Search engine optimization - on the face of it, it may sound like another marketing buzzword. The truth is, SEO is an invaluable aspect of digital marketing, with the power to transform your business’s presence and performance online.
The Elements of High Ranking Content
Content that ranks highly on search engines have satisfied the following three elements:
This ensures that the searcher is presented with the best possible results to match their search query, and that is the crux of digital marketing. It also correlates with the actions that search engines perform when determining where content fits in correlation to the search request. These actions are:
- Crawling: Searching across web pages, codes, and content for URLs
- Indexing: Taking the information found during the crawling stage and storing and organizing it
- Ranking: A hierarchy of results that provides content to best suit each search query
There are, in fact, many trio’s associated with SEO. The third in this article is the acronym EAT, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These are the crucial elements that search engines look for and what they seek to provide searchers with.
How to Optimize Your On-Page Content
Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty bits of optimization. It includes best practices for both the front and backend of a site.
To signal the relevance of your content, you’ve got to employ keywords. These are specific words or phrases that match a query in your title and the body of the text. When trying to rank for specific keywords, it is best to be selective to ensure you’re doing justice to the words used. If you’re trying to satisfy too many keywords in one go, the content will become unfocused and unpleasant to read, so in these cases, it is best to split the content into various relevant pages or posts.
Once you have created the content you can optimize it with headings to help the crawlers analyze the information you’re sharing. By including H2 and H3 headers in the text, you are clearly indicating what the content is about in relation to the keyword. The title should have an H1 header and under 60 characters to ensure that it is not cut off when displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). Importantly, your title should be able to help satisfy the search query.
When it comes to authority, you’ve got to build your linking strategies. This means you need backlinks to your content - when others are linking to your content, it shows that there is value and interest in what you’re saying. You should also include external links to authoritative sources in your work, as that also builds your credibility since you’re utilizing sources.
Remember, search engines take time to discover content. That is because there are billions of pages and sites that they need to crawl on a continual basis. It looks at new pages and updates made to add to the index of content. You can search for your website’s indexed information by typing “Site: insert your website name .com” and seeing how many results appear.
You can submit a sitemap to the search engine servers to help with the indexing of your content. A sitemap is a file of code that lists all of your website’s URLs. This makes ranking your content easier and it means you won’t have to wait for the search engine to identify, crawl and index the pages. This can be done for various search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Note that you’ll need to keep this updated - it is not a once-off activity!
Using a CRM like HubSpot makes it easier to update your sitemap. It also provides you with SEO suggestions for the content you create. Look out for sitemap features and discuss it with your website developer, as you may need to manually update it.
Ensure you have a meta description - this is the preview text that searchers will see. This can increase clickthrough rates, organic search visits, and social visits. When creating your meta description, be sure to include a couple of keywords in it and keep it brief - around 155 characters. Since this is copy that readers scan before clicking, it needs to be informative, valuable, and compelling.
Visuals have become a vital part of online content. Your images should be optimized too, from alt text to their size. If your image is too big, it may slow down the speed of the site. It is, therefore, best to keep it at a medium-size that doesn’t compromise the quality.
URLs also affect SEO, since they are indicative of what your site is all about. They should ideally include a keyword and be relatively simple. To ensure that the link is descriptive and easy to read, be sure to include hyphens between the words.
Remember, this is just the start of all things SEO. Once you have the above covered, you can delve deeper into optimization, from the likes of keyword research to SEO reporting. If you need help getting your site and content SERP-ready, reach out to us at Nexa.
We’ve helped boost the SEO ranking of numerous sites, resulting in award-winning campaigns, increases in performance, and returns on investment.