The landscape of on-page SEO changes every year. Sometimes slightly, and at other times so drastically that Google punishes thousands of websites for spammy link strategies and keyword stuffing.
But ultimately, it is possible to rank on search engines while being 99.9% safe from any Google algorithm changes.
Why do some websites leave themselves susceptible to Google updates and others do not? The answer lies in understanding the critical elements of on-page SEO, how they work together, and why they are important.
For example, many websites years ago would stuff keywords into their content to improve their rankings. This is taking advantage of one aspect of SEO, and obviously is susceptible to punishment because of it. This is what happens when someone misunderstands how on-page SEO works, and why Google implements it in the first place.
With this article, we take a look at 6 different foundational concepts that SEO marketers use to create content that improves ranking and is safe from being punished by Google’s algorithms.
Customers first. Plain and simple. Google implements these features to promote quality content and punish bad content for their customers.
They want their users to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. They don’t want some spammy website taking advantage of their algorithm.
Spammy websites irritate customers. Maybe those pissed off customers will leave Google for some other search engine like Bing. (Remember AskJeeves? If not, that use to be a popular search engine).
As businesses we think SEO is for marketing our website so our websites can get found, but SEO is for customers to find the most relevant and valuable information to fulfill their goals.
Using consumer intent to improve website ranking is the first thing we have to understand when creating content for search engines. To understand this concept, let’s look at a customer who maybe searching for the keyword phrase “Best books on sales”.
We can automatically assume that this customer is looking for information on the best books on sales. This is the intent.
But what is their goal? The goal is always different. Our intent is the first step in understanding the goal of our customer.
Ask yourself, “Why are they searching for books about sales? What is their goal?”
Again, an assumption will easily answer this question. To find the best book on sales and then buy it. Depending on the keyword phrase, an assumption may not be enough, but for this example it is suffice.
With this understanding, here would be a simple strategy to help this customer:
This strategy helps with 3 on-page SEO factors:
We do not want to distract customers. Search is all about zero’ing in on our customers wants and needs. Usually, these needs are laser focused:
“I want to find the most affordable keyboard.”
“I need to increase my search engine ranking.”
“What should I eat after working out?”
Queries are generated by these intents, and because our customer’s goals are laser focused (luckily), we can create an experience that caters to this.
Here are some things you can do to provide this laser focus:
MOST of Google’s ranking factors have been created to help fulfill the user’s wants and needs.
This is where people start to get confused. You are told about keyword density, putting keywords into titles and subtitles, but yet the 1st result on the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) doesn’t even include the main keyword?
How can this happen?
Google’s algorithms have the ability to understand and relate keywords and topics together. For a very shallow idea of what I’m talking about, hashtagify.me provides a very simplistic outlook of this:
All the topics on here are hashtags being talked about on Twitter, and each are connected by their relevance. Their relevance is calculated by the frequency of use together or by the same person with certain interests.
Simply, the way Google has constructed their semantic analysis is the work of mathematicians and out of the scope of this article, but we can use this knowledge to increase our search engine rankings.
Include highly related topics in your article, link to other resources on them and include them in your anchor text.
Here’s an example for you to look at because we are talking about Google’s semantic analysis capabilities.
The anchored text above now signals Google that this article is related to semantic analysis, and gives extra weight to it’s relevance of people searching for on-page SEO.
On the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), you see titles, URLS, and meta descriptions of each website listed. Essentially, you must create your listing as an ad for best results.
Let’s break it apart so that we can understand it:
Your title should include your keyword in the beginning, but that is the only relevant SEO factor. It is suppose to persuade people to click on your website.
URL and site architecture are more technical aspect of SEO, but your page’s URL plays a part in your advertisement. Simplicity remains king in URL, and including your keyword in the URL will signify your page’s relevance to whomever sees your page on the SERPS.
Your meta description is a pure advertisement. There is not actual SEO benefit in the words you put in there. The only positive SEO benefit comes from people clicking your website and staying there.
Make it relevant, include your keyword, and explain what your web page is about and why they should click on it. The more irrelevant it is, the higher your bounce rate will be.
For more information, click here to learn about reducing bounce rate.
Maybe you are targeting local customers and they will be more apt to read your content. If not, then you are competing based on national or even international terms.
How long, in-depth, and the quality of your article is largely decided on three factors:
A 500 word article can fulfill your needs if you want authority for your local area, but what if you are trying to rank for a highly populated keyword on social media? Your article then has to provide some kind of unique value and be at least twice as good as any competing article. Then you have to find a way to promote it, share it, etc.
2. Customer Intent and Goals
Back to this same concept. Does your article fulfill any need or desire? Who will share this and why?
If you want to compete for highly-ranked terms like “SEO copywriting tips” or “On-page SEO”, then short 500 word articles will not work.
Neither will 2000 word mediocre articles. The more ambitious your ranking goals are, the more you must invest in content.
In short, everything we do with on-page SEO is human related. Yes, machines are ultimately the ones who decide what ranks and what doesn’t, but the algorithms are put in place specifically to make the human element the most import factor.
Why is it important to understand the human factor?
As important as it is to follow a simple checklist for SEO, understanding the human factor leads to a better content creation approach and simplifies many concepts that are hard-to-understand. As well, there are many on-page SEO variables, and the human factor can help smooth over the learning process of remembering all of them.
Once on-page SEO becomes something you do for your customers, the decisions you make will become more intuitive.
If you found this article helpful, or want to know more about SEO or how your website’s SEO can be improved, contact us now: