You are a unique and special snowflake. Nothing else in the entire universe is exactly like you. Your website is also unique, just like your phone, your shirt, car, and even your hairstyle. Except – it’s not, and you’re not. At least, not in any measurable way… well, we are all like bags of potato chips; every one of us is indeed different, but we’re all still basically the same. Unless you’re me, in which case no matter which bag of chips you pick up, it will always be the one crushed to dust. That’s what makes SEO – and in particular Non Technical On-Page SEO so important. It’s about being recognised as something more than just an ordinary chip in a sea of unwashed potatoes.
Don’t get me wrong. What I mean by On-Page SEO here, in this post, isn’t really about keyword density, title tags etc. It focuses on what makes a site or a page link worthy. Its about optimising for those small quirks in the algorithm, from bounce rates to click through rates, those on the fringe elements that may, just may, be affecting your sites rankings.
SEO Without Really Focusing on SEO?
If you hate the very idea of bowing to the Internet search giants, and you aren’t a working member of the Department for Business Innovation Skills , you’re probably not going to be able to make any big changes in how the system works. That’s not a bad thing, though. Think about it, and direct your hatred of the system into creating an opportunity, by using this type of On-Page SEO as a technique, rather than an excuse for failure.
To put it in perspective, let’s say that you want to get a job. In order to get that job, you need to meet certain criteria, and likely satisfy educational requirements as well. Along with you, thousands of others will also be submitting their details and particulars as well. You can cast in your lot with them, which will give you better odds than playing the lotto, but not be likely to get you the job. In this example, you’re the website, and the job represents the millions of users who will be drawn to the site.
If your website is just like every other site on the Internet, it’s not going to stand out. Sure, if you have the money to spend tens of thousands in marketing, you might get noticed. You won’t, however, make it past the 90 day trial window, because your website still looks like everything else on the Internet, and those who visit will quickly leave, unless you linked to a funny cat article.
By making your site absolutely amazing, you change nothing – that is, nothing other than the first impression of those who visit the site. Those first impressions absolutely increase visitor engagement, and that is what you want. Without that engagement, outstanding content is overlooked, and the user experience doesn’t matter, because no one is using it. In other words, it won’t matter that you went to Oxford if you show up for an interview wearing your McDonalds uniform.
Presentation and first impressions are critical – they affect more than just your reader engagement, they affect your content share-ability.
Read on for Five On Page Non Technical SEO Tips.
First: Face Check Your Website
Yes, we’ve all either been there, or heard horror stories of those who have been to a club that would not let them in because they weren’t beautiful enough (or apparently rich enough, in the case of the wildebeest I once woke up with after an evening in such a club). At any rate, the most important part of your target page is the face check. You can ask just three simple questions, and immediately decide if you’re on the right track. Answering no to any of these questions means that your page may have failed. So, without further ado, here we go:
How does it look? If your page doesn’t look good, and I mean really good, you’re just kidding yourself if you think anyone not related to you or scraping content is going to spend more than a few seconds forced to look at it. Just ask yourself whether or not you’d buy your website a drink if you met it in a pub, no matter how interesting it is. If the answer’s no, well, no one else is going to be buying drinks for it either.
Would you take it home? Well, perhaps a better question would be whether you’d take it home before an evening in the pub. Just like above, the page needs to look good enough to buy a pint for. If not, no one is going to sit next to it long enough to start up a conversation and find out how full of wonderful and enlightening content it may be.
What would Mum or Dad say? Last, and certainly most important, is the parental test. Can your parents navigate it? Are they at all interested by it? See, while any slick site can likely pass the first two tests, this is the real test. If mum and dad aren’t interested, you’re in for lifetime of worse than average family dinners. Your page therefore needs to engage more than just you. It needs to be entertaining, enlightening, and all of the things we previously mentioned, but to all types of potential audiences.
Why? Well good looking sites get linked to, often.
Second: If You Built It (Well), They Will Come (and Stay)
We discussed face checking your site above, but there is a lot to that – and some of it more in depth than you might think. Your website needs to be functional, and not just a little functional, but really functional. This means the user experience, or UX, should be spot on. People need to be able to easily get where they want – because if they get lost every time they visit your site, they won’t be coming back often (or ever). In fact, according to guides published by MIT (http://libguides.mit.edu/UX), the user experience has a lot more to do with how long people stay on your page than the content. We often find sites with really good UX rank better too. Whats more, Google quality raters handbook emphasises UX.
Third: Dont Abuse Keywords and Consider Crafting Good Serp Snippets
Keywords are very important, but should not be overdone. Write naturally, and about the actual topic you’re discussing or covering on your site, and you’ll be authentic. Also, SERP Snippets isn’t a band (it totally should be though). Rather, it’s that juicy intro to what your site or link is all about. To make them shine, don’t just copy a piece of your article, unless it’s a real gem. Rather, craft something that embodies what you wrote. Make it worth reading, and people will read. It’s that simple. Your meta description is the key to making your site stand out in serps – a well crafted snippet may mean that more people will click on your site in the results. This in turn may be contributing to ranking your content up even further in the short run at the least!
Fourth: Be Authentic by Being Yourself
The people who come to your site will all want different things, but the one item that will stand out is that they want authenticity. Putting up real author information, instead of the standard one liner or meaningless CV style garbage in your author bio will encourage people to read more. In fact, sometimes it can attract someone who wasn’t even interested in your site, but took an interest in you. These are connections you’d never have made without being you, and they are one of many factors that drive successful sites.
People often link to people because they like them.
Fifth: Be Original or Go Home
If you’ve copied your site design, or someone else’s site content, then you’re not likely going to go anywhere with it. At least, not long term. Everyone who visits your page is expecting an experience, not just a quick read or a photo. They want to laugh, and they want to learn something. If you can’t deliver that without copying someone else, then you’re wasting their time, and they will leave. Worse, search engines will identify your copied content, and assign no real value to your site – and in some cases, to you.
Original content is important, GOOD original content is even more important.
If you have a real website, and you want to have real visitors, then you need to show them some respect. SEO is really just common sense when you look at it from that perspective. Every second anyone spends on your site has a direct and measurable value in terms of his or her time. By paying attention to your users, and respecting their time, you’ve already taken care of the lion’s share of on page factors that may affect your ability to gain links, shares and traffic- and potentially helped your External SEO – making your site a more worthy asset to link to.
If you need additional help, just send us a message, and someone will be sure to point you in the right direction. Just be prepared: if your question is particularly complex, you might get pointed in a lot of directions.