On-Page SEO – A Foundation for Success

In most cases, the first thing I do when checking into a new site, client or even competitor, I check to see what their on-page optimization looks like. This can be where you can establish some immediate quick-wins and begin to create value.

However, when it comes to on-page SEO, everyone has had enough hearing about how content is all you need, or the proper meta tags or even keyword density for that matter.

So, if you’re looking for some practical strategies that you can use on your site today, then keep reading.
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Why Google Modifies Your Title Tags

Google Webmaster Central describes the site title, or title tag, as a quick representation of the content of a result and its relevance to a specific query.

Sounds basic right? However, one thing you may not know, or dealt with, is the fact that Google reserves the right to alter a title tag if they feel it isn’t the best representation of a page.

Over a year ago, Pierre Far – a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst – explained that algorithms will generate multiple alternative titles so that pages aren’t constrained to having the same static title tag for every search query.

The basic thought behind this to increase click-through ratios by displaying a “better,” more concise title tag or change the tag for semantic terms allowing users to easily recognize a relevant page. Yes, anyone who has ever written a PPC ad can tell you that a relevant, concise ad leads to an improved CTR, but what happens when the title isn’t a “better” choice for the user, or when it makes a site look incompetent?

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Google Removes “Not Selected” Feature from Webmaster Tools

Last July, Google added a new feature to Webmaster Tools – Index Status. This feature helped webmasters better understand their site’s indexing, including what I considered as the most important feature, showing the pages that the algorithm overlooked.

As of yesterday, it seems that this feature has been turned off. Not Selected was a popular tool amongst technical SEOs that provided the benefit of knowing the exact moment a duplicate content issue or indexing issue occurred.
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Image Optimization and Alt Text Best Practices

Keyboard with Alt Text Best PracticesThe primary purpose of alt text is for user experience. It is designed to provide an alternative description of an image for users who can’t view or choose search settings that do not display images.

Think of it from the standpoint of a visually impaired reader. Those with visual impairments use screen readers, which are unable to portray images, but will allow the user to read the title, alt text and captions – if they are provided.

Alt text has been built with the user in mind; however, improving the user experience doesn’t mean neglecting optimizing for company or personal goals as well.

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On-Page SEO Factors that Impact Rankings

The latest version of the algorithm not only ties in over-optimization and site speed, but stresses the importance of having fresh unique content. So when building a new site or optimizing a current one, it’s important to know what on-site factors can have a strong impact on your rankings and what carries less weight.

So the next time you perform a site audit, be sure to take extra consideration and know where your efforts are being focused.

Here’s a list of the most common items looked at during a site audit and where they fall on the importance scale:
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