On Page Optimization: Taking Steps Beyond SEO
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of on-page optimization? I need title tags that include my value keywords. My content should accurately reflect the keywords I’m targeting. I need to make effective use of my H1 tags and optimize my information architecture to facilitate search indexation. While this is all true, there is another component of on-page optimization that goes well beyond the search experience – the user experience.
Traditional On Page Optimization
We’ve covered page optimization a lot in our blog, so I’ll keep this brief. Things you (should) know:
- Optimize content. Make sure your title tags and description are optimized, the content on the page clearly defines its context and is guided by your SEO strategy (you’ve got one of those, right?), and you have headlines and images that makes the purpose of the page blatantly clear. Remember, it’s also important that you don’t over-optimize your website.
- Test calls to action. Conversions are clearly the most important factor on a page. Your conversions could be in the form of generating email leads, phone calls or click-through activity to another page. Make sure you’re testing the presentation of the call-to-action that leads to conversion. Experiment with button colors and placement, try using short forms and long forms, or move your phone number to a more visible or prominent space.
- Experiment with design. Your initial web page design is a baseline. From that point forward, you should be testing each component, including the layout, imagery, and general branding. You can always improve performance, so be sure to keep testing.
A New Approach
Your visitors and customers are evolving. Each year, people spend more time online and develop a more sophisticated taste for information. It’s more important now than ever before to provide not only valuable, easily digestible content, but also present it in an exciting way using new and emerging methods. Consider these additions to your web pages to improve performance.
User generated content
User generated content (UGC) has been around for a long time and it’s probably about time you jump on board, if you haven’t already. UGC includes things like adding public reviews to your product pages. Now, it goes without saying that referrals are one of the most powerful tools in marketing. As a matter of fact, 8 out of 10 Generation Y-ers say that UGC from strangers is more powerful than a referral from a family member (courtesy MarketingProfs survey).
Example of UGC on Zappos.
UGC is also a great way to gather testimonials that can be repurposed on other sections of your website. They can be used as leverage in social discussion or even in paid search advertisements. On top of that, you can now allow people who write reviews to share it with their friends and family. This could lead to more links back to the website and more qualified traffic over time.
- Referrals from strangers are the most powerful kind of referral to the largest online buying segment
- Setting up user reviews can authenticate your claims about your product or services
- Making reviews shareable can benefit your SEO, social, and paid search strategy
This might be a new one to you, but it’s an important one. More than ever, you need to take advantage of your social network. I know what you’re thinking: only 1,000 people even ‘like’ me on Facebook. The buck doesn’t stop there. Each of your 1,000 ‘likes’ is connected to another 100 people. Your network reach just blew up!
Social engagement obviously goes well beyond Facebook. Trying to grapple for professional leads or seeking prospective employees? Make it easy to connect and engage on LinkedIn. Running a special promotion? Tag it with a hash tag on Twitter and embed the custom feed on your web page. You can even promote socially after conversion to keep people engaged. Remember, you want to leave the visitor/customer happy and what better way to do that than to keep helping them find relevant information.
- Your social network is likely bigger than you think
- LinkedIn and Twitter provide equally unique opportunities to improve page content and conversion activity
- Social integration shows that you’re a forward thinking entity which resonates well with youthful visitors
Consistent, fresh content
Nothing is worse than a stale, outdated web page. Changing content, repurposing old content, and writing brand new content is valuable for a few reasons.
1). Helps with your search position. Showing Google that you’re still relevant is important. Inspire the search engines to index your content and you’ll be rewarded with higher search positioning.
2). Gives you an opportunity to link to older content and make it relevant again. Each time you release new content, you have the opportunity to work in links for older content. While this isn’t as valuable as getting a link from an external website, it does help search engines index your older content and keep it relevant.
3). Keeps the page interesting. If your website drives a lot of repeat traffic, or if you have a stable number of base users, it’s important for them that content remains fresh. If they come to your site once or twice a week and the content is the same, day in and day out, they likely won’t take any other action on the site. But if you’re constantly providing new information and pushing them through predesigned funnels, you’ll increase your chances of converting them.
Thinking beyond search engine optimization may be your best SEO strategy yet. Focus on evolving with your visitors. As their capacity to absorb information and browse the web become more and more sophisticated, so too should your presentation. Let them engage. Let them share. Deliver the goods. Reap the rewards.