Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, confirmed on March 23rd that Links and Content are the top two ranking factors, along with RankBrain (#3), that Google considers when ranking a website.
While this is somewhat “old news” as those of us in the industry have been aware of, even assumed this for years, it made me consider what can and should be done to make sure all of the “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” dotted from a SEO perspective for a website to be successful and continue to increase its organic presence.
Today, we’ll talk about On-Site Content.
On-Site Content, in my opinion, is really the foundation of all SEO. My reasoning is that if there is no content, or a lack of good content, there is really no reason to be out trying to build a link profile and your website will probably not be considered by RankBrain as it will lack the content needed to compete well against other websites that have the quality content that will resonate with RankBrain.
So what should you consider when you are developing your On-Site Content?
Below are a few of the essential items I look at when reviewing the on-page content of a website for a client (Note: these are not in any order of importance)
- Architecture – the architecture of a website is very key to the natural performance of a website. A few of the main items that should be considered when looking at the architecture of a website are:
- Can search engines crawl the pages of the website easily?
- Is the site managing its duplicate content effectively?
- Does the site work well with both mobile and desktop devices?
- How fast does the site load? (Seconds count!)
- Do the URL’s contain keywords that are supportive of the page topics?
- Content – this really dives into how the page content developed. Having effective, non-stagnant content on your website will engage the visitors to your site and keep them on the website longer which ultimately increases the probability that they will “convert” and become a lead or sale. Below are a few questions that should be asked when developing the visitor-facing content of your website:
- Is the content of good quality?
- Has keyword research been done around the page content itself?
- Does the content use the keywords that performed well?
- Is the content “fresh?”
- HTML – proper structure of the HTML of your website is very important for the search engines to be able to index the content of your website effectively. Focusing on optimizing the following aspects of the code of the website and webpage content will strengthen the organic performance of the website.
- Titles – This is the link that appears in Google and is usually one of the first things that the search engines see in the code of the page when they crawl your website. Make sure that the titles of your pages are optimized with keyword phrases that are relevant to the page and site topics.
- Description (Meta-description) – This is the descriptions that shows up in the list of Search Engine Results that describes what the website or webpage is about. While this is not used for ranking in the SERP’s it is the first description that a potential visitor sees. Developing quality meta-descriptions has the potential to convince a potential visitor to visit your website improving your Organic CTR.
- Structured Data Markup – According to Google, Structured Data Markup is a way to annotate the content of your website so that machines are able to understand what the content of the page is about. Using Structured Data Markup can significantly enhance the presentation of your content in search results.
- Headers – Proper use of the <h1>, <h2>, and other <h…> family tags is needed to indicate to the search engines how the page content is supposed to be laid out. Using keywords, specific to the page topic, as the header text or a core part of the header text is a great way to enhance the keyword optimization of the page content.
If you pay attention to and make sure to check these areas off of the Organic SEO Checklist for your website as a whole, as well as at a page-by-page level as new content is developed and implemented, the search engines should be able to read through your website effectively and the pages of content should begin performing well organically over time.
We here at Anvil would be more than happy to work with you to audit your existing website and develop an on-going plan of action to make sure your site is optimized effectively. Give us a call and stay tuned for next month’s SEO blog!