The ability to maximise your SEO potential can always feel as though it is slightly out of grasp. Despite your endeavours to invest in various campaigns and to boost the brand online with a website makeover and an integration of consultants and discussions with experts, you continually feel as though you are behind the eight ball.
What must be stated from the outset is that there are two key facets to this practice that helps to define your success in the long run. One of those is via Off-Page optimisation techniques, seeing link building, brand mentions, social media strategies and other theories utilised away from the domain itself.
Then there is the focus of this discussion point – the all important field of On-Page SEO. What can be incorporated in this regard is every strategy that helps the SERP (search engine results page) dealing directly with the content and structure of the website itself.
From the content to the production, the keyword analysis and everything in between – this is the central focus that you have most control over as the brand operator. Whereas Off-Page factors can fluctuate without any of your own conduct, the On-Page elements are entirely of your own making.
In 2018, there have been a series of case studies from brands across all niches and from all regions of the globe that illustrates what is now considered best practice. Never forget that this is a science that consistently and constantly evolves, so what is true this year could be turned on its head in no time.
As it stands, we have delineated the most effective ways you can use On-Page optimisation to your benefit.
Write quality copy
Engaging the user from an analytical and search engine standpoint can be viewed in mathematically terms. In other words, the time spent on a domain can be boiled down to minutes and seconds – what can you do to ramp up that time and how can that best help your ranking?
One of the best On-Page solutions to this dilemma is to view the challenge less analytically and purely from the point of view of the user. If you enjoy the content you are producing, if you enjoy reading the articles, watching the videos, looking at the images and sharing that with the online community, then chances are there will be others who feel the same way.
Quality written copy though helps to drive that momentum. This is still a central factor why the leading newspapers online have thousands of daily subscribers and why blogging has become such an enormous industry.
For all the value that multimedia can deliver (more on that shortly), the quality of the written copy is viewed positively by search engines who can see that you articulate a position, use the right keywords, a helpful tone that is well structured, and all of this results in a diminished bounce rate for visitors.
Write more copy
Of course the quality matters when we look at written articles, blogs and typed content that is designed to educate, entertain and entice the visitor. However, there is also a need to push the boundaries in terms of the length of posting because there is an On-Page optimisation element that cannot be overlooked by brands wanting to extend their potential.
If you write a piece that you feel should be edited for quality control and not to bore the reader, that is understandable. Yet online to drive the On-Page rank skyward, it might be better served extending that content as far as it can be pushed.
Analysts and optimisers have studied this trend over the course of the past decade and found that the top ranking results are those that are more inclined to provide rich content that ventures to the 2000 word mark and beyond.
Do not take this as a cue to simply venture on a rampage with paragraphs and pages that have little to no relevancy on your topic. The quality control needs to be maintained. However it is those sites that push the extra mile who end up maximising their On-Page potential in this regard.
Want to find a way to engage users and to find multiple signals that helps search engines rank your pages better? Well multimedia content is one of the best means possible to elevate your standing by offering video, images, audio files, downloadable content and other forums where visitors can access more than just the written word.
Optimised video and image content is particularly helpful in this field as we are looking to generate as much On-Page SEO momentum as possible. By using these embedded files that carry their unique tags, URLs, descriptions and headings that require keyword integration, they have the capacity to draw in the attention of web searchers and stay on the page for longer.
The mixture of these two events assists in the overall objective, satisfying Google on one hand and offering a qualitative experience for users who gravitate to video content far more readily following the expansion of streaming devices.
Tie in social media sharing buttons
Social media accounts factor into the Off-Page optimisation strategy, however there must be bridges built to allow the On-Page success to carry over and vice versa. When one facet benefits, there must be pathways to ensure that the followers have a way and means of sharing this content with others.
To boost your efforts in this practice, ensure that all forms of content from interviews to how-to instructions, opinion pieces, image galleries and more have social media sharing icons published.
From the top of the page to the bottom or within the content itself, plugins for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and more allows your work to go viral and to increase the traffic numbers.
Run keyword search analysis
We have examined the importance of written content and multimedia in respect to the keyword usage, but there are techniques that help you to run a complete diagnostic on that front to provide the ideal results. There is no point leaving this field to chance as the science behind the results are varied, complex and continually evolving as the algorithms play their role.
