On Page/Off-Page SEO
Getting discovered is the biggest challenge for brands on the internet today. Sadly, great content is not synonymous with visibility, and it takes much more than qualitative content to be found by the right people at the right time. This is where (thankfully)SEO gate-crashes the party. SEO is that guy that makes throws a spotlight on the introverts.
But what most marketers do not know is that SEO is more than just what you can do on your website. A great SEO strategy accommodates On Page SEO and Off Page SEO as two different ball games. It leverages different techniques to apply SEO best practices On Page as well as Off it.
What is the difference between On Page and Off Page SEO?
On Page SEO
On Page SEO is all the things you can do within your website to rank higher. This includes both content as well as the HTML code of your page. On-page SEO audit checks for SEO compatibility of the elements on your website, and identifies room for improvement.
On Page SEO Checklist:
Basic (Must haves)
H1, H2, H3 tags
Advanced (Good to have)
Comments and community
Voice search optimization
Let’s dig into the details:
Many websites have a bad reputation for keyword stuffing. You must have come across some of these websites and promised never to visit them again, after feeling spammed and annoyed.Keyword stuffing never worked for people. The only reason websites used so many of them was because it worked for the search engine. This was before 2015. Ever since Google’s Rank Brain, the search engine has evolved to favour ‘topics’ over ‘keywords’. Keywords are still the most crucial part of SEO, but now ‘topics’ or long-tail keywords prove much more beneficial than one-word keywords by helping the Search Engine provide the most relevant information to the searcher.
DO’s and DON’TsDODON’T
|1. Using the keyword at leastonce in the first paragraph.|
2. LSI keywords
3. Long-tail keywords
|1. Keyword stuffing|
Metrics like bounce rate, dwell time, search intent, click-throughrate, and page load speed give Google important signals onwhether your page is actually useful for the user landing on it.
In order to be recognized by Google on those metrics, you want tomake sure that:
•Your page has unique content that helps satisfy searcher’s intent
•It is laid out in a clear and concise manner.
•It does not contain a lot of heavy external scripts, pop-ups, etcthat makes it take a lot of time to load.
Protip: It is a great idea to use H1-H6 headings as and when applicable. This gives your text a standard format and lets the user skim through it to get to the part he’s looking for.
To learn more about enhancing your User Experience, go to technical SEO(hyperlink) blog
H1, H2, H3 Tags
These tags help Google and users understand the structure and content of the page. Though getting these tags right won’t directly push you to the top of SERP, the absence of these guiding tags can make it difficult for Google to read your website, making it rank lower even when it has highly relevant and unique content.
External (outbound) Links
When you link to a website other than your own, that is called Outbound or External Linking. In order to make your content informative and valuable, you will want to cite recent findings,studies, visuals, and quotes by other leaders in the industry. You can do that by adding simple links to these pages.In fact, you can go a step further and use external links to gain collaborations. Just approach an influencer, ask them for a quote,an interview, or a guest post, and offer an external link to their website in return. Most people will never turn down such an offer.Now you may be skeptical of external linking, fearing that it will drive your visitors away to the linked site. But a simple way to avoid that is by opting for the link to ‘open in a new tab’.
Why are URLs such an important part of SEO? Because, when your article shows up on SERP, your URL helps the searcher decide whether or not the page is relevant. Therefore if your URL is out of sync with the user’s query, it is likely that he will not click on it, ultimately decreasing your CTR (Click-through rate).But remember, while it is important to keep your URL accurate, you must not do it at the cost of conciseness. If the URL is too long,that might also end up decreasing your CTR as nobody trusts a spammy-looking URL.
Titile Tag is what appears as the clickable headline in the SERP. The title tag is the first thing that a potential visitor reads in your snippet, and therefore it majorly decides whether or not he will click on it. Now, it is very tempting to have a click-bait as the title tag. But irrespective of how lucrative it may sound, it can penalize you with a shorter dwell time and a higher bounce rate. Aka, your visitors will exit the page as soon as it opens, thus resulting in decreased rankings.
This shows up with the link and the title tag on the SERP. In addition to helping Google understand the content on the page, it also helps the user verify the relevance of the page before clicking on it. It also majorly impacts your Click-through rates. Therefore it always benefits to have your complete long-tail keyword in the Meta Description. If a user is searching for sports shoes, a Meta Description with the keyword ‘sports shoes’ will have a higher CTR than the one generally talking about shoes.
