Writing content and a consistent stream of blogs is important for SEO success. Investing in your SEO strategy takes time and effort. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts when looking to boost SEO. Therefore, it’s important that when writing content for your website, you are also following best practice SEO rules to ensure your content is being correctly optimised, has the best foundation to increase SEO and your content writing efforts aren’t going to waste.
Many individuals do the right thing and spend time pumping out engaging content and advice driven blogs to drive traffic to their site and in turn increase their SEO. Businesses can spend over 40+ hours a week writing, editing and uploading content. When spending so much time on a task, it’s important that you are getting it right from the outset so your content is getting optimised to the best of its ability.
Here are top 7 rules to follow for on-page SEO to give your content a fighting chance.
When you finish writing your next batch of content, take the time to review this list and ensure you have met each of the criteria. This will give your content an SEO boost and drive traffic to your website.
Have the right keywords
Many business owners will say that they know what keywords are right for their website and content. After all, they are the ones that deal directly with their customers and understand their market inside and out. However, there is a difference between knowing what keywords your potential customers speak and what keywords they are actually using to search with.
Ask yourself, what are your potential customers actually typing into their search engines? You might think that because a lot of your customers are from a particular industry they must be typing in their industry keyword within their search query. However, this is an assumption and it may not actually be a highly searched term.
There are many free, online SEO tools that can be used to help you ensure that you have the right keywords.
Tools such as Google Keyword Planner and 'SEO Book' are just some of the online tools that can be used to give you a range of suggested keywords and how often that keyword is being searched.
Once you have this list, pick out the top 20 keywords and focus your content on these. By keeping it small and focused, you can capitalise on these keywords and build your content around them. The more content you have over time that feature these keywords, the more chance you have of ranking for these terms.
Have appropriate keyword placement
Once you have worked out your keywords, you now need to use them in the right way throughout your content. There is more to optimising content then using a keyword a few times through a post.
Firstly, it’s important to lay down the foundation of your on-page SEO. Choose your primary keyword per page and ensure it in presenting the following:
- Title tag
- Meta description (here is more about meta tags)
Once you have done this, you can now concentrate on the body of your content. Ask yourself, how many words is your page or blog post? This will dictate how many times you should use your primary keyword throughout the content.
As a rule of thumb, with a page containing 750 words, use your keyword around 3 times throughout your content.
After this, tweak your keyword and continue to use it as many times as you can (without keyword spamming) throughout your content.
For example, if your keyword was “carpet cleaning equipment”, you would alter this keyword slightly and also use these terms throughout your content. Using the carpet cleaning equipment example, other used terms could be “carpet cleaning machines” or “carpet cleaning tools”.
Also, it’s one thing to have the right keywords and using them appropriately throughout your content, but it’s also important to make sure they are being used in natural way.
Forcing keywords into paragraphs or “keyword spamming” your content will only hinder your SEO efforts. Helpful, engaging, easy to read and natural flowing content is crucial. The more people enjoy your content, the more it will be shared. The more your content is shared the more it is seen as an “authority” on the subject matter at hand and this is crucial in boosting SEO.
Have internal linking
Linking different pages within your website works 2-fold.
Firstly, it will make the positive experience of reading and navigating through your content easier for the reader.
For example, if someone is reading your blog post on “top marketing tips” and they want to know more about SEO specific tips, then link the word “SEO” to another blog on your site that is dedicated to this subject matter. This will allow the reader to spend more time on your site. How long visitors are staying on your site is also important to SEO and your website’s authority ranking.
Secondly, when you have internal links using keywords and these are linking to primary pages throughout your site, this will help boost your overall site’s SEO. As a rule, try and limit your links to 2 per page. Also, don’t’ waste your links on words such as “contact us” or “learn more”. Take advantage of internal links and make sure they are used for primary keywords in order to help increase the SEO juice of your site.
Below is an example of internal links (this content is taken from this page, look at the top):
Avoid duplicate content
Most of us know that copying and using existing content won’t help with SEO efforts. However, sometimes duplication can happen by accident. Especially if you have a large website, content can accidently become duplicated overtime.
