There are on-page SEO tactics that worked in the past but now hurt you when search engines grade your content. Here are on-page SEO strategies that you must either stop or alter to avoid accidentally undermining your efforts.
Bringing On Page SEO Into 2017
The URL that Hurts SEO
There are several ways the URL of the webpage impacts search engine optimization. While Google isn’t directly penalizing sites that lack HTTPS in the URL, the notices search engines and browsers like Google Chrome put up that these sites are not secure certainly drives many people away. Links that include the entire title of the content at the destination are more likely to be shared than those that look like gibberish, and they improve your site’s SEO when the link and title are both shared.
Keyword Repetition Rules
There are tools that attempt to measure your content’s success at SEO by counting how many times the keyword is repeated on the page. Yes, search engines still use keywords and key search terms in measuring how well the content fits the user’s intent. Putting the key word in the text once every 100 words will actually hurt you, especially if the key search term seems shoehorned into the text. Repeating variations of the key search term throughout the text such that it seems thin will also result in search engines downgrading your content.
This strategy must change to include more latent semantic indexing terms that show how your content fits the intent relative to the question the search engine thinks the user is asking. For example, in an article about jewels, you need to include latent or secondary keywords at half the density of the main term so that the search engine knows if you’re talking about gemstone jewelry, crown jewels of various royals or a suite of popular games. Be careful not to have too many “key words” or search engines won’t be sure how to categorize your content.
One evolution of this tactic is seeking to put entire conversational search queries in the content, such as using each question as the title of a section in an FAQ section or answering that question in detail while using the query as the title of the piece.
Leaving Out Social Media Sharing Buttons
Social media sharing is off-page SEO, when it is done by other people. However, your onpage SEO strategy should include putting social media sharing button on your content marketing pages to facilitate sharing to create backlinks to your site. Don’t forget to include calls to action to encourage people to share the content.
Bloated, PC Friendly Websites
Google implemented updates a few years ago that prioritize mobile-ready websites. This favored sites that skipped the Adobe Flash video ads and rewarded those that loaded without errors on mobile devices. The search engines reward sites that load very quickly, and it indirectly hurts sites that take so long to load that they cannot be crawled at all. For example, your slow loading site may not be completely crawled and indexed whereas a competitor that is lean and mean will be completely indexed and available to searchers.
Your SEO is directly impacted by slow load times, since around ten percent of would-be visitors abandon a page for every second it takes to load. The search engine doesn’t care if the content didn’t finish loading; it only sees people bouncing away after a few seconds and assumes your content wasn’t a match for the search query.
Do not rely on old URLs and redirect pages to take people to their destination. Search engines penalize redirects as do users who don’t trust redirects. A serious failure is when the redirect chain is broken, causing people to see errors instead of the intended search result.
Internal links are in general good for users and your SEO. If someone lands on a popular page that came up in the search results and see the link to the page they actually want, such as landing on the page on model B and seeing the link to the description of the new model C, your internal links prevent people from bouncing away from the page and hurting your SERP. The internal links also keep people on your site longer, increasing the grade search engines give your site as a match for the query.
You should also check the cross-links on your website to make sure they work. Search engines penalize sites with broken links, and users hate them, too. An indirect penalty you face for too many bad links and cross-links to the same pages is that search engines follow these links into a rabbit hole instead of indexing the rest of your site. Now your newest content is missed in the indexing of your site. You can minimize the risk of this by putting an XML site map on your website.
Now that you have learned on page SEO, it is time to learn Off Page SEO now.
We’ll assume anyone reading this knows that content scraping will hurt your site, which is why you need to be careful when excerpting someone’s work to criticize it or sharing someone’s review of your product. An unfortunate mistake some site administrators make is using the same templates to create content for their website, resulting in a copied content penalty even if this isn’t the intent. One variation of this is using the exact same template for ecommerce content except for product name, part number and model number. Another variation is uploading the same press release to multiple subdomains on your website.
A variation of this mistake is using non-unique title tags and meta descriptions for your webpages. If you’re creating separate ecommerce pages for each model, put the different model numbers along with brand names and product identifiers in the meta descriptions. And where possible, give every product a different title tag. They aren’t all flashlights; this one is an X brand tactical flashlight model A while that one is a floating flashlight by Z brand.
Don’t use the exact same homepage for each of your retail outlets’ subdomains or you risk being hit with a duplicate content penalty.