On Page Optimization
Proper On Page Optimization is Crucial to Your SEO Success
There are two primary categories in an SEO campaign: on-page (refers to optimization your website) and off-site – which refers to link building. Both are crucial elements in any overall SEO strategy, but the importance of proper on page optimization continues to grow in the Google algorithm. It may seem overwhelming at first, but the basics of on-page SEO are relatively simple.
What Is On-Page Optimization?
On-site SEO concerns all the components or parts of a website that are used to make categorizing and evaluating a website easier for the search engines. At the rudimentary level, Google and other search engines basically send small programs, known as indexing bots, “crawlers,” or “spiders,” to travel across the Internet, gathering information about websites and adding them to the search engines’ databases in an effort to categorize and evaluate them.
Crawlers are getting smarter all the time, but they still need help categorizing content and determining which keywords are most relevant. The goal of on page optimization is to effectively “theme” each targeted page for a set of keywords so that you directly communicate with the search engines by telling them what you want to rank for.
To understand how the crawlers work, simply use the search function on a homepage or targeted page. The search function quickly scans the content of the page to see if the words you are looking for are found within the text. The bots essentially do this to your website, and search the programmed back end of your site to look for relevant keywords and information. Simply put, if the keywords you want to rank for aren’t mentioned several times there is a good chance you aren’t going to rank. There are many programs to help you check/review keyword density and other important on page factors like title tags and meta descriptions for instance.
On-Page Optimization Strategies
There are a number of elements within a page that can be optimized. Many lurk below the superficial “face” of a website, in the code that makes order possible. In Web coding, a page is divided into two major sections: the head and the body. The head is not visible, but it contains several important HTML tags.
The first element is the title tag, which is a page’s first statement to a bot. For this reason, it should be short and convey the main point of the page, including the main keyword phrase. Title elements are usually displayed at the top of the browser and should make sense to humans too. The power of the title diminishes as it gets longer, so keep it short and sweet. Meta tags are less important than they once were in SEO, but the description tag is still worth optimization. It gets pulled by the search engines into the results page; so entice readers to click on your link rather than somebody else’s.
The body of a page contains its content and formatting. As far as HTML goes, the most important consideration here is images. Bots check both the file name and any alt tag attached, and a keyword in either counts as an SEO boost. The other major elements are headers, which increase the size of text but are also like a giant, neon sign to crawlers saying, “This is important!” Headers must, however, be used sparingly for readability and to avoid over-optimization.
A website’s layout also plays a role in SEO. Navigation menus should be simple and based on a hierarchy system, and faster loading times are given preferential treatment as well as mobile friendly and responsive websites. Other factors like site loading times are becoming more important as more and more searches are being done on mobile devices and as the algorithm becomes more sophisticated.
Finally, content is still the king of on-page SEO. It is the heart of any page, answering readers’ questions and giving search engines a reason to include it in the listings. Quality, keyword-rich relevant content is required on any page in order to effectively achieve the highest possible rankings for those keywords. Without strong keyword density, it will be difficult to maximize the SEO efforts. Be careful though, over optimization can lead to negative results, and without professional assistance, drawing the line between the two can be difficult.
Professional On-Page SEO
If on-page SEO sounds like a lot to take in, that’s because it is. Many blog and business owners choose to avoid risking their SEO and turn to a professional instead. An SEO expert can assess a page’s strengths and weaknesses and improve them, as well as teach you how to maintain a solid strategy for the future. By working with a professional, you can find the perfect balance between appeasing the algorithm and your readers. After all, a website that ranks well but isn’t interesting to people won’t get you results you’re looking for!