On-Page Keyword Optimization for Content Sites

Note: This post was guest blogged by me, Mitchell Harper of www.HarpzOn.com

For those of you that read my blog, you’ll know that I spent the last 2 weeks or so on holiday in Japan. On the plane on the way home last Friday I had an idea to start a site about fear of flying and how to overcome it (up until a few months ago I was a fearful flyer). In this post I want to show you how how I’m using on-page keyword optimization to get my site ranked in the search engines for the keywords “fear of flying“.

On-page keyword optimization is a strategy you can use to get your blog or website ranked higher in the major search engines, including Google. It includes a number of different “sub strategies”, which are:

  • Keyword density: How often do the keywords you want to rank for appear on your page? This is measured as a percentage, such as 5.8%. So let’s say you want to rank on Google for “red sports cars”. On most pages of your site you’ll want to include the text “red sports cars” and also variations of this phrase, such as “red cars that are sporty”, “sports cars that are red”, “sports cars”, etc. There’s no hard and fast rule, but you generally want a keyword density of about 7-12% for the keywords you want to rank for. That means that if you have 100 words on your page, 7-12 of them should be “red”, “sports” or “car”. You can check your keyword density at www.Rank.NL.
  • Header tags: You absolutely MUST include the keywords you want to rank for in a <h1>…</h1> tag on your site. H1 tags tell the search engines that the text between them is important, and you should aim for just one <h1> tag on each page as close to the top as you can. In our example you might use <h1>Red Sports Cars</h1> on one page and <h1>Luxury Red Sports Cars</h1> on another page.
  • Page title: This is the most important on-page thing you can optimize. Your page title is the text that’s used to form the link back to your site from the search engines, so it needs to include the keywords you want to rank for, and usually in variations, such as <title>Red sports cars, luxury sports cars, racing sports cars , red sports cars</title>
  • Internal linking structure: You want to use the keywords you want to rank for to link between pages on your site. For example, on your home page you might link to a category page using the text “sports cars” and on that category page you would link back to your home page with the text “red sports car”. This is an internal two-way link, and although internal links don’t hold nearly as much weight as external ones, you should link to different pages on your site using a few different combinations of your keywords.
  • Keywords at the very top of the page: You should always include your main keywords as close to the top of the page as you can. If you look at ConquerFearOfFlying.com you’ll see how I’ve included this sentence at the very top, just after the logo: Fear of flying strategies, tips and help to overcome your phobia.

These are just some tips to get you started with on-page keyword optimization. I am running an entire series on how I am putting together ConquerFearOfFlying.com on my blog where I discuss everything from how to choose a domain name to on-page optimization, email marketing, linking strategies, etc, so if you’re interested you should follow along.

35 thoughts on “On-Page Keyword Optimization for Content Sites”

  1. Tom LeDree says:

    This is a great guide! thanks for this Mitch 😆

    1. Kumiko says:

      It won’t be new information to a lot of people, but this guide has been one of the best that I’ve read on how to do it. Simple and straight to the point. Love it!

    2. Brilliances says:

      if only it were that simple

    3. Thanks for the tips Mitch – how about some strategies for external linking? 😉

  2. Alex says:

    Good tutorial 🙂

  3. Very good tutorial, Mitch. When optimizing for SEO, the on page stuff can sometimes be very “cookie-cutter”. The difficult part comes when you have to balance SEO writing with writing for you visitors. An article on good ways to balance that would be a great read.

    – Mike

    1. Kumiko says:

      I think that all comes down to your writing skills and would be quite difficult to teach in a post.

  4. Zlatan says:

    Very good article!
    There are a lot of things that I need to optimize for my Heroes-Blog and I am going to use your tips 🙂

  5. Marc says:

    Nice review of the basics Mitch. I must admit though that I shudder anytime I see the word “must” when relating to SEO.

    1. Kumiko says:

      How true. Today’s “must” is tomorrow’s “google changed their algorithm so don’t”.

      1. So, we shouldn’t worry so much this SEO stuff… right? 😐

        1. It’s always changing but most of the tips Mitch gave applied just at much a few years ago as they do today. This is the 80% that is easiest to do and will get you most of the way.

  6. Thanks for the great post! I really needed to be reminded of the tags, now I need to find some unobtrusive way to slip it into my blog.

    1. Is that Tag Warrior something to consider? Are you familiar with it?

  7. Aside from the tips I will be reading your blog for personal reasons. 😎

    I also enjoyed the way your wrote up the information. It was very easy for me to get and follow along.

    I have a site that I want to develop and if you can put together tutorials like that often then please feel free to stop by my blog and connect with me in the near future.

    Way to go friend.

    1. Agreed – it’s great to see your blog is back online Mitch! It was a shame to see you go!

  8. Shaun Carter says:

    Hey John thanks for the link to Rank.nl – that’s a cool new tool I plan to experiment with.

    1. Shaun Carter says:

      Oops, I meant thanks Mitch! Didn’t notice this was a guest post. Unfortunately the Rank.NL is in a language I haven’t the foggiest idea how to decipher.

      1. Jacob Share says:

        I’m in your boat Shaun. I couldn’t figure out where the tool was, so I found another tool:


        That one and a ton more over here:


      2. Wosko Jagora says:

        Here’s some help from a real live Dutch person! :mrgreen:

        That site is for a nice looking elementary school in The Netherlands called ‘De Rank’ (The Vine) that has absolutely nothing to do with SEO or keyword density whatsoever. The only tools you might find there are glue, scissors and finger paint 😉

        I believe Mitch MAY have meant to direct you all to http://www.ranks.nl

  9. Andrew P says:

    Great tips! Not a very long article as well, but it gets to the point and tells you what you need to know.

  10. I’m still pretty unclear about the whole SEO thing. I need to read up on this.

    1. It can make a huge difference for site traffic. Just follow Mitch’s tips and it will take you 80% of the way!

  11. KCLau says:

    clear explanation. Thanks!

  12. Good to see you on here again, Mitch. These keyword tips are very helpful. My personal blog could use some tweaking in the keyword department.

  13. Pingback: Keyword Density
  14. CatherineL says:

    Sound tips, but are you sure a density as high as 12% wouldn’t be considered spammy by Google? I try to keep below 10%. Is it worth going that 2% higher?

  15. Tyson says:

    Great Post. I noticed that you are using ArticleLive to publish your content. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using that versus wordpress?


  16. Rosinha says:

    Hi Mike

    Fortunatly I already new the tips you just gave about SEO. I consider them the basic stuff you need to know in order to rank well in the search engines.

    But come on guys, don’t get paranoid about SEO stuff. Write for people not for search engines, you will get to the top msut faster…

    Beijinho (kiss)

    1. Even better is to write for both! 🙂

  17. jen says:

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, and I find it very helpful. Thanks.

  18. Great article. You’ve got a new reader to your blog! BTW, the logo you designed was the best one.

  19. Paul says:

    h1 tags are my new best friend.

  20. gyaruo says:

    Thanks alot.

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