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Typically, when SEOs think about on-page optimizations, they’re thinking about core places to include their target keywords within their content. But how can you take your on-page optimizations to the next level and get beyond some of those basic tactics? In today’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Chris Long shows you how.
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Howdy, Moz fans. I’m Chris Long with Go Fish Digital, and today we’re going to talk about advanced on-page optimizations. Commonly in SEO, when we think about on-page optimizations, we’re typically thinking about core places to include the keywords, such as the title, the H1, the URL within the content. But some people might be wondering, how can you take your on-page optimizations to the next level and get beyond some of those basic tactics? So that’s what I want to cover today.
So one of the best ways I found to shift away from the keyword mindset is actually to shift to more of an entity mindset. So, for an example, if you’re going to optimize a page for the term “retire early,” instead of using the term “retire early” a bunch of times on the page, you could use tools like IBM Watson or Google Natural Language. Both of those have public-facing tools that you can run any text document you want through. And if you ran it from a result like Investopedia, you might see that “retire early” comes up with a strategy or entity such as Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, two of the top authors about “retire early.”
As well, when you take a look at competitor pages and have more of an entity mindset in mind, instead of just thinking about how many times they’re using a keyword on the page, you’re thinking more strategically about common topics and themes you want to integrate within your own website content.
Another great way to take your on-page optimization to the next level is this concept of E-A-T — expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. One of the best ways to improve the expertise of your site content is just to simply look at your author biographies. A lot of sites still get this wrong. And when you look at author biographies, you should always be thinking about, hey, where can I highlight my years of experience, my education, my previous experience, my thought leadership directly within your author biographies to better highlight your expertise to both Google and users.
As well, another thing I love to think about with on-page optimizations is this concept of information gain scores. It’s one of my favorite patents, analyzed by Bill Slawski, where he talks about the fact that Google looks to reward content that adds to the search results and doesn’t just repeat what’s already out there. So think about where you can leverage your own unique expertise, data, and insights to benefit from this concept of information gain scores.
Another great way to improve the E-A-T of your site’s content is to actually cite sources. The Wirecutter is phenomenal at doing this. Any time they cite an individual fact, they actually cite where they got that fact and link to external, trusted, accredited sources to verify where they’re finding that information from. Another great way to improve the trustworthiness of your content and take your on-page optimizations to the next level.
Another strategy that I think is highly, highly underrated is this concept of freshness. We’ve actually run tests on our own site, and we pretty consistently see that when we do things like update timestamps or just refresh content, we see noticeable upticks in both rankings and visibility and traffic. And I think this makes sense from kind of multiple perspectives when you really start to think about it. From a trustworthiness standpoint, if Google thinks the content is outdated, well, it’s hard for it to trust that the information is actually accurate within the article. As well, from a competitive standpoint, it’s very hard for Google to compete in terms of real-time results. That’s why users might go to platforms like Twitter instead of Google. However, in recent years, Google is making a push toward to include live blog-posting-type URLs in top stories. I think they’re trying to incentivize publishers to update their content in real time to set the expectation that users can get real-time information on Google instead of just Twitter.
Historical competitor changes
Another great way of thinking about your on-page optimizations is this concept of historical competitor changes. Oftentimes, when we think about our on-page optimizations, we’re only thinking about what competitors are doing in the given moment, but we’re not telling the story of how they’ve changed their on-page optimizations in order to get to that point. So you can do this type of analysis for really competitive queries. What I like to do is find a strong competitor that’s actually improved in the rankings in recent years and then take that page and actually run it back through the Wayback Machine, and see which on-page changes have been made over time, what content they’re adding. What are they removing, and what are they keeping the same? And that can help you better isolate what the most prominent on-page changes competitors have made have been.
Another great strategy to use is to use a text diff compare tool. You can actually take an old version of text and then compare that against the current version of text, run that through a tool, and the tool will actually highlight all of the changes competitors are making. That makes it very easy for you to find what on-page strategies your competitors are utilizing.
The final aspect of advanced on-page optimizations I want to talk about is this concept of keyword segmentation. We segment our traffic data in Google Analytics all the time, but we don’t segment our keyword data in the same way. So using tools like STAT, we can actually create keyword segments any time we do some type of on-page optimization. If we update entities, if we update freshness, if we update EAT, we can create keyword segments in all of those different instances. And then, over time, we can compare the segments against each other and measure what the most important ones have been. That will actually give you better data about what type of on-page optimizations work best for your specific sites.
So, hopefully, that’s been helpful. Hopefully, you’ll walk out of here with some more strategies and concrete takeaways. Now you can improve your on-page optimizations and take them to the next level. Thanks a lot Moz fans.