Written content offers a whole host of additional ways to help boost your websites search engine ranking, many of which are overlooked by writers, content marketers and bloggers alike. To help you get the most from your content, we’ve compiled a list of the most important in-text elements of content that can be optimized for search engines. Some help a little, and some help a whole lot, but they all offer free benefits that can be gleamed from your existing and future content – so it’s time to get the most out of your content.
7. Optimize Your Page Title
The title of a webpage is one of the most important factors to influence ranking. Not only is it the first piece of information presented to a potential visitor on a SERP, but it’s also one of the key elements in search engine algorithms determining the relevancy of your page to a particular search topic. Page titles should be limited to 70 characters or less (as this is all that search engines will show in their results), and according to SEOMoz, the best way to format your title is to include both your primary and secondary keywords, along with your brand name.
6. Include Keywords in Your Content
Keywords are the heart and soul of your content marketing strategy. When someone searches online for a business, a service, a product or simply to answer a question, they use specific search terms to find what they’re looking for. If you run a content marketing agency, and you want relevant visitors to find you on Google, you can research the keywords that are most commonly used to find content marketing agencies. By including these in your content, you begin to convince Google and co of your relevance to the person searching for those keywords.
The Short-Tail vs the Long-Tail
Simple so far, right? For most of us, there’s nothing new here. If a content marketing agency creates blog posts rich in the words ‘content’, ‘marketing’ and ‘agency’, they have a good chance of ranking for those words. These keywords are known as ‘short-tail’ keywords, and represent the simplest terms potential visitors will search for. However, if you’re looking to get a little bit extra out of your keywords, it’s time to consider the ‘long-tail’. Long-tail keywords are the longer and more specific search terms that people might use to find your website.
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Long-tail keywords are searched for less frequently, but optimizing your content for them allows you to attract visitors that are more knowledgeable and more likely to actually buy a product or service. Using long-tail keywords indicates that visitors have already performed their preliminary research, have been able to narrow down their search, and are at a later stage of the product lifecycle. Long-tail keywords also benefit from less fierce competition, so it can be well worth integrating this style of keyword research into your upcoming blog and article posts.
Understand Latent Semantic Indexing
Woahhh! You just said a whole lotta words right there. Latent…semantic…what? It sounds complicated, but in reality, you can benefit from a practical application of LSI in all of your content, and help drive your webpages up the SERPs in the process. LSI, in simple terms, is the use of synonyms and related keywords in your text. Instead of using the term ‘content marketing’ hundreds of times in an article, by replacing it with terms like ‘inbound marketing’, ‘digital marketing’ or even ‘online blog management’, you can still benefit your website.
Search engine algorithms are incredibly intelligent tools, and you can still drive your ranking up for a specific keyword through the use of keyword synonyms. It’s seems counter-intuitive to reduce your keyword density, but search engines understand that high-quality genuine content is likely to have a relatively low keyword density, and use more synonyms, when compared to keyword-stuffed spam content. To quote an example we used in a previous post:
‘Welcome to the web’s best supplier of web content. We provide unique web content to fulfill all of your web content needs, and all of our web content is tailored to your individual content needs. If you’re interested in a free web content quote, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org, and a representative of webcontent.com will get in touch.’
‘Welcome to the home of high-quality articles, whitepapers, eBooks and blog posts. We provide unique web content to fulfill all of your content marketing needs, and all of our website content is tailored to your individual SEO and marketing requirements. If you’re interested in a free quote, get in touch email@example.com, and a representative will get in touch.’
The LSI approach makes for a more useful and readable paragraph, and prevents any negative ranking problems caused by the obvious keyword-stuffing in the first – so don’t shy away from synonyms, and don’t be afraid to lose a few keywords!
5. Edit Your Meta Description
Whenever you look at a search engine results page (also known as a SERP), each result has a title, followed by a short 160 character description. This little snippet of text is known as the meta description, and should summarize what the page is about, in order to inform your decision to click, or not click. Obviously, this small paragraph can have a huge impact on persuading people to visit your website, once they’ve found it in the search results – and a page title that doesn’t match up with a meta description is a sure-fire way of getting your page ignored. Google will often gleam your text to find a suitable meta description based on the individual search term used to find your website, but it’s still possible to edit the meta description in favor of something more relevant and engaging. If you use wordpress, try the SEO plugin from Yoast – as it allows you to customize the meta description of every page you write.
One important addendum: Google no longer values keywords in your metadescription, so avoid intentional keyword stuffing in favor of a concise, attractive and relevant summary of your page.
4. Use H Tags
All well-written and well-laid out content, from articles to blog posts, should include relevant headings to help guide the reader from point to point. Despite being somewhat common sense, and a bit ‘Content Marketing 101’, it’s actually possible to use this tool to help boost search engine ranking. Headings on webpages are denoted through the use of HTML tags, known as ‘H tags’. A H1 tag denotes the primary heading of a page, H2 a secondary heading, and so on and so forth. In HTML, it looks something like this:
<h1>Content Marketing Page Title</h1>
<h2>Secondary Page Title</h2>
Even if you’re completely unfamiliar with HTML (and honestly, I’m not great), you can still use software like WordPress to sort out your H tags for you – simple select the ‘Heading 1’ setting from WordPress for your main title and ‘Heading 2’ for your secondary. By including relevant keywords in these tags, you’re helping to boost your page ranking and persuading the search engines that every aspect of your page is relevant.
3. Include Alt Image Text
We all know the importance of including images in our content, right? It dramatically improves click-through rates, and encourages viewers to continue reading, making it a crucial element of our content marketing strategy. Interestingly though, the very process of uploading an image to a blog post can itself offer a small potential for SEO benefit – and by using relevant keywords in the ‘Alt Image Text‘ section, you’re offering up more keyword-rich fodder for the search engines to find.
2. Add Bold and Italic Text
There’s no real consensus on the true impact of Bold and Italic text on SEO, with some of the leading lights of the search engine world denying its usefulness, and others suggesting it has a small impact. Thankfully though, including bold and italic text in your content isn’t exactly a hardship, and highlighting important keywords is a practice to be advocated purely in terms of its effect on readability. If you follow this practice, at the very least you’ll improve how your articles and blog posts read, and at the most you might actually boost your SEO - so you have nothing to lose.
1. Remember Your Internal Links
Last, but by no means least, publishing and writing your own content gives you an incredible opportunity to internally link to your own webpages. Whilst this isn’t as valuable as receiving inbound links from separate, but related, websites, in-linking is still an excellent resource and tool for building up your search engine presence. Blogs are an especially valuable tool, as you can very easily include a handful of relevant and helpful in-links to other blog posts and relevant sections of your website – and as a result, the number of pages linking to your website is dramatically increased. If you’re unsure where to start, simply add a link to your previous blog post at the bottom of each new blog post.
The most valuable SEO tool you have at your disposable is the content of your webpage. All of these tips and tricks allow you to squeeze a little bit of extra SEO juice out of your blog posts and articles, but without interesting, relevant and helpful content to start with, all of your efforts will be in vain. The best way to rank on the first page of search engine results is to create consistently valuable content – the type that readers will benefit from, and feel compelled to share amongst their peers. It’s a long-haul project, definitely, but it’s also the only viable and sustainable way of maintaining a number #1 spot on Google for any significant length of time.
Hopefully, the next time you set out to write a blog post, or write a brief for a high quality content agency, these tips and tricks will allow you to create posts that maximize their search engine potential, and help your business benefit from increased traffic, leads and sales. If there are any crucial in-text SEO elements we’ve neglected to mention, leave us a comment below, and we’ll include it in our next blog post!