On-Page SEO: Hello World!

Aah, the good old days, when all you had to do was put some keywords in your title tag, and you were done. Of course, I don’t remember those days. It was dark. Embryonic, even.

Now, on-page factors have grown in complexity and importance.

First, getting the page ranked; then getting click-through rate on your listing: there are now some options and opportunities that might (oh gawd) ‘add value’ and, well, someone else in your market surely will deploy, so maybe it’s worth taking a gander at.

And the listing itself is beginning to wear long trousers – Google has experimented with extended snippets, which they seem to have withdrawn, and they have now added links in snippets. For any given page this could be good or bad, but in any case we get to decide whether to activate or suppress, based upon the way we handle our page mark-up.

And finally, the panto villain of SEO (‘He’s Behind You!)’: yes, folks its FLP, or First Link Priority, pretty much forcing us to consider radical changes in mark-up to accommodate search. Assuming you believe in that kind of thing.

Search and Destroy

Previously, SEO had only modest impact on the mark-up of the page; now, it can be extensive.

1. Ranking

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description
  • Body Copy

Not a whole pile to say on that, I mean, obvious, right?

Next up, after getting ranked, is getting clicked…

2. Click-through Rate

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description
  • Markup Order of Body Copy

The challenge here is that the advertisement that appears in search results is not the one that we get to write. Instead, the search engine writes it for us by finding the User’s search expression in context within our page copy. There are a number of things we can do to guide the quality of the resulting listing and these will impact to what extent ranking results in traffic and what portion of that traffic is the right sort of traffic.

3. Snippet Links

  • In-Page Anchors

And just when you think you have that handled, Google creates new kinds of snippets, ones that included links to anchors within your page. As a searcher, I find these are really useful, almost a smaller version of sitelinks but only for the single page that is ranking, not for the entire site.

Time will tell whether snippet links are better overall than simply a longer text description; we shall see.

4. First Link Priority

  • Markup Order of Links
  • Link stacking

And finally – and why deviate at this late stage in the game from the Panto theme? – there’s the Ugly Betty of them all: the cantankerous, scheming and self-regarding feature that we shall refer to as, oh, something vaguely scientific… uhm, oh, I have it now: ‘cerebral headwreck’.

Dear Google, thanks so much, like SEO wasn’t all CSI New York as it was (I should point out that SEO CSI Miami is for those of you of a sunnier disposition, self-intoxicated on the notion that SEO is, like, a walk on a sun-kissed beach watched over by tall buildings of gleaming glass, like a mouth full – or should that be a mouthful? – of porcelain veneers).

On the plus side, if you can hoist yourself on the petard of FLP, well, you might know something your competitor doesn’t know – you’ll rank better – and that makes you better at visibility voodoo.

Some On-Page LinkLuv
On-Page SEO: the Title tag
On-Page SEO – Keyphrase Positioning – First Fit v. Best Fit
On-Page SEO – Keyphrase Positioning – Display Order v. Markup Order
On-Page SEO – Head and Body – A Foot in Both Camps
On-Page SEO – Head and Body – Both Feet in Both Camps”>
String Theory: How Many Characters in a Page Title for Google SEO?