Setting up a Site/Project
Name your project. This name will only be visible to you and use to organize your projects
Input the base domain for your project.
a. www.domain.com - correct, if your site uses the www version
b. domain.com - correct, if your site uses the non-www version
c. domain.com/inner-page - incorrect (do not input an inner page, just the domain)
d. https://www.domain.com - incorrect (do not put http/https here)
Using the The Page Optimizer
- Name your page. This name is only for your records. It could be “home” or the name of a particular product.
- Insert the url of the page you want to optimize. The domain for this url MUST match the domain of the project, including the use of www or non-www. You must also use http or https.
- Insert your keyword EXACTLY how someone might put it into a Google search. The tool will only consider your keyword exactly as you type it in this field.
- Choose your region from the drop down. This should be the region of your target audience. In a situation where your region doesn’t exist, choose the region that has the closest language dialect.
- Click to fetch variations. You MUST fetch variations or the tool will not run.
- Review your variations. 99 times out of a 100 you will leave the variations as is. If the tool has pulled back something odd, like a $ or a single preposition, remove those variations. If the tool has left out an obvious variations, such as attorney for lawyer, add it in.
- Enter your competitors. These competitors will be used to create a roadmap for you to follow. Choosing the competitors that are winning because of their on page is critical. Generally speaking you would want to avoid pages with very little content, pages that are ranking for other reasons (e.g. yelp, youtube), and pages that aren’t possible for you to build (e.g. a directory page when you don’t have a directory site).
- You MUST use http or https with ALL the URLs in the tool.
How to Read the Output Report, notes on suggestions and scoring
There are four tabs in your dashboard. The tabs are named: Recommendations, Alternative Recommendations, Page Structure Suggestions, and Summary. The Recommendations Tab contains the on page recommendations for your exact keyword, its variations, and word count. The Alternative Recommendations tab provides on page recommendations for your keyword and its variations based on your current word count. The Page Structure Suggestion tab shows you the quantity of each signal your competitors are using whether optimized or unoptimized. That competitor usage is then compared to your target page. The Summary tab is a snapshot of the current run showing the page score, keyword, variations, target url, and competitor urls.
This tab is the main tab that provides recommendations on how to optimize your page.
At the top of the dashboard you will see your exact keyword, this is the keyword you gave the tool to analyze.
The report in Recommendations tab is broken up into three sections, exact, variations, and word count. The first section, exact, makes recommendations for tuning ranking signals according to the exact match usage of your keyword.
The variation section makes recommendations for tuning ranking signals according to the variation usage of your keyword.
The word count tab shows your word count against the competitor average. It is recommended to get your word count within 10-20% +/- the competitor average.
The report is color coded:
Red: Over optimized signal. You need to reduce usage of your keyword or variations by the suggested amount
Orange: Under optimized signal. You need to increase the usage of your keyword or variations by the suggestested amount
Green: Leave as is. You are in the range that Google is rewarding
Recommendations: This column gives you the tuning we recommend that you make to each signal. If you are over optimized the recommended suggestion will be to reduce usage to the target max. If you are under optimized, the recommended suggestion will be to increase to the target minimum.
Meta Title and H1: The tool will always recommend that you use your exact keyword 1 time in the meta title and h1 even if your competitors are at 0.
Paragraph text: In the situation where you are at 0 and the competitive minimum is 0 the tool will suggest an increase to the target average.The counts for this signal will also include counts from lesser signals that are often considered part of “body copy.” Those signals include: lists (<li>), bold/strong (<b>/<strong>), and italics/emphasis (<i>/<em>). Keep in mind that the tool will show you the lesser signals on their own as well so that you know how many of the lesser signals to use in your paragraph text.
Page Score: The overall optimization score of the page vs your selected competitors. The best score is an A / 100%. This score is weight toward exact match and signals that are more important than other signals. Word count, the groupings H2-H3; H2-H6; H4-H6, and the signal HTML Head and Body tags are not factored into the on page score.
Alternative Recommendations Tab
This tab gives recommendations based on your current word count. Sometimes you are unable to get your word count to the suggested competitor average. While we strongly suggest getting your pages to competitor averages for word count, sometimes you will get stuck with what you have. This tab will then adjust optimal usage recommendations to your current word count. For example, if the competitor average word count is 1000 and your current word count is 500 the tool will reduce all recommendations by 50%.
