Recent SEO news has been heavily focused on off-site content, such as the seemingly unending war that’s currently going on between people who think we still need to focus a lot of energy into linkbuilding efforts, their opponents who think it’s time to lay it to rest, and those who are steadfast proponents of the notion that it’s a profoundly mediocre SEO tactic. The recent (but, arguably, pretty mild) Penguin 2.0 update can probably do all the explaining as to why SEO enthusiasts are discussing social media, guest blogging, and, well, everything BUT on-site content in their recent contributions to the community, but we can’t let the importance of having well-optimized on-site content slip through the cracks.
Since Penguin 2.0 did introduce some important changes, that should probably be rule number one: Don’t neglect your on-site content! You should be refreshing this stuff relatively frequently, especially, of course, if any of the information changes. There’s speculation that frequently-updated sites are better kept on Google’s radar, so that never hurts.
More specifically, stay on top of your keyword usage. Something I’ve seen all too often is webmasters who think they need to use their keywords in their exact forms as the anchor text for their links, and this is actually pretty punishable behavior. If your keyword is “lawn care New Jersey,” do yourself a favor and include a few stop-words to make that keyword sound more natural. Doesn’t “lawn care here in New Jersey” just sound easier to fit in a sentence?
In addition to that, make sure you’re varying your anchor text. Don’t target the same exact keywords over and over again on the same page – Google now sees this as spammy. A good way to switch up similar keywords is by branding them (Sprinkler King’s New Jersey lawn care).
During your content refresh, always do some thorough proofreading. You can never have enough proofreading. It might sound like common sense, but in my few years’ experience in SEO writing, I’ve seen a shameful number of pages that have spelling, grammar, and syntax errors…right on the company page. Not only will that make a visitor question your company’s authenticity, it’ll be a red flag to Google, too, since spam content is usually similarly low-quality. This is why the person writing your on-site content should never be just a writer or just an SEO expert – it should be someone who is well-trained in both, or two experts working side-by-side.
A lot of webmasters also have a hard time resisting the urge to ignore their e-commerce pages. It makes little sense – product descriptions are easy to optimize, but if they go neglected, they can easily account for duplicate content. Take advantage of your ability to optimize your e-commerce; it’s like free SEO real-estate on your website!
And, finally, don’t get too link or strong-tag happy. When a site visitor is just trying to get some basic info, it’s distracting when every other word is bolded or linked. Let the keywords come naturally and don’t put a crazy emphasis on them for a better experience.
So, your homework for today is to go home and refresh your content to make it Penguin 2.0-friendly!
Search engine optimization and online marketing is about increasing exposure, right? Wrong. I think that’s only a part of the ‘movie’; it’s a part of the buildup. The real ‘piece de resistance’ is what comes after your brand has paddled out into the ocean of online marketing.
Don’t just look my way; I’m just a newb; however, seasoned-vet, Joanna Lord of SEOmoz, entertains similar sentiments, showcasing them in her White-Board Friday video on new on-page optimization considerations. Watch the video; there is a lot in there to consider and take into brand-respective account.
Who is Your Brand?
One expression I appreciated in Joanna’s video is her emphasis on engagement. SEO is not only about getting noticed. It’s about engaging consumers, building a community once you’re in the waters.
Ensure you implement social cues and sentiments of a brand-construction site in progress. Being visually available isn’t cutting it in modern-day marketing. You have to express your brand’s commitment to building authority and a community. Remember Dr. Pete’s 2 SEO Metrics that Matter post? He showed how being visually present isn’t enough; without further cues of engagement and community value, many browsers bounce off the page, seeking other brands.
Don’t Get Comfortable
Have you done any A/B testing of your on-site page’s success? Anthony, why mess with a good thing? Hmm…perhaps so you could make it even better? Don’t get too comfortable. Jump out of your comfort zone, exploring better opportunities.
Joanna urges listeners to rethink brand goals as well as connect with other team members for input and effective, ongoing branding. Depending on the nature of your vertical, new technologies and trends may shape the style and voice of your brand. As suggested, “test all truths.” Ensure your brand evolves with consumers, trends, and the landscape of your respective industry. I remember reading about the Manischewitz brand switching up its style after 123 years!
Consumers Window Shop
Good news for designers and on-site enthusiasts; you’re valued now more than ever. Online marketing is reaching its tween years; a lot of verticals and brands are regularly present online. That means even niche brands must focus on consumer perception. Great-looking designs and advanced functionality of a site is no longer an augmentation; they’re commonplace elements, expected by brand shoppers.
As Joanna directs, consumers bring high-brand expectations with them online. Brands aren’t just searching for quality; they expect your brand to look the part from the very first visual impression. Don’t start surfing the online waves without the proper, updated gear. Consumers are watching and weighing in on your visual style and immediate appeal.
Be Persistently Brand Consistent
Uniformity is essential. While it’s advantageous to consider change, ensure all brand properties are consistent, allowing all points of contact to amplify brand messages. I referenced the BlueGlass brand a few posts back; I like how they brand team members with BlueGlass avatars, which parlay onto their site, blog posts, and social media interactions.
Don’t de-emphasize the power of branding, especially regarding long-term traction. It takes planning and strategic implementation to get people to start noticing your brand; once they do, branding and continual consumer engagement makes huge waves after the initial online point break.