While it is safe to say that every web page requires to be optimized so that it can be set up for success; how much optimization is enough, is there a defined limit beyond which we need to stop? How does one get the balance right?
A website has several elements and factors that works together to make it successful. There are two broad aspects that webmasters need to focus upon while optimizing a site; “on-page optimization”, and “off-page optimization”.
On-page is all about all the page elements that can be optimized. For example, title tags,
keywords, page headers (H1, H2, H3), and content in terms of textual,images, links, navigation, and various other elements that make a page.
Let us take an example of the title tag. If a site sells gifts, then the home page title could be something like;
Buy gifts online, same day delivery
Gifts online; Buy gifts, birthday gifts, gift flowers, gift cakes, on-line gifting options
We can see from the example above that there needs to be a balance between the two. The first option is short and to the point, however it can do with more matter and attractive, while the second one may have gone a bit overboard, crossed the word limit, and is yet not attractive enough. Why would anyone wish to visit these sites when there are several others with similar and much more attractive titles and descriptions?
The questions that need to be answered while writing relevant and attractive title tags for every page are, is the page title attractive enough? Is it highlighting what the page is about? Is it delivering the message to the potential customer (what is in it for the customer)?
Unnecessary repetition of keywords may not be helpful because it may not make sense. If it does make sense, and is used attractively and meaningfully, one can use it, else it is recommended to avoid long titles stuffed with keywords that don’t make any sense. Whatever sounds forced should be done away with.
In order to ensure that every element is optimized for best performance, an exercise such as the above needs to be conducted for each and every on-page element, and changes implemented (with focus on optimizing but not over-optimizing). Over-optimizing may come through as spam and may not be desirable.
The thumb rule is, the content of a website/page is for the end users and not for search engines only, visitors should find the content relevant, meaningful, and attractive enough. The title, description, and content has to make sense, it cannot be a mere stuffing of keywords because that will confuse rather than convince a visitor to click.
A website Audit is a great way to measure a website’s optimization efforts. Not only does it provide information about the on-page elements, an audit also provides a lot of insight into off-page optimization as well. An audit is an overall health check up for a site. At the end of a thorough audit, one can unearth factors that need immediate attention, and those that may be working well.
A lot of information can be got from Google Search Console (previously Google webmaster tools) and BING webmaster tools for free. These tools provide detailed information about a lot of elements of a site, both on-page and off-page. It provides information regarding errors that a site throws up during crawl, errors pertaining to html, structured language, title, description tags, links, rank, clicks, and much more. All these indicators are helpful in optimizing a website so that the website performs at its best.
I would recommend a regular visit to Google’s search console and BING Webmaster tools to not only get the latest update on a site’s performance, but also because it is a great way to stay updated.
Here are the links to accessing Google Search Console and BING webmaster tools:
- https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ (A Google account is required to access this)
You may find the following post that I had written earlier, about website audit with Google webmaster tools, helpful.