Chapter 4: On-Page SEO: How Content Fuels SEO Strategy
Welcome to the fourth chapter of IMG’s SEO 101 course! In Chapter 3, we learned how keywords factor into searches and how to do keyword research. Now it’s time to put that into practice to optimize your web pages via On-Site SEO.
What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO (also known as on-site SEO) is the practice of optimizing web pages to improve a website’s search engine rankings and earn organic traffic. It’s all about crafting the perfect webpage – with content being the spear tip. Other factors come into play, such as meta tags and schema, which we’ll dive deeper into the next chapter where we’ll discuss Technical SEO.
Why Is On-Page SEO Important?
On-page SEO is important because it allows you to turn your audience and keyword research into content your audience will love, while also helping search engines determine whether your content is worth showing. If a page isn’t optimized, it’s likely nobody will see it unless you directly send them the link.
Why Content Is Important For SEO
Content should be your first priority when thinking about SEO. Quality content is how you engage, inform, support, and entertain your audiences. And, if for no other reason, it’s what search engines want you to do. Creating authentic, valuable content is critical for search engine visibility – because that’s how they’re designed to work.
SEO Value Of Content
Search engines companies are constantly working to improve their platforms’ ability to deliver useful and relevant content to searchers. That’s why web pages are ranked by order of their relevance and usefulness to a specific users’ search, rather than who has the most traffic. And that means, in order for your web pages to have any SEO value at all, they need to be beneficial to searchers.
How To Create Quality SEO Content
Search engines are very open about what they want when it comes to content, and they even provide us with direct recommendations. According to Google, good content should be;
Keeping to these guiding principles will give any content your produce the best chance at making an impact and getting visibility online.
Whether it’s blog articles, product pages, an about page, testimonials, videos, or anything else you create; getting your content right means you’ve got a strong foundation to build up all of your other SEO efforts.
Readability & Visual Appeal
It goes without saying that any copy you write should contain no spelling or grammar mistakes (unless done for an intended effect). Search engines’ and most readers will easily pick up on these and you’ll see your rankings flatline. Ensuring clean formatting and breaking up topics into sections or paragraphs also goes a long way into making things easier to read; both for people and crawl bots. Nobody likes a wall of text.
Search engines love up-to-date, or “fresh” information. The world moves fast and is ever-changing. Answers that were helpful years ago may not be now, or at the very least are missing modern context. Freshness can also apply to something that is specifically time-sensitive or trend-based. Google even considers this a ranking factor called Query Deserved Freshness. The “Top 5 Movies In 2021” likely won’t be relevant in 2022. Educational articles can also depreciate in value once new insights come to light. However, you can update and republish this content to help bring pages new life. Incorporating recent industry trends and news into your content strategy is a great way to ensure lasting freshness.
This comes crucially into play when discussing building backlinks. Ideally, you not only want people to read your content but find it good enough to share. This expands your readership and boosts your digital street cred according to search engines’ algorithms.
Bad SEO Habits To Avoid
We’ve mentioned Black Hat SEO before, and content is the guiltiest offender. There’s a lot of bad content out there that doesn’t even come close to providing any type of relevancy or benefit to the reader. You don’t want that to be you. Even if you generate traffic from these tactics, it’ll end up providing no value to everyone involved. Worse yet, search engines like Google can throw penalties at you that your site may never recover from.
Some bad habits to avoid are;
- Thin Content: Avoid creating a mass of bare-bones web pages that hyper-focus on one keyword; where all the pages basically say the same thing. Nobody enjoys this and Google actively punishes this. On the flip side, fleshing out a robust page full of content is greatly rewarded. Many of the top blogs you’ll see online are borderline encyclopedias all on one page. Still, quality of quantity is the easy modus operandi here.
- Duplicate Content: Fairly straightforward, avoid posting the same blog multiple times or directly ripping from another website. To be clear, while search engines don’t punish this, it just doesn’t help you because they’re smart enough to tell who the original is and prioritize them. If you’re republishing an updated version of a page, search engines actually encourage you to do this; so long as you link back to the original with a rel=canonical tag.
- Keyword Stuffing: When there are so many buzzwords you feel like you stumbled into a beehive. Keywords are great and it’s important to use them where effective so your content shows up. But – make sure what your writing makes sense and is enjoyable to read. Good SEO copywriting seamlessly blends in keywords without sounding janky.
Content is the cornerstone of your SEO efforts, not a place to cut corners. Creating — and investing in — a solid content strategy is critical to your SEO success. At the end of the day, content is the launchpad for all your other SEO efforts.
Your Next Steps
Now we have a better understanding of how content comes into play when in comes to crafting powerful SEO-boosting web pages. In Chapter 5, we’ll discuss go even further into On-Page optimization via Technical SEO.
We encourage you to keep up with this ongoing series for even more in-depth breakdowns of how SEO works, and the best practices we employ to help our clients grow.
If you have any questions about SEO that you need answers to now or are considering bringing in some expert help, please reach out! The IMG team is always here to help you and your business grow.
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