The importance of onpage search engine optimization
Search engines use the content of your pages as a guide to what your page is about, or to use search engine parlance, the relevancy of the page. Search engines parse the page into the words they find and assign various weights to each word depending on if it is in a header tag, H tag, etc or if it has special characteristics like bold or italic, and its location relative to the start of the page,
While each search engine used different methods of weighting or ranking the page and while many search engines use external factors like anchor text links pointing to the page also, this is the first place that the search engines look.
The way each search engine approaches this task is covered in greater detail in the search engines section, but in general page title tags gain the most ranking points of the header tags and the H tags the most on the page,
Within each factor the location of the word may also be taken into account with words closer to the beginning of the tag gaining the most ranking points in general. In addition most modern search engines will consider the words in the vicinity of to add more ranking points,
Is onpage content by itself enough?
While there are some search engines place great weight on the onpage content, the proliferation of billions of web pages have forced the search engines to find additional ranking factors. Google was an early adopter of using anchor text of inbound links to help determine the relevancy of a page and that factor is most important Google ranking factor today.
The content of your pages is definitely a ranking consideration and a well optimized page will always help your rankings. On some search engines and for search terms which are not very competitive this may be enough to rank you will by itself, but as soon as you get into very competitive terms at places like Google it will require the you use a good inbound anchor text strategy to succeed.
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