Once you have completed your keyword research and organised your content into topics, it is time to start planning your content. When people talk about content optimisation, they often refer to content that will drive organic search engine traffic. However, remember you should always be writing for the user and not specifically for Google.
By optimising your content for humans, you will likely perform better in the SERPs as Google favours well-structured, natural reading content.
Study the search intent
Deciding the sort of content that best answers the searcher’s question is vital when creating content. Options include informational blog articles and product or category pages.
For some keywords, it is obvious what kind of content to create. For example, you would not make a product page for “how to optimise Amazon listings” because searchers are looking for a tutorial. However, the picture is less clear for phrases like “arabica coffee”? Do searchers want information about coffee beans, or are they looking to make a purchase?
When a user searches, Google will determine what the searcher wants to see for any given query. Whatever page satisfies the search intent best tends to gravitate to the top of the search results. Therefore, the best way to determine a keyword’s search intent is by studying the top-ranking pages.
By searching for keywords around your topic, you can find the kind of content which Google promotes for these queries. This is the kind of content you need to be creating. For the search above, there are links to informational pages and the category pages of online shops. This means that you may be able to rank for this keyword with either type of content.
Create High-Quality Content
The web is full of low-quality content or content which is copied from other sources (known as duplicate content). To make your content stand out, it must be high quality. You must take time to create compelling content which adds real value to your site.
The web is full of low-quality content or content which is copied from other sources. To make your content stand out, it must be unique.
Examples of ways you could create unique content include:
- Comprehensive guides. Long articles that provide a valuable topic resource will naturally attract backlinks.
- Original research. New knowledge or insights, e.g. an industry survey.
- Opinion piece. Fresh perspectives, challenges to conventional thinking or strong opinions. For example, Amazon advice from an industry expert.
- Helpful resource. For example, a template or cheat sheet, etc.
Used a Clear Structure
Like any document, your content should be well structured, using formatting to improve readability and scanning. Formatting includes:
- Headings and subheadings,
- Bullet points
- Ordered lists
Breaking down your topic into subtopics aids readability. Visitors to your page will find it easier to understand the page and find the information they need.
Furthermore, a clear heading structure makes it much easier for search engines to decipher what is important in your article by looking at the headings.
Use internal linking
Internal links are links between pages within the same site. They are an important part of on-page SEO optimisation for several reasons:
- Help search engines understand your site’s structure
- Allow Google crawlers to discover new pages
- Indicate to Google that the linked-to page is valuable
- Help users navigate through your website
When writing new content, create a list of related content you have already written and link to these from within the text. For example, if you already have a blog post about optimising Amazon listings, it would be a good idea to link to it from your piece on running Amazon PPC campaigns. You should also update your existing pages when publishing new articles.
Use external linking
External links to related pages help Google understand your page’s topic. It also shows Google that your page is a hub of quality info.
Add visual assets
Visual assets such as images and infographics increase user engagement, i.e. visitors stay on your page longer. An SEM Rush study found that articles with seven or more photos receive 116% more organic traffic than those without. They also found that articles with at least one video attract 83% more traffic, and articles with three videos or more attract 55% more backlinks.
Writing optimised page content
Now you have researched your keywords and understood the search intent of your topic, it is time to get writing. No matter what kind of content you are writing, it is important to create structured content which includes your keywords in the major page elements.
Optimising page elements
A page consists of different elements, and your keywords should be carefully placed within each element. Page content elements you need to pay attention to are:
- Page <title>
- Header tags i.e. h1, h2 etc
- Body copy
- Image alt tags
- Meta description
Whilst there are no hard and fast rules as to the best way to include keywords in your content, a typical structure would look something like this:
- URL. Primary keywords
- Title tag. Primary + secondary keywords
- Meta description. Primary + secondary + related keywords
- H1 header. Primary + secondary keywords
- Subheadings (h2, h3 etc). Secondary keywords
- Body copy. Primary + secondary + related keywords
- Image alt text. Primary + secondary + related keywords
Body Content refers to the main text on the page, e.g. the content between headings, namely paragraphs, lists, etc. This text must be well-written, engaging, informative and grammatical. Remember, you should write for the user, not the search engine.
- Use your primary and secondary keywords in the first 100 words. This is important as Google puts more weight on terms appearing early on your page.
- Use your primary keyword several times within the text so long as it reads naturally. Do not overdo it, as Google will penalise ‘keyword stuffing’. However, mentioning your target keyword a few times will confirm to Google the topic your page is about.
- Include all your keywords naturally throughout the text
Website page titles (a.k.a title tags) are one of the most important SEO elements.
Page titles tell visitors and search engines what they can find on the pages. They appear on the browser tab and as the search engine results link.
Title tags are often the main information used to decide which result to click on. Consequently, they need to be compelling. Include the primary keyword for the page in the title as naturally as possible and the secondary keywords if you have space.
Page title best practices:
- Use 60 characters or less. This ensures the title will not truncated in the search results.
- Do not keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing Looks spammy, and it can negatively affect your ranking.
- Make it relevant to the page.
- Do not use all caps.
- Include your brand in the title, i.e.
<title>Janod Magnetic Board – Hello Baby Nursery Shop</title>
Headers refer to the HTML element <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc., which form the title and subtitles on the page.
These tags help organise your content for readers and help search engines distinguish what part of your content is most important and relevant.
Incorporate your primary and secondary keywords in h1 and secondary and related keywords in subheadings.
The Meta description is an HTML element that contains a summary of the page contents. They appear under the title in search results. Although they are no longer a ranking factor for search engines, they influence whether or not your search results get clicked. Therefore, writing a compelling meta description for each page is important.
For example, for the page: https://vendlab.com/amazon-consulting/
The meta description is:
<meta name=”description” content=”Amazon consulting VendLab helps retailers and brands manage their presence on Amazon, creating product listings which are accurate, well written and properly represent your brand’s values. Our Amazon services cover the following areas: Cataloging & Enhanced Brand Content Let us create new, high quality listing for your products or optimise your current listings across multiple” />
This is how it appears in the search results:
As seen in this example, the meta description influences the snippet in the search results. Writing a compelling meta description can increase the click-through rate.
Meta description best practice:
- Keep it under 160 characters to prevent it from being truncated
- Include your entire keyword or keyword phrase.
- Use a complete, compelling sentence (or two).
- Avoid alphanumeric characters like —, &, or +.
Image alt-text contains a textual description of the image. They inform Google and partially sighted people using screen readers what the image is about. Enabling Google to index your images correctly is important as Google now delivers almost as many image-based results as text-based results.
The popularity of image search means consumers may discover your site through your images. You should ensure all your pictures have alt-text to enable them to do this.
Alt text best practice:
- Descriptive and specific.
- Contextually relevant to the broader page content.
- Shorter than 125 characters.
- Use your keywords as appropriate to the image content
Well-structured URLs will help all site users understand and navigate your site. They also contain keywords, which will help search engines understand the page’s content.
Bad URL: www.hellobabydirect.com/products/SKU1001
URL best practice:
- Avoid unnecessary words, e.g. and, the etc
- Use only one or two keywords, including the primary keyword
- Use HTTPS if possible, as Google now uses that as a positive ranking factor.