Being an SEO professional, I regularly face questions about on page and off page SEO and strategies that are working efficiently but do you know which question do I face very often “Does SEO still Work?”. So, I thought it’s better to write about it than to answer multiple times.
Does SEO still work?
One of the most asked questions in the digital marketing domain is “Does SEO still work” and the answer is, yes. The way SEO is done has changed drastically but it is one of the most important strategies of any business with the best ROI to date.
Why SEO is important in 2021?
As most of the search engines are improvising their algorithms day by day an increase in the advertisement cost makes SEO an important strategy in the industry.
What is on page and off page SEO?
on-page and off page optimization are the type of SEO techniques. On-page SEO is activities carried out inside your website to increase the authority and traffic of the website and off-page, SEO is the activities carried out outside of your website to increase the authority and traffic of your website.
Difference between on-page and off-page SEO?
Both on-page and off-page SEO are complementary strategies but they are used in different stages, different levels but for the same purpose: For building authority and to increase the traffic of the website.
On-page and off-page SEO techniques
It will be overwhelming to know what is on-page SEO and off-page SEO techniques used but implementing the same can be a tedious job as there are more than 200+ on-page and off-page techniques are used in SEO and the most important factors are discussed below with a detailed explanation and impact of implementation
What is On-page SEO?
The activity of optimizing different sections and elements of each page of the website that boost your search engine rankings is called On-page SEO (also known as “on-site” SEO). The search engine result pages (SERP) ranking is determined by various ranking factors including page speed, alt text, optimized content, keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, responsiveness, etc.
On-page SEO is one of the important factors that determine your SERP ranking of a webpage. Both content and technical elements help to improve the quality of the page. So, the better on-page SEO can attract the most relevant website traffic to your website.
Why on-page SEO is so important
On-page SEO helps search engines to understand your content and website and identifies whether it is relevant to a searcher’s query.
Over some time, using the huge number of complex algorithms, Google has become better at:
- Understanding what users are searching (user intent) when they type a query.
- Satisfying the user intent by delivering search results that meets user needs (informational, shopping, navigational).
Google and other search engines are constantly upgrading their algorithms to give a better user experience to their users. So, adapting to development constantly is important and you can do this only by ensuring that your website and its content are relevant. There should be two-way optimization;
- Elements that are visible to users on your webpages (i.e., text, images, video, or audio) and
- Elements that are only visible to crawlers of the search engines (i.e., HTML tags, structured data) – are well-optimized according to the latest best practices.
The factors that play a major role in on-page SEO are:
- Title tags
- Meta description tags
- Headings tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.,)
- URL structure
- Image: Image caption & Alt text for images
- Page Content
- Internal links
What are different types of on-page SEO
Title Tag Optimization
The title tag is an HTML element that is used to specify the title of the webpage. It tells visitors and search engines the topic of the webpage, to establish relevance with a particular keyword. Title tags are most important on-page factors for SEO.
- It has a limit of 50-60 characters or 600 pixels.
- Your primary keyword should be included in the title tag for you to rank better.
- Front loading your keyword might help you to rank better.
Meta Description or Meta tag
A Meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a summary of the webpage. It is a short paragraph of text that explains both website visitors and search engines what the webpage is about.
A Meta description had a significant role and was one of the important ranking factors in the past, however, today Google algorithm can determine the content and meaning of the page. As a result, Meta description significance has somewhat declined. However proper Meta description can bring better relevant clicks on the page which is why Meta description still has a lot of importance today.
- Google will automatically creates Meta description if one is missing.
- It is recommended to us less 135-160 characters in Meta description and is written in actionable voice.
- Use the primary keyword in Meta description naturally
- Meta descriptions are unique to each page
Note: Meta descriptions are not direct ranking factors according to Google, but they improve click-through rate (CTR) which has an impact on ranking as it catches the searchers’ attention and gets them to click on your link by creating highly relevant Meta descriptions yourself
Heading tags are HTML attributes that differentiate heading (h1) and sub-headings (h2-h6) from the rest of the content.
