Being an SEO professional, I regularly face questions about on-page and off-page SEO and strategies that work efficiently, but do you know which question I encounter 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?
- Why is SEO important in 2021?
- What is on-page and off-page SEO?
- Difference between on-page and off-page SEO?
- Why on-page SEO is so important
- What is On-page SEO?
- What is off-page SEO?
- Content and Outreach
- Infographic Promotion
- Broken link building
- Local Citations/Business Directories
- Resource Pages
- Guest post
- The number of unique root domains
- Page rank of the linking page
- Link Relevancy
- Link from the homepage
- Number of do-follow and no-follow links
- Anchor text
- Naked URLs
- Diversity of the links
- Contextual links
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 is SEO important in 2021?
As most search engines are improvising their algorithms day by day and increasing the advertisement cost, SEO is a vital strategy in the industry.
What is on-page and off-page SEO?
On-page and off-page optimization are the types of SEO techniques. On-page SEO is activities carried out inside your website to increase the authority and traffic of the website. Off-page SEO is the activities carried out outside of your website to increase the power and traffic of your website.
Difference between on-page and off-page SEO?
Both on-page and off-page SEO are complementary strategies. Still, they are used in different stages, at different levels but for the same purpose: To build authority and increase the website’s traffic.
On-page and off-page SEO techniques
It will be overwhelming to know what on-page SEO and off-page SEO techniques are used, but implementing the same can be a tedious job as more than 200+ on-page and off-page techniques are used in SEO. The most critical factors are discussed below with a detailed explanation and impact of implementation.
Why on-page SEO is so important
On-page SEO helps search engines understand your content and website and identifies whether it is relevant to a searcher’s query. Over some time, using the vast number of complex algorithms, Google has become better at:
Understanding what users are searching (user intent) when they type a query. Delivering search results that meet user intent (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 always is essential, 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 web pages (i.e., text, images, video, or audio) and Elements that are only visible to search engines (i.e., HTML tags, structured data) – are well-optimized according to the latest best practices.
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 page (SERP) order 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 essential factors determining your SERP ranking of a webpage. Both content and technical elements help to improve the quality of the page. So, better on-page SEO can attract the most relevant website traffic to your website.
The factors that play a major role in on-page SEO are:
Meta description tags
Headings tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
Image: Image caption & Alt text for images
What are different types of on-page SEO
Title Tag Optimization
The title tag is an HTML element 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 one of the 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 summarizes the web page. It is a short paragraph of text that explains what the web page is about for both website visitors and search engines.
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, the 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 create a 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 the 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
Here’s a framework of what it might look like:
H1 tags are used for the title of your page.
H2 tags are used for the primary subheads on the page.
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 search engines love user-friendly elements. Most 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. Make sure that they have keywords in them. It would be best to 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 crucial factors in on-page SEO. You have to optimize both image size and image file size. Image size refers to the dimensions of an image (e.g., 1024 by 680 pixels). The size of the image file 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 helps show relevant pictures to the user searching it. The user understands what is in the picture, but we need to make sure spiders and crawlers understand it—search-engine crawler to parse these HTML attributes faster than the image file.
Writing image alt text is a pretty straightforward affair, but it’s easy to overlook or do poorly.
Here’s a picture of some manatees that we’ll write alt text for:
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
This is what users see, and this is what crawlers see.
For the sake of example, let’s call the image file manatee.png. An excellent example of what your image alt text might look like:
The content on your webpage needs to be relevant & valuable to people. If the user searches for something too specific to find your page, they have to see what they are looking for. It has to provide the vale and ease of reading to the end-user. Google has various ways to measure if your content is valuable.
There is no exact formula for how many pages should be in content but aim for at least 500+ words in your copy. The importance of human intent satisfaction and depth is covered in the particular topic.
Do not have 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 will not index your content if it’s poorly written, has misleading titles, misspellings, plagiarized, or duplicates content. So make sure your content has impeccable quality. It must be unique, engaging, originally published on your website, and helpful to the users.
Consistency is the most significant growth hack. When the frequency of publishing of your blog, fresh content can dramatically influence the ranking, as Google always looks for new 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 central 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 links.
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 crucial 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 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 gauge the PR.
To understand the quality of the link, Google analyzes the link that points to your web page.
Where does the link come from?
What prompted the site owner to link to you?
What is the link quality? (I.e., is it from an authority site?)
How new is your link?
How natural is your link profile?
And so on…
Let’s discuss some of the ways to get these valuable links:
Content and Outreach
Write an outstanding piece of content that most of the authoritative people from your industry are happy to link with. Do deep research on a particular topic and outreach or promote that people can link it to acquire the correct 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 building
Broken link building is the fast and easiest way to get a backlink. All you need to do is, search for broken links from authorities relevant to your website and ask them to provide a backlink if they find it useful.
Local Citations/Business Directories
Business directories are the easiest way to get a backlink; listing your business with details can help more remarkably.
There is a tremendous amount of value provided in the resource. When you can provide value through external resource pages, it becomes easier 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 crucial ranking factors. You might have too many links from the same domain but having a link from multiple unique root domains is more vital 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 with higher PageRank is a more significant factor than getting a link from the pages 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 the authoritative website carries more value than the non-relevant or neutral pages.
Link from the homepage
As you already know, interlink within the website is one of the essential factors, and most of the interlinks link back to the homepage to make it more authoritative 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 is essential. Google officially stated that they do count on do-follow links. But, concentrating only on a do-follow link can be a flawed strategy because the no-follow backlink from a webpage with significant traffic can still bring web traffic.
The text with which you wrap the link is called anchor text. Anchor text tells a lot about the page.
There are six 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 indicate spam, and it will impact your rankings.
Anchor text Diversity
Exact match: 2%
Phrase match: 20%
Naked URLs: 20%
Phrase match: 5%
It is said that links within the page’s content are worth more than links in a sidebar.
I often hear words like on-page SEO v/s off-page SEO, the best way to approach SEO is on-page 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’ jobs can be rewarding with quick ranking.
Covering more depth on a specific topic with proper keyword research followed up with on-page SEO with primary, secondary, and LSI keywords and interlinking all the jobs simplifies your SEO journey. So, Technical SEO factors like page speed cache have to optimize before going for off-page SEO strategies.
Off-page SEO can help make your website authoritative, and it can bring traffic to your website.
Putting back the focus on users can be helpful 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 unsure about it, and I have written an article on how to choose them.
1) The Complete SEO Checklist For 2022