Part 4: Content Optimization for SEO

Travis Van SlootenSmall Business SEO

Welcome to part 4 of our SEO series! In part 3 we discussed how to structure your website to please the search engines and your website visitors. Today we will discuss optimizing content to improve your website rankings.

As part of Google’s latest algorithm change, websites that are over-optimized may be penalized. Does this mean SEO is no longer important? No! It just means that you don’t want to overdo it when you optimize your content.

Today, the most important factors surrounding on-page SEO are: high quality content and easy-to-navigate sites with clean code. When a web page is “stuffed” with keywords, it will suffer! When done skillfully, content optimization will help build a website that targets your key marketing demographic while ranking well on major search engines.

More importantly, skillful optimization has staying power regardless of search engine algorithm changes. So how do you optimize a site without angering Google? By properly focusing on the facets that consistently boost page rank.

Heading Tags

The heading tag tells visitors and search engine the topic of a page and its sections via HTML code. There are specific rules regarding heading tags that should be followed:

  • Don’t use a tag more than once on the same page.

    The first heading tag, or H1 tag, holds the greatest weight on the page. Repeating it confuses the search engines as they can’t figure out what actually defines the main topic of the page. If you need to use more than the H1 tag, use the H2 or H3 tags as additional tags. Try not to use more than 2 heading tags on any given page.

  • Write clear, concise headings.

    Make sure your keyword phrase makes up at least 50% of the heading, giving your keyword increased priority.

  • Use heading tags appropriately.

    Remember- 2 heading tags per page! Define the best content with your heading tags; for less-important content, bold text works fine. If you have an abundance of stellar content, break it up into more than one page!

  • Don’t mask tags with CSS.

    It’s fine to use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to define the look, feel, and function of a site; however, it is not okay to hide CSS in a folder where the search engine spiders are unable to find it.

Special Text

Special text is any text that stands out from the rest, whether bold, underlined, highlighted, larger text, italics, etc. Special text is considered more important than regular text, and will be given greater weight by search engines. Use special text to help the search engines and your visitors find the most important information on your website.

Inline Text Links

An inline text link is a link embedded within your content. An inline text link is considered “special text” and is given priority over regular text. Inline text links serve two purposes: first, to help the reader quickly find information and second, to give the linked phrase’s page added weight. Inline text links also help your visitors find important information: instead of hoping your visitors will utilize your navigation bar, help them find other pages on your website using links in the text of your pages.

Keyword Density.

There is no “magic keyword density number,” and if there was, it would probably change the next time a search engine’s algorithm shifts. The general consensus is that content should be optimized for keyword phrases between 3% and 5%. Often, if you have quality content targeted to a specific demographic, the keywords write themselves naturally! It’s still a good idea, however, to make sure a specific keyword phrase is incorporated into your copy. If you read your content and your keyword sticks out awkwardly or comes up more often than sounds natural, you’re doing it wrong.

Use these six guidelines to optimize your content correctly to get your website ranked high on Google and the other search engines.

Links To The 10-Part SEO Series on How To Rank on Google

Part 1: SEO Success Starts With Keyword Research
Part 2: Why Producing Quality Content for SEO Is Important
Part 3: Structuring Your Website For SEO
Part 4: Content Optimization for SEO
Part 5: Internal Linking Strategies for SEO
Part 6: Human Testing for SEO Success
Part 7: Search Engines Submissions for SEO
Part 8: Link Building for SEO
Part 9: Monitoring Your SEO Efforts
Part 10: Extra Tools & Resources for SEO Success