4 Easy On-Site SEO Tips That Work In 2017

The rules of SEO change at an unbelievable pace and it can be daunting to keep up. Just when you think you’ve grasped a current concept, it seems to become irrelevant or revert back to an older form of the SEO technique.

For the last few years I’ve heard less and less about on-site optimization and more about link building and other off-site techniques, but even this seems to be changing. On-site techniques are definitely important in 2017. It no longer involves worrying about exact keyword densities and other outdated methods, but rather a shift in focus to user experience. We need to stop writing content for search engines and get back to creating content for humans. The following user focused on-site SEO techniques can help you improve rank and gain more traffic in 2017 and beyond.

Optimize Your Title Tag With These Simple Tricks

Title tags have always been a basic SEO signal that marketers have looked to optimize. In the past we’ve only really focused on using the exact keyword phrases we were targeting in the title. Although it is still very important to have your keyword in the title, Google now also looks at your click-through-ratio (or CTR) as a ranking metric.

What does this mean for you? Not only are they checking for your keyword in the title, but they are looking to see if people feel that your title is relevant to their search and they are clicking on your site. If you are ranking at the #5 spot, but are getting more clicks than the #3 spot, this is a strong signal to Google that your page is actually more relevant and it will get a boost in ranking position.

So how can you optimize titles to get more clicks? One proven method is to include numbers in your title. Numbers and list have always drawn our attention and this technique still works today. For example, if your page is focused on baking cookies, a headline like “Top 10 Recipes For Baking An Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie” will generally draw more clicks than a headline that reads “Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes.”  How much more traffic can you draw? Several reports have  shown click through rate improving more than 30% using this technique.

Another excellent way to improve click through is by including brackets in your page titles. I discovered this technique from Hubspot where they conducted several studies comparing posts with and without brackets and they found a 33% increase in CTR on the titles that had brackets.

So what do you put in brackets? Most commonly they include a clue as to what will be found on the page, whether that be a video, an interview, an infographic or some other form of content. Using the same site example as mentioned above, a title that reads “Top 10 Recipes For Baking An Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie [VIDEO]” would drawn more clicks than a title tag without brackets. It’s a simple technique that could have a big impact on your CTR and rank.

Use External Links To Authority Resources

In the old days of Google Pagerank we were more reluctant to use outgoing links. Google now thinks that your site will have a better user experience if you link out to 2 or 3 reputable sources in your content. Make sure these links go out to high quality and relevant sources of information that are of value to your readers. Brian Dean of Backlinko has reported that studies have shown that pages that link out to relevant sources regularly outrank pages that do not have any outbound links. This is a simple and easy addition to your content creation workflow.

Use Internal links

Linking internally is often either overlooked or completely overdone. Adding links in your content that point to important pages of your website is a simple and easy way to tell Google which pages have the most value. You don’t want to overdo this by adding 20 links to random pages of your site –  Keep it to 2 or 3 links that point to important landing pages that you want to give a boost. This is always one of the things I first look at when doing on-site optimization.

Write Longer Content

Google LOVES content now more than ever. A/B tests have been done to compare short pages with longer content pages, and guess what – Long content always wins. Content rich pages draw more links, do better with social media shares and Google has shown a preference in ranking for those pages that have higher word counts and more multimedia. Did you think that your content writer was going to become irrelevant? Not at all. Having a good content creation strategy is more important now than ever. Focus on quality over quantity and watch your traffic improve.

Have other on-site tips that you think should be mentioned in our next blogs? We’d love to hear from you.

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