In Google’s quest to provide the most beneficial results for a search query, SEO has two key components; Onsite and Offsite. To maximize your results and percolate up the search engine results page (SERP), understanding the difference and how to implement is critical to a viable SEO campaign.

Onsite SEO

In basic terms, onsite SEO is the art of making your website friendly to search engines. This is done by adjusting particular components of your site so that search engines understand the intent of your content and the structure of your website.

If you think of search engines as great match makers, you’d probably come to the conclusion that the more quality data they can gather from your site, the higher your chances are of ranking in a dominant position for important keywords.

Core onsite SEO elements

The good news? Onsite SEO is not rocket science. With a little research and a clear strategy, you’ll have a well-optimized site that delivers an exceptional user experience. Here are the most critical elements:

Title Tags and descriptions – Your page titles and descriptions are the first things search engines ‘read’ when crawling your pages.

By optimizing your page titles and descriptions, you’re making the search engines job easier giving not only the crawlers but actual visitors a clear indication of what the page is about and why it’s relevant for desired search terms.

How do you optimize your Titles and Descriptions?

A solid strategy when optimizing these is to keep them related to how people are actually searching for related content. The titles and descriptions should provide clarity on what the content is actually about, and why it is relevant information for the intended search terms.

There are several tools you can use to optimize both titles and descriptions, we use Yoast for ourselves and our clients.

Title and Meta Descriptions

The guidelines:

  • Keep the title close to 60 characters (NEVER OVER) and the description of no more than 150 characters
  • Your primary keyword should be used in both the title and description; However, you need to avoid “keyword stuffing”
  • Use the Google Keyword tool to determine search volume, difficulty of ranking and how your competitors are displaying their titles and descriptions
  • Determine which keywords are relevant for your page
  • Include those keywords in your titles and description while giving a compelling call-to-action

Header tags: (H1, H2, H3) How to – A well-optimized page will include all three, but how do we use each?

H1: Your H1 header should only be used once on the page and often is the same as your “Page Title”, although it doesn’t have to be a carbon copy

H2: We use the H2 tag only once per page, too; however, this not a hard rule. We use it to provide localization or a geographic modifier to our content.

H3: H3 tags are used multiple times on a page. At AlphaMind, we use H3 tags to break up page sections and titles to relevant content.

An Example of all 3:

marketing automation header screenshot

An easy way to see how your site’s currently structured is to: Right click, view page source, hit Control F and search for H1 (Make sure it is only used once and is closely related to your page title), H2 and H3. Make adjustments as deemed fit with the above guidelines.

Content: Content Remains King – If you have done any SEO research at all, you’ve no doubt read or heard the saying “Content is King.” The reason is simple; content is the lifeblood of the internet and as such, needs a great deal of care.

Internal pages are often the first destination a visitor to the website will land on from the search engines, links from other sites or PPC campaigns. The goal is to provide high quality, useful, and easily digestible information that will meet the needs of the reader such as an answer to a question, a product they desire, or a service they need. The goal of every page is to provide the user with information and steps to enter the funnel and complete a conversion.

Keep in mind, website visitors read with their mouse, as much as they do their eyes. Meaning the way you structure the content on your site needs to utilize anchor text, clear headings etc. to draw a visitor in. At AlphaMind, we use the following guidelines for our writers:

  • Length of internal pages should be around 700-1500 words
    • How long or short will depend on the depth of information needed for a page topic
  • Relevant keywords need to be inserted into the content
    • Insert your keywords into content only if it results in natural, grammatical sentences
      • Make non-grammatical keywords grammatical by adding words such as “in, “of”, “a” etc.
      • You can always modify secondary or tertiary keywords
      • Include long tail keyword phrases in the content
    • Keyword density of individual keywords should not exceed 2%. For example, in a page about SEO, the term SEO, should not be used more than 2%.
      • 2% Core Keyword
      • 1% – Modifier word (Such as “Top”)
      • Use Synonyms to replace modifier words (“Best” or “Great” instead of “Top”)
  • Headers
    • H1 Should contain the primary keyword i.e. SEO Agency
    • H2’s should include geographical information i.e. serving Denver and the front range or Denver, Aurora, Thornton and the Metro area
  • Subheadings (H3’s)
    • Should contain interesting and relevant anchor points for readers i.e. “Onsite SEO”
      • Up to ⅓ of the subheads should contain the primary keyword
    • Bullet points or numbered lists should be used where appropriate
  • Most importantly – Content should be beneficial to the reader
    • Content should be focused on competitive differentiators; What’s the benefit to your to your visitor? Provide examples and proofs
      • Add at least one piece of data to each page (Statistic, fact, benefit etc.) For example: “Our SEO Campaigns are delivering a 6-1 average ROI, find out why”
  • Internal Linking
    • Each page of your site should link to other relevant pages, blog posts or articles within the site
    • Every page on the site should have a call-to-action with a hyperlinked phone number and link to the contact us page
    • All pages need to have a mini-contact form to reduce the amount of effort it takes to contact you

ALT text for images: The images you use on your site need to have alt text attributed to them. Search engines do not understand images, ALT Text, tells them what the image is about and why it is on the page. It should include your primary keyword and be relevant to the actual image. For example, the image below has the ALT Text of “Marketing Automation Process”.

