The first article in our SEO & Engagement series
Many articles you’ll find on page optimization quickly turn into a voluminous list that makes your head spin. For the articles in this series, our goal is to provide relatively simple ways to immediately make your website content more SEO-focused. Here are a few ideas you can weave into your workflow as you develop new content and hone existing pages for greater effect:
Strengthen headings to stop and engage the reader.
For all types of marketing-oriented writing across all media channels, a strong, succinct headline — with a distinct benefit for the reader/visitor — is essential to generate initial interest and further engagement. Likewise, when indexing website content, search engines give substantial weight to headings in order to understand the messaging focus of the page. Including relevant keywords in your headings will help to send them an even clearer signal.
The idea is to incorporate strategic keywords as much as possible, without causing your verbiage to be unnatural in the process. This is particularly true for the main H1 tag headline, but also for H2 tag subheads and H3 tag body subheads.
Give some thought to page URLs and meta titles.
Your individual page URLs and titles are a key gateway to attract search engines to your content. See if there is a way to make each page URL work even harder, and also to edit the page meta title toward that end.
While optimized URLs can reflect the topic using keywords, keep them succinct and enable the user to interpret the page’s content based on the URL. Also avoid keyword-dense URLs which can have a negative effect on SEO.
Ensure consistent relevance for both visitors and engines.
Whatever topic you set up with your headings, meta title and URL, ensure the messaging that follows is consistent with the overarching idea. When your headings and body copy don’t match up well, it will not only frustrate the visitor — it has a negative effect on your search ranking for that page and your site in general. In addition, avoid over-optimization practices that can actually decrease SEO, such as keyword stuffing, link stuffing and the inclusion of irrelevant keywords.
Fit page lengths to serve their specific functions.
The debate continues to thrive on whether short messaging or long messaging is better. In our view, it really depends on each page and what it is designed to do. Top-level and second-tier pages are better tasked with shorter big-picture messaging that engages visitors — enabling them to assimilate your main points early while self-selecting where they want to go based on specific interests. Deeper-level pages usually benefit from longer messaging, as the visitor has reached them by either drilling down or by clicking through to a landing page based on a more defined subtopic.
Make your CTA link titles count.
Call-to-action (CTA) links are gold in terms of engaging visitors/prospects for deeper exploration and conversions, while providing valuable big-picture context for your website in the process. Avoid overuse of the generic “learn more” CTA as much as possible. Instead, use CTA phrases like How The Process Works, More About Lean Manufacturing or Visit Our Online Store — just a few examples of how to build in more relevancy and urgency at key decision/engagement points.