On-Page SEO: How Much it Matters Now
Until very recently, on-page SEO was considered a fairly simple science. You stuffed your keywords — even into your img tags. You laid into the Meta tags hard. You bolded, italicized, and underlined keywords just to make sure they stood out. But those days are long gone. Over the last half-dozen or so Google updates, and polishing up with Panda, the latest algorithm, on-page SEO has gone from a no-brainer to a half-art, half-science with critical importance to how your page is ranked.
Gaming The System Takes Hard Work
On-page SEO is at least as important as off-page SEO (that is to say, backlinking) in terms of how your page lands in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) these days. And these days, while there are still hard-and-fast rules to follow, there are also many more items taken into account that are clearly not ‘gameable’. Luckily, there is one simple theme that seems to work when it comes to ranking through on-page SEO: keep every single page on your site clean, high quality, and relevant.
If you’ve been kicked by the Panda, you’ve probably either figured out how to fix the problem or you’ve simply moved on to a different project. If you’re an SEO expert, assimilating the many factors that Panda takes into account is an ongoing project. If you’re a surfer, you’ve probably noticed the change mostly because brand names, by a fluke of the algorithm, are suddenly ranking much higher than they used to.
Hitting Smaller Webmasters Harder
That fluke, by the way, isn’t really a fluke. It’s more like a side-effect. Panda brought about a huge emphasis on on-page SEO, and added to the list of things considered “on-page SEO” elements like ‘few and inconspicuous advertisements’, ‘user’s solutions featured prominently above the fold’, and many other things that brands do.
Brands do these things more than smaller webmasters because brands use their webpages as tools to support their business — whereas for small webmasters, the webpages are their business. That means that a homepage with little advertising that gives the user what they want quickly and easily lead to users that don’t stick around and read — which means, for any form of monetization, less money.
It’s All About The Reader
That said, small webmasters have a delicate balancing act to master these days: how to maximize the new on-page SEO requirements of Panda with the fundamental business requirement to make money from your website. The answer comes in a few parts. The first is — don’t stop following all of the ‘old’ rules of on-page SEO. Panda didn’t take anything away, it just added new factors to take into account. These new factors are essentially entirely about the reader’s experience.
In short, if you can manage to put together a site that has — on every single page you expect a reader to land on — original content (with original research), offers deep and useful content about it’s topic, offers user engagement like social bookmarking buttons and links to other high-quality pages about the topic, and doesn’t interrupt the content with advertisements and other distractions, you’ve done all of the on-page SEO that Panda requires. Good luck!
This is a Guest Post. What is the author of this article currently writing on? This article was about search engines, and I’m writing on a sub-set of that topic, free people search. You’ll find this article useful if you’re trying to find and re-connect with someone from your past (in case you didn’t find them on Facebook).