SEO Guide – Part 3 : SEO Content and Keyword Focus
Google can’t judge the quality of your images and videos, it only knows words.
Keyword Research : begins with expanding on the list of target keywords and then analyzing them to see the volume of search traffic in the search engines of your target countries; the number of competing pages with that keyword term prominent; the strength of competition on results page 1 for target keyword phrases. It can also include competitor research to see what keywords they use on their pages and which ones they rank for. With this knowledge we can then prioritize the keywords focus of our pages initially.
Keyword Content Strategy : we have the tendency to use the same few phrases that describe our products or services and then repeat them ad infinitum. Implementing a developed Content Strategy with working documents to coordinate anyone writing for the organization will increase the number of search queries for which we will appear in the results pages. It is not only for website content but for all digitally published content: social media; press releases; blogs; forums; Q&A sites, YouTube videos, Amazon stores … they all require keyword focus.
On-Page Keyword Placement : there are certain places that the target keyword should be placed – in the url; the page title; the meta-description tag read by search engines; several times in the body text; in image alt tags, and using heading and sub-headings intelligently to highlight the subject areas of different sections of the page with keywords. Google also have notes that include not jumping from h1 then to h3 and then to h5 header tags but to use them in a more sequential hierarchy. This might mean altering the style rules so that h2, h3, h4 are at the sizes and style that you want. The image alt tags are often skipped over by web designers. The search engines read these and index the tag along with the image location. They should also have descriptive url´s and not just “img_000352.jpg”. Some website are able to obtain a significant number of visitors through the image search results.
Volume of Website Content : Google favors large informative websites. The ideal site has many pages organized with a hub page for each distinct topic and sub-pages to these hubs. Each page must have at least 300 words before Google will consider it as being informative, and preferably a lot more. Home pages are often very visual and merely function to showcase the brand and display links to the different sections. This is not a problem for the home page (or landing page) and maybe for topical hubs or product category pages, but in general pages should have a reasonable amount of text before standing a chance of search engine ranking and appearing in search engine results.
Websites with blogs also have a greater chance of appearing in search engine results pages. Google also loves fresh content. You have to see each additional page and post of a website as an opportunity to include the industry keywords not yet focused upon in the previously published pages and posts, and thereby expand your “keyword footprint” in the internet.
A large website and a news blog obviously require a lot of copy writing which is a human overhead in research and writing, and producing visual content to make the pages and posts more attractive. A good website is a major investment, but one that will usually give a high return on investment (ROI).
Organizing Page Hierarchy : the SEO of a site can be improved by organizing the site structure so that (keyword rich) category names form part of the page URL’s. Some experts talk of organizing content into topical “Silos”. It’s logical really, and most websites are planned by graphic designers not librarians and academics and these structural changes can make it easier for search engines to understand what your site is about, and by inclusion of your most important topical areas in the url´s can boost search engine visibility.
Internal Linking : we can decide which pages we wish to increase the ´page authority´ for selected topic areas by internal linking with keyword rich anchor texts. Page authority can be visualized as a liquid that we can divert to other vessels (pages and posts). When applying advanced content strategies where we want different pages to rank for different specific keyword phrases within a narrow topical area we need to take a lot of care to ensure that our target keywords are not repeated on other pages. The ideal site structure does not have site-wide links in the sidebar or footer. These spread the authority around the site with no way of controlling it in a strategic approach. Internal link structures for SEO is a deep topic.
External Links : we should have some external links to informative pages that are topically relevant. Google might be suspicious of a domain that only has incoming links, and it is a natural extension of the more informative websites to direct people to other experts on the topic, but we should mix this with a healthy quantity of internal links to our own pages internally. The last paragraph mentioned visualizing authority as liquid (often described as “SEO link juice”). Now imagine that juice leaking out to each of the domains that we link to. Google want to see some external links. This is what happens unless we place the directive “nofollow” within the link´s html tag. This instructs the search engine to allow the link, but not to pass authority to the link destination. We might want to allow authority to pass to the web pages of allies, and many SEO´s argue that we should pass authority to our own social media profiles. The same device (follow or nofollow) can be used to control the flow of authority from one page to another via internal links as described in the last section.
Unique Content : all website text content needs to be unique (Google will spot copied text and penalize) and each page, post, category summary page and portfolio item should be seen as an opportunity to focus on a new set of keyword phrases. Press releases, guest posts and other websites presenting you need to write unique content, or if cut and pasted from your website, those portions of text need to be enclosed in tags with reference to the original material. Many news sites and blogs contain “curated content” from external sources that must be correctly referenced or face losing. You should also avoid repeating sections of content within your own site. You will see a CopyScape symbol in the footer of this website. Copyscape protects my content by alerting me when sections have been copied to other websites. Make sure you contact me if you want to ‘borrow’ my research and writing skills to display somewhere else.