Why On-Page SEO is in Demand

    January 19, 2007

To many SEO’s, having a search-engine friendly website is a concern from the start.

When we build or develop sites from scratch, it’s usually there as a priority. Because of this, on-site SEO isn’t usually a big issue to work with.

We can appreciate the commercial benefits of helping search engines find and read our content. And so do many businesses.

Unfortunately, there are a huge number of businesses out there who have the most appallingly developed websites. Javascript, Flash, frames, poor coding issues, and even a mixture of all of these, to contribute to sites with poor visibility in Google & co.

Twice this week I’ve seen big national companies with websites that have a blank Google cache – they really are in such an appalling state.

And completely redeveloping these sites can often be a challenge that involves problem solving on multiple levels.

I’ve written up a more extended report explaining what SEO’s do for on-site optimisation, but here are some of the commonest problem areas:

1. URL rewriting

Re-writing URLs to be more search friendly and redirecting old URLs isn’t always fun for larger sites, especially those built with static pages.

2. Recoding for visibility

Javascripted menus are one of the commonest scripting problems, and often requires rewriting in CSS and then integrating into the current templates.

3. Flash

Adding noscript tags isn’t a real solution, as you really need to create a new site architecture, to provide unique pages with unique content developed around different site keyword areas.

4. Frames

There’s really no excuse for developers to use frames, but I’m still seeing these come out – even frames within frames sites. A complete site recode is often required.

5. Conversions

SEO’s are increasing concerned not simply about rankings, but also increasing clickthroughs and conversions. Ad copy in meta-descriptions and ensuring a clear Call To Action (CTA) are requisites here.

6. ROI

Some keywords convert better than others – you won’t know which unless you run tracking to find your strengths and weaknesses, and approach both as required to develop a more efficient search presence.

7. Content development

Knowing how to leverage content is one issue – another is knowing how to write ad copy is another, and usually a required part of any site development.

8. Link development

Link development may usually take place off-site – but ideally you want to ensure it works closely with your content, not just for major keywords, but also exploiting the longtail.

I cut my teeth in SEO through link development strategies, and used to regard the on-site SEO of far less importance. Namely because I was developing my own sites, and they were search engine friendly from the start.

However, as more people have come to me with often challenging on-site redevelopment needs, I’ve really come to appreciate the wide skillset required to perform on-site SEO, and why businesses have neither the time and resources to develop these themselves.

On-page SEO can be very challenging, and require dedication of a lot of time and resources, simply to apply basic search engine friendly concepts.

And while so many businesses suffer from poor website development problems, it’s going to continue to be a service very much in demand.



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I’m a small business consultant and specialist SEO living in the UK. I write a semi-regular column for SEO Moz and am also an editor at Threadwatch.

I’m also an aspiring science fiction and fantasy writer, and currently live with my family in the Highlands of Scotland. Contact Brian