This tab can also be useful for when you are on the border of tweaking a signal up or down and need to make some difficult optimization decisions. This tab can be helpful in making the decision specifically on your word count even when you are within the suggested 10% of the competitor average.
Page Structure Suggestions Tab
This tab gives you the total quantity of signals that your competitors are using, whether those signals are optimized for not. You will see the competitor minimum, maximum, and average for each signal. If you are just starting out and do not have content written, this section can be very helpful in making decisions on how your page should “look.” For example, you may need to use your exact match keyword 1 time in H2s. This tab will then tell you if that means you should have only 1 H2 on your page, or if it is advisable to use additional, unoptimized H2s.
Through testing, we have found that having more unoptimized signals than your competitors can harm rank. As a result this tab will make recommendations to get your page to the competitor average.
This tab gives a snapshot of your current run. This tab shows your page score, target url, exact keyword, variations, lists the competitors that you have chosen to run in the tool and any notes that you put on the run.
From the summary tab, you can also download an excel file of your run.
Choosing your competitors is a critical part of running the tool. The competitors you put in will create your roadmap for on page optimization. When choosing competitors keep in mind that some competitor pages could be ranking based on other factors than just on page signals. You probably want to avoid competitors with thin pages, pages that might be ranking for other reasons entirely (e.g. youtube or yelpI, and pages that you would be unable to build (a directory style page when you do not have a directory site.) t is generally a good idea to run the sheet twice to see all your competitors and then to see the competitors that appear to rank based primarily on page factors.
When you start optimizing, we recommend starting with the exact match keyword side first. It’s likely that your exact match is also going to be counted as a variation as well. Get your exact match counts correct, then re-run the tool to see your new variation counts.
The general goal of on page optimization is to get to competitive parity. You want to optimize your pages to be as close as possible to the number of exact match usage and the variation range that Google is rewarding. There are a few exceptions and the tool provides recommendations for a competitive edge when appropriate. One exception to the goal of competitive parity is exact match keyword usage in paragraph text. This is one signal where you can gain a competitive edge by strategically using the exact match keyword more than your competitors. The number recommended by the tool is the competitive edge number. DO NOT GO ABOVE THIS NUMBER, EVER. The margin between competitive edge and over optimization is very thin. If you go above the suggested number, even by 1, you will quickly find yourself over optimized.
You can use the tool even if you don’t have the content for a target url yet. You can obtain your targets and general page structure from the tool by running your competitors against any url, such as your home page. The tool will provide not just SEO suggestions but word count targets and general page outline suggestions.
We recommend that your word count should be within 10-20%, higher or lower, of the competitive average. Keep in mind that the tool is making term frequency suggestions within that word count range. If your actual word count is much higher or much lower than the competitive average, term frequency may not get you where you need to be as you’ll have potential issues with keyword density.
If you are currently ranking on page one for your target keyword PROCEED WITH CAUTION ON ANY CHANGES YOU MAKE TO YOUR PAGE. In this situation, we recommend only making one change at a time so that if your page drops, you’ll know what to change back.
If you are sitting on pages 2, 3, or 4 we recommend the “climb the ladder” technique. In this technique start with making only one or two changes to start. Wait for your rankings to improve. Once they improve, then make your next one or two changes. Continue to repeat this process until you have completed all the necessary tweaks to your page. Start with the the items that can impact change the most, such as your meta title, h tags, or content within
Make sure to use your best judgement when implementing any recommendations from the tool. The tool is simply counting and not making any analysis beyond the algorithm that we created to provide recommendations. At no point is the tool thinking to itself, “well I would normally advise x but because this is y niche, I’ll recommend z, just this time.” You, as the user, need to make those decisions for yourself, if applicable.
Long tail keyword phrases often need fewer exact match usages than shorter keyword phrases. You may only need to put a long tail keyword phrase in your meta title and H1. The rest of your optimization may just be on the variations side.
Useful Free Chrome Extensions. These extensions can help you find exact match and variation usage when it may not be obvious.
SEO Metas in One Click
Open SEO Stats
I don’t get the sections: H2-H3; H2-H6; H4-H6
- The most common reason that you didn’t get an email is that the tool didn’t actually run. Please check that you used http or https in your urls as appropriate. Also check that your urls are actually urls. If you copied your urls from the SERPs it’s possible that you copied an abbreviated url. We recommend copying and pasting from the actual page you want to compare your page to. Lastly, check that none of your urls resolve to 301s, 404s, or 500s. If the url doesn’t work properly, the tool will not run.
