This is a guest post by Jazon Monroe.
I noticed a question on my blog the other day that struck me as being too important to ignore. The person posting the question had invested some considerable time and effort to optimize his web page and was relying on SEOPressor to help him out.
He was quite certain that his efforts would quickly result in more traffic to his site, but this hadn’t happened yet. His question seemed straightforward; “What’s more effective, off-page or on-page optimization?”
I really wish I had a straightforward answer.
The only answer I have is: it depends. It depends on who you want to reach, and what keywords you are competing for.
Google’s Job; Ranking Pages. Your Job: Making Google’s Job Easier
Google uses a fairly complicated algorithm to assess the relevance of a particular page to a particular keyword or phrase. This algorithm considers both on-page and off-page factors.
The recent visitor to my website was using a very good product to optimize his web page, so I’ll assume that the page is in good shape. The reason he isn’t seeing a substantial increase in traffic is that he ignored the larger part of the equation – off-page optimization.
Based entirely on experience, I would say that your page’s search rankings are influenced about 20% by your on-page optimization and around 80% by off-page optimization.
Another experience-based observation is that Google judges you by the company that you keep. For search engine purposes, the company you keep is defined by the pages you link to, as well as the pages that link back to you.
As an example, if a website that focused on performance auto parts has an incoming link from a NASCAR team site or Road & Track magazine, that site should have a pretty good ranking. On the other hand, if most of the links to that site are from BobsAutoSalvage.com or RentAWreck.nz, the site may actually drop significantly in Google rankings because of the company it keeps.
Regardless of whether your site sells fine furniture, offers free car insurance quotes, or advocates for clean drinking water, off-page optimization is incredibly important if you intend to rank well for highly competitive keywords. Of course, those highly competitive keywords aren’t the only ones people use, so off-page optimization should not be your only focus.
I’ll go so far as to say that about 80% of your time ought to be spent on off-page optimization. However, if your webpage isn’t in good shape to begin with, Google won’t even have a place to start when ranking your page.
On-Page Optimizing – Making the Most of Traffic Patterns
In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there are two primary means for improving your Google rankings. The one that delivers the best improvement is establishing quality backlinks, but this can also be very labor intensive. Another way to do the job is to actually direct traffic to your website by providing your readers with quality content and a properly optimized web page.
This second type of on-page optimizing is often referred to as gathering low-lying fruit. When picking fruit in an orchard, the low lying fruit won’t represent the bulk of the crop, but it’s easy to get hold of, and a guy could live on it if he had to.
There are three tasks that you should pay attention to when optimizing your webpage;
● correctly placing keywords
● fully describing the page
● providing quality content
In case you aren’t sure about any of these tasks, I’ve outlined them below.
The Key to Keyword Placement
Your targeted keyword should always be in the title of your page. This will not only alert the search engine to the content of your page, but it will also give potential visitors a good clue about the content of your page.
The same keyword should also be in the first or second paragraph. This makes it easier for the search engine to establish that your title actually matches your text. It also will help you stay on topic in the critical first few paragraphs of your page.
Page Descriptions – A Virtual Welcome Mat
Another thing you should include in your opening paragraphs is a detailed description of the article. Folks who haven’t been trained to write military briefings or newspaper articles will not naturally summarize the article in the first paragraph, but if you can do it, you should.
A good meta description will do the same job, by the way. Meta descriptions not only tell Google what your page is about, but they also clue researchers into your page content, which could potentially drive extra traffic to your site.
One example of a good description for a weight loss site would be “Practical advice for eating right and exercising, consumer reviews for Medifast, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig products, as well as up-to-date information on the newest dietary supplements.” This would be a very awkward first paragraph, but as a meta description, it just shines.
Quality Content Leads to Quantities of Traffic
The most effective means of on-page optimization is simply writing a quality article. If your article is informative, entertaining, and meant to be read by humans and not just search engines, you will have people actually clicking on your website and spending time there.
Properly written articles will rank very well for the less competitive, long tail keyword phrases, and this translates into web page traffic every time. For example, the weight loss site mentioned above is a fairly small site with only 23 pages, but it brings in traffic from over 1500 keywords, most of which are very low-use phrases. You could consider that kind of traffic as a reward for writing good content.
Traffic Plus Backlinks Equal Gallons of Google Juice
If you’ve optimized your website correctly both on-page and off-page, you’ll be able to benefit from both a solid stream of traffic and some well-placed backlinks. The happy result of this killer combination is enough Google Juice to give your site the ranking it deserves.
The best example I can offer of Google juice at its best is my own experience. Because my articles are meticulously optimized on-page and off-page, my websites have very good Google rankings. When I post a podcast, the only thing on the page is a very large audio file. No keywords, no meta descriptions, no titles or sub-titles.
Despite a complete lack of optimizable material, these pages still rank on page one, simply because they have my domain name attached.
The next time you find yourself adding content to your fantasy football site or a site that offers auto insurance quotes online or one that sells antique alarm clocks, you should remember two things. Off-page optimization will help you compete for more popular keywords, while on-page optimization results in more traffic from less competitive search terms. Consequently, you’ll want to have both types of optimization for your website to rank well.
That’s been my experience, anyway… how about yours? Comments are always welcome, so take advantage of the comment box below.
About the Author
Jason Monroe is one of the young guns in affiliate marketing loving life in his mid-twenties with all the luxuries that come from being single. Being an avid football player through college gave birth to his love for the NFL as he continues to fuel his football passion watching weekend games with his friends. When football isn’t on, you can often find Jason researching classic cars, preferably the Camaro SS, in car magazines and online. But even this young gun knows how to get serious when it comes to affiliate marketing, a career that was born from his innate tendency to be a research hound, a knowledge that shows through his success online.