In the wake of Google’s Penguin and Panda updates, webmasters are finding that there is much more to on-page optimization than simply deploying keywords in page titles and meta descriptions. It’s true, off-page optimization techniques, such as link building and content marketing, do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to improving a website’s online ranking.
A website’s off-page SEO strategies are wholly dependent on its on-page optimization, and no amount of link building can compensate for a poorly optimized web page. Now, more than ever, with Penguin and Panda placing a renewed emphasis on content, it is important for webmasters to tend to their on-page SEO strategies.
There are two basic keyword forms that are typically used in any successful on-page optimization strategy. Primary keywords are the most basic word or phrase for which you want your site to rank, often called “money keywords”. Secondary keywords, or long-tail keywords, are slightly more complex phrases that should highlight certain specific aspects of your business. For example, if your primary keyword is “auto repair”, your long-tail keywords might be something like “foreign auto repair” or “foreign automotive specialists”.
With these keyword combinations in mind, an optimized page title might look something like:
“Happy Howie’s Auto Repair – Foreign Automotive Specialists”.
All of our long-tail keywords have been deployed, and although each key phrase is not represented in total, the individual keywords are all present and in close proximity to one another. I discuss how to discover new keyword strategies using GWT in this post along with many other benefits.
Over the years search engines have become much more sophisticated, and they are better able to discern the meaning of a block of content than ever before. Previously, SEOs and webmasters would lean heavily on keyword stuffing to get their online content noticed by the search engine bots. While that is no longer necessary, and is actually frowned on by Google and other search engines, it is still wise to deploy a few choice keywords and phrases when writing your copy. Whenever possible, try to deploy your keywords in close proximity to one another. You don’t necessarily need to use the complete phrase, but the words themselves should all appear within a small block of text. Bear in mind, however, that you want to use your keywords judiciously. With their new sophistication, search engines are better able to recognize variations on a keyword or phrase, so it is no longer necessary to repeat them verbatim throughout your text. Above all, make sure you’re providing value in your copy and speaking in a conversational tone.
Highlighting Your Keywords and Phrases
Optimizing your on-page content requires more than simply dropping a few keywords and phrases in the copy. The strategic use of strong tags and headers can help your keywords stand out, making them more apparent to both users and search engine bots. By strong tagging your keywords and phrases you help direct the search engine spiders to the most important sections of your copy. Headers, H1s, H2s, and H3s, can also be used to deploy important keywords and phrases. Moreover, H2s and H3s can be used to create subtitles, or sub-headers, which will break up your text and make it much more attractive to online readers. You want to make sure you have at least one H1 tag on every page of your website. You can use our SEO Auditor to check these technicals and more.
Keep A Steady Flow of Content
A steady flow of fresh content is a vital part of any on-page SEO strategy, and is particularly important now that Penguin and Panda have placed such a high premium on providing quantifiable value to the online user. Newly published content keeps your site fresh, and indicates to the search engines that you are constantly trying to provide value to your customer base. Make sure you are publishing at least 1 blog post per week. There are plenty of studies that show how more posts will translate into exponential grown in both conversions and social media shares.
Cross-Linking and Internal Linking
Cross-Linking is an SEO technique that is too often overlooked by most webmasters. Cross-Linking, or Internal Linking, involves linking together two pages of related content within a single site, or just simply one page to another within your site. When done right, cross-linking can lead to a triple stack in a given search engine result, giving your site a greater share of SERP real estate. However, cross-linking can backfire if not handled correctly. Remember, consider your potential visitors when cross-linking pages. If an online user clicks on one of your triple stacked results, that page had better provide relevant information. Internal linking is a more simple concept where you link to another page within your site, and don’t forget to link to your blog categories every now and again too!
Like any SEO strategy, on-page optimization takes time and practice. There are so many other components such as page speed, having a proper XML sitemap, and so much more. Keep in mind that there’s no single quick fix that will launch your website into the top of a given search result. But without attending to your site’s on-page optimization strategies, no amount of back links or content marketing will propel a site into pride of place on a search engine results page (SERP). These tips should help webmasters improve their websites, making them more attractive to search engines and online users.
Do you have some on-page SEO tips to share? Start a discussion below, and I look forward to your comments.