On-site optimization ensures your website’s visibility to Google and the other search engines, and when done correctly, improves your position in the search engine rankings.
On-site optimization is done directly on the website. In contrast, off-site optimization refers to any external internet marketing, including social media, inbound links and directory listings.
Also known as on-page optimization, on-site optimization centers on three main parts or techniques.
On-Site Optimization Part 1: Site Functionality & Appearance
Above all else, Google demands that websites provide the best possible experience for users, and that’s where we start with on-site optimization. This means that your website must display correctly across all platforms, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, game consoles and streaming devices.
Your website must also provide a high-quality user experience. This means good design, an intuitive structure and a streamlined, readable appearance.
Finally, your website must be fully functional with minimal downtime. All buttons and links must function correctly. Speed is important too. Your site doesn’t have to load at warp speed, but Google doesn’t look kindly upon pages that take more than a second or two to load completely.
On-Site Optimization Part 2: Relevant, High-Quality Content
After Google verifies your website’s functionality and user experience, the web crawlers evaluate its content. Content is a non-negotiable aspect of on-site optimization, as it is difficult to rank well on the search engine results page (SERP) without the right types and amount of on-site content.
We talk a lot about content here at Be Locally SEO. We focus on it closely because it’s so important. The best off- and on-site optimization strategies will only get you so far in the search engine rankings without great content.
Content tells Google what each page of your site is about. Google won’t rank any page that lacks content, because what do you have to offer site visitors if you have nothing on a page besides title tags, headers or descriptions?
On-page content serves two critical purposes. First, it is the vehicle in which you convey your critical keywords and key phrases. Years ago, you could get away with simply listing them — but no more. So although your keywords are used to determine what you have to offer your prospects and customers, Google requires that they be incorporated naturally into narrative text.
The other role that content plays in Google’s eyes — and the one that Google gives more credence to today — is to inform and engage your site visitors. This means that on-site content must be well-written, engaging and relevant.
It must be fresh and unique as well. In fact, Google penalizes duplicate content, whether it appears elsewhere on your site or on another website. This means no stealing content from other sites.
The bottom line is, if you don’t plan to have sufficient high-quality content on any given page of your site, you may as well just omit that page.
On-Site Optimization Part 3: Google Accessibility
Unless Google’s automated web crawlers can find your site, they can’t evaluate it. If they can’t evaluate it, forget ever showing up in the SERPs. Consequently, the third and final component of on-site optimization is accessibility.
This aspect of on-page optimization is also the most complex and technologically challenging.
The process begins with making sure that Google’s automated web crawlers, also known as bots, can access and evaluate your site’s code and content. And although we discuss them less frequently, we also want to ensure that Yahoo, Apple and Bing can access the site as well. Configuring your site to achieve these goals requires multiple steps that would provide enough information to fill another entire blog.
Once Google’s bots can access your site, they must be told how to read and interpret it. This requires formatting and microformatting within your site’s programming code, presented in a technical language that the crawlers can understand.
This process is necessary for the site itself as well as for each individual page. Title tags and descriptions must be concise, unique and — most important — highly relevant to what you do. Each page also requires header tags that point the bots to the content.
Ensuring Your On-Site Optimization Is Effective
This basic discussion of on-site optimization and how it works isn’t meant to be exhaustive. Rather, we have presented an overview of what on-page optimization is and why it’s crucial to your search engine placement.
We like to say that SEO is as much art as science, and Google’s constant algorithm tweaks keep us on our toes. What was important for effective SEO even a year or two ago is different today — and you can rest assured it will change again in the coming weeks and months.
Keeping up with these demands is a full-time job in itself, and that’s what we do here at Be Locally SEO.
To help you keep your website relevant and up to date, we are pleased to offer a complimentary evaluation of your off- and on-site optimization. We can show you what you’re doing well and what, if anything, could use a little updating. In fact, you can check it out yourself right now with our easy-to-use SEO audit tool.
You’ve invested precious time and money in your website. Shouldn’t you be getting the most from this valuable asset?
Contact Be Locally SEO today to learn more about Utah SEO and how it can help you grow your business. We are the nation’s leading expert in online marketing, including web design, website optimization, pay-per-click advertising and content marketing strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you grow and thrive in today’s highly competitive marketplace, with SEO and on-site optimization.