“ON PAGE” SEO
Let’s drill down into the second element, “On-Page” SEO, the equivalent of a great resume. What are the steps? We’ll assume that you have your keyword list in hand; that is, you know “which job” you want, or in SEO terms, which keywords you want to optimize for. Once you know your keywords, where do you put them? In terms of “On-Page” SEO, the main places you put your keywords are as follows:
- Page Tags. Place your keywords strategically in the right page tags, beginning with the TITLE tag on each page, followed by the header tag family, image alt attribute, and HTML cross-links from one page to another on your site.
- Keyword Density. Write keyword-heavy copy for your web pages, and pay attention to writing quality. Complying to Google’s Panda update means placing your keywords into grammatically correct sentences, and making sure that your writing contains similar and associated words vs. your keyword targets.
- Homepage SEO. Use your homepage wisely by placing keywords in relatively high density on your homepage and, again, in natural syntax, as well as creating CC one-click” links from your homepage to your subordinate pages.
- Website structure. Organize your website to be Google-friendly, starting with keyword-heavy URLs, cross-linking with keyword text, and using sitemaps and other Google-friendly tactics. I also recommend writing a short, keyword-heavy footer on your website with links to your main landing pages.
“On-Page” SEO is all about knowing your keywords and building keyword-heavy content that communicates your priorities to Google just as a good resume communicates your job search priorities to prospective employers. We’ll investigate “On-Page” SEO more deeply in Chapters Three and Four.
Write for Google, and for Humans
Among the trends of recent years and one getting stronger in 2020 is the trend towards “natural syntax,” “semantic search,” and “artificial intelligence.”Google is getting smarter and smarter, which means that your prose needs to be more “natural” than ever. Answering customer questions via your website as if you were talking to a customer is a key writing strategy for the “new” On-Page SEO in an environment of voice search and artificial intelligence. Yet you want to write keyword-heavy content that is Google-friendly but also easy-to-read, relevant content that is good for humans. It’s not Google OR humans; it’s Google AND humans.
“OFF PAGE” SEO
Let’s drill down into the third element, “Off Page” SEO, the equivalent of great references. Here, you do not fully control the factors that help you with Google, so the game is played out in how well you can convince others to talk favorably about you and your website. Paralleling job references, the main strategic factors of “Off-Page” SEO are as follows:
- Link Building. As we shall see, links are the votes of the Web. Getting as many qualified websites to link back to your website, especially high authority websites as ranked (secretly) by Google, using keyword-heavy syntax, is what link building is all about. It’s that simple, and that complicated.
- Social Authority / Mentions. Social media is the new buzz of the Internet, and Google looks for mentions of your website on social sites like Linkedln, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as how robust your own social media profiles are.
- Online Reviews. If you are a local business, customer reviews, especially on Google and, to a lesser extent, on Yelp and industry-specific websites like Avvo.com for lawyers and Healthgrades.com for doctors, etc., greatly influence your SEO performance. Accordingly, you want to solicit reviews from real, happy customers so that they write online reviews about our business on y Google, Yelp, and other major review sites.
- Freshness. Like a prospective employer, Google rewards sites that show fresh activity. `What have you done lately?” is a common job interview question, and in SEO, you need to communicate to Google that you are active via frequent content updates such as blog posts and press releases.
“Off-Page” SEO is all about building external links to your site just as getting good references is all about cultivating positive buzz about you as a potential employee. We’ll investigate “Off Page” SEO more deeply in Chapter Five. Oh, and due to the recent Google algorithm change called Penguin, we’ll emphasize that you want to cultivate natural inbound links as opposed to artificial links that scream “manipulation” at Google’ It’s good, believable references that help you in a job search, and, post-Penguin, it’s good, believable links that help you with SEO.
SET LANDING PAGE GOALS
Let’s drill down into the fourth element, “Landing Page Goals,” the equivalent of great job interview skills. The point of a great website isn’t just to get traffic from Google, after all. It’s to move that potential customer up your sales ladder — from website landing to registration for something free (a “sales lead”) or perhaps even a sale.
So in evaluating your website, you want to evaluate each and every page and each and every page element for one variable: do they move customers up the sales ladder? Is the desired action (registration or sale) clearly visible on each page, and if so, is it enticing to the customer usually with something free like a free download, free consult, free we roar, and the like?
Just as after a job interview, your family and friends ask whether you “got the job,” after a Web landing you are asking yourself whether it “got the action” such as a registration or a sale. Web traffic, just like sending out resumes is not an end in itself, but a means to an end!