This will be a simple, straight to the point guide on how to do proper and easy on-page SEO without wasting time on unnecessary bullsh*t. I’m going to share how I got from nowhere to #20 for a 110k monthly searches keyword, with almost no links whatsoever (Fiverr gigs don’t count) and just good old on-page optimization.
If you follow the advice in this article, you should see improvement in your SERPs within hours. With that being said, keyword research IS a thing. If you can’t tell the difference between a low and a high competition keyword you’re better off reading more about that than following this guide, in case you’re planning to rank for something like “how to lose weight fast”.
If you already have Yoast installed on your site and it’s connected to the Google Search Console, click here in order to get to the main part of this guide.
First things first, I’m going to talk about picking the right theme. Since every marketer in their right mind is using WordPress (unless you’re doing ecommerce, perhaps) – you should always go for a clean, lightweight theme and avoid using plugins as much as possible, or at least stay away from the less popular ones. Don’t overdo things and don’t pack your site with useless crap that’s just gonna slow loading time and could even make it vulnerable. The theme I’m using for this blog is called GeneratePress – although I’m using the premium version, they have a free one which will probably suit your needs, especially if you’re just starting off.
Once you’re sure you’ve chosen a decent theme, you’re going to install a plugin that’s actually useful – Yoast SEO. Use the free version for now and buy the premium one later on, if you need to. Yoast gives you recommendation of things you need to do in order to improve your on-page SEO for any section, post or page on your site. Follow them, and make as many of them turn green as possible.
Next, go ahead and add your site as a property in the Search Console (use both the www and non-www versions if you would prefer one of them to be shown in the SERPs). Make sure you verify ownership with one of their methods.
So, how do you get started with on-page SEO? With content. Preferably, lots of it. The SerpBook screenshots above are from a site with only ONE PAGE (the homepage) and 6500 of well-optimized, high quality content on it. While 6500 words isn’t a lot, it does add up when all of it is optimized for the main keyword (the one I’m at #20 for). Forget wasting money on multiple 500-600 word posts of related content for your site, only to see that it won’t do much to rank you for your main keywords.
Get a good writer, or write the content yourself if you can. Then, follow the recommendations Yoast gives you in order to optimize the content properly. For secondary or long tail keywords, dedicate around 500 words per keyword (including images, h1, h2 and h3 headings among other things), while keeping all of it optimized for the main keyword as well. You CAN and SHOULD optimize your content for more than just one focus keyword.
Anyway, now comes the fun part and this is what you can expect to see instant results from. Once you have lots of content which you’ve optimized for your keywords, go to the Google Search Console.
Click on the property you want to manage, and from the left-side menu, under Crawl, choose Fetch as Google. Enter your URL (you should have optimized just the homepage as well), then click “Fetch and Render”. After a few minutes, refresh the page and the status of the requested render should either be “Partial” or “Complete”. Now click “Request indexing”.
Doing all this will get the Google Bot to crawl your page, and then index it. If you use SerpBook or a similar rank tracker, login two to three hours later and update your keyword rankings. If you optimized your site properly, you should now see improvement in your ranks. If you think you can optimize it even better, do it and then request indexing again. We no longer have to wait for Google to “naturally” index our sites, when they gave us a tool to do just that.
This is how you can see instant SERP improvement with nothing but simple, free, on-page SEO. Now, obviously, you ARE going to need links in order to get to the top spots, unless you found some super low-competition gem – plenty of those around as well, so I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened.