“Lesser aspects?” What is this, a Tarot reading?
No, but we can ~mystically~ tell you that your future is SEO-heavy should you carry on reading this. You should, really. You’ve likely made it through our other articles, including the latest on the “main” aspects of OnPage SEO.
If nothing else, we at least have some of the best stock photo + caption game on the internet. So there.
OnPage: A Review
In case you didn’t get to check-in to our other article about OnPage SEO main ranking factors (hint, hint: see above), here’s a bit of quick, bulleted review for you.
- OnPage SEO is search engine optimization based on improving and optimizing “on-page” factors, such as the four main factors:
- Yes, there is an OffPage SEO. Besides links, OffPage SEO tends to refer to practices related to your business’s reputation management. We’re planning on releasing a guide to OffPage SEO, but in the meantime, some of the practices include:
- Social Media
- Social Bookmarks
- Link Building
- And, of course, a lot more
OnPage: The Other Factors
Besides the four “main” aspects, what do algorithms look for when reviewing OnPage factors? Well, there are of course these other ranking aspects we keep mentioning, but are they less necessary to the algorithms or what?
Nah, not really. The four “mains” are those that are discussed the most and amongst the most easily manipulatable. You know, the big, overarching concepts. In fact, these other “aspects” or “lesser” are mostly just “lesser”-focused on, but just as relevant to an algorithm as The Big Four.
Another Divide: Front-End vs. Backend
These other ranking factors are best divided into two groups: front-end and backend factors. This identification all depends on where you could best “locate” said factors.
Front-End: Up Front and Front-End
What we refer to as “front-end” factors mostly consist of items that your readers can see or interact with directly. Let’s delve into ‘em:
UX: Definitely Not A Unique Expo Like It Sounds
Thanks to SXO (User Experience + SEO), user experience is a revitalized, freshly hot topic. In the SEO world, we’ve recently recognized that it is vastly important for both your users and your SEO that you deploy a site that is user-friendly, intuitive to use, and without delays or aggravation. Ranking is now accounting for user experience (UX) getting written into and as part of your pages. Lacking a laid back, easy-going experience means that algorithms are going to give you the hairy eye as they’re sizing up what you have to offer.
Sure, but what does happy, healthy UX consist of?
Oh, we love it when you’re paying attention. A few things:
- Headings: Are they indicating breaks and titles where they should?
- Speed: Guess what? If someone has to wait, they won’t. They’ll leave. We would, at least.
- Navigation/Structure: Is it easy to get around your site? Does the site’s structure make sense?
- User signals: These are the types of behavioral patterns that determine how engaged a user is. Are they bouncing right after arriving?
- Mobile accessibility: Is your site still easy to use, read, and interact with even on a mobile phone? No? Yeah, you’ve gotta fix that. The number of mobile users these days is astronomical.
Feel like a lot? It may seem that way, but if you get overwhelmed, make a checklist and audit your site! You can totally pull this off.
We’ve gotten through UX, which despite how the acronym sounds, is not an underwear expo. Let’s see what value can provide us.
Value: Not Just a Generic Brand
Sure, we all love a good value, but wtf does that have to do with OnPage ranking factors? Well, this value… is literally value (see what we did there?). Jokes (bad ones, we know) aside, essentially value as a ranking factor measures how effectively valuable your site is on first glance. Will you get their attention and keep it so they don’t become another bounce statistic? Here’s what’s considered within value:
- Topics: Are your topics relevant and interesting to your viewers?
- Headline: Are your headlines concise and also used accurately to divide content?
- Images: Are images engaging and rational for your content?
If you’ve got these three inline, you’ve likely got your reader (and algorithms) hook, line, and sinker.
Content and Keywords: Functional or Nah?
So you’ve got some incredible content, but is it optimized or set up with a keyword or keyphrase that will actually get searched for in a search engine?
Sure, you can have the most bombtastic, fanciest-ass content around, but if no one is actively searching for it, you’ve likely a.) missed your market and b.) are just making grumpy algorithms that won’t let you into their party, at least not without lowering your rating. If you’re struggling, using some of the keyword planners on the market can help you create and mold your content to satisfy even the most vengeful algorithms.
Next? “Lay it down, flip it, and reverse it.” That’s right, Missy Elliott, we’re going backend factors.
Backend Factors: Less Obvious, Just as Vital
In the case of backend factors, these are various factors that users don’t personally interact with and tend to be more proactive at soothing algorithms. After all, most people don’t even know what metadata is, so we’re not sure how they’d care about it.
