How to Optimize Your Content for Better Search Ranking
By Lindsay Valdez
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When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) for new and existing websites, content creators are often left scratching their heads, attempting to sift through the huge piles of digital information and guides—which can quickly feel intimidating. Without the help of an experienced SEO consultant, creators often abandon their efforts and the site is left with quality content, but low traffic from search results. At BlogHer18 Creator’s Summit, I gave a presentation called “Winning in the Search Results”, where I talked about not only how to get your content to rank, but also how to make them shine in the search results. Keep reading for those same tips below.
The History of SEO
In order to understand what we’re talking about, it’s helpful to get a sense of when and why SEO came about. In the late 1990s, Google began to understand the need to connect searchers with valuable content that satisfied a user’s search query.
Webmasters would use tactics such as:
Because Google’s algorithm updates moved slowly at the time, these tactics remained effective for years. But these requirements increased over time as more and more content entered the web.
We’re now almost two decades removed from the advent of SEO. With billions of content data added to the Internet every year, there is more content than ever. When creating and publishing content it’s important to consider these factors:
Create content for your readers, not for search engines
Focus on user experience: Is your site slow on mobile, is there an abundance of broken links and errors messages?
Are you writing about things your audience is interested in?
Is each page well optimized?
On-Page SEO Tips
Put your best foot forward with each and every post you publish on your blog! Make sure each of the available SEO fields in your CMS as filled out for the page. This will help Google understand what terms it should rank for. Here are some of the most important ones to fill out:
Your Website Title: The HTML title tag (not your blog post headline) is one of the strongest weighted on-page SEO elements. Google relies on this tag to connect your brand name with the type of content living on your site.
Include the main topics covered on your site.
Include your brand name.
Meta Descriptions: Put your sales hat on. This is your chance to write an interesting description for your website.
Unique & Interesting – what will the user get if they click through to your website?
URL: the part of the URL that can be optimized for SEO is called a slug and it’s the last part of the URL. Using an example from our site, the slug is bolded: https://www.shemedia.com/sponsored-content-best-practices/
In WordPress, each slug can be customized, but if you don’t, the post headline will default as the slug.
Each post should have a unique and optimized slug.
The slug should consist of whatever the post is about, in the most concise way possible.
Sitelinks: Having sitelinks available can increase your CTR up to 50%.
Make sure Google can access the top level navigation.
Include anchor text + alt text for navigation.
PRO TIP: If you’re using WordPress for your blog, install the latest version of Yoast SEO plugin. This will allow you to optimize every individual blog post for SEO.
Here are some slides from my presentation and as always, reach out to email@example.com if you have any questions.