Getting your head wrapped around all the factors that affect your SEO, both on and off your site, can be intimidating. What are the on-page SEO success factors that you should be focused on in 2017? The Periodic Table from SearchEngineLand is one way to help visualize what is necessary, and how to plan your SEO strategy moving forward.
So what are the on-page SEO success factors to focus on in 2017? If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll know we keep drilling this: content is king. When it comes to SEO, nothing beats relevant and engaging content. We’re not alone in this thinking, and the SEO Success table lists Content as the first column for you to pay attention to:
Quality: Content must first of all be of high quality. It must be well-written, avoiding grammatical errors, and have original content. Google’s RankBrain AI will quickly see through any tricks in creating content.
Research: You need to research the keywords people are using to find relevant content. One source of research is the Google Keyword Planner.
Words: Is your content using the words and phrases you are trying to target? Are they included naturally in the content, and not repeated too often? You want your target keywords to be included, but to fit into the content without standing out.
Fresh: Are you regularly updating your blog and creating new content? Is the content that you are creating based on new, trending topics?
Vertical: Add vertical content, like images, local news, videos, and more. Link to your YouTube video content or other relevant videos, and make sure to link to other trusted sites for readers to further use.
Answers: Is the content that you are producing able to answer questions entered into search results? Identify the kinds of questions your leads may be entering into Google, and answer them!
Thin: Make sure your content is fleshed out, and filled with relevant information. Short posts lacking substance do not give you the same boost as quality, in-depth content.
Next in importance when it comes to SEO performance factors is your website’s architecture. What are these key topics and how can you optimize them?
Crawl: Search engines use bots to scan the content of your website, known as crawling. You need ot make sure that your website is as easy as possible for these bots to crawl your content and index it.
Duplicate: Does your website have duplicate content? Some duplicate content won’t hurt, but Google will penalize you if it finds you are taking advantage of duplicating content with the purpose of raising your SERP results. Use canonical URLs to prevent this.
Mobile: More and more internet traffic is delivered via mobile, and websites that are optimized for mobile applications perform better.
Speed: How fast does your site load? Are there unnecessary scripts in your code that is slowing down performance? It may not seem relevant to search, but Google has confirmed that site loading speed is one of the factors considered when generating results.
URLs: Are your URLs structured in a way to include relevant keywords? By looking at a URL, a user should be able to get an idea what the page will contain. Descriptive URLs perform better than ambiguous ones, and we recommend using dashes instead of underscores.
HTTPs: Google prefers secured HTTPS/SSL websites over unsecured ones. This is a simple way to improve SEO/SERP performance.
Cloaking: A black hat tactic that will hurt your performance if uncovered, so avoid it. Search engines should see the same pages that your real human readers see.
The last major topic to cover for on-page SEO success factors in HTML. You can optimize the underlying code behind your website to further boost your SEO and SERP performance.
Titles: Do the title tags of your page’s source code use tags that have relevant keywords? We have a post on which tags are and aren’t important, and how to use them effectively.
Description: As above, are your meta description tags relevant to the topic at hand? Are they properly formatted?
Structure: By using structured data you enhance the way your listings are presented in various formats, and make it easier for search engines to provide your results to users. Schema is a structured data project that provides community-accepted definitions for microdata tags.
Headers: Headers and subheaders need to contain relevant keywords, and be provided at ratios that suggest honest content creation.
Stuffing: If search engine bots discover you’re excessively using keywords you’re trying to rank on, and if they’re placed in content that isn’t relevant to them, your performance will suffer
Hidden: Do you have a page with a white background, stuffed with white text? As with cloaking, you’re showing human users different content than search engines. These tactics will hurt your performance when discovered.
There’s no single tactic that can act like a silver bullet when it comes to SEO (save for content, maybe). There are many factors that need to be considered both on your page as well as off. Crafting a successful SEO strategy does not need to be intimidating, but you will need to do your research and carefully craft a plan of moving forward.