Sorry, It's Not Just Keywords
If you thought the only metric you need to be concerned with regarding on-page SEO was putting the right keywords in the right places, your website probably has a lot of room for improvement.
While I do cover everything you need to know in my SEO checklist, today we are going to take a look at on-page SEO - specifically best practices. Even if you thought some on-page SEO tactics weren’t weighted as heavily as other metrics, the honest truth is that we don’t have a perfect understanding or quantification of key ranking signals.
The bottom line is that you need to optimize your pages in every way possible to give yourself the best chance of outperforming your competitors. Taking advantage of ranking signals that your competitors miss gives you yet another opportunity to climb higher in the rankings – capturing more organic traffic to increase conversions. Though we could probably write entire volumes regarding each of the following sub topics, understand that this is a high level overview to identify weaknesses and areas of opportunity.
Fulfill Search Queries by Satisfying the Users’ Intent
People type keywords into Google because they have a problem they need. Basically, there’s an information gap – something that the user lacks. And guess who’s job it is to solve the users’ problems? That’s right, it’s our job! But there's one key distinction: initial intent is likely different than the final goal of the user. And this gives you the opportunity to satisfy their needs with content (be it informational, entertaining, helpful, etc.) by means of your funnel.
For example, a searcher may type in a generic search such as 'mattresses kansas city' but once they get to an actual mattress site, they may search that site for something more specific, like 'two sided' or 'memory foam'. The final goal was part of, but did not match exactly, the original search.
Often times you can glean the users’ intent from keyword research. For example, if a user enters a query along the lines of the “best backup software,” you can make the educated guess that they are probably on the hunt for software reviews and comparisons. Many websites use these keywords as their bread and butter for affiliate sales, but this is just one example.
Faster is Always Better
Have you ever visited a slow site? Of course you have, and the experience is awful. I can’t count the number of times that I bounced from a website simply because it wouldn’t load after ten seconds. Now that may sound like gross impatience, but most users expect a site to load within a matter of a couple seconds – or even less. The faster your pages load, the happier your visitors will be – simple as that.
Faster load times correlate with more back-links, more user engagement, and generally higher rankings. What’s not to love?