This is one of the most-powerful yet least-utilized forms of SEO out there. Schema Markup helps the search engine see your content beyond just some words: it helps it understand what your content means. Once you have a Schema Markup on your page, it helps the search engine understand what that page is about, and deliver informative results to the user. You can learn how to use Schema Markup effectively on https://schema.org/
To see Internal Linking at its best, go to Wikipedia. One Wikipedia page links to various pages on Wikipedia itself, forming a cobweb of informative pages on every topic. It’s great for the readers: it gives them information they’re looking for, and keeps them longer on the site. But it’s equally great in the Search Engine point of view. Linking all your content on one topic to a single ‘pillar’ page and to each other helps Search Engine crawlers easily skim through your website. It also signals Google that your ‘pillar’ page is an authority on the topic, and helps it rank higher.
You want to add visual hooks to your content. While stock images are a good option, your post will benefit much more with original visuals. You can create graphs, charts, infographics, and other creatives that help convey your content better. And the best part is that if your post does well and your images show up in Google Images, other bloggers may use them in their own blog posts,allowing you to earn some of those sweet backlinks.
Pro-hack : Instead of leaving your image’s name as ‘capture’ or’image’, you might want to make it descriptive, and provide an Alt Text. This helps the image be read better, and increases the possibility of it appearing in the Google Image search.
Comments and Community
Enabling comments on your blog is a wonderful way to add something substantial to the discussion and build community. As far as Search Engines are concerned, comments are also a part of your post. If your content is of 1400 words, and there are comments of 300, then Google recognizes your content to be of 1700 words in all! But remember, just the way search engine judges comments as part of your content, you must too. Remove spam comments and cut out any broken links there may be.
Voice Search Optimization
“Okay Google, where are the most delicious oysters found?””In the wanton accretion of semi-impressive oysters on the plates of a regular consumer of sea-food, it comes as a lineal consolation that the best oysters are found in France”-said no voice search answer ever.In order to make your content more likely to appear in Voice Searches, it is most important to keep it conversational. Avoid robotic language. Content with natural language is much more likely to appear in Voice Search results.
Pro Tip: Include FAQs on your blogs and product pages. Precise questions and short answers will help Google pick up directly from your page and display the results.Another factor to consider when optimizing for voice search is the loading time of your website. Sites that take longer to load are replaced quickly by sites that can load fast and produce answers in no time.
Off-page SEO is all about what you do outside of your website.This includes all of your social media efforts along with the promotion strategies you use to drive traffic to your website.
Why is Off Page SEO important? Because, the user perception(and the search engine’s perception) of your site’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority can most effectively be altered only with Off Page SEO techniques.
Checklist to win at Off-Page SEO:
Social media marketing
Linked and Unlinked brand mentions
Backlinks are links on some website referring to your website.There are many ways to earn backlinks, including Guest Posting,replacing broken links, and listing on reviews and directories. Everytime you contribute something to a domain other than yours,you can expect a backlink. But remember, while more links is good, not all links are beneficial. Some links can be toxic to your site. Your goal is to get backlinks from domains that have a high DA (Domain Authority). You can know the DA of any domain by installing the MOZ plugin. A site that is relevant to your niche and has a DA higher than 20 will produce quality backlinks for your website.
Pro Tip: If your content has some kind of useful original research,then it is much likely to be linked to naturally by other websites,without you having to approach them. If it is data-driven content that sheds new light in the industry, then it will automatically gain traction. Even in content where you cannot conduct an original research, make sure that the least you do is create original visuals.These too are a great way to be found and shared.
Social media marketing
Engaging content is the Trump Card in social media. People do not follow a brand’s Instagram to know the brand better. Here they come to get entertained or informed.An effective social media strategy (link to social media strategy blog) is one, out of which you can get both: traffic and a trust worthy brand image.
Pro Tip: If you want to track the reach you get from each link, you can do that by using UTM parameters (link to another internal doc about UTM). UTM parameters are simply tags you add to your link.Adding these tags will help Google Analytics tell you exactly how much traction you gained from each link. This will help you plan your next campaigns better.
Unlinked brand mentions
You will notice that there are website that do mention your brand,but do not link to it. You can find such mentions on Ahrefs. You can then approach the webmaster and request a backlink. You’ll most definitely get one.