Mastering Search: SEO Best Practices for Optimal Content Performance

One thing that is an absolute is that SEO best practices continue to evolve; into high quality, human first, helpful content.

As a business owner, you know your product, you know your industry and you know clients. You know that having an effective online presence is critical for your success. From connecting with customers to staying competitive, it’s important to have the right digital marketing strategies and tools in place. More than likely, you have heard of SEO, content marketing, blogs and SEM. There is so much information out there, but it can be difficult to identify where to begin.

When planning a content strategy, search engine optimization is a critical component of an effective content strategy. Web pages optimized for search algorithms help to send the signal to the major search engines that your page has relevant content for the query performed.

In this blog post we will go into basics for content creation, so you can confidently move forward in optimizing your digital space. There are a few different types of online content. To be specific, in today’s article, we will be discussing written content in the form of a blog post or article.

Alright, let’s dive in.

What are 3 main areas of SEO for Content Creation?

What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  in the simplest definition, SEO is about web site health and making your webpages more easily understood by search engines, easier to navigate, and perform better for the average user.

With proper search engine optimization, you can ensure that your website ranks higher in search engine results and attracts more organic traffic. But what exactly does all of this encompass with content creation? The three main areas to consider when optimizing content on your site are, keyword research, content planning and content strategy.

Keyword research

With keyword research, we want to be mindful of what people are looking for on the web. Choosing the right keywords is essential for achieving strong search engine rankings and attracting visitors. By researching what users are searching for, you can select topics for your articles and create content that meets their needs. You want your articles to be found where people are looking. Incorporating relevant keywords into your web page titles and descriptions can help give them a boost.

An image of a woman's hand,  holding a smart phone, with the word "Keyword" in the mock up of a search box, as she researches using seo best practices

When I was new to the industry, in the age of GeoCities and pre-CSS, adding keywords into your site was a relatively easy thing to do. So easy in fact, that Google later needed to write modifications to their search algorithm to eliminate all of the web marketers that figured out how to manipulate search engines in this way.

Keyword research today has become more of an art form. Understanding the nuances of keywords or key phrases and their various meanings as they pertain to what someone is actually searching is crucial.

When doing research, how a page is scoped out and the relationship between keywords, the content being created, and search engine results all need to be considered. Essentially, keywords are the cornerstones to your content. Like any stone archway, it is the keystone that keeps the arch from collapsing. This is true, with a focus keyword for an article. You don’t need the focus keyword repeated over and over, but you do need that keyword in the correct place.

Content Planning

Well written content should be easy to read and provide real value to the reader. It is important to remember too, that the internet is a distracting place. Write content with a keep it simple approach is wise. Simple content comprehension always helps to keep someone reading. Remember your readers could be anywhere, scrolling through search results on an elevator, walking through the park with their dog, drinking a latte in a Starbucks waiting for someone to arrive or being pinged constantly by notifications on their phone.

Usually before writing a piece of content, I recommend selecting a few (not 40, only a few) relevant keywords, that relate to the focus of the article that I am creating. I also use various keyword research tools found online, some free, some paid, to make sure that the article focus I am choosing is actively being searched.

Keyword placement

I then use those base keywords for determining the foundation of my article, and place those keywords in strategic places. The trick here is not to over do it. If you’ve been online for anything greater than 10 years, you may remember reading poorly written content repeating a specific keyword over and over again. Don’t do this. This is called keyword stuffing and is the quickest way to ensure your article will never be found on search.

two people collaborating on an seo best practices project with a laptop and charts at a table
High quality content performs well when optimized properly for SEO best practices. This content, when done correctly, can help increase your bottom line.

As an SEO professional, who has the privilege to audit websites on a regular basis, I still see this practice in place from time to time. I have even heard of so called experts, offering to sell this service. It’s really unfortunate. Usually they send spam email and guarantee your site will be in the top spot of Google in 90 days. My grandfather used to say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Where to place keywords

Place your focus keyword in appropriate places, such as title tags and meta descriptions. In a heading tag, and maybe once or twice in the body of the content. This will help create a theme a search engine algorithm will recognize. Rule number one when creating written content is, create high quality, excellent, people first content. Make sure your content is accurate, fact checked, and makes sense for your target market. As we mentioned earlier with keyword research being an art, so too is writing effective content. People first, accurate content is an SEO ranking factor, and Google recommends this. Learn more about Google’s Helpful Content update.

