Every time Google does an update most of us who deal with search engine optimization get a little on edge. According to Google, the updates are intended to hinder only those who are using black hat methods or in some way are trying to manipulate site rankings to their benefit in an unethical way. Nevertheless, it can make everyone a little edgy. The most recent update, Penguin 2.0 was an attempt to stop spam sites from being able to achieve higher rankings. Since the update is meant to primarily target black hat spam, most legitimate SEO specialists should not feel any repercussions, although we all know that sometimes there are some surprises. How does this change the basic SEO strategies that are used on a day to day basis to help a site rank in the SERPs? With this being said, on page and off page SEO are still just as legitimate and useful as they were before the latest update.

On-Page vs. Off-Page Optimization

In a rather broad way, SEO can be simply divided into two major techniques on-page and off-page. Basically anything that is done on the webpage itself which will boost the ranking in the SERPs is on-page optimization. Off-page optimizations are all the methods used to boost the rankings which take place off the webpage. Backlinks are one of the major things that the Penguin updates are concerned with so it is important to make sure that purely white hat methods are used to obtain high quality and relevant backlinks. On-page optimization is still a very important aspect to the SEO specialist.

On-page Keyword Usage

Keywords are still a very important element to the SEO specialist, but they can so easily be misused and all for no real benefit. One of the issues that some of the latest updates have dealt with is keyword stuffing. Using a keyword repetitively is not always considered a black hat method, but its effectiveness is very questionable. Over the years there has been much debate as to what the real figures are on the usage. Keywords are important and should be chosen wisely; but they should be used naturally in the content without being overused.

Webpage URLs

The webpage’s URL can be one of the most important on-page optimization factors. Changing a URL which is already in existence can be very problematic, so this needs to be done right up front when designing begins. Where it is possible, using relevant keywords can help boost a site’s rankings in the SERPs. And even when the site is not in one of the top three positions, it can catch a human eye if it’s in the ballpark of what they are looking for. It is important to avoid URLs which are overly dynamic as it can be more detrimental than helpful. A URL should be designed in a very logical way that will give users a general idea of what they are going to find on the page.

What about Titles?

Search engines will be paying specific attention to the words which are used in the HTML heading tags. <H1>,<H2>, and <H3> tags should typically include relevant keywords. These tags are not exclusively for use on just the main or first page of a website, every page should have their own h-tags that have the keyword for that page used appropriately. Title tags are probably second in importance right behind content when it comes to SEO best practices.

SEO Best Practices for On-page Optimization

The content of a site is the primary sections of any website or webpage and it is usually the main reason that a visitor views a site. Content should always be on topic and remain relevant to the topic, object or product being discussed. A page should be organized in a way that is pleasant to the site visitor and optimized for the search engines. The primary topic of the page should be strategically placed in the site content, title tag, URL and in the alt text images on the page. These four on-page elements are an integral part of on-page optimization.