The H1 tag is used for the headline and it is the first element that users or site visitors see when they land on your page. Headings serve the reassurance to your visitors, that they are in the right place and have found what they are searching for
- Headers tags are used to create an information hierarchy for both users and crawlers.
- Use only one h1 per page
- Use primary keyword in h1.
- Use secondary and LSI Keywords in h2 to h6
- Do not skip levels
- Do not use clickbait without having enough relevant content. Clickbait is when the headline is used to draw in the reader. However, the article has little reference. Clickbait drives clicks and not much else.
- Focus on user experience and there is no exception for header tags
Each title tags are used for different purpose and also to define hierarchy:
- Highly important heading is used in H1 tags.rH1 is used in the title of your page.
- Secondary keywords are used in H2 tags.
- H3 tags are nested within H2 tags to break up the text further.
Website URL structure or Search engine friendly (SEF) URL
The Uniform resource locator (URL) is the address of the webpage.
- Use primary keyword in the URL along with user-first approach.
- Avoid stopping words (a the, of, etc.)
- URL is case sensitive, avoid underscore and spaces and keep it short
Below are two examples of search engine URLs
Most of search engines loves user-friendly elements. Most of the content management systems (CMS) can generate search-engine-friendly (SEF) URLs. Make sure that your URLs are well optimized.
Note: Do not try to change all the existing URLs, just make sure that they have keywords in them. You shouldn’t change old URLs unless you plan to redirect your old URLs to your new URLs. Consult a professional before doing this.
Image Optimization & Image Alt Text
Optimizing images is one of the important factors in on-page SEO. You have to optimize both image size and image file size. Dimension of the image is called as image size (e.g., 1024 by 680 pixels). The image file size is the amount of space needed to store it on the server (e.g., 350 kilobytes).
The image alt tag is a text that explains the about image and also helps in showing relevant images to the user when they are searching it. The user understands what is in the image but we need to make sure spiders and crawlers understand it too. Search-engine crawler to parse these HTML attributes faster than the image file.
- Resize & optimize both image size and image file size
- Use primary keyword in the image alt text
- The image gives you more real estate and also traffic.
- Use Unsplash, Pixabay, Flickr, or Google to find images
- Use your keywords as a file name
- Use keywords in alt tags
The content on your webpage needs to be relevant & useful to people. If the user searches for something too specific to find your page, the user has to be able to find what they are looking for. It has to provide the vale and ease of reading to the end-user. Google has multiple ways to measure if your content is useful to the users.
- There is no exact formula for how many pages should be there in content but aim for at least 500+ words in your copy. The importance is given to human intent satisfaction and depth covered in the particular topic.
- Do not have a duplicate content
- Try to use the keyword closer to the beginning of the title naturally.
Write great quality content
Have you heard of content is King? Improving the quality of the content gives a better chance for your content to rank. Search engines are not going to rank your content, if it’s badly written, has misleading titles, misspellings, plagiarized or duplicate content. So make sure your content has impeccable quality. It must be unique, engaging, originally published on your website and it is useful to the users.
Consistency is the biggest growth hack. When its frequency of publishing of your blog, fresh content can dramatically influence the ranking, as Google always looks for fresh content consistently to crawl and index them.
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to the activities, you perform outside your website to increase its authority. The major part of off-page SEO is link building but it also goes beyond that.
What are different types of off-page SEO
An incoming hyperlink from one site to another site is called a backlink. A backlink is a vote of authority and credibility from one site to another.
There are two types of link
- Do-follow link: A link that passes link juice to flow is called a do-follow link.
- No-follow link: a link that does not allow link juice to flow is called a no-follow link.
Even today backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors. The more relevant quality backlinks you have the better results you have.
Link juice is the authority that one website passes to another. Relevance, authority, and location of the website matter while link building. Outbound links will also determine how much link juice you will get.
