A Refresher on On-Page SEO

splishsplash

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I was replying to someone via pm, and I ended up writing a ton of stuff about on-page.

I decided to create a thread to share it here, otherwise it's a bit of a waste of 20-25 minutes if it only goes to one person!

Here's the reply below. It's basically in response to someone who is confused about why google isn't showing better results and I went on to explain that Google is an ALGORITHM. It's not some magic AI. It's still pretty damn basic in 2020 when it comes right down to it.

Here it is
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Yeah, but it's created by humans to give the results we want.. and they are good knowing the intent nowadays.. if Im looking for the best treadmill It's not for informationl purposes, so I don't care what's the best treadmill in usa. I wanna buy it, and Im buying it here...

It doesn't matter that it's created by humans. It's a very very hard problem to solve.

They're good at knowing intent, but that doesn't mean they're going to produce perfect results for everyone that searches. The problem is you're viewing google as being a lot smarter than it is, and that'll stop you from actually creating content that ranks. They are a lot more rudimentary than you think. You still need plenty of basic keywords, h2's, h3's, internal links with exact anchors in your content to rank. Try creating a super advanced, Ph.D level piece of content and you'll see that it will be beaten by a crappy article written by an indian writer who uses the right keywords, the right variations of those keywords and spammy h2's.

If you want to rank for "best laptop for nurses", you aren't going to do it writing some amazing article full of technical language. Google will just NOT understand your article unless you include this :-

nursing laptops, laptop for a nurse, best laptops for nurses, great laptops for nurses, what is the best laptop for a nursing, nurses need, nurses are, created for nurses, designed for nurses, this laptop for a nurse.

If you don't have enough of that in there, Google will not understand your article is great, and prefect for a nurse looking for a laptop.

What they do understand since hummingbird is this:-

best toaster is the same as what toaster is best, toaster reviews, the top toasters, top 10 toasters, top 5 toasters.

This is what we mean by "topical groups".

It doesn't mean it's going to understand the complex relationship between sentences and paragraphs. It isn't going to understand things like

"My neighbor had a big fat cat that loves to eat toast, which is why I helped her out by telling her about a review of the top 10 toasters"
"The best toasters around are created by engineers that were educated at top-tier schools like MIT, where they teach how to review toasters, and they help you pick out toasters that are suited for your own individual needs from lists of top 10 toasters"
"In this review we're going to look at the top 10 toasters available to buy today. There are multiple toaster manufacturers around, like Philips, Dualit and Russell Hobbs. A lot of these toaster brands have been around for decades, with a few of them being newcomers to the toasting industry. The basic toaster hasn't changed much in the past 30 years, but what has changed is the price point. You can find high quality cheap toasters for less than £50 online or on the high street."


It will have NO clue what those are about. It just looks at keywords. It'll think the first is more about toasters because you mention eat, toast, toasters, top 10, review, with something about neighbors and cats.
The second it will think is about the best toasters, teaching, education, toaster reviews, picking toasters and lists of the best toasters.
The third it will think is about toaster reviews, buying toasters, toaster manufacturers, toaster brands, toasting industry, basic toasters, prices, high quality toasters, cheap toasters, toasters less than £50, toasters available online, toasters on the high street.

Understand? :)

That's ALL it does when parsing text.

It has some basic ability to understand the salience of a word, and the subject/object, but not enough to gain any meaningful understanding of one article vs another. Not for a long time.

Them doing this imo is more a theoretical thing, or a "supplemental" thing, ie, to modify little bits and pieces of meaning here and there, but in general this is what happens :-

1) They get a big list of keywords. toaster reviews, picking toasters, high quality toasters.
2) They count them.
3) They weight them based on count and location. Ie, title, h1, h2, h3, bold.
4) They plug them into the rank brain to see how they all relate.

This means that if you have best toasters, but no toaster reviews, you can still rank for toaster reviews because it knows it's 90% the same thing. But that doesn't mean you don't need to mention toaster reviews, you help build a topical picture better if you mention tons of them.

What we don't do anymore is just spam "best toasters" 50 times. Or create separate pages for best toaster and toaster review like before humminbird. You still want to keep your keyword pairs < 2% density and trips < 1%. This isn't hard unless you've got a low quality article. There's no penalty for having dozens of variations of a keyword that the rank brain understands is part of the same topic, and there's no penalty for single keywords. At least, nothing in the realm of normality. Maybe if you say "toasters", 1000 times in a 2000 word article, yes, you'll get a penguin penalty. But no penalty for toaster reviews, this great toaster, you can buy toasters, cheap toasters, toasters are this, toasters are that, you can find toasters, this toaster here, that toaster over there. It's all just building up strong topical relevance.

And you find out what keywords to use in your article by analysing your competitors on page 1. The ones that are similar to you. Ie, if you're ecommerce, compare to ecommerce, if you're informational and have a weak site, compare to the weak informational ones on page 1.

