This lesson is all about finding those tricky areas of your website that can help with SEO, and ensuring they’re doing everything they can to get you ranking in the search engines.
It’s a bit like when important visitors are coming to your house: you might make the bed, do any lingering dishes, and vacuum for the first time in far too long. For an affiliate website, search engines and your audience are visiting constantly, so make sure you always have the following elements ready to impress them.
The first element we’ll cover is content markup. There are many little touches you can put on your website content that will give it a push in the right direction, so we pinpoint the most important ones.
No one wants to navigate a website if finding a page is harder than finding your misplaced keys. Ensuring effective structure for your website will add to your SEO potential.
Your site is filled with potential for rich text that can really help your SEO efforts. This lesson will help you discover what rich text options could work for you, and where and how to get them in place.
The last element of on-page SEO covered here is all about the social signals. You can boost your social media presence from your website with the use of social plugins. We’ll show you how to get set up, and explain why this is important for your SEO.
So let’s get right into it with the first content markup factor: title tags and meta descriptions. Do you have them for each content page? Do they all contain the main keyword for that page? Are they relevant, with the right length to have maximum impact in the least amount of words?
The best way to ensure this with WordPress is to use a plugin like Yoast. When you have the plugin up and running, it will allow you to enter your main keyword into the “Focus Keyword” text box:
Then, when you write your Title Tag next to “SEO Title”, and your meta description beneath that, it will automatically tell you whether you have included your keyword.
This plugin will also help you check that your text for these tags isn't too long to be displayed properly in search engines, and even shows you at the top a preview of how it will appear:
For those of you who prefer to look at a site's code, simply use a title tag within the head element, along with a meta tag. Use the "name" attribute to specify "description" and then include the text with the "content" attribute:
Your page should also have an h1 tag, with the keyword-rich title nestled between your opening and closing tags.
Most WordPress themes do this automatically when you enter the title, but you might need to check that your particular one does. In this example:
The blog post’s h1 tag would be automatically set as “How to Attract a Jello-Loving Man”.
Like the title tag and meta descriptions, you need to make sure that this is a snappy, exciting, keyword inclusive title, which accurately describes what can be found in the content that follows. Getting these tags in place will help SEO in a technical way, but to really attract search engines and site visitors, you’ll need to ensure your content is worth looking at.
Multimedia is a great way to add life to your content, and it’s another opportunity to say to search engines: “This will be interesting to site visitors, so send them this way!”
You can add video clips if you like, but if your content is mostly written so far, it can be easier to add supporting imagery. You can either design an image, take photos to go with your content, or you can hire someone from the likes of Fiverr or Upwork to create images for you at a cost you can manage.
When you do add these images, you need to make sure you are using Alt tags. In Wordpress it’s as simple as always filling in the “Alternate Text” box when filling in title or description for an uploaded image. In HTML, use the "alt" attribute to include your alternate description.
Look through your content and see if there are any opportunities for inserting useful links. Ask yourself as you look, do you link to other relevant content on your website? Not only does this promote your other content, it also lowers the number of site visitors who click away after loading only one page.
This is called your “bounce rate”, and obviously for SEO, you want it to be low so your site isn’t seen as a time waster. If you have content that is expanded on elsewhere on your site, by all means, link to it and get some of that link juice going. Just be careful to make sure it’s relevant and helpful.
Also ask, do you link to relevant content from other websites? This can be a valuable source of extra information for readers, and it paves the way for possible return-backlinks from grateful site owners. Whether linking internally or externally, it’s a good idea to use anchor text. It’s easier to keep your content tidy when links are replaced by the words that describe where the link goes.
Here’s how you add anchor text to any link:
Let’s say I have a site called jellodating.com, and one of my blog posts briefly mentions “jello-related personality traits” which I thoroughly cover in another post. Rather than clogging up the writing with the whole URL, I can select the words that best describe what the link goes to, and click on the small “insert link” symbol.
The first option you will be given is for external links. Enter the URL and the text saying what the link goes to, and click “Add Link” on the bottom right and you’re done!
Ticking “Open link in a new window/tab” is a good idea for external links, as it keeps people on your web-pages for longer.
Below that is an option for linking to existing content. That way you can simply find the page you’d like to link to, select it, and add the link!
Then when you visit that page, the text will come up as a link to your users!
It’s helpful for them, and link juice or backlink potential for you, making it a win-win situation.
