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SEO Content

  • Brief explanation
  • Detailed explanation
  • Onpage optimization
  • Off-page optimization
  • How is a site optimized for SEO?
  • What is good content?
  • Conclusion

 

SEO Content: Brief Explanation

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of structuring a website and its content to achieve a better ranking in the results of search engines like Google.

SEO Content graphic

SEO Content: Detailed Explanation

In the battle to attract customers across the Internet, search engines often represent the first touch-point between businesses and their potential customers. Search engines index every page of the Internet in order to provide the best content for a respective search for a user. It is in the interest of businesses to show up in searches that their customers may search for because organic search yields so many good leads.

The practice of search engine optimization, or SEO, is to organize a website’s content, and its content across the Internet, in such a way that will yield a high position for a related search query. There are a number of ways in which webpages can be optimized to rank highly in search results. Google has a set of parameters that it deems “white hat,” which is considered good SEO. There are other practices, called “black hat,” that game the system, causing search engines to enforce penalties on that particular site.

Onpage Optimization

Onpage optimization deals with the factors that can be changed within the framework of a website or on a webpage itself. Many of these changes can be made within the content management system (CMS) of a website and include URL structure, meta tags, page structure, internal links, cleanliness of code, speed of site and use of header tags. Additionally, all images have areas to add alternative text and descriptions. This helps the search engine crawlers index additional keywords and relate them to your website.

Off-Page Optimization

Off-page optimization includes all methods of SEO that take place outside of your own site. Search engines view links to your site from an outside location as “votes” for the validity and quality of the site it’s linking to. Over time, search engine indexes have placed less emphasis on off-site links, or backlinks, because they’re easy to manipulate; however, this method still plays a part in overall SEO strategy.

How is a site optimized for SEO?

In principle, anyone who has influence on the design of a site – web designers, marketing managers, content managers or website owners – has some influence over SEO. As an example, the speed of the site is often affected by the cleanliness of the code and the speed of the server. Both of these are outside of the content manager’s control but play important roles in how a site ranks.

One option is to hire an SEO agency to handle your website’s rankings. These agencies house SEO and marketing experts who often have a track record of ranking websites highly. They’ll either use an in-house software platform that they’ve developed or a number of outside SEO tools to help boost your website’s rank. It’s important to pay attention to reviews of SEO agencies, to ensure that you’re getting value for your money and to make sure the agency uses white hat methods that won’t get your site penalized.

Another option is to build a solid in-house SEO team as part of your marketing team. This is a good option for firms concerned about security and those firms in which employees have to assume multiple roles. This method is effective for companies that have a good marketing plan in place and want to do everything themselves.

Whether you choose an outside SEO agency or an in-house solution, it’s important to keep up with the rules that Google and other search engines enforce for SEO.

What is considered good SEO content?

In recent years, search engines have placed a greater emphasis on quality content for SEO. Every time a search is performed, Google presents a menu of options that it believes best serves the user’s query. Google relies on return users to earn money (from advertisements), so it needs to make sure the content it’s offering is the most relevant to the search.

Content can be communicated through Web content, images, videos, infographics or audio. Each works as an entry in Google’s search algorithm and as a seed that can be shared across the Internet. Additionally, a good social media presence is an important signal to Google that your company is in business and doing well, making it more likely that your site will render in appropriate search results.

Best SEO Optimization Techniques

  • Unique content: Keep content unique and relevant. Duplicate content is penalized in search engines and will hurt your rank.
  • Text length: Most of your content should be long enough for Google to evaluate. Headlines should be kept to a length appropriate for social media sharing.
  • Keep it fresh: Google recognizes the effort put into creating new content and keeping pages up to date, so fresh content positively affects search rank.
  • Links: Internal links – links to pages within your own website – as well as external links – links to outside sites – still hold some weight for SEO. Make sure links are logical, and do not create links in an attempt to game the system. There’s a saying that “every link needs a story,” so take that to heart.
  • Keywords: Review which keywords are most relevant to your website and make sure you’re using them in your content, in your headers and in your links. Keywords tell the search engine which sites they should render for a given search query. Many CMS have areas to add keywords and meta tags for each post and page.
    Long-tail keywords are keywords that exceed three words in length. They often show intent of a user and shouldn’t be overlooked. While there’s no concrete way to predict long-tail keywords, writing quality content frequently will help you cover all your bases.
  • Keyword ratio: When writing content, watch your keyword density. Be sure not to pack too many of your keywords into your post or page.
  • Formatting: Make sure that your content is user-friendly for your readers. Google’s algorithms have become sophisticated enough that they recognize a good user interface.
  • Meta tags: Most CMS have areas to add meta tags, and description areas do describe your page to search engines. While there has been less emphasis placed in these areas by search engines, they still play a role in overall SEO. Take the time to add your keywords and a page description to each of your pages and posts.
  • Headlines: Headlines and page titles act as the primary highlighted content for search results pages. Make sure your headlines are search-relevant and include your keywords to better your chances of showing up in search results.
  • Spelling and grammar: Quality of content matters greatly impacts rank. Since search engines only want to give the best content to their users, pages with spelling and grammar issues are penalized and are less likely to show up in search results. Your CMS likely has a spell check included, so pay attention to it.

Search Engine Optimization for Videos

  • Names andtags: Like with articles, videos present the opportunity to write descriptions and keywords. These are more important in video than in written content because search engine crawlers can’t really watch videos to determine what they are about. This is the best opportunity for marketers to take advantage of meta tags and descriptions.
  • Relevant text: While search engines place more emphasis on keywords and descriptive text for videos, it’s still important to keep that text relevant. Many video platforms give users the ability to up-vote or down-vote videos. If you’re gaming the system, the users will notice.
  • Call-to-action: Remember, as with all content, a call-to-action is important. If someone follows through with this action, it tells a search engine that the video is being well received and is a quality piece of content that should be ranked well.

Search Engine Optimization for Images

  • No duplicate content: Duplicate images should be avoided. They are penalized in much the same way as duplicate content.
  • Name and tags: Name your image file something relevant to your company, and tag your image if possible. This information is indexed by search engines and will render results in the image sections of search results with a link back to your website.
  • File size: Keep your images to a reasonable size. Larger files take longer to load on a page, even with broadband speeds, and will reflect poorly on a website’s load time. Keep images smaller to improve your site speed.
  • Alternate text: Describe your image in a couple words with the alternative text option in your CMS. This will improve your site’s stature with visually impaired users and acts as a fallback should your images fail to load.

Conclusion

Search engine optimization is very important to any business’ success. Users rely on search engines to give them the best quality information, so make sure your business is doing what it needs to do to serve their needs.

 

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