Every page will have a quality score which is PageRank (PR). It ranges from 1-10, the higher it is the better it is. PR is no more publically visible but still in use. A third-party metric like DA/PA & DR/PR can be used to gauge the PR.
To understand the quality of the link Google analyzes the link that pointing to your web page. For example:
- Where does the link come from?
- What made the site owner to link to your website?
- What is the quality of the link? (I.e., is it from an authoritative website?)
- How fresh is your link?
- How natural is your link profile?
- And so on…
There multiple ways for link building but the some important and easy ways to get these valuable links:
Content and Outreach
Write an outstanding piece of content that most of the authoritative people from your industry happy to link with. Do deep research on a particular topic and outreach or promote that people can link it to acquire the right links.
Create a great piece of an infographic, which takes a lot of effort & time to create & reach out to people who can use that infographic with a backlink.
Broken link bu1ilding
Broken link building is the fast and easiest way to get a backlink. All you need to is, search for broken links from authorities that are relevant to your website and ask them to provide a backlink if they find it useful.
Local Citations/Business Directories
Business directories are one of the easiest ways to get a backlink by listing your business with all details, it can help in a greater way.
There is a huge amount of value provided in the resource. When you can provide value through external resource pages it becomes easier for you to get a backlink
You have to reach out to relevant authoritative websites that accept the guest posting & but it can be hectic as you have to research a lot to come up with authoritative websites.
The number of unique root domains
The number of unique root domains linking to you is one of the most important ranking factors. You might have too many links from the same domain but having a link from multiple unique root domains is stronger than having multiple links from a single root domain.
Page rank of the linking page
Not all the pages are equal. Links from the pages that are with higher PageRank is a bigger factor than getting a link from the pages that are with lower page rank. Focus on getting a link from pages that are with higher page ranks.
Getting a link from relevant pages from your field of authoritative website carry more value than the pages which are non-relevant or neutral websites
Link from the homepage
As you already know to interlink within the website is one of the important factors and most of the interlinks link back to the homepage to make it more authoritative and getting a link from the home page of a unique root domain carries more weightage than the links from other pages from the same root domain.
Number of do-follow and no-follow links
A healthy balance between do-follow and no-follow links. Google officially stated that they do count on do-follow links. But, concentrating only on a do-follow link can be a bad strategy, because the no-follow backlink from a webpage with great traffic can still bring web traffic.
It’s a text with which you wrap the link is called anchor text. Anchor text tells a lot about the page.
There are 6 types of anchor text:
Ex: The SIP is the best way to learn SEO
Ex: The SIP is the best way to learn SEO
Ex: The SIP is the best way to learn SEO
Ex: Click here to learn SEO
Ex: The SIP is the best way to understand and implement SEO
Diversity of the links
The type of links you should build to your site matters too. Too many types of one-type links may be an indicator of spam and it will impact your rankings.
Anchor text Diversity
Exact match: 2%
Phrase match: 20%
Naked URLs: 20%
Phrase match: 5%
The hyperlink within the content of the website that are in text format, which briefs what does the link is about is called contextual link. The links that are given within the content of the page are worth more than links in a sidebar for instance.
I often hear words like on-page SEO v/s off-page SEO, the best way to approach SEO is on-ape SEO and Off-page SEO. They are complementary strategies to improve your authority and website traffic.
Focusing on user experience and user intent is far more important than satisfying the search engines, but speaking the same language of search engines and easing search engines job can be rewarding with quick ranking.
Covering more depth on a certain topic with proper keyword research followed up with on-page SEO with primary keyword, secondary keyword and LSI keywords and interlinking all the jobs simplifies your SEO journey. So, Technical SEO factors like page speed, cache has to optimize before going for off-page SEO strategies.
Off-page SEO can help to make your website authoritative and it can bring traffic to your website.
Putting back the focus on users can be useful in the long term and do not try to use any black hat SEO techniques.
There are the best SEO experts in India who can help you out if you are not sure about it and I have written an article on how to choose them.