

Step 4: Do step 1 to 3 for all the images in the content.

Important Note – Describe the photo accordingly and each photo should have a slightly different description.

Here’s how H1 tag will look like in html form;

<img src=”smiley.gif” alt=”Place the image description here” height=”42″ width=”42″>

 

g. Place “Focus Keyword” Within First or Second Line of the Content. (Very Important)

The “Focus Keyword” should be on the top. Preferable above the fold, as this is one of the ranking factors for on-page SEO.

You do not need to colour, bold, underline the “Focus Keyword”, you just need to make sure it appears on the first or second line of the whole content or within the first 100 words in the first paragraph.

When you are done, you should see Yoast SEO showing it in greens in the “Content Analysis” area. See below.

Yoast On Page SEO Analysis

For http://www.misstamchiak.com/gemmills/ example, there’s 2 in orange. It tells us that we should add in more words to reach 300 and we have used the focused keyword before. But this is ok, as most of them are in greens.

Remember to click “Update”, when you are done for all the 7 items.

 

More On Page SEO That You Should Be Doing

1) What is Internal Linking?

It is the linking between web pages within the same domain name.

This is different from external links or off page SEO. Internal linking is where you can exercise control, whereas the external links have limited control.

I have written an in depth article on internal linking.

Here are 5 good reasons why you should do internal linking;

  1. Allows users to navigate website thus increasing viewership.
  2. Reduces bounce rate.
  3. Helps Search Engines understand your site hierarchy.
  4. Helps Search Engines to Crawl and Index more effectively.
  5. Spreads link authority (link juice) to other pages.

 

2) What is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)?

Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings. A key feature of LSI is its ability to extract the conceptual content of a body of text by establishing associations between those terms that occur in similar contexts. Source

Here’s a simple illustration about LSI;

How do you know which apple are you talking about when you type on the search engine. Is it the fruit or the computer brand?

It is neccessary to have some words to support or hint to you which apple the content is talking about.

“I purchased mango, apple & strawberry yesterday to prepare fruit salad for my family.

OR

“I purchased Macbook Pro from an Apple Authorized dealer in the shopping mall yesterday.”

This is to help search engines understand the context of the content in order to help your content rank for the focused keyword.

With that saying, how do you find out what are the words that should appear in the content to improve the LSI?

You can use Google to find out.

Here’s what you should do;

a) Enter the focus keyword you want to rank for in google.com. Do use google.com or the country domain extension Google is using. If you intend to target your local audience in Malaysia, then use google.com.my.

If you are targeting an international audience, be sure to use google.com, as this makes a difference.

b) After you type in the focus keyword and clicked search, scroll to the bottom of the search results. You should see these.

Google Related Searches

c) Do your best to add the related LSI words into the content intelligently from the google related searches. You do not have to add all the words into the content if it does not read or sound right in the content.

We realised that by adding price, business hours or days, the name of different dishes and address helps in optimizing the posts on MissTamChiak. This is highly dependent on the type of business you are in.

 

3) Link out to authority or relevant sites

Most of the external links are link to the cafes or restaurants’ website on MissTamChiak or the businesses’ Facebook page.

We do link out to news sites if the restaurant/cafe was featured there.

Linking out is a form of reference to justify what you have written is based on the original content or author.Question Mark Man

Why Link to Authority Sites?

You may have this question in mind, why?

Rand Fishkin wrote 5 main reasons why linking out is good Read more here.

Here’s the short summary of what Rand Fishkin is talking;

1) Linking Out Encourages Positive Participation & Contribution

2) Linking Out Incentivizes Links In

3) Search Engines Likely Reward the Behavior Algorithmically

4) It Makes Your Site a More Valuable, Scalable Resource

5) Linking Out Sends Trackable Traffic

For Ascelade’s take, we link out because other site’s content is researched or relevant to our client’s nature of business.

 

4) Updating Content.

The main reason for updating the content is that there may be new findings or researches. So in order to make the old content fresh again, updating the old content seems like a logical way for your targeted audience and for search engines like Google.

In a Google article, Amit Singhal shared how to make your content fresh even if it’s post more than a year ago.

We can verified that updating the old content does help our clients and us to rank higher or maintain in the same ranking position.

 

5) Long & Detailed Content?

With Google Panda now being one of Google’s core ranking algorithm, you can’t expect to re-write a 300 to 500 words content to rank on search engines and generate search traffic to your website. There are 65.258 379 million new posts being published in Oct 2016.wordpress new post stats

What make you think your content is going to rank and generate traffic to your site?

Your content needs to be detailed that will WOW your audience to want to share or link back to your web page.

There are 2 school of thoughts for the amount of words in the content.

Brain Dean found that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results. The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. WOW! (This is also the reason why this post is so long too. B) )

On the other hand, Rand Fishkin shared that long form content does not equal to great content.

Ascelade’s take on long form content. Write the content as detail as possible yet engaging your audience, you do not have to write more than 1,890 words.

If a researched in depth topic only requires 300 words, it’s that you don’t have to write more than that.

As for MissTamChiak’s case, most of the posts are 400 to 700 words and they still rank well. Of course her domain authority is one of the main factors to back it up.

On Page SEO Infographic

On Page SEO That Works infographic

Share this Image On Your Site Simply by Copy & Paste the Code Below

Conclusion

It’s been 6 months now & MissTamChiak averages of 10,000 to 12,500 search traffic daily. Simply by optimising on page SEO, there’s such improvement in search traffic to her site.

MissTamChiak Traffic ScreenShot

Just like a golf coach who teaches their student to hold the golf club correctly simply by changing the angle to a certain degree to have the maximum distance.

Ascelade like the golf coach, teaches our clients to simply change little things on their website, and have a great ROI.

You can contact us for a meet up to improve your website search traffic.

Cyrus Yung has been generating sales & marketing leads through Pay-Per-Click marketing via Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing & Bing since 2008. He used to be a naval diver before he left to join one of Asia’s largest seminar organizer company in 2006. Having worked and organized some of the largest seminars in Singapore, he left in 2008 to pursue his passion for internet entrepreneurship. With a proven track record of generating more than 20,000 qualified sales leads from 2008 to 2012, he helps companies in Singapore to build various online properties with high traffic & converting sales.

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