Part III On-page Optimization: Accomplishing Goals
When searchers make the decision to click-through a link on the SERPs, whatever they’re seeking boils down to exactly two possibilities: answers to their questions, or solutions to their problems. Our final mission in the foundations of SEO is guiding readers to achieve their goal, allowing us to achieve ours. We do this via internal linking and calls to action (CTAs)!
Internal links direct readers to whichever area of content will best meet their needs. When used correctly, hyperlinks feel intuitive by demonstrating an understanding of user intent. They also assist individual pages in building ranking power (link equity) among crowded SERPs, which contributes to the trustworthiness and relevance of a page.
Search engine crawlers have a hard time indexing links contained within drop-down menus or those that require any sort of click-to-reveal. The good news is that they have a much greater effect when strategically placed throughout content, so make your links directly accessible through anchor text on each page.
HTML allows us the ability to create what is known as anchor text. Essentially, we are disguising a URL as readable, regular text, that when clicked on, will jump to a specified webpage. You can even get fancy with it and use the code to do other things like skip to a different section on the current page or initiate a download. Anchor text is yet another tool that helps search engines better understand the URL destination’s content, and as per usual: be sure to keep it natural within your copy.
Example of HTML code for anchor text:
Life needs more <a href="http://www.website.com/">God & Family</a>!
How the above HTML code appears on the webpage:
Life needs more God & Family!
Note: Based on the configurations of a particular page, anchor text can appear as underlined or in a different color (or both) to signify that it’s clickable.
Written content that’s heavily peppered with hyperlinks can be distracting for readers, so only include them where it counts. It’s worth noting that the volume of hyperlinks on a webpage correlates to link equity: as the quantity of links on a page increases, the equity of each link decreases – so pass authority between pages thoughtfully.
Note: If a page is renamed or moved, update all hyperlinks across the website that lead to it!
Calls to Action (CTAs)
We’ve applied a myriad of techniques to get people to your webpage and convince them to stick around. Now what? That depends on what your goals are. Recall that when searchers click on a link, they’re looking for answers to their questions or solutions to their problems. CTAs encourage them to do something about it, and that something is a measurable action that contributes to your overall goals.
If you’re not looking for leads or to make sales, the aim is to keep your audience engaged in a quantifiable way – for example, through subscriptions or social media shares. Whatever your situation, you’ll need to incite action. CTAs exist solely to serve this purpose – fortunately there are some tried and true methods of creation that aid the process of conversion!
Quantity – Be clear on what action you want readers to take. The fewer choices presented, the more likely they are to follow through.
Position – Put it where readers can see it! CTAs should be immediately visible when landing on the page.
Shape and Size – Research suggests that people are more drawn to gentle curves than sharp edges. Try rounded button shapes that are large enough to catch the eye.
Color – CTAs should stand out from the rest of the content on the page. Use colors that contrast and compliment the overall color scheme.
Wording - We want to convince users that taking the action is worth their time, so choose words communicating that value is synonymous with clicking the button. Successfully worded CTAs convey one or both of the following:
-Taking the action will get them what they want
-Why they need what taking the action will provide
Nothing about what SEO is generic, so get creative by using language geared toward your target audience. Possessive pronouns (my, you, yours, ours, etc.) are always a good idea, as this creates a sense of belonging and personal attention for readers. In some cases, it can also be helpful to use terminology that creates a sense of urgency. For those whose content isn’t heavily based on text: there’s a reason YouTubers start out their videos reminding viewers to “smash that like and subscribe!”
A solid CTA is a clear, quantifiable action that is easy for users to perform. If you’re unsure about what would work best for your page, try out a couple different CTAs; since the action is measurable, you’ll be able to determine which performs best.
The Bottom Line
Efficient use of SEO techniques on and off a webpage allows search engines as well as readers to effortlessly interpret the content. Mindfulness of each element drastically increases page ranking, visibility, qualified clicks, and actions taken, and provides overall enhancement of user experience. Regardless of whatever new SEO methods pop up on the scene, success only follows a well researched strategy if it has all of the multifaceted fundamentals in place!