For example, some pages, such as product pages might have very similar features and benefits. It can be easy to fall into the trap of copying descriptions and dropping them into every product page. Although it takes more time and effort to write original content, it is worth it in the long run.
Search engines don’t look favorably on websites with duplicate content. You are already spending time and effort on building a website and adding content to it. Go that extra step and always create original content. As you build on your SEO strategy, you won’t have to worry about duplicate content letting down your efforts.
Every 3 months, it might be a good idea to run your website through a free duplicate content checker tool. Duplicate checkers such as the one by SEO Review Tools will give you a quick overview of any internal or external content duplicates against the URL you have typed in.
Don’t forget images
It’s not just the content that we need to remember. Images are also important to your on-page SEO strategy. Rather than dropping in images with irrelevant file names such as “Image 1”, ensure your images reflect your primary keywords.
For example, if your keywords are related to footwear, you might name an image “Men’s leather brown shoes”. Just like how optimised content is important to on-page SEO, optimised images also help improve SEO.
There are many websites offering paid image subscriptions, however, you can also find many websites offering free stock images.
Also, don’t forget about the image alt tag. The image alt tag is the description that is given to that image. Just like content, all alt tags should be original and not duplicate content. Unique alt tag content may take some time to create, particularly if you have lots of images on every page. However, the more images you have and unique alt tags, the more your page will rank for your chosen primary keywords.
File sizes and quality are also factors to consider when uploading images. Big files can impact the loading time of your site. The longer your site takes to load the more chance you will receive of people abandoning your site. When you start to get a bigger bounce rate percentage, this will negatively impact your SEO.
Don’t’ forget videos and infographics
Not every page on your website will call for a video or inforgraphic, but if you think it will add to the value of the page and the reader experience, then take the time to add these features in.
All of these extra on-page features adds to the engagement of your website. A video provides a powerful visual together with your content. An inforgraph is great image that can summarise your content into a simple and easy to read overview. Your infographic can contain key stats, pie charts, bar graphs and more. Infographics are also commonly pinned and shared, and the more your content is shared the better for your SEO.
Most of us can take good quality video with our smartphones, which we can easily upload to our website. When it comes to creating infographics, you don’t have to hire a designer or be familiar with design software.
A great free design tool is Canva. Canva provides free templates for creating infopgraphics, which can easily be updated and edited without design skills. Once you have created your design, you simply download the infographic into your chosen file type, such as a PDF or JPG.
Infographics and videos might take some time to create, however, if you go to the trouble of creating content that is correctly optimised, taking the extra hour to create a short video and infographic is a worthwhile SEO strategy that will help set you a part from your competitors.
Analytics and tracking tools are correctly configured
Last but not least, ensuring you have correctly set-up tracking tools such as Google Analytics is important to measure your on-page SEO activities. If you’re using WordPress, the “Google Analytics by Yoast plugin” is an easy way to set-up tracking.
Once you have Google Analytics, it’s important to set it up correctly. There are various ways to configure your analytics system, but two important and basic features include:
- Goals (this will tell you when someone does something on your website, for example, filled out a form)
- Site Search (this will tell you what visitors are typing into your website’s search bar. This is a great SEO tool, as it shows you exactly what keywords your visitors are searching with).
Also, when it comes to reporting, Google Analytic’s behaviour reports are very useful for reviewing your content. These reports should tell you your top pages, most exited pages and most entered pages. It will also provide you with reports regarding your site search history and how fast your website is loading.
Your SEO activities will be an ongoing strategy. It will take time, but a website that has laid down the right foundations will reap the awards and leap ahead of their competitors online. Always remember, it’s not just the content that is important. Creating the content is one thing, but optimising it is another.
When you complete your website content or blog post, simply go through each page and follow these 7 rules as a checklist. Check that you have the right keywords, correct keyword placement, have internal linking, no duplicate content, optimised images, videos and inforgraphics and have correctly configured analytics and tracking tools.
As time goes on and your content increases and your URL becomes older, your SEO will increase. Your primary goal from laying your SEO foundation is to ultimately appear with number 1 rankings for your primary search terms, drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into leads through engaging and helpful content.
Sarah is the head of guest posts outreach and an SEO expert. Her interests are search engine optimisation, social media and brand management.