Is your On Page SEO strong enough? Honing your on page factors, sculpting page rank, funneling link weight and consolidating anchor text is only one facet of content optimization.
Search engines assess your pages first to determine your sites relevance and how your pages measure up to existing pages in the search index on the topic.
Criteria such as:
- The composition of your pages
- The structure of your site architecture
- The topical layers and the depth and extent of the information presented
- How your content is linked together, which anchor text is used (internally) from where and to which pages as well as how many external links, how concentrated they are and which pages they are pointed at
- What factors are performing the heavy lifting behind the scenes to provide the visibility for the landing page in question
Many of these crucial ranking factors are within your control and are available for you to sculpt, refine and adjust as you see fit. Ultimately, finding the balance between your On Page SEO and Off Page SEO leaves your ranking for each page hanging in the balance.
Before you jump the gun and consider making adjustments to your off page optimization strategy, first, ensure that your On Page SEO factors stack up to “present-tense” scrutiny from search engine algorithms and their constantly evolving on page criteria as they raise the bar on relevance and how it impacts ranking and search results.
To Raise the Bar, Leave No Page Behind!
Just because you may have forgotten about those pages tucked away in a sub folder doesn’t mean the search engine spiders have. In fact, if it is still linked from more than three places in your site, chances are it is in the search index.
As a result, it is either (a) working for you as a a crucial piece of the puzzle in your internet marketing strategy or (b) it is working against your site as an outdated or obtuse attribute which needs attention to align it with the core objective of your content.
Cleaning up (optimizing) your alt text, link text and ensure your on page optimization is up to par is the one thing you can ensure to keep your pages moving upward in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
If an internal page on your site has a Page Rank of 2 or more for the page, it matters (by illustrating that it is useful to the index) and can systematically serve and contribute link weight back into your other pages.
In closing, here is an exercise you can use to remove the weeds of off topic content that reside on your indexed pages.
1) The needed SEO Tools – If you haven’t already, download a copy of Firefox and then download the Link Analysis Plug In from Joost de Valk (a brilliant SEO / programmer / web developer who specializes in creating and refining SEO tools). Also, you will need a copy of yExplore (another great Firefox SEO add on) to make this task a breeze.
2) The Analysis – Next, use this tool to type in your own domain and analyze the anchor text from your own documents and how they link to each other. Or you can use the yExplore Firefox Add On (from above) just right click a page to see the inbound links to it or the domain or visit Yahoo Site Explorer and put the domain in the search box after installing Joost’s Link Analysis Tool. This will allow you to have a peek under the hood at the internal and external links for the domain in question.
*On a side note link proximity (where on the page the link resides) plays a large role in which link gets the emphasis for search engines. The higher the link on the page, the more emphasis it receives (for more on this read Tim Nash’s post on Block Segment Analysis).
Typically, the first link from that page and the first anchor text (the text in the link) count as the primary link for the target page. However as a proponent to basic SEO and semantic structure, it is important to have consistency with the title, the keyword tags that summarize the content, the alt attribute “the text defining your images” as well as the anchor text / links to the page and from the page to refine on page relevance.
3) The Optimization and Refinement – If you follow the links and (1) see how many links are pointing to a page within your site, follow them through “link analysis” and try to align them with the title or keyword on the target page.
For example if I have a page about blue widgets and 10 pages are linking to it within my site and none of the pages offering the link have anything about blue widgets, then they are candidates for optimization.
Without giving away the farm here, if the landing page you want to have rank for Keyword A has 10 related pages in the site, then use the 9 pages below the top 1 in the #1 position and link back to it using a variety of keyword modifiers in the anchor text for Keyword A. Then when it is time to start the process of Off Page SEO Link Building, you are well on your way to sculpting relevance for your on page content and rely less on the weight of those inbound links.
How to find the best pages for strong internal links:
To find the best internal link candidates, just use a simple Google search command in a Google search query. The command is, site:yourdomain.com keyword or keywords, hit enter and if the keyword is within your site, it will show you how many pages have the keyword in a prominent position to be accounted in the search index in relationship to your site (the site: command).
For example, if you see page 1 of 64 about the keyword in question, take the top 5 or 10 results and point them at the number 1 search result page using internal links with your main keywords that the target page is trying to rank for.
Although this method is not rocket science and is a rather basic SEO technique, the impact it has on rankings (when done meticulously with intention and research data) as a blueprint is nothing to take lightly. Think about SEO as the process of layering multiple techniques with a common goal, this technique refines your core content through “virtual theming” (much like wikipedia) and is an effective long-term optimization technique that works better prior to rather than after the fact for your on page SEO.
You can do this for each page in your site to reinforce internal link weight. For an added tact, make sure the links are absolute as well http://www.yourdomain.com/page.html vs. page.html with relative link conventions (this way your internal links become external links in the eyes of the search algorithm) which adds weight and authority to your domain over time.
You can rank based on three things (1) internal links (2) external links or (3) a combination of the two with great content. By aligning your internal links through on page analysis and optimization first you are streamlining the process for building authority for your domain and making your pages less dependent on external links for procuring a high ranking position.
After you complete the on page sweep, then assess your external links to your key pages using the same logic to ensure that the links you have control over are streamlined and on topic.
Would you rather require 1000 links to a site or 100 to create relevance for your on page and off page site synergy? The choice is yours, at at least the 50% of the equation that you have control over (your own content, the site structure and how you link it). So, the question is, is your on page SEO strong enough? or has atrophy set in and its time for a bit of pruning for your content and internal links?