When you start thinking about how to improve your content to make you whole website, it is often difficult to know where to begin. Whilst Coded Internet can work with you on creating optimised content for you website or blog, it is also beneficial if you have an understanding of how to create good content yourself. Whilst the article is targeted more at webmasters than content creators, this fantastic article from Rand Fishkin at Moz is useful for anyone interested in SEO to read http://moz.com/blog/visual-guide-to-keyword-targeting-onpage-optimization. To help with the process of understanding how to create good content, I am going to attempt to condense it and draw out the key points for content creators, I do advise that you read the full article if you want to know more.
Keywords are dead, long live keywords
Back in the old days of SEO, long before the internet was a vast complex web of information, keyword targeting involved placing specific words in the correct place in an article. Whilst to some extent including these keywords in the right place can help to increase the pages prominence on search engine results pages, it is usually more beneficial to focus on other optimisations than on the placement of keywords.
So if keywords account for so little of the ranking equation, then what is the best way to improve the content on your website. Well according to the diagram, links are the most significant, with Domain-Level and Page-Level links accounting for more than 40% between them, but there are other things that are easier to build than these links and will in fact generate links over time.
One thing heavily talked about by Rand is the unique value of a page, in that the page offers something which is not available anywhere else on the internet. It is suggested that there is a difference between unique content, something where the words do not appear in the same order on another website, and unique value, where the website offers new insight or information not available even on other unique content. Put yourself in the mind of your customer for a minute, then imagine a page that offers you something that you cannot find elsewhere on the internet. That is the key to successfully creating unique value on your page.
The great thing about creating such unique value is that it does not just have positive SEO impacts. The fact that this information is useful to your readers and is not available elsewhere makes them more likely to link into it and share it socially (remember how much links accounted for).
Whilst it now only seems to have a 15% importance on a pages SEO performance, keyword targeting should not be ignored. The trick with writing a well keyworded article is to use the phrases naturally, not make the user feel as if you are deliberately trying to use the same work over and over again.
In short, you should write your article, read it through and see if there are a few places where the keyword could be added, or an existing phrase altered to include it, and then pass it onto one of your friends less concerned with how the article is going to look on SERPS or which keywords are going to work well. If they don’t feel like you are trying to push a particular word or phrase, then chances are you are doing a good job. If they do flag it up, perhaps it is time to revise your strategy as you have overused that phrase.
All that in mind, there are a few places that you should more carefully consider where to place the keywords. You should look at these places first if you want to perform well for those words.
Using your primary keyword in the page title is very highly recommended, preferably as close to the start as possible. This not only helps search engines decide important phrases, but also gives the user something to click on with their phrase in it.
Whilst this is not strictly SEO advice, placing your keywords in the article headline is also strongly recommended, as when a user clicks onto your page they expect to see something relevant to their query, preferably the same as the title. Whilst this isn’t a golden rule, they shouldn’t be too dissimilar as this is likely to cause users to bounce from your website.
This one really shouldn’t come as a surprise to any content creator, you must use your keyword(s) and phrase(s) in the main body content. Not doing so is just plain bad and you page is very unlikely to gain any results at all for those phrases. Again, don’t go to the extremes in this, but it is worth looking at. If possible, try to include them in the first paragraph of the main body text.
If you got your website from Coded Internet, there is no need to worry about this, we automatically setup your website to use well formatted URL’s. If you didn’t then I would ask your website to look into changing your URL structure to include your keywords in it. Not only does this help from an SEO point of view, but if the URL is shared on social networks, it can help to increase the click-through rate of it if there are keywords visible in the URL.
If you were to look at the URL for this article, http://www.codedinternet.com/2013/09/keyword-targeting-and-on-page-optimisation/ you will see that the URL contains a good indication as to what the article is about.
Image and alt Attributes
This is a tricky one to master, and you need to think about filenames before you upload the image as these are just as important as the alt attributes on the image. If you do not set these to meaningful values, you are severely restricting a search engine’s ability to decide what the image is showing, and losing a prime opportunity to include the ever important keywords in a more significant location. Plus there is the added bonus that an image in the right place can really help to break up a page and make it more visually interesting.
Internal and External Links
This one again is difficult to master, and finding the balance can be very tricky. Whilst linking to your own content is good, and helps keep people on your website, it does nothing to increase the authority of your page to a search engine. Of course the creme-de-la-creme is incoming links to your page, but these are difficult to achieve. It is possible to increase your pages performance by linking out to other authorities on this topic, even to competitors if you do not have content as valuable as theirs.
Contrary to popular belief in the SEO world, the meta description isn’t all that valuable when trying to rank highly for certain keywords. The modern function of the meta description is to entice people to click on the link to you page and read more about the article. It is a lot to get into a very limited field, but you should try to include your keywords and a call to action. Despite not helping your page do well in search algorithms, this fields is more valuable than ever with social networks using it to describe your page when shared socially.
Outside of the SEO community, this is still regarded as important. The simple answer is, it’s not, do not use it. Google has openly said that they do not use it since as far back as 2009, and our recommendation, along with Moz, Joast and many others is that you do not. Evidence has shown that whilst it is unlikely, use of this tag can in fact harm your performance rather than boost it.
Roots in Sharing
Whilst sharing on social media may seem like a pointless exercise, it has a number of benefits to your website. First and foremost it gets links to your website seen by a ton of people without much effort, and these view often come on the premonition that they are going to be of some value to the user else their friends would not have shared them in the first place.
The second benefit of social sharing is that it increases the backlinks to your website. Whilst 99.9% of these will be no-follow, search engines are known to still look at them as users have chosen to interact and deemed it worthy of being shared.
The best way to promote sharing without a doubt is to include the ability to do so directly on your pages. The less a user has to do in order to achieve their goals, the more likely they are to do so.
One of the best new features of search engines is the ability to display much more information alongside your results and just simple a link and a description. Our personal favourite is Google’s rel=author and rel=publisher options.
This, when done correctly can not only increase your visibility on SERPS, but also allows you to create custom data patterns and build up individual authority on search engines.
Dr. Pete Meyers, Moz’s marketing scientist has built this fantastic slideshow illustrating 90+ unique forms of search results.
Overall, building a well optimised page is very hard work, and requires a lot of time and effort. It is usually best to employ a number of different factors, and not to focus too keenly on any one in particular. Chances are, if you have made it this far then you are determined to do well in the search world, and I wish you the best of luck. As always, anyone looking for any SEO related advice should feel free to contact us or let us know in the comments section below, we are always happy to help.
Once again, most of the data for this article came from the SEOmoz blog, a leader in the field of SEO. If you have not already done so, we strongly advise that you check out the original article from Rand Fishkin http://moz.com/blog/visual-guide-to-keyword-targeting-onpage-optimization