[Step by Step Guide] Watch Over My Shoulder As I Do On-Page SEO, For My Niche Site, To Get More Google Traffic

Filed in Case Studies, SEO by on March 11, 2016

I’ve admitted it before, and I’ll probably find myself admitting it again:

As someone who does content marketing for a living, I tend to believe more in the drive of the actual marketing rather than SEO.

Which gives me the tendency to disregard on-page SEO way more than I should.

In fact, since I established my LLC in September and launched my site shortly after, I still haven’t optimized any of it for SEO.

But it is a really bad tendency to assume that writing quality blog posts will cover my on-page SEO needs without proactively making sure that the keywords I need people to find me for actually make it into my blog post copy.

I’d never dream of doing this for any of my client work, so it doesn’t make any sense why I’d ignore my own site so much.

So I’m putting a stop to it today. I'm updating my on-page SEO, and taking screenshots to show you how to do this on your own site, step by step.

 

 

What You’ll Learn

  • How to pick keywords for blog posts and pages you've already published
  • What free plugin you need to install to make on-page SEO updates a million times easier
  • How to make sure your images (non-text) help improve your text-based SEO

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)

 

1. Find the Keywords You’ll Use

I’ve written extensively here on NicheHacks about discovering keywords for your niche site. Really in-depth posts, quick guides, and even niche-specific guides.

For this purpose, though, since what I really need to do is simply get started, I’m going to follow step-by-step through the post I wrote on how to find useful keywords in less than an hour.

Here’s the list I came up with, focused around my site’s goal of helping entrepreneurs and businesses use better copywriting to make their sites sell and convert:

 

jh

I also used the Google Keyword Planner to note down search volumes and decided where each keyword would best serve its purpose in my content.

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2. Decide What You’ll Do With Each Keyword

Part of a good strategy is knowing what phrases you’re going to optimize for where, and why. (See this 220 buyer keywords list)

As you can see in the screenshot above, I didn’t over-think this.

The keywords I labeled with “site wide” were ones more related to advertising my services, whereas the ones labeled “blog” I found to be more teaching-friendly—words I’d write instructional blog posts around.

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3. Install Yoast

Yoast is, by far, the easiest tool I’ve used to make sure the pages and blog posts I create and published are optimized for SEO.

In the right-hand menu of your WordPress dashboard, click on “Plugins” and “Add New.”

 

menu

 

Type “yoast” into the search bar in the top right.

Though there’s a number of plugins with Yoast in the name, go for the one that’s created by Team Yoast. Click “Install Now.”

 

plugin search

 

Once it installs, click on “Activate Plugin.”

 

activate

 

Note: Yoast is a plugin specifically for WordPress. If you use something other than WordPress, stop everything right now and switch to WordPress. Just kidding (kind of). There's other ones out there you can use.  

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4. Update Your Static Pages

Your static pages (about page, contact page, sales pages, etc.) are a little different from your blog posts in that the content won’t be changing very often.

These are also the pages you’re more likely to use to “sell” yourself or your business to readers, so you’ll want to use the types of keywords people would use in Google when they’re trying to buy, rather than looking for instructions on how to do something.

And while there’s certainly a lot to teach on “copywriting that sells,” I also really want to optimize my ebook page for it.

Because if someone’s searching for how to write copy that sells and they come across that page, it’d be a perfect opportunity to capture them onto my email list.

As a reference, here’s what my ebook page looked like before starting the keyword optimization:

 

ebook before

 

When I go into the editing screen for that page and scroll past the main page editor, I can see my Yoast for this page looks like this:

 

yoast before

 

And once I enter the keyword, I see that I’ve got some work to do:

 

first keyword

 

So I get to work.

Within the red dots, I see that I can easily deal with three of the five items listed:

  • Adding a meta description
  • Using the keyword with an H2 tag
  • Upping the keyword density

Editing the meta description within Yoast is incredibly easy.

All you have to do is hover your mouse over the different parts of the Snippet Editor and start typing what you’d prefer to appear.

 

meta description

 

So I’ve got the meta description done, but now I need to work on the actual on-page text.

I went though the on-page copy and added the keyword in where I felt it made sense, making sure one time was in an existing H2.

Here’s how I updated the page. Minor edits, but effective ones:

 

edited page

 

And just that small amount of work was enough to get me into what Yoast deems “green light” SEO territory.

 

final page

 

There are other things I could work on, of course, but this is good enough for now.

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5. Update Your Blog Posts

While updating the backend SEO of a blog post is very similar to updating a static page, I’m still going to walk you through it.

At the moment of writing this, I’m in the middle of publishing a three-part copywriting series on classy copywriting.

And since “copywriting tutorial” is one of the keywords I’ve uncovered, I want to go back to the introduction post to this series and optimize it for this keyword.

