Helping search engines understand the meaning of a page is one of the most important tasks of marketers. Advanced SEO techniques make this easier.
In Cyrus Shepard’s The Moz Blog post titled, More than Keywords: 7 Concepts of Advanced On-Page SEO, he looks at a series of on-page advanced SEO techniques. Shepard credits evidence collected from several search marketers, with special thanks to Bill Slawski’s SEO by the Sea.
Shepard says these are just some of the ways Google may determine on-page relevancy. He recommends trying your own techniques to see what works, too.
- Keywords remain the most basic type of optimization. Keyword stuffing is out, and research shows that the influence of keywords has diminished. You still need to cover the keywords you wish to rank for, but don’t count on keywords alone.
- Term frequency–inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) is not about keyword density, but a measurement of importance that compares “expectations” about meaning, gathered from other documents. Compare the word “basket” to “basketball player.” If basketball player appears on a page often, it’s significant. Because “basket” is part of that term, it’s not as relevant. TF-IDF is mostly useful as part of other on-page SEO concepts.
- Synonyms and their variations or “close variants” play a part in up to 70% of searches, according to Google’s research. Search engines use huge databases of synonyms and close variants to match billions of queries for content. “Dog pics” probably means the same as “dog pictures,” but not “dog motion pictures.” This is why it’s critical to use natural language and variations, especially when a keyword can refer to multiple concepts.
In addition to providing excellent descriptions of other on-page SEO elements, Shepard offers six suggestions for better on-page optimization. From the importance of keyword research to structuring your content properly, these tips provide a great how-to for advanced techniques.
It may seem like a contradiction, but Shepard sums up by saying the best way to optimize for search engines is for us to “write like humans for humans.” The computers are getting smarter.