Metadata: Bot Food
Know who does care about metadata? Bots/algorithms. Bots love them some good metadata. Make the bots happy and optimize it. Metadata consists of three components:
- Meta Title: This is where the name of the webpage is displayed. Yes, algorithms even check your titles. This usually manifests as the page title shown in SERPs (search engine results pages) as well as in social media and at the top of your browser. Usually 60 letters or less for best practice. Stay in 60 for best practice standards.
- Meta Description: Meta descriptions are a snippet that describes what your article is about or the purpose of your content and is generally 155 characters or less for best practice. Staying within that limit is beneficial and keeps your title concise.
- Keywords: Do your keywords have a role and provide an answer to something being searched on a search engine? Again, a keyword planner can provide you big relief here. Are your keywords employed at an optimal rate throughout your content? That type of thing.
Okay, but how do I make these optimized? I’m not a bot, I wouldn’t know.
A few ways:
- Don’t duplicate meta descriptions. Bots like variety in their diet! Don’t use the same metadata description for more than one post. It’s not only kinda useless to not help identify your own material, but bots just don’t find it cute or humorous.
- Stay within optimal lengths. As mentioned, for meta titles, 60 characters and for meta description, 155 characters. Going over that limit will result in your title or description getting chopped at the limit and then it really won’t make much sense or be of interest to hungry bots.
- Be compelling. Write interesting, invigorating copy as a part of your meta description process and even in your interplay between content and keywords. Bots eat this stuff up.
Compatibility with Mobile Phones: Swipe Left or Right?
According to Smart Insights, in 2017, mobile phone internet searches accounted for 50.3% of all web traffic. That’s just a smidge over HALF of all searches.
Well, if your site isn’t accessible or functional on phones, you’re going to be on the sad receiving end of lots of bouncing traffic for more than HALF of the searches on the internet. That’s a big enough loss to turn a company under. Ouch. Instead, let’s not go down that path and instead optimize our sites for mobile use.
And just how do we test our site’s ability to be browsed from a mobile device?
There are multiple sites around dedicated to viewing your site on devices other than desktop. We like WhatIsMyScreenResolution’s option here. If that’s not for you, check CreativeBloq’s review of seven other similar tools.
Bot-friendliness: Plays Well With Others
Bot-friendliness? What, now we have to befriend bots?
Nah, not literally (but again… Skynet), but it is necessary to understand. Here’s how to assess whether your content is currently bot-friendly:
- Is your data easy to access as a bot/algorithm? Yes? Metadatas are intact, the page is easy to scroll through and navigate for headlines, etc.? Perfect. Nailed it.
- Do you have bad bots around such as click bots and imposter bots? Yeah, those are definitely no good. Time to evict ‘em. If not evicted, these bots can significantly reduce the speed and functionality of the good bots.
- Is your site slow? No bueno. That’s another negative tick, unfortunately. Look into ways to speed up your site’s loading speed. Lower speeds not only frustrate users, but bots/algorithms also find them decidedly unkind and useless.
- Since bots mostly find other sites by surfing from site to site via links, make sure the health and quality of your links and backlinks get you the better ranking you’re looking for instead.
The Main Point about OnPage SEO
Well, as usual, we have a few final points you should consider about all of the above material. And since we are self-proclaimed bullet aficionados… here goes:
- Understand the difference between OnPage and OffPage SEO. OnPage is almost exactly what it sounds like: the analysis of the items on your page or that create aspects of your pages.
- Recognize the value and differences between Front-end and Backend Factors. Just as OnPage and OffPage SEO are two different faces of the same card, Front-end and Backend both are playing for the same team, but by evaluating the components uniquely.
- In OnPage SEO (and most other forms of SEO), there is tons of interplay between factors. Two different factors may rely on decent site speeds while another factor may call for mobile accessibility. There is almost never just one reason that these factors are mentioned more than once. They really are that drastically important across the boar.
- Bots and users have similar interests. After all, that’s why bots came to exist: to mimic and seek out the needs of users without having to require users to be the first line of defense against SEO-unwell websites.
If you’ve not gotten enough out of this guide, you have more questions, or maybe you’d rather just not be in charge of your own SEO. No worries. We’ve not only have cumulative decades of experience in both SEO and marketing, but we also have your back. Whether helping you find your King of Content or taking out nasty negative bots, we’ve got strategies for every business and every budget. Contact us via our discovery form today and let’s chat. You know we love a good chat. But most relevantly, together, we can dominate your competition and your field, so let’s get started.