When you Google something, it might seem like you miraculously arrive on the page that has the information you need.
This is not an accident. Every single search result on Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) was decided upon based on a ton of factors.
If you want to build your SEO rankings, especially organic traffic, there are two approaches that you must incorporate: ‘On-page SEO’ and ‘Off-page SEO.’
Both approaches work together but have a different purpose. Let’s start by defining the difference between the two:
On-page SEO is everything inside your website.
Off-page SEO is everything outside your website.
Neither is better than the other, and you need to use both approaches together to build relevance for your visitors. Remember that the more valuable (i.e., relevant) a search result is, the more likely people will read it, share it, and link back to it on their website pages.
Improving your On Page SEO
A great place to start improving your SEO results is with the content on your website. If you are a business, make it clear what you do, how you do it, what things cost, and what the benefit is to your customer. If you are an informational site, then answer questions and help people become smarter than before they visited you.
If you have a blog on your site, make sure it is within your visitors’ scope of interest (not yours) and it keeps your visitors informed of new information about your products or industry.
In technical terms, you must ensure usability, website speed, your meta tags, headings, and a lot of other small details are correct. You also need to make sure that the keywords that your visitors search with are showing up consistently and coherently on your website.
According to Moz, the purpose of any web page should be included in:
- The Title tag
- The URL
- The actual content of the page
- The Image alt text
Keep in mind, you shouldn’t build your website with only the SEO results in mind. It should be a healthy mix of compelling, valuable content and enough technical information that the web crawlers (aka spider or search bot) can find it.
Growing your reach with Off Page SEO
Once you have your site together, the next step is to start ‘working the crowd.’ Start to think of how you can get the word out about your valuable content.
A more technical way to say this is to accumulate positive ‘signals’ and interactions for your website. You can do this through brand or product mentions, positive reviews, backlinks, social media mentions and shares.
Some of these off-page SEO activities can add to the actual Search Engine results improving, and others will simply get people to check out your site. Either way, you achieve the same result, so a mix of them is a good idea.
A quick word of caution here: don’t try to force fake links to your site on comment threads, or try to trade links with other sites. Both of these activities have very little value for the potential visitor to your site. They also tend to be viewed as black hat SEO tactics which the Seach Engines will punish (i.e., drop your ranking).
The best SEO is solving a problem
The very best SEO strategy has never really changed: stick to creating valuable content that is answering questions or solving problems. When you do this, you can share it proudly on social media, and offer it to sites as a potential resource. Keep doing this and over time and you will find that you start to get organic (free) visitors to your site on a daily basis.
SEO can be very complicated, and it can also be very simple. Always keep in mind the goal of your visitors (both new and returning) and let their intent guide what you create on your site.