SEO tips #2 - Search Engine Optimization tips
What is on-site SEO?
On-site SEO (also known as on-page SEO) is the practice of optimizing elements on a website (as opposed to links elsewhere on the Internet and other external signals collectively known as "off-site SEO") in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic from search engines. On-site SEO refers to optimizing both the content and HTML source code of a page.
Beyond helping search engines interpret page content, proper on-site SEO also helps users quickly and clearly understand what a page is about and whether it addresses their search query. In essence, good on-site SEO helps search engines understand what a human would see (and what value they would get) if they visited a page, so that search engines can reliably serve up what human visitors would consider high-quality content about a particular search query (keyword).
The ultimate goal of on-site SEO can be thought of as attempting to make it as easy as possible for both search engines and users to:
- Understand what a webpage is about;
- Identify that page as relevant to a search query or queries (i.e. a particular keyword or set of keywords);
- Find that page useful and worthy of ranking well on a search engine results page (SERP).
Keywords, content, and on-site SEO
In the past, on-site SEO has been synonymous with keyword use — and specifically, including a high-value keyword in several key locations on a website.
To understand why keywords are no longer at the center of on-site SEO, it's important to remember what those terms actually are: content topics. Historically, whether or not a page ranked for a given term hinged on using the right keywords in certain, expected places on a website in order for search engines to find and understand what that webpage's content was about. User experience was secondary; simply making sure search engines found keywords and ranked a site as relevant for those terms was at the heart of on-site SEO practices.
Today, though, search engines have grown exponentially more sophisticated. They can extract a page's meaning from the use of synonyms, the context in which content appears, or even just by paying attention to the frequency with which specific word combinations are mentioned. While keyword use still matters, prescriptive methods like using an exact-match keyword in specific locations a requisite number of times is no longer a tenant of on-page SEO. What is important is relevance. For each of your pages, ask yourself how relevant the content is to the user intent behind search queries (based on your keyword usage both on the page and in its HTML).