Are You Still Using These On-Page Optimization Techniques?
On-page optimization – what is it? Did you find yourself scratching your head, wondering how it impacts your business?
While most marketers have a general understanding of SEO, on-page optimization may seem a little fuzzy.
On-page optimization, sometimes known as on-page SEO, is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to increase the likelihood of ranking well in the search engines. On-page optimization refers to everything used to rank a web page: the content and the HTML source code.
But let’s face it; a lot has changed over the years. If you first built your website ten years ago, Google wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now. Whoever built your website back then may have included a variety of tactics that Google frowns upon now. And if you hired a firm to perform on-page optimization even just a few short years ago, and you haven’t changed things up until now, your site could be penalized.
Google changes it’s algorithm regularly. In 2009, it made 400 changes. In 2018, that number rose to 3,234.
These are significant system changes that impacted user ability. Google’s entire goal is to give its searchers what they want: high-quality search results. Every adjustment they make is to further refine how Google’s algorithms rank and display that data.
If your site was built in 2017, for example, thousands of major algorithm changes have been made, and each can impact the way your website shows up for your chosen keywords.
If you’re not paying attention to that, if you’re relying on old SEO strategies, or have outdated on-page optimization techniques, you may be losing traction online.
Are you using any of these outdated strategies for on-page optimization?
Google wants to provide a good user experience. That’s been their entire goal from the beginning, and every upgrade they make, every change to the system, is designed to improve on that experience.
They know that when a searcher clicks on a ranked result, they have certain expectations with the end result. Whatever keyword the searcher typed into Google, they expect relevant content based on that concept.
Years ago, marketers looked for ways to move their content up in the rankings. They knew Google ranked according to keywords on a page; the page with the most keywords won. However, a page with the keyword up and down the page didn’t make the end user very happy.
Keyword stuffing was one of the most common SEO strategies because it was so easy to do. Take the keyword and use it again and again and again. In fact, marketers even discovered you could make the keyword the same color as the page – white on white, for example – and have the keyword in hundreds, or even thousands of times.
The site moved up in ranking. The client was happy. And the SEO firm profited.
Until Google found out and blocked the practice.
Your keyword is important. It’s also important to understand where it belongs on-page. Use the keyword in the title. Use it in the first 100 words of your copy. Then use it appropriately a few more times throughout the page, depending on how many words your article has in it. The key is readability. Google will pick up on that.
Optimizing for desktop only
In today’s world, we shouldn’t really have to say how important it is to optimize a web page for mobile as well as desktop. Yet it’s easy for a business owner with an older website to ignore the data. Ponder these statistics for a moment:
- 40 percent of mobile consumers have turned to a competitor’s site after growing frustrated after encountering a frustrating mobile web experience
- 50 percent of consumers will visit a store within a day of finding them via their smart devices
- A recent study looked at the top one million websites in the world. Almost 24 percent of them – 1 in 4 – were not mobile-friendly.
To put it quite simply, that isn’t acceptable anymore. Google announced in March 2020, its mobile first indexing strategy. The biggest takeaway is that Google will now drop any search result where it isn’t user friendly for both desktop and mobile search results. That includes everything on the page, including images and graphics.
How do you avoid being eliminated from search? Make sure your website is mobile friendly and shows up well no matter what the end user chooses to search from.
There used to be a time where you could use high traffic keywords to pull in traffic, even if it had very little to do with the content on your site. That led to confusion from the person searching, so Google changed the rules.
This practice happened a lot with trending keywords – celebrities, for example. Let’s say an A-list couple got divorced, and everyone was searching for more information. Some marketers would take advantage of that by creating a page using these keywords, then attempt to sell them on their offer.
Google wised up and started penalizing sites that strayed beyond their niche.
Figure out your keywords and what your target audience really wants. Then create content based on what your end-user wants. If you focus on the end-user, you’ll have the same goal as what Google wants. You’ll be more likely to do well with ranking over time.
Creating unique pages for every keyword
One easy strategy used for ranking high in Google just a few short years ago was to create a unique page for every variation of the keyword used. Because searchers potentially had different ways of looking for things, it made sense to create an individual page with every variation you could think of. You might have pages like this:
- What if your furnace is clunking?
- What if your furnace is banging?
- What if your furnace is making noise?
- What if your furnace is squeaking?
Slight variations, yet they are all the same. And some marketers would create each article to be so close, it was hard to see the difference – just the change in the one keyword, used to capture attention.
This is a lesson in keyword cannibalization. Be cautious about over-optimizing your site, and reaching for every variation you can think of.
Your key here is in thinking like your one perfect customer – if they kept reading on your site, what would hold their attention? What would make them click, read, and click again?
It’s all about user experience.
If you keep your focus on giving your readers what they want, you’ll be more likely to keep Google happy too.