On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO

Here Shweiki Media Printing Company partners with Stephan Spencer—the co-author of The Art of SEO, co-author of Social eCommerce, and author of Google Power Search—to present a webinar on what on-page and off-page SEO means with today’s search engine algorithms and traffic.

On-Page and Off-Page SEO

On-page refers to anything that has to do with the content and HTML source code of a website page that can be optimized. It is when you optimize individual web pages to rank higher in search engines.

Off-page SEO is techniques used to improve a website’s position in the search engine via links outside of the main site page. There are many more factors to consider for off-page SEO. As Google becomes more and more reliant on artificial intelligence for search results, the harder it will be to determine off-page factors.

Off-Page Signals

One of the most important off-page signals is a link back to the website. Think of a link as a vote. Not all votes are created equal, just like links are not all equal. A link from CNN.com is worth more than a link from Jim Bobs personal homepage. Therefore, it is important to look for quality links that are relevant to your industry, authoritative, trusted and important as far as Google is concerned.

The placement of links is important as well.  A link found in the footer of a page is not as important as a link found in the main body text of a page.  A site wide link is not as valuable as a link on the homepage. Keywords have to be natural and not just look natural. Placement of other text near the link that are keyword rich can be helpful as well.

Checking the registration date to determine the age of the domain can also be helpful. You can go to archive.org to see how old a site is. Remember, the clock starts when the website starts, not when the domain is registered.

Measuring Links

To measure the amount of juice being transferred through a link, you can use real page rank algorithms. There are different tools available to approximate page rank. Page explorer from MOZ approximates page authority and domain authority. Majestic.com runs a different algorithm and has a different crawl of the web. It is important to look for corroborating evidence from multiple tools to determine page ranking.

Do Links Have Monetary Value?

It would be folly to put monetary value on links. When looking at individual links, the score might check out but it could be from a really sketchy website. Sketchy links completely invalidate the power a link has on the page.

Finding a Good SEO Firm

I highly recommend finding a good SEO firm. I have two different documents that are free on my website at stephanspencer.com in the “Resources, Guides and White Papers” section. The first document is about hiring a SEO firm. The second document is called the SEO B.S. Detector and it talks about trick questions to ask in an interview to determine if a SEO company is good or not.

SEO Basics a Company Should Do

One of the most important things to look at for on-page SEO is the title tag. The title tag is the most important signal for on-page that is not often paid attention to. To see what your title tag looks like, you can type into Google, “site:domain.com.” For example, Toyota would be “site:toyota.com.” This will show a bunch of search results from your site and you can scan to see how good they are. Are they compelling? Useless? Title tags are going to be the first thing you will want to fix on your site.

The most important thing is the title itself. The meta description does not influence search rankings in Google so do not worry about them. Work on things that are a good use of your time and move the needle.

If Google is using a title that is different from your own title tag, this means that they have overridden it for whatever reason. If Google is hijacking your title, make it more value added with less keyword stuff. It is important to work on improving a title to get it represented in the search results.

Identify good keywords to target and appropriate them in sites. Do not use the same keywords for every page. You should pick a page and use keywords that are highly relevant to that page. It is more important to have keyword prominence which means it is about the placement of keywords and not how many times a keyword appears.

Depending on the page type, it is important to have a rich snippet of content appear in the search results. For example, with customer reviews you want to show a star rating in Google. You want things like the stock availability or pricing displayed in a Google listing.

How Important Are Link Backs?

Links are the most important signal in Google algorithms. The three most important signals are links, content and RankBrain. However, to think of links as a commodity would be a big mistake. It is about being remarkable with your online marketing in order to get attention from influencers who can link back to you in their blogs. Influencers have a lot of authority and trust in the eyes of Google and that is where you can get a lot of juice out of a link.

Being Remarkable and Getting Great Links

First and foremost, you have to think differently about what you are creating. It does not matter what your industry is because you can still think outside of the box and come up with crazy, brilliant ideas for content marketing. Checklists, worksheets, quizzes, buyer guides, comics, and viral videos all have the potential to be remarkable if you can think of a clever hook or angle. A really killer headline will be critical.

Social signals are not the main goal, it is the links. Google does not pay a lot of attention to social signals such as likes, retweets and shares. The purpose of spreading virally through social media is to get the attention of influencers so they want to write about you in their blogs.

Check out my article, “The Social Media Underground” to learn more about getting power users on your side for pushing out remarkable content to various social channels in order to get reach.

Other ways to get your content out there is to network with influencers. For example, if you are a podcaster, try going to podcasting conferences and meet the top podcasters. It is imperative that you add value before asking for a favor. Pitchfox.com is a great tool for reaching out to influencers and building prospects. It prospects and builds a list of influencers by topic and performs outreach as well.

SEO Myths

Can bolding your keywords give your page an SEO boost? That is completely false. There are many myths about SEO and I have collected and debunked them on my website in the Guides and White Papers section called “These SEO Myths Must Die.

Are visits to a website alone a part of the ranking factor at all? No, Google is not hacking your Google Analytics and watching users’ behaviors once they are on your site. Google sees the click through rate from the search results. For instance, if someone goes back to the search results after only being on your page for a second, that indicates that your page did not answer their question or provide the service they needed. Many of the metrics on Google Analytics are not useful metrics and are not actionable. The metrics that matter revolve around a user’s feelings of the product or service. Businesses are based on user experience. Therefore, it is vital to pay attention to users’ feelings and details.

Domain Extensions

The domain extension itself does not matter because it is not about trying to get links from .edu or .gov sites. What matters is the link profile or neighborhood. Use .com domains because that is what users are expecting. When people see a domain other than .com, they often ask whether it is legit or not.  If you want to find domains with a reasonable budget range, visit hugedomains.com. All the good domains are normally taken, so you probably have to buy an aftermarket domain or a domain that was once used for something but no longer is in use.

For all these resources and more, visit stephanspencer.com

This podcast is brought to you by David Reimherr from Magnificent Marketing.

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Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer is co-author of The Art of SEO, co-author of Social eCommerce, and author of Google Power Search. He founded SEO agency Netconcepts, which was acquired by Covario in 2010. He invented the SEO platformGravityStream, also acquired and now part of Rio SEO. As an SEO consultant, Stephan helps companies big and small – from Zappos, Sony, and Chanel to stealth startups.

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