Intent has nothing to do with this part. Intent is them trying to match keywords to pages based on the result of their topical analysis. For most keywords there's no magic special intent stuff going on. The magic in recent years is more with a small subset of queries, like "jaguar". Do you want the cat, or do you want the car? Do you want information on the car? Do you want videos of the car? etc People want all of them, so all of them appear on page 1.

They have a machine learning algorithm that modifies results based on live clicks. This helps them better understand user intent, but for your typical "What are the best toasters", there's no user intent problem.
 

HenryObi

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An awesome refresher.

At least one is no longer scared having keywords repeated in the article at different points.
 

splishsplash

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An awesome refresher.

At least one is no longer scared having keywords repeated in the article at different points.

You just don't want to be repeating the exact same keyword over and over. This is the mistake a lot of noobs make.

They just slap "best toaster" everywhere, in every title, bold it, then just for extra craziness get some low quality exact links.

Generally, you want your main keyword "best toaster", in the title/h1, an h2 or h3, and 3-4x in the content for a sufficiently big article.. 2000+ words. I always analyse the competition though. It's ultra rare you'll see sites with very high kw densities rank though, but you will see ones that "look" spammy to the naked eye.

You'll want to include plenty of variations. buy toasters, cheap toasters, toasters online, these good toasters, top 10 toasters, reviews of toasters etc. You find all the topical keywords from your competitors.
 

HeisenbergOfficial

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Great post. Do you have any tools you recommend for finding those words which don't necessarily have volume (underlined using your example):
nursing laptops, laptop for a nurse, best laptops for nurses, great laptops for nurses, what is the best laptop for a nursing, nurses need, nurses are, created for nurses, designed for nurses, this laptop for a nurse.
 

unsungwarrior

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Yes, content should look natural with no keyword stuffing. Never give a keyword to your writer. Just give them the topic and you are golden.
 

TheVigilante

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I remember a friend who really knows his shit when it comes to me saying the same, he basically told me this to agree with what @splishsplash has said:


"yes, I build sties this way always have, nothing has changed, what has changed no one is talking about is RankBrain and how people interact with your pages"
 

GrizzlyBeardMan

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I remember a friend who really knows his shit when it comes to me saying the same, he basically told me this to agree with what @splishsplash has said:


"yes, I build sties this way always have, nothing has changed, what has changed no one is talking about is RankBrain and how people interact with your pages"
Need some translation on this one.
 

TheVigilante

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Need some translation on this one.
Basically UX and user interactions getting people to click on your content...Chrome measures every movement so it's a heatmap(clickstream data collection)

You should read about clickstream and you will understand why Chrome tells google everything about user behavior of visitors on pages the technology exists
 

cloudll

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why I see some website rank category without any text, only list product, but they top thousand of keyword base only text+ product
 

splishsplash

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why I see some website rank category without any text, only list product, but they top thousand of keyword base only text+ product

Because of user intent.

Google understands that different types of searches have a different intent.

If you search for "white jeans", you don't want to read about white jeans. You want a big page selling all sorts of white jeans.

"toasters", you don't want to read about toaster reviews. You want a list of toasters for sale.

"best toasters", you would never see an ecommerce page ranking, because people want to read reviews.
 

cloudll

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Because of user intent.

Google understands that different types of searches have a different intent.

If you search for "white jeans", you don't want to read about white jeans. You want a big page selling all sorts of white jeans.

"toasters", you don't want to read about toaster reviews. You want a list of toasters for sale.

"best toasters", you would never see an ecommerce page ranking, because people want to read reviews.
Thank you I know that, but top 10 almost are big brand with tons of traffic, ads, link RD if I am a new website, without add 2-3k words in category, I see no chance, I invest some adwords and it run into top 20-15 for really hard keyword in my country
 

Matt Aaronn

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Because of user intent.

Google understands that different types of searches have a different intent.

If you search for "white jeans", you don't want to read about white jeans. You want a big page selling all sorts of white jeans.

"toasters", you don't want to read about toaster reviews. You want a list of toasters for sale.

"best toasters", you would never see an ecommerce page ranking, because people want to read reviews.

Sorry for a stupid question, so those topical keywords are like LSIs? And to give you an example, say I have a niche for "blog creation" and the keyword I wanna rank for is "create your blog easily"

Based on how I understood it, I'd have to

- Mention "Create Your Own Blog Easily" in H1/H2/H3A and quite possibly a few more in H7?
- I should use synonymous topical keywords or keyphrases such as: starting your blog, creating your blog, how to create your blog, is it easy to create a blog, start your blog, is starting a blog easy? -- and if i mention them (maybe 2 to 3 times each) it's better for SEO?

Thank you for posting sir!! Newbie here so sorry for the stoop question. Thanks in advance for replying!
 

m6599

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Sorry for a stupid question, so those topical keywords are like LSIs? And to give you an example, say I have a niche for "blog creation" and the keyword I wanna rank for is "create your blog easily"

Based on how I understood it, I'd have to

- Mention "Create Your Own Blog Easily" in H1/H2/H3A and quite possibly a few more in H7?
- I should use synonymous topical keywords or keyphrases such as: starting your blog, creating your blog, how to create your blog, is it easy to create a blog, start your blog, is starting a blog easy? -- and if i mention them (maybe 2 to 3 times each) it's better for SEO?

