Let’s face it: we must be desperate to click on the second page of search engine results. Around 96% of the users never do! The internet is a competitive place, and SEO tactics have to keep up. In the nineties, it was all about manual submission and meta keyword tags; then came links with anchor text; in 2011, social media changed everything.
What does 2016 bring to us? New research by Ahrefs spawned fiery discussions in the SEO world. People were not thrilled with its original click-bait title that referred to on-page SEO as “dead”. The author later corrected the title and admitted he toggled the definition of on-page SEO so that he could label it as insignificant (i.e. dead) when it comes to rankings, and the title intentionally formulated that way to cause polemics (and attract more traffic, if we may add).
Although you can certainly find useful information about the way Google’s algorithms changed, Ahrefs’ report is full of disclaimers and biased data. An award-winning content marketing agency from Sydney King Content hardly disagrees with excluding on-page SEO as irrelevant for ranking: on the contrary, it is very much alive and crucial for inbound marketing. We agree: all of the off-page SEO depends on it. Here are the best ways you can approach on-page optimizing.
Create content that meets searcher’s needs
You have to ask yourself a crucial question: when searchers come to your website, will they be satisfied with your content? The primary role of search engines is to give relevant results to users. Only by ensuring quality content will you be able to reach a better ranking position. It’s advisable to incorporate useful links into your content that connected to your topic. This will make your page more visible.
You want users to have a positive experience and maybe even recommend your page to their friends. Many people set wrong goals when it comes to search optimization, focusing too much on the search engine than on actual users, without the awareness of how tightly the two are bound.
Connect with your users
There is some psychology and marketing when it comes to reaching new users and climbing that ranking ladder. Use UI, UX and branding to show yourself as trustworthy to your users. Consider the following questions: how well-known is your domain? What reputation do you have among the ones who are informed about your content? Is your design appealing and does it create a positive reaction among the users?
Remember to give it your best when it comes to user’s experience. For example, nobody’s going to enjoy poor content, but it’s likely they won’t enjoy a quality one – if it looks visually wrong or organized in a confusing manner. In addition to that, make sure you don’t offend your users in any way since this may cause them to click the “back” button in a matter of seconds, which can create pogo sticking.
Click-through rates are necessary. In that sense, you should provide a meta description for your page that reflects your content. Come up with a readable and attractive description using important keywords. Keep in mind that without meta description provided, search engines will go to your page and offer some other snippet, which may not be in your favor.
Consider using markup schemes, since they explain the meaning behind your data, instead of just displaying it. Catchy domain name is advisable. For better ranking results, try managing your content’s format in an optimal way, so that search engine crawlers can reach them fast in case of specified queries (e.g. top 10 lists or how-tos).
Using keywords is a classic when it comes to on-page optimization. Use keywords inside your content wisely. Take into consideration your spelling, punctuation, and overall grammar since these are all helpful data for search engines when they retrieve the pages and rank them.
Google webmasters advise using keywords for descriptive and human-friendly URLs. Keywords in titles, image file names (and alt attributes) and external anchor links all help in making your page more visible on SERP.
Boost your site’s speed
Most search engines (e.g. Google, Bing) use page loading speed via HTML as one of the ranking factors. Research has shown that 75% of the users don’t re-visit a site that took more than 4 seconds to load. Users won’t forgive you for taking too much of their time, so keep in mind that better page loading speed means better engagement. Use CDN, switch to compressing images, be cautious when choosing to host, and do whatever you can to increase your loading speed.
In 2016, it’s all about creating a unique value of your website. You have to consider your target group and come up with customized ways of reaching out to users and get the much-needed amplification so that your site is more visible. Either way, on-page SEO is not dead: moreover, it requires developing new techniques to compete with others in the internet arena.