Understanding “SEO Basics”
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, for a website or page can be broken down in to two basic and distinct categories or “tasks”.
The Basics of SEO are: –
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
Note: Underpinning both of these is the keyword research for a site, which should in fact be the first part of any good SEO campaign.
Good keyword research is essential and this will be covered in separate posts & videos.
On Page SEO
On page Optimization includes things like how often a specific keyword or phrase appears on the page, where it appears, and which “tags” it appears in, such as “H1” (Header) tags in the html formating, as well as the Title and Description Meta Tags.
It also includes the use of the keywords in the naming of the webpage or blog post.
The internal linking structure of your website, i.e. links between pages within your own site, are also effectively “on page factors” for SEO.
Off Page SEO
Off Page Optimization is down to the number of links to your webpage from other websites, the keywords used in the hyperlink description, and the “authority” of those sites in the eyes of the search engines.
On Page SEO v Off Page SEO
Now here’s the important bit, no matter what the search engine “representatives” would have you believe, off page seo factors are FAR more important to where your web pages rank in the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) than ANY on page seo factors.
There is a classic example that has been used by many SEO experts to illustrate this – the Adobe Reader website (get.adobe.com/reader/), which ranks 1st in Google for the search term “click here”.
Note: it doesn’t matter whether you put click here in “‘s or not.
If you take a look in google.com you will find that there are over 1 Billion results for the keyphrase “click here”.
Adobe haven’t done any optimization for the key phrase, and if you check the page you will find that the phrase “click here” doesn’t even appear anywhere on the page…
or in the html for the page, so it’s not in the title, description or keywords meta tags either.
so why does http://get.adobe.com/reader/ rank 1st in Google for the phrase “click here”?
simple, there are thousands of other sites that link to this page with a phrase something along the lines of “Click Here to download Adobe Reader”, and the majority have the words “click here” as the hyperlinked text.
What does this mean in SEO terms?
Any SEO work you do should be focused primarily on the Off Page factors, as these will have the biggest effect on your page rankings.
This doesn’t mean ignoring on page optimization, this should still be a part of the overall SEO strategy for your website.
If your site and a competitor’s are closely matched on the number and/or quality of backlinks you have, then the on page factors can be the “edge” you need to nudge your page ahead of theirs in the SERP’s.
Fortunately the on page optimization tends to be pretty quick and simple, and a “one off” task (apart from occasional tweaking for testing), so although “On Page” optimization is not as important, it should not be ignored.
I will cover the specific elements “On Page SEO” and “Off Page SEO” techniques in upcoming posts, so don’t forget to subscribe to get notifications of when new posts are added here on SEO UK