When everything is said and done, if written properly, the content will be worth reading. If you’re writing for a specific topic that you’ve chosen from your keyword focus, additional supporting keywords will take care of themselves, and you will start to rank on terms that you didn’t expect.

Last but not least, create original helpful content

I cannot emphasize this enough. This is critical. Do not plagiarize, do not copy paste content from other sites or repost someone else’s article. This creates duplicate content and is one way to ensure your web page with the duplicate content will not rank well in Google search. I have heard it justified and rationalized away, it just doesn’t add any value to the internet. It won’t help your website.

Google clearly states that there is no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty”, however they do say that scraping and republishing content is discouraged in their Webmaster Guidelines. For more information, read the article on their blog, Demystifying the “duplicate content penalty” .

Content Writing Strategy

It is wise to have a strategy for your content. A regular cadence of releasing content will help create consistency for both your readers and the search engines that crawl your site. A regular content calendar with specific, timed article release will contribute to this, and send the signal to Google that you are engaged as a website owner.

an image of a man typing content on a Macbook Air using seo best practices

Companies are effectively an authority in their field of expertise, whether you’re a one man shop, or a large company that caters to a broader audience, I have no doubt, you and your team are good at what you do. Writing articles on topics that are relevant in your line of business will help to further establish you as an authority in your industry in the online world.

Having a strategy when you create this content is key. It begins with keyword research, combined with topic research to identify what people are looking for when searching for products or services that you offer. Next, create top quality content on the topics you’ve selected for your articles, that includes your main focus keyword from your keyword research.

5 recommendations when creating SEO content

In conclusion for this article, I want to wrap this up with my personal top 5 recommendations when creating helpful content that is optimized for SEO.

  1. Create unique and relevant content
    Ensuring that your website contains relevant, high-quality people-first content is one of the most important seo techniques. Creating unique, truly helpful content will help your website stand out from the crowd.
  2. Optimize titles and meta descriptions
    Titles and meta descriptions are an important part of SEO as they give search engines a clear understanding of what your page is about. Make sure to include the main keyword that you have chosen for the focus of your article. Make titles and meta descriptions easy to read. These are the results people read in Google search.
  3. Improve website speed
    Website speed is an SEO rank factor, as it affects the user experience of visitors who come to your site. If your webpage doesn’t load quick enough, people will bounce. Be sure to test your website with tools such as Pagespeed Insights. If the site is poor performing, talk with your web developer.
  4. Use keywords strategically
    Keywords are an essential tool and should be used strategically throughout your website. Identify the most important keyword through various keyword research tools for your article, and use them in key areas. Remember don’t over do it. It is better to have a great article about a focus keyword than a keyword repeated over and over. Good quality helpful content is the first priority.
  5. Content Calendar
    Plan the release of your content so there is a regular rhythm for when you add new articles. This helps your organization get into the groove for creating new content, it helps your readers stay engaged with your site, and it sends the signal to search engines that you care about your online message.

This is by no means a complete guide. Thank you for reading our article. if you find yourself in a position where you could use some help, we do perform an SEO Overview analysis on a regular basis at no cost to those interested. Feel free to reach out and have us take a look at your site. We will provide you with an SEO Overview report of your existing site, and provide some guidance on direction you could take, no strings attached. Read up on the services we provide for SEO, for more details, and if you would, please get in touch.

Article by Scott ChandlerSenior Director of Demand Generation, VonClaro

Scott Chandler holds the position of Vice President of Growth Marketing at VonClaro. In this capacity, he orchestrates sophisticated marketing strategies, primarily focusing on paid advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). His deep comprehension of the digital marketing sphere empowers him to produce substantial and measurable achievements for the clientele.

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