When creating web content, you always need to put the reader first, and that’s a fact. However, fact #2 is that how a search engine reads your content now follows quickly behind in second place in terms of importance. That’s right, whether you like it or not, the level Search Engine Optimisation put into of any kind of web content can be either instrumental or detrimental to its performance. When setting out, the idea of introducing an SEO strategy into your content creation can seem daunting, but have no fear! We’ve broken basic content SEO down into our 6 best practices that are easy to follow, and will make a surprising difference to the performance of your content.
By now, we’re all tired of the phrase ‘content is king’, so pretend we didn’t say it, but we can’t deny that it’s true! There are a few elements regarding content that come under our list of SEO Best Practices, but perhaps the most important one is the freshness of content. This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but super important to consider. Basically, publish and update content consistently to keep your site ‘fresh’, and make sure that you’re not duplicating anything (e.g. writing about topic that are too similar or reusing copy)
Whereas content freshness is quite easy to define, content quality is a little more difficult. No one can definitively say what counts as high-quality content and what doesn’t, but for now let’s take Google’s view on it (Google is what we’re all trying to impress after all!). According to everyone’s favourite search engine, content is of good quality if it truly matches the content’s purpose to the intent of the visitor. Which means, so long as you’re always considering whether what you’re writing is genuinely valuable to readers, you will be making quality content! It also helps if it is coherent and very well written, of course.
Not one to overlook, the layout structure of your content is just as important as how it is written. Even though we all like pretty pictures, we’re not actually talking about the visual ‘aesthetic’ of your content here. What we mean by ‘layout’ is the ease with which a user can navigate to the information they need. For example, don’t place your main content somewhere below the fold, making your users scroll down to teach it. Positioning lots of ads before your main content is also a big layout no-no to be avoided!
Keyword strategy is the big one. Your content could be fresh as a daisy, HD quality, and exquisitely laid out, but if it doesn’t include any keywords, Google couldn’t care less! A great keyword strategy includes three elements: research, distribution, and relevance. Keyword research means using tools to investigate what keywords people are searching, how often, and how high the competition is. Keywords that are too niche will never be found, and keywords that are used too often will send your content into the abyss. Select words that are encompassed by a frequently searched topic, but create your own more specific angle.
Keyword distribution is about where and when you use the terms throughout your content – it’s important that you include them in your title, H2 & H3 headings, meta description, slug, and image alt text where possible. That being said, it’s never a great idea to reuse the same keyword over and over again (called keyword stuffing). This is where we come to keyword relevance: research and distribute plenty of relevant keyword variations and search terms wherever you can. E.g. if you’re talking about shoes, don’t keep repeating ‘shoes’, use the terms fashion, footwear, boots, sandals, etc. When Google sees that the keywords in your content are surrounded by other relevant terms, it’ll likely rank it higher.
Linking to and fro between your site and trusted sources is a great way to improve the SEO optimisation of your content. One thing to note though, is that adding too many links isn’t helpful. It can actually be harmful if they’re added in just for the sake of it! Only backlink to your content or another website if it can actually provide helpful, supplementary information. Only direct your readers to pages that are 100% relevant, if it feels like a ‘reach’, don’t bother.
Most of us know by now that the majority of content browsing now comes from mobile users. Despite this, there’s a tendency to forget about mobile optimisation when creating content at a desktop. How mobile-friendly a site is is now considered one of the most important factors by Google when ranking pages, which is why it made such a helpful mobile friendly test tool! Mobile-first is now the way to go when creating web content, don’t miss out!
Need help with SEO? Our dedicated team of in-house search engine marketing experts will be happy to help! Get in touch and discover what we can do for your content.