Building an SEO Foundation for Your Site – Content Optimization
Developing Optimized Content the Right Way
If you are a site owner and have sought out advice on how to show up in the organic search engine results for a particular term or set of terms you’ve probably know that you need to add content to your site that focuses on the term or set of terms you want to target, but is that enough? More than likely the answer is no. Contrary to what you may have been told, simply creating content for a website is not going to provide site owners with the results they are looking to achieve. I am not saying it is the wrong advice but it takes strategic planning and proper execution to squeeze the maximum value out of site content no matter what form it takes.
Whether you are creating articles, a blog or static pages – certain key elements need to exist in the right format to give yourself the best chance to get the results you are looking for. With search engines it is all about connecting the dots. You need to show search engines that your listing in the organic results (which you control) is relevant to the content that you are directing users to, and that the content users are directed to is supported by subject matter on surrounding web pages. Here are a few steps you can follow to help squeeze the maximum value out of your content.
Basic Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO Results:
- Plan on targeting a single search term per page, otherwise you will dilute the results by trying to stuff too many terms in key areas.
- The name of your page (URL) should include the term you are targeting for that page. This will allow the targeted search term to appear within the URL. A word of caution, make sure the search term only appears once within the URL.
- Do not stuff the Page Title with words; this is not the place to write a sentence. Simply mention the targeted search term at the beginning of the Page Title and if you so choose include a reference to your brand. I usually recommend following the search term with the brand name
- When writing your Meta Description make sure to place the targeted search term towards the beginning. This will emphasize the targeted term and show its importance to search engines. Do not surpass 170 characters with the Meta Description otherwise you run the risk of it being cut-off in the search engine results and stay away from superlatives, words like best, greatest or number one. Remember search engines want Meta Descriptions that are straight to the point and tell users exactly what they can expect when they click on your ad.
- The Meta Description messaging should connect with the actual content on the page for which it represents. If at all possible try to incorporate as much of the content in the Meta Description that appears in the first sentence of the page it directs users to.
- Make sure to include a targeted, search term enriched headline (coded as H1 in your source code) for the target page and like the Page Title – keep it short. The more words you add, the more diluted it becomes.
- Include the targeted search term towards the beginning of the first sentence of page content and every third to fifth sentence thereafter. Search engines look at word density and by following this rule your density should fit the mold they are looking for.
- Make sure that if there are images on your target page that they contain an alt tag with a mention of the targeted search term in at least the first image alt tag. Only mention the targeted search term once per alt tag at the most.
- If you are targeting a medium to highly competitive search term make sure the target page has supporting content. For example let’s say our target page is going after the term “widgets”. Pages that live under this page (and be linked to from the page) might be blue widgets, red widgets, green widgets, etc. Notice that different variations of the term “widgets” are targeted on those pages but yet are unique represented by the different colors. You should be reflecting this relationship by linking between these related pages.
So let’s recap. You want the targeted search term to appear in the URL, Page Title, Meta Description, H1, alt tags and strategically throughout the content of the page. If targeting a medium to highly competitive term you may need to also create additional pages to support your targeted term. Keep in mind that this is only a part of what it takes to achieve high organic search placement but by following these rules you will have established a solid foundation moving forward. Hope this helps!