When I speak with other people who do SEO, I’ve noticed that most of the discussion revolves around getting backlinks to a website. While getting good quality backlinks is incredibly important to a successful SEO strategy, I feel that not enough attention is being paid to various on-site factors. As a result, I wanted to go through a few factors that are incredibly important from my experience that I believe aren’t on most people’s radar. If you are not taking advantage of this, then you might be missing out on a big opportunity and holding your SEO back.
Synonyms / Related Words In Content
Most people think they simply need to mention their main keyword a few times to have Google pick up what you are trying to rank for. However, Google is not a human, so it needs more help in establishing relevance. To do that, it looks to see if the content has other related keywords sprinkled in. Google understands that, for example, if a webpage mentions “vinyl” and “split rail,” it is probably related to fencing. The more you can use synonyms and keywords that are generally related to your main keyword, the more relevant your content will be in Google’s eyes. Higher relevance almost always means higher rankings in Google.
When people talk about links and SEO, they are almost always talking about external backlinks. However internal linking within a site can be incredibly powerful. If you are not linking to your main pages from within your site, you are missing a huge opportunity to pass massive power to your most important pages.
Outbound Authority Linking
One major sign of trust in Google’s eyes is when websites link out to other authoritative websites. A lot of people don’t like linking out too much to other websites because they think that takes away a lot of the “link juice” on a site and sends it elsewhere. While that may be true to some extent, Google sees it as a huge sign of trust. Websites that don’t “do SEO” naturally would link out to relevant authority sites in their industry, and this is what you should do as well with your site. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your rankings will be better off.
Having Readable / Engaging Content
A lot of people forget that actual humans are going to be reading their website. As a result, they write “for search engines” rather than “for readers.” Maybe they try to include their main keyword in the content even if it reads awkwardly. Maybe they just write huge paragraphs of text only that make it difficult to read. This is a big mistake because Google is weighing on-page metrics more heavily than ever. Metrics like average time on page and bounce rate are incredibly important and strongly influence rankings. As a result, you should make every effort to make your content engaging and readable.
There are certainly other on-site factors that heavily influence rankings, but these four things are ones I see most people overlook. If you can take advantage of them, you should see a good increase in your rankings.