To be on top of your game with keywords, you must embrace this challenge head on. By signing up to Google’s Keyword Planner software, you will be able to engage on the terms that are relevant to your niche, find value and potential opportunities with terms that your competitors have overlooked.
This was once seen as a taboo subject and a strategy that only the very educated and knowledgeable operators would engage in. Today it is part and parcel of any successful On-Page campaign that seeks to provide as many positive search engine signals as possible.
Tap into LSI power
There is a term that has become more prevalent in the current SEO climate and it is worth exploring in this context. That is the notion of the LSI, otherwise known as latent semantic indexing. In basic terms, this is a means of extrapolating phrases and keywords from the core terms that are identified to give your campaign more versatility and to tie into the changes that are taking place with Google’s algorithm evolution.
It is one thing to have a select few keywords to tap into for your optimisation, but in the context of on-page strategies that give your brand a leg up on the competition, there needs to be linguistic versatility. Words and phrases that are used in everyday vernacular or are in the “related search” item bar below the results are a great way of utilising LSI to your benefit.
It is this context that gives Google a better understanding of what niche your domain is situated in and how well versed the brand is by acknowledging keywords and terms used in these communities.
Develop outbound links
There is debate in 2018 now as per the merits of outbound links. What has been considered convention during this decade is now old news as brand mentions are viewed as a higher currency. However, the challenge for local and domestic domains is a fairly obvious one – how are you supposed to earn brand mentions if you are not a global conglomerate or well recognised organisation?
The best way to meet this On-Page SEO challenge is to formulate a strategy that incorporates outbound links. By mentioning other brands that are well renowned in the niche, you illustrate to Google that you respect and understand the field you are in, as well as the need to provide value to your visitors.
These resources then form part of the ranking formula that works almost as references for a book. The more references from authoritative sites, the better standing you will find yourself.
Focus on anchor text
It is one thing to develop an outbound link strategy that issues hyperlinks across your written content, but the anchor text that is used to highlight those diversions are equally vital for On-Page optimisation. The two schools of thought on this strategy are boiled down to the following:
- Tap into keywords with high currency for anchor text
- Use simple and enticing calls to action (CTAs) for anchor text
Both theories have their value and neither are off the mark. Much like the On-Page vs. Off-Page dilemma, the simple solution is to mix the two. In one paragraph, you will use industry-specific terminology with perhaps another brand mention to send that outbound link out. The next paragraph, you will engage a simplistic but enticing CTA such as “buy today” or “score your free trial here.”
As with anything in the optimisation game, this is a tool that must only be used sparingly. Overuse will be punished and considered a black-hat SEO technique that will downgrade your position and potentially blacklist your brand.
Structure the data markup
The structure of your data markup can be viewed as a marginal gain that might not be evident to the naked eye, but can really accentuate the positives with the click-through rate (CTR). Helping to provide a cohesive headline with an image and sassy description, this is a fundamental method to boost performance and cut-through on search engine applications. Ideal ways of tapping into these formats is to play around with the schema and to follow through on snippet advice from trusted sources. These guides will run you through a process that sees all of the benchmarks met as Google can read, understand and categorise your brand against a series of metrics.
If you have seen a visitor come and go from your website, there is a greater chance they were viewing your content from a mobile device that on a desktop. Since 2016, the balance of power shifted to the smartphone as more online traffic was conducted on the hand-held option, a fact that still takes some getting accustomed to for marketers and digital optimisers alike.
In that respect, it is imperative that all the hard work you implement for your On-Page optimisation campaign pays off by transitioning your site to become mobile friendly and compatible. A simple online diagnostic will check those benchmarks, ensuring that the images, videos, H1 and H2 tags are all consistent between platforms.
Increase page loading speed
As a final extension of our On-Page SEO discussion, we must focus on the domain of page speed loading. As one of the central facets that will be dissected for mobile compatibility, the load time sees a direct correlation in performance to bounce rates and CTRs.
Users and search engines alike have no patience or willingness to wait on sites that cannot provide the information at the click of a button. Items that hamper your speed can be highlighted by a simple diagnostic process and there are simply no excuses left to have a page that cannot load within a couple of seconds on a reliable network.
There is a great deal to consider when thinking about your On-Page domain optimisation. These are universal principles that apply to successful websites and by embracing these techniques, you will showcase an appreciation and understanding of how search engines operate and what your users will demand from your brand.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.