Tons of businesses allocate a large portion of their SEO budget and resources to building links. While link building is definitely an important part of increasing your rankings in Google and Bing, the top SEO’s know that rankings are earned with on-site optimization.
Content, Content, Content!
You have been hearing it for years. It’s all about content. Buzzwords like content marketing and engaging content were used a ton in 2013. We might get tired of reading about it, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s true. Ultimately, search engines care about one thing– content!
Backlinks can disappear and be devalued with a swift kick from a panda or penguin, but if the content on your site is great, nobody can take that away from you (well unless they steal it). Ask marketers who relied on article directories and link trading networks if they wish they had of spent more time focusing on producing high quality, unbeatable content instead of trying to game the system.
When I talk about content, I’m not just referring to text either. You can (and should) mix it up with videos and images as well to give people a reason to come to your site. Here’s a good question to ask yourself about your website: “Why should someone come to my site over my competitor’s?”
On site optimization
A lot of the time, you can rank highly in search engines without a single backlink. How? By properly optimizing your website. I’m dead serious when I say that the SEO battle is won on-site. In fact, it’s actually a lot easier to focus on optimizing your website than trying to get links from other sites that you don’t own.
With that said, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is what keywords you want to try to start ranking for. With some basic keyword research, you should be able to easily uncover some relevant terms with high search volumes. I won’t go into detail, but here’s a helpful article on how to properly do keyword research.
Here’s a PRO tip– you can never have too many keywords. You may not be targeting every keyword you find with its own page, but you can use them within your content and for your blog. This will significantly improve your on-site optimization.
Go beyond just text
A lot of marketers make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do is mix in their targeted keywords into the body of the content and on-page SEO stops there. That’s one of the biggest myths out there, and it can really limit your ability to rank.
In addition to writing SEO friendly content, you should also add optimized images as well. What do I mean by optimized images? The “alt” and “title” tags for your images should include keywords relevant to your page/content.
When search engine bots crawl your website, they don’t see an image, they just see code. In order for them to know what the images on your website are about, they search through the title and alt tags. So make sure that they are properly optimized. If you use WordPress, then this is really easy to do. When you insert an image, there’s an option to input or change the tags to optimize them. You can also use a plugin if you’d like.
One of the most overlooked aspects of on page optimization is page speed. Google hasn’t come right out and said that page speed directly affects SEO, but there have been case studies that show there’s a correlation.
Google’s main goal/priority is to improve the user experience. Having a bunch of websites that take forever to load at the top of the search results doesn’t exactly make for an enjoyable experience for users. Think about it, how long do you wait for a website to load before exiting?
The good thing is that Google actually has a tool that shows how fast your website loads, and they also give you tips on what you can improve to make your site load faster on mobile and desktop views.
Some general tips are:
- Make sure you have clean coding
- Optimize your images so that they’re “web friendly” and use .jpeg images
- Cut down on unnecessary plugins (for WordPress users)
- Get quality hosting
Win The Battle!
With a properly optimized website, you can win the SEO battle and get your site to rank higher in search engines without being completely reliant upon backlinks. Try shifting your focus towards producing great content, and work on your on-page optimization to get more from SEO.