Common Overlooked On-Page SEO Elements

Written by: Jason Bayless | May 20, 2016

SEO can seem complicated because of all the factors and the need to stay up-to-date on changes in search engine algorithms and guidelines. However, SEO can be thought of as having two main components: off-page SEO elements and on-page SEO elements. Off-page SEO elements are the links to your site, the hosting that you use and other factors that influence how visible and trustworthy your site is to search engines. On-Page SEO elements are the content, navigation, and other factors on your site pages that influence how well search engines can crawl, understand, and index your website.

Off-page elements require attention to the links you get and where they point, but this is often out of your control. In contrast, on-page elements are completely under your control and can be optimized over time to get you better results. Both on-page and off-page SEO are important, but you can move your site up in the rankings with conscientious on-page SEO.

I’ve compiled a list of commonly overlooked on-page SEO elements to help you optimize your site. This list includes things that many people don’t think of as part of SEO, but that can make a difference, especially as your site grows. Here is the list:

1. Generic or Non-Descriptive Navigation Links
Browse the web and you’ll see a lot of business sites with navigation links that say “Services” or “Products”.

This is a missed opportunity to provide search engines with a descriptive, optimized link to your content. When search engines follow links, they read the anchor text (link text) and factor that into their understanding of the page the link points to. If you use a generic word for a link, then you’re missing the opportunity to send search engine spiders a signal about the topic of the destination page.

Try to use descriptive text for links in high-visibility places. For example, I might use “SEO Services”, instead of simply “Services” to give a hint to a search engine.

2. Using bold or large fonts instead of HTML headings
Search engines interpret HTML to understand the structure, topic, and importance of content. One key HTML element for announcing the topic and it’s importance is the heading element.

In HTML, headings are written as

, , and so forth from h1-h5. An H1 indicates the main topic of the page with each number after representing a slightly less important topic.

These headings serve as a powerful ranking signal. If you use a bold or large font-size instead of the heading elements, then you are missing a chance to strongly declare the key topics of the page.

3. No links in your content.
Earlier, I mentioned links as an off-page SEO element, but the links on your site are also an important SEO factor. You can use your internal links to direct both users and search engines around your site and indicate the topics of pages.

Leveraging internal linking allows you to give an extra vote to key pieces of content on your site. Search engines won’t give most internal links as much weight as external links, but they will factor them into the rankings. If you have a strong page and use it to link to another page, then the other page may see a boost.

Conclusion: Look Closely at What You Publish
Search engines still use text and HTML to decipher and rank pages. Consequently, it’s worth it to make sure you’re writing and coding content to be as SEO-friendly as possible. Take some time to review these overlooked on-page elements and you’ll find opportunities to improve your SEO.