Here’s what we’re starting with:

 

blog post start

 

Based on the fluidity of this blog post, these are the suggestions that I’ll work on:

  • Adding a meta description
  • Using the keyword in an H2
  • Increasing the keyword density
  • Adding alt tags to the images

And here’s the results, before I add the image alt tags:

 

before alt tags

 

Note: even though I increased the on-page keyword occurrence, the word count of the post was so high that it was still considered low. However, since I want this post to remain useful, interesting, and natural-sounding, I don’t force the issue and over-stuff. (And since the rating is green, it’s clear that I don’t need to.)

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6. Take Care of Your Images

Editing the images can be done from directly within the post, without the need to go out of your on page editor and do it via your media library.

Just click on the image and a little option bar will pop up.

Click on the pencil icon to edit it.

 

edit image

 

It looks like I wasn’t totally lazy with the SEO in this post and had added some alt tags… just none with a specific keyword focus. All I do is add a comma after the alt tags that I’ve already got and add my focus keyword. (Check out these 220 buyer keywords)

 

add alt tag

 

And just like that, I’m finished optimizing the backend SEO for that blog post.

Painless.

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7. Use Yoast Every Single Time You Add a New Page or Blog Post

The hard work with Yoast is going back to re-do what you never did in the first place.

You know, if you’re like me and just blew off your on-site SEO until now. It’s a lot of work to catch up on and isn’t the most fun.

But honestly, when I use Yoast now for client projects or when I add a new blog post to my site, it’s a maximum of 10 minutes of extra work for a lasting benefit of more (FREE!) organic traffic over the long run.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 220 profitable buyer keywords click here or the image below)

 

An On-Page SEO Checklist for Each New Page Added

Once you get the hang of optimizing each new page and blog post for SEO (interested in a 220 buyer keywords list?), it'll be like second nature to you and won't take any time or much extra thought to complete.

In the mean time though, here's a checklist to make sure you finish everything for the next piece of content you add to your site:

  • Choose a keyword to optimize the page for.
  • Include the keyword in the page title.
  • Include the keyword in the url.
  • Use the keyword in at least one headline on the page.
  • Weave the keyword into the text where it makes sense. (No keyword stuffing.)
  • Edit the title and snippet that will appear in search engines in your Yoast plugin.
  • Add alt tags including the keyword on any images used.

(See this start here page if you're just starting out)

Any other pieces of advice you could add to the list to help optimize your on-page SEO?

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (15)

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  1. Chelsea Baldwin says:

    Since doing this, I have noticed an increase in traffic from Google search. Of course, Google doesn't tell me what those keywords are, but it is nice to know that taking the time to do this does actually work.

    Have any of you guys had success updating your site's SEO backend?

    • Joy says:

      Hi Chelsea, great article by the way, I am a long term user of yoast, and have almost always tried to be good so I don't have much to go back and redo.

      On the topic of Google not telling you your keywords, you can find them using webmaster tools, it is another dashboard for analytics that will tell you which keywords you are getting hits for, and then you may find you can optimize your content further to get better click through rates.

      Hope this helps, if you need any more info just let me know, Joy

  2. The fact that you list down the intent for each keyword has been a huge breakthrough for me personally from this post. I've always been randomly doing things when it comes to keyword research... but here I'm getting to know exactly what you do.

    I do use the Yoast plugin in all my blog posts and am currently started to go back in time and optimise every page to score GREEN. Thanks for the amazing value!! Cheers - Sidz

    • Chelsea Baldwin says:

      Hey Sidd -

      Yes, I learned from my career in marketing that thinking about the intent behind a keyword can be a HUGE deal in making your SEO work more effective. Beyond just having the keyword on a list to optimize for, you can put it into more meaningful context and improve how people interact with your content and your website.

      Good luck with your work!

  3. I remember I shared my SEo by Yoast al green indication and I was told that was a bad practice on my website http://www.workonline.co.ke will continue doing this and advancing each day.Thanks alot

  4. Telewa says:

    Thanks for this great post chelsea!!. I have a question though..how long does it take to rank for a " very easy" to rank for keyword in google..
    Thanks...

  5. No one can beat Yoast. I see some people still use All in One SEO plugin. I did not used it and don't want to use it. Thanks Chelsea for wonderful article.

  6. Yoast is such a powerful plugin it really help a lot in on page seo but sadly it is only on WordPress platform and I am on blogger well I am gonna Move soon 🙂

  7. Thanks for this wonderful piece.

  8. RK says:

    Hmmm...

    Interesting post.... BUT .....

    Looks like there has been loads of troubles with this plugin recently....

    https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/wordpress-seo

  9. Nathan says:

    Great info and a good advise

  10. Thanks for the post. I've been using Yoast for a while now and find it quite useful also.

  11. Alisha says:

    Since I started my blog 4 years back, everyone has been telling me to go for All in One SEO. But I instead chose to use Yoast and never looked back.
    Although it needs to update some of its points like 300 words minimum and some more, but it is better than any other plugin for on-page.

  12. tim says:

    Thanks for this eye opening post Chelsea.I am new to niche marketing and honestly I am not a good writer.How do I write quality content for my audience when I am not a good writer?How do I start?I would appreciate recommendations.Thank you and keep up the good work.