How OnPage.org substitutes Google tools to investigate Search signals

There are a great many things Google Search Quality employees hold dear. Among others, the opportunity to have a global impact or working with talented, ambitious peers are frequently  mentioned. Almost everyone who had the opportunity to work on the Search Quality team however marvels about having access to brilliant tools and spectacular data, none of which is available to the public. Which is why once that level of access is no more, finding a substitute to investigate Search signals becomes a challenge. OnPage.org is one tool that brings Search Engine Optimization to a whole new level, if fully utlized.

On-page signals count, a lot

On-page search signals are often neglected, as in opposite to presumably more important off-page optimization. However they often bare incredible potential for a website to be understood by search engines initially and to deliver a superb user experience eventually. Here’s a selection of features we love and use on daily basis, while we investigate and analyze client’s websites. It’s not exhaustive and -for all we know- OnPage.org has some exciting new features lined up in the future. For now, these are the points you may want to look into in order to maximise your on-page potential in search and here’s how you can get there with OnPage.org.

First impression counts! Page snippets optimized (left) and not optimized (right)
First impression counts! Page snippets optimized (left) and not optimized (right)

Page snippet, the first impression

When it comes to organic Google Search, the snippet of every single of your indexed, ranking page is the equivalent to shop window. It has to be clean and clear in the message it conveys to a prospective user glancing over your page’s snippet. A lot has been published on the art and science of crafting compelling snippets that include just the right amount of information to make the call to action a tempting one. Finding the perfect tone for an individual page often requires some testing but optimizing the initial step of user experience on scale for hundreds or thousands of pages is a different challenge entirely. Without specialized tools the task would require massive resource commitment. That’s where OnPage.org comes handy. Within the Meta / Head review all relevant statistics along with search signals broken down to page level become available. They can be sorted and reviewed at will and the tool provides straightforward guidance on potential areas of concern such as Titles too long or missing entirely.

When used to it’s full capacity this feature alone will determine the way search engines understand and rank pages for user queries, it will have a profound impact on the user’s perception of a page and in the long run contribute massively to improved branding and growing conversion rates.

Meta / Head section indicates untapped potentials in most basic SEO
Meta / Head section indicates untapped potentials in most basic SEO

Orphaned Pages, opportunities lost

Important pages, such as the home page or optimized landing pages are being frequently linked internally. In consequence their visibility both for users and in Search results tends to be high. So much for theory. With website development progressing and the volume of indexable pages growing consistent and conscious internal linking grow equally to a challenge. The risk of orphaned pages, that is pages not linked from any internal source becomes a serious issue. Orphaned pages basically convey to Search engines one message only: this page is not important, we don’t even link to it. This circumstance becomes a serious handicap for pages to be crawled, indexed and ranked accurately for relevant queries, all often undesired consequences of internal linking untapped potentials. This pitfall can become a search engine optimization goldmine. One just needs to identify all orphaned pages, evaluate their value and deal with them accordingly. Either improve their internal linking, noindex them if they merely take up crawl budget but have no significance for Search engines, or remove them altogether if they are merely a legacy issue. The foundation for the decision making process is readily available to be utilized under Architecture > Links > Orphaned.

No more loose ends with OnPage.org Orphaned Links overview
No more loose ends with OnPage.org Orphaned Links overview

Panda proof content

Not only since Google rolled out the infamous Panda Algorithm coherent content strategy and content quality management are crucial. But they became both more important than ever since Panda has become the sophisticated algorithm it is these days.

Maintaining large volumes of content pages is no easy task either and with the growing size of a site the risk of unintentional indexing of content free or lean pages is more present than ever. Failing to supervise content quality and volume or relying on spot checks are both extremely dangerous strategies and can easily lead utterly unintended consequences including massive losses in site visibility in Google Search. The alternative is a scalable approach towards indexed content oversight; an objective easily achieved through OnPage.org’s (new) Content / Body > Word Count feature. At one glance word counts and content ratios break down to patterns and individual pages. The Content / Body data alone can -if applied- prevent Panda from kicking-in or at the very least be the first source to initiate an investigation aiming at mitigating poor, lean content Search signals.

Indexed content lean pages can become a serious liability
Indexed content lean pages can become a serious liability

Duplicate content, no more

Duplicate content is one of the constant sources for concern. Sites that take great care to publish unique quality content are usually immune to content duplication by third parties. Their biggest problem are not scraper sites trying to outrank them but content duplication within their own website. While the issue can not be avoided, after all similar or almost identical pages may be needed and useful for a number of reasons there is a great way to show Search engines clearly, which of the documents indexed is to be considered the original source. And where to consolidate all the authority to. Canonization is a great way to make a site better understood by search engines. And can can be extremely hazardous if applied wrongly. OnPage.org offers several approaches to content duplication and optimizing the use of the canonical element. Both OnPage.org’s Meta > Canonical Tag > Invalid Target URLs and Inconsistent Canonical sections are the go-to points to first analyze the situation on a large scale as well as to prioritize next steps, such as which invalid canonicals to tackle immediately.

Consolidate quality content authority, conserve crawling budget with OnPage.org
Consolidate quality content authority, conserve crawling budget with OnPage.org

There are a ton more OnPage.org features that enable site owners to max-out the Search potential of their websites. Rather than describing all 160+ different tools available at OnPage.org, I recommend to give it a spin and sign up for the free version.

About Fili Wiese

Fili Wiese is a renowned international SEO expert, former member of the famed Google Search Quality team and is one of the select few former Googlers with extensive policy driving, webspam hunting, webmaster outreach and tool development expertise. Nowadays he utilizes his expertise to recover websites from Google penalties and help his clients max out the potential of their websites in search engines.