The next area of on page SEO is about your site structure. The internet is a place that allows great laziness: information is expected to appear easily and quickly. That’s why you need to have a good navigational structure to keep up.
Use a navigation bar at the top of your page for your main categories, and index at the bottom for any less important pages. If a piece of your content is the treasure someone’s searching for, these menus are the map that will help them get there.
As you can see with Affilorama, most important navigational links are available at the top of the page:
Visitors can easily get to lessons, products, the blog, and the forums straight away. The more specific links rest at the bottom of the page:
That way, they're available for anyone looking for further information, but not cluttering up the top of the page!
This use of straightforward structure will reduce your bounce rate, and add to your site’s general appeal to both audience and search engines.
To further help with navigation, make sure your URLs are useful and straightforward to users. There are far too many URLs across the internet which are a collection of numbers and symbols that would be impossible to relay to someone without a copy/paste function.
If your navigation menus are the map, your URLs are road signs. You want the address bar to say “Jello-Valley Waterfall” not “/unrelated382.pdf#page=42”
In WordPress, you can set the structure of your URLs in the “Permalinks” section of settings. Select “Custom Structure” and then enter into the box /%category%/%postname%/ to get the optimal structure.
This will always set your page URL as your domain, then the category of the post, and then the name of the post, which should contain the main keyword of the page. If you follow this, your links will always be relevant, and they will always contain the right keyword.
If the URL is still coming out a bit long and you want to adjust the title, you can do so when creating the post itself, where it says “Permalink” below the title.
This will always display the current URL of the page, so you can check it at any time.
Another area to look into for on-page SEO is rich text markup. Rich text snippets are little pieces of code that indicate to search engines extra information that could be useful.
There are a few types of Rich Text Markup that can be used on any website. Not all of them will be applicable to you as an affiliate, but there is a tool for checking your rich text is working, and we’re going to use it now to look at your options.
Access Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. There are a variety of different rich text snippets, and you can see examples of any of them by selecting one from the drop down menu. In this instance, we’re going to look at reviews.
When searched for in Google, this review displays the star rating and a written review. This automatically adds an element to the review that people can sink their teeth into, before they even click on the page.
It also helps to make the search result stand out visually and increases credibility. You can see with this review of 'Trip Advisor' exactly how many stars it has been given, and by how many people:
Use any of the available rich text options whenever you have something applicable on your site. This gives Google something extra to notice about you and your site.
There is a WordPress plugin called Schema for adding this rich text to your pages. Once you have implemented any of these rich text snippets on your website, you can return to the Structured Data Testing Tool, enter the URL for preview, and check that it’s working for yourself.
It’s true that establishing your brand on social media sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter is important for broadcasting your website to your potential market. This also goes the other way; you can promote your social media presence from your website itself. Why should you do this?
From your end you can strengthen the relationship between your brand and social platforms.
This will expand your internet presence, and let site visitors know how to join you socially. If your content is good, they’ll probably even share links to you with their friends over social networks, which is advantageous for your SEO.
The best place to add social buttons for any webpage is usually somewhere at the top. It should be visible when the page loads, easy to find, but not in-your-face or overtly dominant.
Make sure to only add the best social buttons for each purpose. If they are everywhere, like website chicken-pox, you’re not going to win anyone over.
Start by placing a “follow” button for three relevant social networks on the home page of your site. Then, place a “Like” or “Tweet” or “+1” button on your content so users can share.
If you are a WordPress user, the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” plugin has a social module for adding buttons. For more variety, feel free to search for “social buttons” on the WordPress plugins directory, and look at what other people are finding useful.
For non-WordPress users, try Add This to find a variety of options for incorporating social buttons into your website.
And that’s it! In this lesson, we’ve covered a small treasure chest of on-page SEO strategies. Content markup, site structure, rich text, and social plugins can all help you in your efforts to rank in search engines.
From here you need to check your content for any elements that may require markup. Do your images have alt tags? Are you using effective title tags and meta descriptions? Check that you aren’t missing any of these crucial elements with the Health Check module of AffiloTools.
Take a look at your site structure. Are your navigation bars effective and easy to use? Do your URLs express what the page is about in a concise manner? Are there any rich text types that may be useful for your site? Finally, are you using social buttons? Are they laid out to be useful but not overpowering?
Give your SEO a boost and use this lesson as a guide to pull all of these elements together for your website.