Thank you for posting sir!! Newbie here so sorry for the stoop question. Thanks in advance for replying!
I'm brand new here, and while this is an old post, I find on page interesting and one of the few easy wins compared to things like link outreach.

+1 to the OP for everything he's stated. It's all spot on and correct. IMO one of the best on page gurus out there is Kyle Roof. He did an experiment where he ranked "plano rhinoplasty" in less than 30 days, with zero backlinks, and just had his KWs, LSI's, and KW modifications strategically placed in the url, title, meta description and H1 thru H3 tags. The part that made it brilliant? The content was lorem ipsum jibberish.....90% of it.....those filler words you see on a lot of WP templates. Here's the case study. PS this guy is NOT a friend or colleague of Kyles.....the reason why I chose it? He had no incentive to glorify the study nor pimp Roof's brand....more like he thought Kyle was making fun of Google, and of course the site got taken down, as well as all his other sites on that same hosting account. To the OPs, point, Roof says its just an algorithm. True, UX is important for bounce rate, etc, but anyway, here's the link

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-algorithm-loopholes/278093/
Also, here's a great interview with the guys from Authority Hacker


To answer your question, for H1 I would go with "Create your own blog easily" since it's a modification of "create your blog easily" and your inner page url would be domain.com/create-your-own-blog-easily

For H2s, H3s, etc? I googled "create your blog easily", scrolled to the bottom where it says "people also search" (sometimes it doesnt say that if there are a lot of paid ads, which there is for your KW since people are selling hosting, etc). These were the related searches

blogger, how to make a blog for free, how to create a blog for free and make money,
how to start a blog, free blog maker, how to write a blog, blog examples

If you're not using a free theme I'd make my H2s and H3s "how to start a blog", "how to write a blog" and "blog examples." Google will tell you what it wants in the H2/H3 tags, if you're using free themes/builders/plugins most people know they need to pay for hosting so you could use the "free" longtail KW phrases in there if you wanted to....let the direction of your content dicate which KW's you'll pick. If you're going for an extra long post, lets say you used "how to write a blog" as one of your H2's and this was the paragraph that focused on content development. You then google that phrase, scroll to the bottom, and you have these related phrases

blog writing examples, how to write a blog essay, how to write a blog template, blog examples,
blog writing format, blogs, how to write a blog about yourself, how to write a blog and make money


I'd then write a paragraph on either blog writing examples or blog writing format, and you could show examples in one paragraph, and then maybe talk about siloing in the format paragraph. The best part? Ideas are endless, you never run out of content, and You're writing a symantically created blog post and letting Google tell you what it wants to see, and you choose the KW's based on the direction of your article.

I'd also maybe run each one thru ahrefs or Mangools KW difficulty/Search Volume and let that dictate which longtail phrase you go for if you're spoiled for choice and want to narrow it down.

I've never taken a paid course from him but Im thinking about signing up for IMG when I get my content more together on my sites and get some more traffic. Also, Im going to try out Page Optimizer Pro and Surfer since they will analyze your artice with the competitors and tell you what you need to put in your title, meta, H1-3 tags and URL so on page wise it stacks up with your competitors.
 
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sashilover

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IMO, the exact keywords DOES NOT matter at all, it doesn't matter you have 1% density or 10% density in your article, Google will NOT rank or penalize on the high density of exact keywords, I did some test on some pages which target "best xxx" keywords, I change the keyword density from 1% to 10%, the ranking for the page did not change at all...
And if I change the entities that I believed to connect with the main keywords, the ranking drastically changed, so what I do is tuning the entities instead of the keywords density, in other word, if the page doesn't rank well for certain keywords, I change the entities, then see if it ranking improves.
 

PeterPerseo

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... if I change the entities that I believed to connect with the main keywords, the ranking drastically changed...
... I change the entities, then see if it ranking improves.
What do you mean for "entities"?
 

Digi Monster

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Your content should look natural by avoiding giving keyword to your writer. Good post.
 

m6599

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IMO, the exact keywords DOES NOT matter at all, it doesn't matter you have 1% density or 10% density in your article, Google will NOT rank or penalize on the high density of exact keywords, I did some test on some pages which target "best xxx" keywords, I change the keyword density from 1% to 10%, the ranking for the page did not change at all...
And if I change the entities that I believed to connect with the main keywords, the ranking drastically changed, so what I do is tuning the entities instead of the keywords density, in other word, if the page doesn't rank well for certain keywords, I change the entities, then see if it ranking improves.
Do you have an EMD/PMD or is it branded? Also, did you use KW in the Title/H1s and were you still able to have 10% KW in the content without getting hit?
 
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