Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-moving target influenced by two unique elements. As we outline an SEO strategy for our clients, we identify “on-page” and “off-page” components. Each of these elements should have complementary strategies, adhere to industry best practices, and subscribe to the latest Google algorithms in order to maximize performance.
Even though the priority between on-page and off-page SEO is evolving – becoming more heavily weighted to off-page elements, it is crucial to properly execute the structural elements that make a good website. A solid foundation containing well-written, engaging content, intuitive navigation and high aesthetic quality provides better user experience and a great starting point for lowering bounce rates and improving search returns. It is all part of the SEO self-fulfilling prophecy: The more people who visit your site and find it useful, the higher ranked it is with the various search engines.
Meta descriptions, page titles and keywords all still play an important role in the development of SEO and should not be overlooked. When considering on-page SEO, content is king. Pertinent words and concepts are more easily pulled from clear and consistent site copy. These characteristics may then be used to refine page titles and keywords. The synergy between copy and keywords helps the site designer build pages that are easily read and “crawler-friendly” on the font-end.
On Page considerations when building or updating your site:
- Content is king. Relevant, well-written content is essential to effective on-page SEO.
- Don’t try to trick or outsmart the algorithm. The days of massive keyword lists and hidden text are long over.
- Be thoughtful of page titles, headlines, bolded text and internal links. Headlines should incorporate keywords for the page and should be wrapped in <H1> or <H2> tags to indicate importance.
- Links should use relative keywords. Instead of using “Read more >>” You should use “Read more about keyword here >>” in the code.
- Update visuals and content frequently. The algorithm views a continually evolving site as more relevant and authoritative than a stagnant, dated site.
- Design and write your site to maximize appeal within your target audience. Throughout site development efforts, keep in mind SEO’s primary function—to more highly rank the best, most useful sites.
- Create an XML site map for your site. Index every page to make it easy to for Google to find you. Include the index in the root of your FTP server.
- Understand on-page enhancements are foundational. They set the stage, but it takes a well conceived and implemented combination of on-page as well as off-page strategies and tactics to take full advantage of SEO capabilities.
Remember, a website is simply a tool, albeit a very important tool, in the much larger marketing communications tool box. Well conceived and implemented on-page and off-page SEO strategies, combined with other sales and marketing efforts greatly affect search engine rankings. This approach will provide long term benefits and will position your organization to take advantage of synergies created from a comprehensive, strategic marketing communications plan.