Friday, 24 August 2012

5 Solid Ways of Strengthening Your On-Page SEO

One of the most essential things when it comes to good on-page SEO is content. Content is what makes or breaks all your search engine optimization. Often times, people tend to underestimate the importance of quality content, while placing more emphasis on link-building. And while link-building is an important, essential element of strong SEO, on-page SEO and quality content is just as important for search engine visibility and traffic, if not more.

However on-page optimization isn’t just limited to producing high-quality, highly-valuable content. Producing quality content on a regular basis can be a difficult task; there are only so many hours in a day, and writing quality isn’t something that can be done quickly.

Here are 10 other elements of on-page SEO – apart from producing quality content – that should also be an important part of one’s on-page SEO strategy:

1.  Email Subscriptions: One of the most important aspects of on-page SEO is investing time, energy and resources into building an email list – a list of subscribers who receive your updates (announcements, new posts, etc.) via email. Every time you put something up on your blog, such as publish a new post, all your subscribers instantly receive an email, with a backlink to the new article.

It is essential to note a few important aspects of an email subscription list: (a) the people on your list have willingly provided you with their email ID because they want to hear from you. These are hence your most valuable customers. (b) Email traffic is one of the most consistent sources of traffic – something that probably already brings a good number of regular, targeted traffic to your blog, and (c) it is one of the biggest sources of traffic for some of the biggest blogs out there.

If you’ve not worked on building an email list, now would be the perfect time to do so. If you already have a list, consider coming up with ways though which you could increase your subscribers. Trust me, with the passage of time, it will become one of the most important assets in your blogging arsenal!

2. CTAs: Everyone out there blogs for a purpose. Whether you know it or not, there’s an underlying reason as to why you’re blogging. One of the main purpose of blogging – going through the process of writing excellent posts and all that – is because you want a large group of people to read what you have to say (or write) and take an action. In short, you need as much traffic as possible, which you can then ‘convert’ into leads.

To convert your traffic, you need certain ‘Calls To Action’ or CTAs, placed on various places on your websites. These CTA’s will urge your readers to take any action of your choosing – whether it’s visiting another website, ‘liking’ your Facebook page, signing up for your email list, or purchasing a plugin off your blog.

A strong, highly-optimized CTA will allow you to convert a high percentage of visitors into leads, which means you have a high CTA. Multiple CTAs can be beneficial as well – one on your header or sidebar, and another after every post, for instance, would maximize exposure. Essentially, your aim here is to maximize conversions. You could try doing A/B testing to check which combinations of placement, layout, color-styles, etc. work the best.

3. Update Old Posts: If your blog is relatively old – let’s say more than an year old – chances are that you have hundreds of posts on it already, if not more. However important to remember that each post has been indexed by the search engines as a separate page, will show up as a separate result in the SERP and will continue to get organic traffic as long as they’re up, even if they get buried under new posts.

For me, it is essential to update your old posts after a while; chances are that a lot of the information in that post is probably dated and could probably use an update.

Start off by opening up your analytics suite and looking at old posts which continue to get a large volume of traffic (number of views per day/week/month). Check if any of those posts could use an update. Start off with the title, and move to the content. Maybe the information is outdated and needs to be updated, maybe it needs to be optimized better for search engines, maybe you haven’t added a CTA to the post, or maybe an update is in order owning to the developments in the industry since the post went up.

After the update, it is important that you send out an email to your list, with a link to your post. Chances are that you’ve gained new subscribers since the post originally went up, and a lot of those subscribers haven’t read your post; you’ll be providing them with a comprehensive, updated post. While at the same time giving your old readers an updated version of the same post.

Plus it gives you fresh content for your blog which is never a bad thing right.

4. Social: Social integration is essential. Traffic from social media is very important and is essential for your blog’s success as well. Make sure that you add social sharing buttons, follow/like/+1 buttons and the like on various places on your blog, as well as in your posts. Make it as easy, simple and straightforward as possible for people to share your posts on social mediums such as Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.

You aim here is maximize your social reach, and try getting the word out to as many people as possible about your blog. Traffic from social mediums, like email subscriptions, is highly targeted (since the people who have ‘liked’ your page would want to hear from you), and hence more likely to convert.

Depending on the CMS platform you’re using, social integration shouldn’t be too hard. There are tons of plugins out there on Wordpress, for instance, that let you choose which part of your blog you would want to add social icons to.

5. Navigation and Pages: Navigation is one of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO, yet for some odd reason, remains one of the most overlooked ones.

Essentially, your aim here is to make it extremely simple for any visitor to land on your website, and be able to browse around the pages and find what they’re looking for after just a few mouse clicks. For instance wouldn’t it be great if an article that was published an year ago was just a couple of mouse-clicks away?

For starters, begin by improving your navigation bar in order to provide easy access to all parts of your website, no matter where or on which page/post a visitor might be. My suggestion: assign categories and sub-categories to your posts, and display all separate categories on your nav-bar (with sub-categories displayed as a drop-down menu).

Make use of your sidebar(s) and your footer in a similar manner as well.

Moreover, use your analytics suite to check which pages your visitors land on most frequently, as well as the pages they most frequently visit after they’ve landed on your website. Try optimizing those pages for visitors (most important), and search engine crawlers. Above all, cash in on the popularity of those pages by monetizing them – convert one of them into landing pages, and add multiple instances of your CTA to all of them.

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