I have 8000 words on my page and my competitors all have 1000, should I really reduce my word count….isn’t long form content what I should be doing?...my cousin’s best friend’s sister-in-law has a wordpress blog and she says that when she writes a lot words she ranks well.
- We’ve found that there are diminishing returns when writing above the competitor average. At some point, Google stops giving you credit for more words. If simply having “more” was the secret to ranking, then all you would have to do is write a 20K word article and you’d be all set. Through testing we see the diminishing returns at 20% over the competitor average. If you are just building out a page, shoot for the competitor average. If you have already built your page and are way over, how is your ranking? If you are ranking well, leave as is. It’s stupid to make changes to pages that are ranking well. If you are not ranking well then why are you arguing with me about it? The tool has shown you something you can do to potentially improve rank. I wouldn’t remove all words at once. I would do it in stages and see how your page performs. I also wouldn’t just delete the content. Put the content into a supporting article and link back in to your target page.
I’m ranking #1 and I put my page in and I got a page score of F, obviously the tool is flawed.
- The tool doesn’t care where you are ranked. It is not making any value judgments. The page score is relative to the competitors you put in. The competitors provide a roadmap you can use for your on page optimization. The tool then scores your page against that roadmap. If you are already #1 for a term, you do not need a roadmap. It’s likely that you are doing things better than your competitors already and a roadmap created from competitors below you will just lead down to them.
The tool says my exact match keyword number in the HTML head and body is XX and I think that the number is too high
- Please check your page source. The HTML Head and Body tag signal is counting keyword usage from your page source. Open your page, right click, and then choose to view page source. Once in the page source, control/command F and put in your keyword. You might be very surprised to how many times your keyword appears in your source code.
The target for exact match from the tool is X but the #1 ranking result in my niche is using Y (often much different from X), what should I do?
- If you are outside of page one, we recommend going with the average from the competitors that you If you are on page one and trying to move up, we recommend only considering the competitors above you.
If you are on page one and trying to move up, we recommend only considering the competitors above you.
In the unusual situation where you have tuned to the top three to four competitors and haven’t moved up and feel that the issue is on page (as opposed to link building) look to see if the page one recommendation is significantly different than the top three or four. If the page one average is significantly different, tune to the page one average and see if you get movement.
If after tuning to the page one average you still haven’t moved, look to the highest or lowest numbers in the first three pages of Google results and consider optimizing to the result farthest from the average. Keep in mind, optimizing to outlier results should only be done if you have implemented the usual on page recommendations and feel that off page signals (e.g. backlinks) are where they should be.
Does this tool replace Cora?
- Absolutely not. Cora is a fantastic and powerful tool and even though we developed Page Optimizer Pro, we still use Cora in our client side work. We use Cora to look at “the other things” that are not considered (nor ever will be considered) by Page Optimizer Pro. In our opinion, Page Optimizer Pro is where you might want to start, especially when evaluating a page for the first time or if you are in the content development phase. Once you are committed to optimization for a particular keyword, Cora will provide invaluable knowledge and insight that is outside the scope of Page Optimizer Pro.
Basic Theory Behind the Development of Page Optimizer Pro
Page Optimizer Pro was developed based on our testing of Google’s algorithm to find on page signals that consistently affect rank. The on page score is weighted towards exact match usage and the signals that we have found to have the greatest impact on Google’s algorithm.
A critical concept in on page optimization is that signals need to be evaluated and optimized individually. A common mistake in SEO is to say “this page is over optimized or this page is under optimized.” It is extremely rare to find all the signals of a page under optimized or all the signals over optimized. It is important to understand that a page can be both under optimized and over optimized at the same time. The way to properly determine a page’s optimization and to see if that page is both over and under optimized is to evaluate all the signals on the page individually. Another important concept is that a single signal can be both under optimized and over optimized at the same time. When you evaluate a signal for exact match usage and variations, you will often find signals that are over in exact match usage and under in variations, or vice versa.
While we feel Page Optimizer Pro is accurate and powerful no one can tell you with 100% certainty that doing this or that will improve rank. Google’s algorithm is diverse and complex and includes many more things beyond on page factors. Additionally, there are situations where Google is obviously manually curating search results. You implement the suggestions of this tool at your own risk. HVSEO is not responsible for how you use Page Optimizer Pro and the results that you get.