SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is an amazing way to reach your audience. Not only does it improve your brand awareness but the traffic you gain from search engines is some of the most engaged and highly converting you can get. Think about it this way, people who search on Google for what you’re selling (whether that be information or actual products or services) have a deliberate intent to find what you have to offer. They didn’t just stumble upon your content on social media or through a link, they are actively looking for it. This is why SEO is one of the most valuable ways you can promote your business and optimising your content is one of the most important steps you can take.
There are lots of reasons that you may not have optimised your content for SEO or reviewed what you already have in place. Sometimes SEO can seem complicated and sure there are some aspects you definitely want a developer to take charge of but if you’re willing to invest some time you can do a lot of the on-page optimisation yourself.
First, let’s clarify what SEO is and remove a bit of the mystery.
What is SEO?
SEO is a number of techniques that will “optimise” your website, page or post to be found by search engines when people search for relevant phrases. If you apply these techniques, you can increase your website’s visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. In other words, this can help you rank higher on Google or Bing-Yahoo searches.
SEO can include tasks both on your website (in your content, code or design), and off-site (on other people’s websites, on social media or search engine tools).
Although search engines have become really clever, they still can’t understand your website in the same way a person can. A lot of SEO is based around helping search engines understand your content, how it’s relevant to searches and whether the quality is high.
What is On-Page SEO
On-page SEO focuses on ways in which you can help search engines understand your content better. We can do this by adding extra text and information with strategic use of keywords.
On-page or on-site SEO is just part of the work involved to increase your visibility in search but it is by far the most important and builds a foundation for everything else you do.
If you make it a priority to optimise each of your pages and blog posts with these on-page SEO tactics, you will absolutely achieve better results.
On-page SEO strategy
Follow seven simple steps to make sure your page, post or product is properly optimised.
Before you start, choose a keyword or group of keywords that have the same searcher intent (= different ways people might search for your content).
For example, ‘luxury wedding stationery’, ‘pocketfold wedding invites’, ‘handcrafted wedding invites’, ‘lace wedding invites’.
There are lots of free tools you can use to determine if people are actually searching for your keyword and how difficult it might be for you to gain visibility for it. Sometimes keywords are highly competitive and depending on the authority of your website it may be better to target long tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive. We recommend that you take a look at UberSuggest to get an idea of keywords that could be effective at driving traffic to your site. We’ll be putting together a post about how to do keyword research and choose the right words based on what you find – watch this space.
How to Optimise Content for SEO – On-page elements to optimise
This is where we let search engines know exactly what your content is about, give them extra clues about what terms are relevant and where they should place your content in search results.
Include your keyword in the meta title and the meta description at least once. Keeping the keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as possible is best practice. Your metadata should be a standard length to appear in search without being shortened. If you’re using WordPress the Yoast SEO plugin will indicate if your text is too short or too long, you can also use a tool like the SEO Snippet Optimizer.
Here’s an example:
Use the keyword/s in the URL. Do not be spammy, your URL should relate to what your article or page is about and have high relevance to the content. Be careful with changing URLs when you are optimising content that has already been published, changing your URL can lead to broken links, lost rankings and lost traffic. If you want to change the URL of a post that is already published you should add a permanent (301) redirect so that search engines and anyone with the existing link can find your content.
Your page or post text should be segmented using headings, this helps readers to digest your content and find exactly what they need if they are scanning the page. It also helps create a better user experience by creating white space and making everything easier to read. Include your keyword in your h1/heading 1 (this may be the page or post title depending on how your website is set up) and in the h2s/heading 2s.
For example the title and heading 1 of your blog post might be: When to send your wedding invites – a complete guide for brides
And your heading 2s could be: When to send save the date cards, When to send wedding invites, Wedding invites schedule, The perfect time to send wedding invites.
Add your keyword somewhere in the first 100 words and in the rest of your content where natural. Use keyword variants (synonyms of your keyword) or phrases with a similar meaning.
In this example your first paragraph might read something like this:
Knowing when to send your wedding invites might make the difference between a celebration with your closest family and friends or feeling let down and sad that someone important couldn’t make your wedding day. Stick to our schedule for wedding invites, save the date and RSVPs to make sure your special day has all the right people and the process is smooth. Believe me you’ll have enough to organise without chasing people up for RSVPs and worrying about who can’t make it to your wedding.
Adding keywords to img alt texts and captions helps search engines understand what they are about, without this info, search engines have no idea what is in your image. Img alt tags are a great opportunity to further optimise your posts and pages, it’s another place to put those important keywords and helps to boost your SEO.
If you’re using a popular content management system like WordPress or SquareSpace you’ll see an option to add your alt text to each image as you add it to your post.
Adding graphics and videos to your posts helps engage your site visitors, keeping them on your page for longer. When visitors stay on your page for longer this sends signals to search engines that they find your content useful, this is called ‘dwell time’. You can see how long people spend on your page in Google Analytics.
Add links to other content on your site and to relevant good quality websites that your readers may find helpful. Internal linking is important for showing Google what content is important on your site. You should go through earlier posts that are relevant and link to your new articles. Be sure to review this often.
Linking out to high authority websites and other useful content is great for your readers and shows Google that you’re providing the best possible information.
You’ll notice that in this article we’ve added some links for further info that you might find helpful. You can link to other articles about your topic either on your own website or on other websites, preferably both.
Calls to Action
When people read your content, what do they do when they get to the end of the article? Are you giving them an opportunity to find out more about you or read other content that might be useful? Calls to action not only help you send visitors to other important pages but keep people on your website for longer, it’s a great trust signal for Google. Add a compelling call to action at the end of your posts and within them, if your content is long, make it stand out and make it relevant.
A Quick Visual Guide
Final thoughts on optimising content for SEO
There are a lot of factors that can have an impact on how visible your website is in search engines and you may have to improve other parts of your site in order to start ranking. Optimising your site’s pages and posts is the foundation for all the other work you may do on SEO and should be the first thing you think about.