SEO & Content: Where to Start?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. Your existing website, along with every piece of content you publish moving forward, needs to be optimized for search engines to make sure you have maximum visibility. Beginning your SEO strategy doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, but without any prior knowledge it can be difficult to know where to start. Take a look at your website content and consider the following criteria outlined below. Once you have these all figured out, you can think about advanced SEO.

Metadata

These are the little snippets of text that show up on the search engine results page (SERP). The metadata that you input for each web page influences what will show up on the SERP. It is an opportunity to provide short, descriptive text that clearly explains what is on the page. It is also a place to include keywords and keyword phrases that match what your prospective buyers/target audiences are searching for.

The metadata is split into two main categories – the title and the description. Keep the title to around 50 – 60 characters and the description to around 150 characters. This text can usually be inputted easily into your CMS.

Keywords

As we mentioned above, keywords are important to include in your metadata. They are also important to include throughout your content. The keywords should be discovered through keyword research so you can determine if they are worth pursuing. Keyword research can be done by using various paid tools online.

Once you have your keywords and keyword phrases, make sure that they are all on theme with your brand or product. Focus the individual pages around keywords and keyword themes, but do not try to just stuff the keywords in as much as possible. Your priority is to make sure the content matches whatever the user is searching for without sacrificing readability and quality.

Format & Layout

This is a bit more subjective than some of the other SEO tactics, but basically exists to satisfy the overall user experience of your website. If your audience is having trouble reading your content or is exiting the page immediately because they are confused or they don’t like the layout, that will punish you in the search rankings.

Use headers and subheaders to help your audience understand how the page is broken up and what falls under what. Also, break up blocks of text with bullet points or lists whenever you can. Readers prefer easily digestible snippets to overwhelming blocks, and value being able to scan a page and getting an idea of the content.

You should also be strategic in font and style choices. You’ll want to stick with basic fonts to start with, and if your brand has anything specific or custom make sure to always use that. Stylistically, features like bold or italics can emphasize important points or distinctions within the content. Use style to your advantage to create a fluid user experience for the reader.

Focus on Quality

One of the most important things you can do for your SEO is to make sure each and every page you create is high quality. If nothing else, you can ensure that there are no grammatical errors, the text is as engaging and compelling as it can be and each page serves a distinct purpose. SEO is all about creating content that matches what the user wants. The user wants quality first and foremost. Once you have that down, then check off the rest of the boxes outlined above. Now you’re ready for the next step in your comprehensive SEO strategy.

Christian Larsen

Christian Larsen is a Penn State Grad, pugilist, musician, and all-around renaissance man who makes his living from the written word.  When he is not engaged in content marketing strategy and search engine optimization he is plotting his next bocce ball move.

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