Search engine optimization can be broken down into two main types, on-site optimization and off-site optimization. On-site optimization describes the optimization of your actual website pages, while off-site optimization refers to mainly to the process of building quality one-way links from other website to yours.
These two parts, on-site optimization and off-site optimization both must be done correctly or your website will not reach its full ranking potential and you’ll end up wasting a great deal of time, energy, money or all three of those things.
Today, I’m going to go into detail about the first component of SEO, on-site optimization. I’ll discuss off-site optimization in a later post.
What is On-Site Optimization?
On-site optimization is the process of making your website’s content (actual copy on the pages, images tags, headings, webpage structure, titles and meta-data) optimized for specific keyword phrases that you are targeting. This process, unlike off-site optimization, only has to be done once, and updated whenever you change your website’s content or change targeted keywords.
When it comes to optimizing your content for specific keywords, you need to walk a somewhat fine line. Obviously, the keywords need to be in your content, titles and tags, but you don’t want them stuffed everywhere. The general rule of thumb is to keep your content reader-friendly, with the keywords sprinkled throughout.
One of the most important parts of on-site optimization is the title of your webpages. You always want to have your targeted keywords mentioned at least once in the titles of your pages. The title of your webpage tells visitors (and Google) what that particular page is about, so you want your keywords in the title so Google knows that is a very relevant match for that keyword and it will display it higher up in the search results for that keyword.
On-site optimization is important, but don’t overestimate it. Proper on-site optimization can only take you so far. It is done once, and that’s it. After optimizing your site, you’d probably notice a nice jump in the search results ranking, but it’s most likely not going to stick you at the #1 spot (unless the keyword has absolutely no competition).
On-site optimization will get you about 25% of the way there; what takes your website the rest of the 75% to the number one spot is off-site optimization, the building of quality links to your website.
I have a good example of how on-site optimization can affect your website’s ranking. I picked up new client this month, millerhaus.com. They are a Bed and Breakfast in Ohio.
Their website had absolutely no real search engine optimization done to it, on-site or off-site. The first thing I did was improve their on-site optimization. No off-site optimization was done during this time, no linking at all. All I did was optimize their homepage for their targeted keywords. The effects of these changes in their search position in Google is very interesting. Here it is:
MillerHaus.com On-Site Optimization Results
|Keyword||Before On-Site Optimization||After On-Site Optimization|
|B & B keyword 1||Not within the top 100 results||#18|
|B & B keyword 2||#47||#27|
|B & B keyword 3||#43||#21|
|B & B keyword 4||#46||#23|
|B & B keyword 5||Not within the top 100 results||#25|
|B & B keyword 6||Not within the top 100 results||#23|
Note: Results are referring to Google’s organic search results
As you can see, some simple on-site optimization jumped their website up a minimum of 20 places in the rankings! Now, you have to take these results with a grain of salt, because these results will not be typical for all websites. It’s determined mainly on the competitiveness of the keywords. And these keywords are relatively low-competition. But the principle remains the same no matter what the competition is, on-site optimization can only get you part-way there.
So, the results from the on-site optimization are good, yes, but the thing is, the website isn’t ranking on the first page for any of the keywords, and THAT is where it needs to be! This is what I mean when I talked about the effectiveness of on-site optimization. If I didn’t do another thing with the site, it would stay relatively where it is ranking now. It is the off-site optimization, the building of links to the site that will take the site from the 2nd and 3rd pages and blast it to the top of the first page!
If you want your website to be blasted to the top of the search engines, be sure to drop us a line and we’ll come up an effective search engine optimization plan for your business! Pinnacle web solutions is an SEO firm in Chicago, providing the best SEO services!