Although there are many businesses that can justify having an SEO specialist or two within their ranks or pay an agency specifically to enhance their rankings, for others, search engine optimisation can often be an afterthought. But as the digital landscape becomes increasingly cluttered and in light of the latest search engine algorithms, there is no doubt that being clever about your SEO can make a real difference to whether your potential customers find you or not online.
Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving and have pushed many bread and butter SEO strategies to one side. When crawling your content, search engines are now much more likely to emphasise the importance of user experience; placing higher value on unique content that keeps users engaged, whilst addressing their needs. This means that if you want to get a head-start on your competitors, optimising for search engines has to be a consideration every time you create a piece of content or web page.
So where do you start? Well, here are five basic tips to creating more SEO-friendly content…
1. Get your keywords right
Whilst it is true that the emphasis of keywords is no longer the predominant factor to a pages search ranking – it still contributes, and should carefully considered when creating a new piece of content.
Think about a keyword that relates to your content; what keyword would feature in your target audience’s search term? Then ensure that your chosen keyword is contained sparsely but consistently throughout, in key areas such as the page title, headers, body content, image alt tags (if relevant) and your meta description. With this said, refrain from going keyword crazy or risk Google slapping an over-optimisation penalty onto your page ranking!
2. Put your audience first
On paper this sounds like an obvious tip, but with page ranking becoming an ever-crucial part of a company’s profile, this can sometimes get lost – a healthy balance is needed. The latest search engine algorithms are complex and extremely sneaky. They can spot if you’re creating content just to please them, and will penalize you for the pleasure!
Creating content that is valuable to your target audience should organically increase your search ranking, and the user experience on your website. Social sharing and link building come as the result of relevant, engaging content and all of these factors seen as an advocate for your content, resulting in big search engine brownie points.
3. Have a structured flow to your content
Search engines appreciate a well-structured piece of content, just as your audience does. Having a wall of text will not help you rise up the search rankings, and will more than likely see your website bounce rate go through the roof. According to user experience research by Nielsen Norman Group, when reading on the web, content is often scanned and snacked on. Only when something is of interest will a user carry on reading. Search engines recognise and favour a structure that allows readers to scan and easily find the content they are looking for.
Easily digestible content along with the use of HTML headings ([H1], [H2] and so on) will earn you a spot at the SEO head table. It is seen as you aiding the user, allowing them to easily sift through your content until they find their area of interest.
4. Make the most of free SEO tools
SEO tools can provide you with valuable insights, allowing you to keep pushing boundaries. Search engines such as Google and Bing offer free software that assist you in performing insightful tasks such as webpage analytics, keyword research and backlink analysis.
If you’re a WordPress user, then a plug-in such as Yoast is excellent for providing effective steps to ensure your page is fully optimized, and best practice is being followed.
There is a wealth of data to be gathered and you don’t have to hire a top-notch specialist to collect and analyse it, but it is worth investing a bit of time into exploring what it means for your business and how you can make further improvements to your SEO ranking.
5. Don’t sit still
The latest search engine algorithms have cut out any short-term tricks or techniques, turning search engine optimisation it into a long-term strategy. But this doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Plan in a small amount of time to review search engine changes, keep your finger on your target audience profile, and go back to tweak your valuable content with these findings. Having an optimised website, full of fresh content will ensure that you keep gaining traction on the SEO treadmill.