Too many bloggers try to run before they can walk when it comes to search engine optimization: armed with a couple of tips from Moz.com, they try their hand at everything from guest posting to social media marketing in an attempt to raise their search rankings. While this is all well and good, many bloggers are skipping straight ahead to some of the more complicated aspects of search engine optimization without paying attention to the basics, including the most unloved and unexciting of all SEO techniques: on-page optimization.
Since background keyword stuffing and metatags became useless in Google’s eyes, many bloggers have stopped caring about on-page optimization altogether—usually because they feel it isn’t worth the bother. However, they could not be more mistaken. Sure, on-page optimization in itself is not going to have you leapfrogging to the front page for competitive search terms, but it is the foundation upon which the entirety of your SEO strategy rests. Don’t build your house on a foundation of sand, and follow these tips to make sure your website is well optimized for search.
Clean code counts
Having a well-designed web site is important for both mechanics and aesthetics, but it also has an effect on optimization too. When Google crawls your website, clean coding acts like good signposting—showing them what your content is and what it is not. For this reason, you should be using tags like title tags correctly—not only does it clean up your page on the outside but it makes it easier for Google to understand on the inside.
Google’s algorithm does not have eyes and ears: you must tell it what you want it to see. This means not forgetting about small-ticket items like image alt text and other seemingly useless tags and attributes. It might not seem like it makes much of a difference, but it is just good website sense.
Internal linking: not just for dummies
Google likes internal linking, but more importantly, your visitors love it. Linking pages back to their categories and subcategories, plus linking to other relevant pages on your site, creates a useful web that allows your visitors to access related and useful information more quickly.
The look of your links is also important, so depend a little time ensuring that your URLs are static (not dynamic) and that they are descriptive. Use CMS to your advantage and ensure that your posts display as follows: yourwebsite.com/blog/blog-post-title-here. It not only looks clean, but ensures that the subject and potential keywords are in the title as well as the URL.
On-page optimization means content
We have all heard it before: content is king. But nowadays most people think of content as it relates to content marketing and guest posting. What about your own content? On-page optimization is all about making sure that your visitors (and of course, Google) can clearly see and process the content you are providing. This isn’t about keyword stuffing: it is about making each page subject-themed and ensuring that your focus and intent is clean and clear.
The good thing about on-page optimization is that it is virtually synonymous with good web design and good usability. Optimization demands fast load times, minimal browser requests and clear navigation. All of this isn’t just good for rankings, it is just plain good web sense in general.
Linking on-page optimization to other parts of your SEO strategy
While good on-page SEO is abstractly good for the rest of your off-page strategy, there are several whats by which the two are concretely linked. One important factor nowadays is Google’s use of the “rel=‘author’” and “rel=‘publisher’” markup to link pages to Google+ and establish authorship. While ‘Author Rank’ is so far theoretical, many inbound marketing blog are excited about the potential and are already recommending people prep for its appearance by making use of this markup.
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