You've done everything to get your page the highest search ranking possible, but is what you're doing really working? Search engine algorithms may take advantage of some techniques that are believed to help onsite seo, but some might not be contributing any help at all. Watch today's video to learn about what you can do to ensure your business is seen by your audience through our tips for onsite SEO optimization.
Hello, and welcome to our video today on onsite optimization tips. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.
Good afternoon, Chad. We're talking about onsite SEO today, a topic that just never seems to get old. We've been talking about this one for years. And it seems like people are searching for the magic bullet, but there's really only so much you can do onsite. You recently came across an onsite SEO article that I think was very interesting, or maybe interesting because it's not interesting. But let's talk about onsite SEO help for our viewers today and recap what they're pointing out as the hot issues in 2013.
Absolutely. And I posted in our forum that I actually printed out an infographic that SEOmoz put out-- Rand Fishkin in a blog post of his. And I have it right here, so I wanted to reference it. But it does make you realize in SEO what sort of old is new and these same things keep coming around in different flavors. But let's go through what you need to do from an onsite optimization standpoint.
The number one thing, most important thing, is that your site is crawlable by the search engines for onsite SEO help. So Adam, what are some of the things you've run into that prevent that from being possible?
There's some gross neglect that some people have. They have pages that are stuck behind a password-protected part of the site, and they wonder why it's not in Google. They have errors. There have 404s, where they think there should be something live. So those are the real obvious things-- broken pages.
But then you can get into some code is better for Google to digest. And others, Google wants you to think they can digest everything. And that's just simply not the case, still. Flash was all the rage in the discussion of onsite SEO four years ago, because everyone got into Flash because the user experience is wonderful . And again, despite what Matt Cutts might tell you, some things you do for the user experience aren't great for the crawlability. Flash is a great example. I wrote up a blog post about tag clouds, putting these things on the site of your blog-- really cool things. They can rotate. They showed the words in different sizes based on how many times they're used. But Google came out and said, well, we don't actually like that. It confuses us and gets too many keywords on the page.
So your page may be technically still crawlable, but we find all those keywords were confusing our bots about what the page is still about. So it comes out the simpler is better. And watch your Webmaster Tools to see if any warnings of things that can't be crawled.
Absolutely. And I think most of the time when we-- and get a lot of sites coming where we're doing onsite SEO assessment and onsite implementation, most the time the issue isn't the site's not crawlable. I will say there are a handful out of hundreds where someone comes in and they have one of those classic errors of they've disallowed their entire site and their robot.txt file.
Those are few and far between. And most people today that are using Wordpress or a similar type of CMS, Drupal, same thing, those sites tend to be built from the very beginning to be relatively easy to crawl at a search engine. So that's usually not where the trouble is. But let's move on to some of the other things that were mentioned.
That really comes down to the specific pages and what kinds of things you need to be doing to the pages, because going way back, it used to be that people would just stuff a bunch of content on a page and maybe stuff the keyword meta tag as well. But that's all behind us. So what now is important is that you make sure that ideally, the keyword is in the URL.
Sometimes that's actually harder to make happen than other times, depending on your CMS. But ideally, a lot of CMSes, when you build the name of a new page, it will automatically use the title of that page to build the URL. So do that. In the title tag for the page, you want to make sure you get your keyword that you're targeting. And that's usually, again, most systems today allow you to fairly easily manage and set up the title tag. And then you want to write nice description. There's a lot of talk there on descriptions and title about should you write the title tag to be like an ad title and the description to be like the ad body. And some people say yes, some people say no. Rand, interestingly enough, said write the title tag to be more keyword-oriented, your most important keyword title to the left. But write the description the more of an ad. So that was an interesting look at that. That's what you do high-level. Any thoughts on that, Adam? I've got some other ideas here.
Don't over think it. But it is important to get it in the URL name. And of course, the title text is still very important. I am surprised sometimes when a keyword on our site that's just a tag, it isn't actually where there's a full length article, will sometimes outrank the article. Now, that usually gets sorted out over time, because the deeper content will attract the links and have longer page views. And other signals get plussed and liked. But I say the ones you have there are right on. Don't over think it.
So switching gears now to the rest of the page, what I found very interesting, again, in 2013 that may have differed from a couple years ago is a lot of what moz.com was talking about was making the content valuable for the audience. So the search engine is important. We just talked about some of those factors. But other things they really wanted to talk about are the experience of the content. Is it good content? Is it well-written? Is it broken up into readable paragraphs? Are there nice graphics on it? So that was a big part of it. And they also had parts about, can you share on social networks, which again, is very important. In 2013, you want to make it as easy as possible for that content to be spread socially as well as found by search engines. So those two things are important.
But to wrap this up, there were also the same old other factors that SEOmoz talked about, like making sure you have your keyword in the content several times and making sure that you might have a link or two from other places. So again, what's old is new. A lot of the factors are pretty much the same, same stuff we've been talking about for a long time that we incorporate in all of our reports.
But there are these new things, especially the focus on end user value and social media, which you could argue isn't new, but it's just more important than ever with onsite SEO these days.
Yeah, I would summarize by saying the 30%, 70% rule of onsite SEO versus offsite SEO is still alive. And that 30%, you do need to have excellent content. People say density is dead, keyword density is dead. Don't worry about it. But here you have usage of the keyword as a very important onsite SEO factor. Matt Cutts even talked about that. He says don't overuse it, but make sure you use the keywords that are best for that page. He's talking about density at a very low level.
But I think the other takeaway and you hit it on the head, Chad-- was aesthetics are important. And as we've seen this evolution of SEO moving from a mechanical, technical exercise about spiders and crawlabilities and 301s and 401s to really getting good rankings and becoming more of a real marketing exercise, website aesthetics are key. People bounce off pages that don't look good, that they don't identify with, that they don't see something interesting on.
So that speaks to the overall design aesthetic, as well as the pictures that you pick for that specific page and how well aligned they are to what it's about. And that's what will bring them into the actual content, which then has to be good. Or they'll still bounce off when you get to the words and realize they're reading garbage. So I guess what's old is new.
Keep focusing on your onsite SEO. It's still 30%. It's necessary, but of course not sufficient. And we're back to where we started.