Everyone has an opinion on how to ‘optimize’ a site but what is really important? The answer might surprise you!
Most people think the most important part is how their pages are built. That is important, and most do-it-yourselfers rely on articles that emphasize on-site changes to:
- Title tags
- Description tags
- Keyword tags
- Image ‘alt’ tags
- Image ‘title’ tags
- Use of ‘header tags’
- Image compression
- Keyword Density
See list of definitions HERE
Unfortunately you may invest a great deal of time and effort and money in following all of these suggestions and then be discouraged when, after several weeks, there is no significant change in your competitive position in search results.
This is especially frustrating when you see that the sites that were outperforming you not only are still outperforming you, but don’t have as complete on-site optimization as you do. In fact those competitors may have pretty poor sites, but their ranking is still high.
Why is that? There’s never been a definitive answer to that question, but the most probable one is that the answer is not related to these on-site, page-related elements.
There is no quick or simple path to getting your fair share, or MORE than your fair share of business from Internet search engines. Certainly any part of what we discuss here will help, and ignoring on site factors would be a mistake. However, an on-going month-to-month effort by professionals can result in excellent, long-term positive results.
Here is what we, as professionals, do for continuing Inernet marketing clients:
If a site was not created by us we tweak the on-site elements above.
We then assess the following for the site:
Is the content of the site unique (not copied), and high quality with no misspellings or grammatical errors?
Does the site have backlinks that are relevant to the site and from sites that have good Google PageRank?
Is the internal navigation intuitive and well thought out?
Is there a robots.txt file and sitemap.xml file in place to assist search engine robots to efficiently crawl the site?
Has social media and a blog been used to create positive links to the site and to increase user interest in its content?
Although there are many possible sources of on-line traffic to a site, the bulk of it comes from Google and Bing search engines. The indexing criteria of both of these is approximately 30% due to on-site factors and 70% due to off-site factors. This means you can have a perfectly optimized website and still see your competitors with less perfect sites outperform you!
That’s not hard to understand when you realize that on-page optimization is extremely well documented–even Google offers a free guide entitled Search Engine Starter Guide.
It has terrific information that needs to be taken into account but following it to the letter will not result in higher rankings for you on Google.
An exception is if you are just targeting a very small niche, have really great content and don’t have much competition.
OK, what are some of the other things you need to do after doing your on-page optimization? Here are a few:
On-page links to social media sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and others.
Incoming link (backlink) building with a strong emphasis on sites that are both relevant to your site and that have good PageRank. Avoid ‘link farms’ like the plague, however, since they can scuttle your good efforts.
Let us know what subjects you want more information on. We’ll use that information in planning future publications.