Good content developers have learned to write both for people and search engines, using solid data to reach their audiences.
But search engines have gotten a lot smarter. They’ve moved beyond individual keywords—they’ve learned to understand context. But writers still need to understand and deploy sound search engine optimization (SEO) principles. Apply this SEO checklist to every blog and landing page.
Optimizing website content
To help your website show up in search engines, you need to optimize both content and select HTML source code. This includes page titles, metadescriptions, image alt-text, internal links, anchor text, URLs, etc.
The following checklist identifies those things you will need to address for every web page and blog.
- Metatitle. This is distinct from the headline on the page’s headline. It acts as a name tag for the web page.
- It should in a keyword.
- Maximum length: 50-60 characters.
- Use your brand name.
- Use numbers, if appropriate.
- Use how, what, why.
- Provide useful info/create sense of urgency.
2. URL: This is what will show up in the page’s information bar. It’s important because search engines will be looking for this.
- Limit to 3-5 words.
- Include keywords.
- Try to avoid duplicating metadescriptions.
3. Blogpost. Search engines love fresh content, and writing and posting blogs are the best ways to keep your site updated with new content.
- Use H tags for titles and subtitles: H1, H2 and H3.
- Add buttons and links to your social sites.
4. Images: Label every image. Include name of your company and image description.
- Use alt tags: Include your company name plus description of the image.
- Use the correct size image for designated space—make sure images are not too big or your site will not load. Recommended sizes: 1500-2500 pixels. Those images you take with your smartphone? They’re generally huge files. If you plan to use these, resize them before uploading to your website.
- Each page should have an image. A carefully chosen, highly relevant image will enhance your story and provide visual texture.
5. Body. Long-form content helps your site show up in search engines. Google needs words to rank. Think 1,000+ words. At the very minimum, 300 words. Frontload your content, with the most important information in the first paragraph.
6. Keywords. Use Google’s keyword tool or others. Key in search phrases and see what words/phrases people are using to search for your term. Look for those with low-medium competition and bid price.
- Forget keyword stuffing. Good content is nonnegotiable. Use your target keywords in the first 100-150 words.
- Use semantically related words throughout body of content.
7. Internal Linking strategy. Create internal links among pages where there is a relationship. It encourages readers to stay on your site, drilling down through relevant pages.
- Check page-load time—if it takes too long, check image sizes.
- Make sure your site is built with responsive design, adapting across devices.
- Avoid duplicate content.