I know SEO can be overwhelming and I know it feels like A LOT of work — because it is. But, when you take time to understand individual elements and strategies, one at a time, it does get easier!
When talking about organic search engine optimization, I always start with optimizing your on page content because it’s the easiest and most natural thing to do. It’s as simple as formatting your content like you would in a word processing program — as long as you follow the best practices.
What You SHOULD Do When Optimizing Your Content for SEO:
First, you need to make sure your headlines and sub headlines are written clearly, and use your focus keywords naturally and in a normal context that makes sense. Be sure not to force it.
Second, use H tags or Heading tags in your content to mark which parts of your content are headlines and sub headlines. The H tags tell search robots that the content is more important than the body copy or paragraph copy — and provide visual cues to readers and scanners.
- Make sure your main page headline or blog post headline is an H1 or Heading 1. The H1 tag tells the search robots that this headline is the most important headline on the page. Just be sure to only use one H1 headline on each page.
- Break up your content with sub headlines that stand out visually. Make them bolder, bigger, or even another color. Make sure they are formatted as a sub headline, using the H2 and H3 tags so they are given more importance visually, as well as signal the search engines that this content is important.
Third, avoid large blocks of copy that run together and create an unappealing, unattractive mass of grey on the page. No one wants to read that! Instead take advantage of the content formatting options you have:
- Use small, short paragraphs or no more than 1-3 sentences. Think newspaper-style. A large, long paragraph will seem daunting and even painful to potential readers, while several shorter paragraphs will seem like a quick, easy read.
- Whenever possible break up lists of anything into bulleted lists or numbered lists. Readers love lists because they are usually quick, to the point, and easy to digest. Bulleted and numbered lists not only make your content more appealing visually, but they also make your content seem like a faster read.
- Use bold and italic formatting to make key points in your content stand out. Using bold and italics in a smart, strategic way will help your reader and help the search robots identify important content on the page.
- Write naturally. Search engines and people want the same thing — well written, useful, helpful content that is easy to read.
What You SHOULD NOT Do When Optimizing Your Content for SEO:
Optimizing your web page content is pretty simple. If you use the basic formatting tips I shared above, your content will not only look amazing (which will make your whole site look better), but it will also perform better.
Now that you know what you should do, here are some techniques you should avoid:
- Don’t overuse your target keyword(s) or key phrase(s) on the page. Don’t stuff every variation of your keyword into at every possible chance. This technique is called keyword stuffing. It is not only painful for the visitors who have to reader it, but the search engines don’t like it. Remember, write for your readers. Your content needs to feel natural to them.
- Don’t stuff keywords into your headlines when they don’t naturally fit.
- Don’t bold every word that could be a keyword. I’m sure you have been to those websites, where almost every fifth word is bolded, or sometimes half the content on the page is bolded. It is overwhelming and hard to read. Don’t over do it. Too much bolding makes the important phrases blend in and become less important.
- Think of bold type like salt. Just enough and it perfectly accents the dish letting the other spices tastes come through as well. Too much and it takes over the entire taste of the dish, making the other spices irrelevant, and it ruins the whole dish.
- Don’t format entire paragraphs of content with H tags to try to give all the keywords you used more importance. If it’s not a headline or sub headline, don’t use the H tags.
- Don’t underline text that is not a link. When it comes to the internet, it is a common understanding that anything online that is underlined is a clickable link. When you underline text that is not a link, you’re potentially confusing everyone! Instead use bold formatting, italic formatting, or both.
- Don’t get too clever, “heady”, or off the wall with your headlines and sub headlines — if people won’t get it right away, neither will search engines. Plus, then you’re just confusing them and making it hard to figure out where/what the page should rank for.
- Don’t add a paragraph of keywords to your footer. If you don’t think that by now everyone knows what you’re doing — keyword spamming with your website — you’re out of touch. This doesn’t add value to your site and may hurt you more than help you.
What about you?
I hope this post on how to optimize your on page website content for people and search engines was helpful and easy to understand.
I’d love to know what you think! Did you learn something new? Do you have another tip to add? Please share your feedback in the comments below.
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