Commexis Tip Tuesday: Don’t Let Your On-Page SEO Get Stuck In The Past

Commexis Tip Tuesday: Don’t Let Your On-Page SEO Get Stuck In The Past

As someone who works in SEO, I have gotten used to the constant changes in the industry. I realize that what worked for my clients in the past and even what works for them right now, may not work as well as I want it to for them in the future. Good SEO practices will always have merit, but it is important to know when Google is taking things in a new direction, and what they are looking for most in a website. After all, on-page SEO is all about giving search engines what they are looking for in a website when they form their rankings. Google is focusing very heavily on user intent, and old school on-page SEO doesn’t tend to focus on the content quality that Google is now looking for. This means it is time to reassess our efforts.

On-Page SEO in 2017

I was recently reading this blog written by Rand Fishkin over at Moz, and he hit on a lot of important points with regard to modern on-page SEO. Since Rand wrote his article to address those working in the SEO industry, I thought it might be nice to interpret this information for those receiving SEO and looking to understand what Google is rewarding when it comes to good websites. If you think it is all about keywords on Google anymore, think again!

  1. There was a time when repeating keywords several times on a page was considered good practice, but it’s become much less relevant today. If you have been running SEO on your website for a while now, you may have had someone tell you at some point how important it was to reiterate the same keyword several times on a page. While it is still important to make sure your keyword is used in your URL, Title, Meta and Content, old rules that suggest that you need your keyword in your content a certain amount of times based on the number of words on a page is outdated. Just focus on getting your keyword in the right places and writing easy to use content.
  2. Keyword match is less important than easy to use content. What does Google want? It doesn’t want to just match a search query to a specific keyword on a page. What if the content on that page is otherwise terrible?  That won’t satisfy the searcher that clicked on it. Google wants to offer up high quality search results that will satisfy users. Therefore it is much less interested in whether or not you have the exact keyword match to a search query on your site, and is much more interested in how users interact with your site with regards to whatever query they typed in. In order for Google to achieve their goal of offering up the best websites possible, they had to get smart about keywords. They are now much more sophisticated and have developed the ability to understand synonymous and related keywords. For example, Google knows that New Jersey and NJ are the same state, and it knows that an attorney and a lawyer are the same profession.There was a time when people would stuff a bunch of keywords in a page with variations on the same theme in order to get as many relevant keywords covered as possible to rank well on Google. This made some sense because Google didn’t always understand related keywords, and needed literal keyword matches on each page. I certainly still run across sites that use this technique. While this is a way to get keywords into a page, it usually doesn’t create the most easy to use content and can read as forced or even sound silly. When content is forced or repetitive you can have all the great keywords in the world, but if people leave the site dissatisfied and move on to someone else, Google will absolutely take notice. Google is happiest to see you write quality content with a bucket of relevant keywords to your business used appropriately within context.
  3. Give users the content they are craving when they search, because Google rewards related topics and keywords on your website. Google wants to see websites that are genuinely helpful to users, so answering common questions and talking about expanded topics within the theme of your website can help Google see you as helpful and relevant to searchers. For example, if you are a pest control company you might want to talk about the specific pests that you work with, specific problems that are common in your area, and answer common questions that people have about pest control. Not only will this help your potential customers understand what you do and how you can help them, it well help Google see you as a potentially helpful site when it comes to search inquiries.
  4. Brand association with topical authority and expertise can help with your rankings. This sort of goes with #3 as well. Not only can answering important questions and offering relevant content on your website help you reach readers through this content, but it can also help you develop brand authority on Google. Google can potentially associate your business name with authority on subjects related to your field. Naturally, if Google sees you as a local authority you can reap the rewards that come with this distinction. It can take time to create high quality and helpful content, but the benefits are worth striving for.

To put it plain and simple, Google wants your website to genuinely be relevant and helpful to those you are trying to serve, and it wants you to incorporate these ideals into your SEO campaign when it comes to your on-page content as well. A bonus is the fact that your potential clients will also respond well to strong content and are more likely to contact you if they find your site useful. So don’t get stuck in the past when it comes to your on-page SEO. Your SEO team can help you make smart decisions with your campaign and content to ensure that you stay relevant and Google optimized for a long time to come.

Amy Leach is Commexis’ SEO project manager. She has a BFA from Rowan University with minors in music and art history.

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