Marketing Automation Process

Mobile, Mobile Mobile: In 2015 mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. We have all heard the need for a mobile friendly site. However, mobile cannot be an afterthought, it needs to be your primary focus when designing your site.

Website Load Speed: Closely related to mobile, you should reduce bloat on your site and ensure that is loading quickly. Google wants to provide its searchers with an exceptional experience and a slow loading site negatively impacts visitors. You can check your site speed here.

Additional Onsite SEO Factors:

In addition to the above, there are a few more Onsite factors to consider:

  • Well formatted URLs that utilize the primary keyword
  • Authorship of content
  • Structured Site Map
  • Zero Broken internal links

Offsite SEO

So you have taken care of all the technical aspects of onsite SEO; now what? Get started on your offsite SEO!

Essentially, offsite SEO is the promotion of your website and content to external websites. Guest blogging, social media, reviews are all critical components to a successful campaign. The below strategies and advice should get you started.

Link building and Authority Development – When a searcher is entering a query, search engines have to determine who and what content to display, and in what order.

In order to deliver the best results, that a searcher will find valuable and useful, search engines use complex algorithms in their ranking (Google uses more than 250 data points) formulas.

It has been proven over and over that results are influenced (both positively and negatively) by links pointing to a website. When links are coming from trusted, relevant sources and are backed by high-quality content; the results are positive. When the links are from low quality, untrustworthy sites, with little to no content, the results can be catastrophic and can even result in search engines deindexing or blocking the site from search results pages.

So how do you develop authority and effectively garner high-quality links?

Influencer Outreach: Influencers are people and publications that already have the trust of your customers. As such, they have a tremendous impact on the decisions your customers make. When determining which influencers you should reach out to, consider the following:

  • Create a detailed buyer persona of your best clients and customers
    • Consider their age, income, education, familial status i.e. married with kids, their geographical location etc.
  • Now that you have your buyer persona hashed out, determine what publications and people have influence and reach out to them with an offer to contribute to their cause. Maybe author a guest blog that’s beneficial to your audience as well as your influencers
  • Always seek new, relevant thought leaders in your field and offer to collaborate

By making the effort to connect with trusted influencers you’ll build high-quality backlinks, with offsite content that is useful to your audience. Most importantly, you’ll leverage the authority and trust the influencers already have to grow your business. For a more detailed strategy, visit our page on influencer marketing.

Review Marketing: Reviews have been proven to influence local SEO results, drive clicks and instill trust in potential customers.

You provide an exceptional service or product to your customers, but you still have 0 reviews. The reality; you need to ask to receive. Seems simple right? The vast majority of the clients we work with have no formal process that’s proactive in asking for reviews.

At AlphaMind, all of our clients are provided with a review campaign that utilizes marketing automation to simplify the process. Here some strategies we have found to produce results:

  • Create a marketing automation campaign and guide users to the sites you want reviews on i.e. Google, Yelp, Facebook etc.
  • If you are a professional service company, ask for reviews immediately after you’ve achieved the desired result for your client
  • Create a feedback form and make it as simple as possible to complete

Great Content: Obviously content is a critical component of onsite SEO, however, it is just as important (if not more so) for offsite SEO.

When you create high-quality content that positions you as a thought leader in your field, you increase the likelihood of that content being shared.

  • Research pain points and areas of influence no one else has done
  • Reach out to your network of influencers and provide them with a link to your content
  • Promote your content on your social networks

Social Media – Your content should not live in a silo on your site. When you create great content, share it.

Social media is also a great place to interact with your customers and show them the human side of your business. Don’t just provide your own content, share the content the influences you and is beneficial to your readers.

By doing this, you provide value to your audience and show your influencers that you care about their content too…you scratch my back, I scratch yours, right?

So what’s more important, Onsite or Offsite?

By this point, I am sure it’s pretty clear you need both.

With that being said, your top priority is to get your on-page SEO straightened out. Once that is done, you’ll have a site that influencers will be happy to engage with. If your site isn’t well optimized, does not have great content etc. then it’s not worthy of influencers or natural high-quality links.

A lot goes into an effective SEO campaign. If this seems to be outside your scope of knowledge or if you don’t have the bandwidth to implement these strategies, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation.