On-Page Content for SEO – The Ultimate Guide

Effective SEO content is written content on your webpage that has utilised SEO strategies to increase the ranking of your page in search engine results. It is content that is easy for visitors and search engines alike to read and understand how exactly it relates to the given search query.

Page content SEO is the process of optimising what’s on your page, typically around specific keywords, so search engines understand the purpose of the page, ultimately leading to an increase in search result rankings for your web page.

When it comes to search engine optimisation, make no mistake: Content is king. Below, we discuss how to optimise your website’s content and start climbing the search result ladder.

Why On-Page Content Matters for SEO

Using on-page SEO, you can turn your keyword research into content your audience will love and search engines will rank for. Your page’s content is the point from which your SEO strategy will develop, so it is crucial to employ sound SEO techniques throughout.

Like your audience, Google reads and scans your on-page content. Google’s algorithm then determines your page’s purpose, based mainly on the content you provide. Content is undoubtedly king. So, it is pivotal to your site’s overall SEO outcome that you write content with these SEO factors in mind while also appealing to your target audience.

Best Practices for Optimised Content

Identify the Target Audience for Your Page

Identify and cater to the primary audience that will be searching for your content. Identifying this audience will often be done in conjunction with the keyword research process. Understanding the search intent behind the keywords your target audience uses will help you meet them wherever they are in the buying process.

Long-tail keywords, for example, tend to be more specific than broader short-tail keywords. This suggests that search engine users who enter long-tail keywords have a more specific idea of what they’re searching for. If that keyword is a product, they may have much of the information they need to make a purchasing decision and are now comparing brands or prices or are even ready to make a transaction. On-page content targeting such keywords may need to be persuasive with strong calls to action.

Content targeting broader, short-tail keywords, however, may need to be more informative and holistic, seeking to engage and establish trust with readers.

Defining your audience and what you want them to do when they click on your web page will help guide your on-page content SEO strategy.

Use Keywords Appropriately

Keywords are of the foundation of SEO content, but more isn’t necessarily better. Keywords must be implemented carefully and with restraint.

Too wide a variety of keywords can result in content that lacks a clear focus, muddying search engines’ understanding of the intent of the page. Map a small group of keywords to each noteworthy page on your site.

Using the same keywords in content across multiple pages can result in what’s known as ‘keyword cannibalisation’. This is when search engines can’t tell which of multiple pages should receive the credit for a keyword, causing them to split that value and undermine each page’s ability to rank. Each page on your website should target a unique set of keywords. If you already have multiple pages with content targeting the same keywords, consider combining that content into a single master page and using redirects to prevent indexing issues.

Format Text for Readability

Have you ever clicked through to a web page, only to be met with an ugly and intimidating wall of dense text?

Readability refers not just to the language used in the content but also to how that content is presented visually on the page. Ensure that on-page content is a readable font size and colour. Break up paragraphs into small, digestible chunks and separate them with instructive headings. This is particularly important for mobile sites; a paragraph that looks normal on a desktop screen can still appear quite long on a mobile screen.

Content-Length Matters

Search engine algorithms favour comprehensive, informative content and can discount thin content. Even though there are no set rules about how long text should be on a page, under ideal circumstances, we would recommend having 400-600 words of unique text per page, though we believe the safe minimum is 300 words. Some pages, such as eCommerce pages, can succeed with even less.

Longer content allows you to provide more relevant information for the searcher and the search engine to read. At the same time, you are facilitating keyword-rich text and avoiding stuffing.

A recent study from HubSpot found that blog posts between 2,100 and 2,400 words performed best in search engine results. However, a blog post in the ballpark of 1,500 words or even less can still perform well on search engines if written to SEO best practices and buttressed with healthy backlinking. For landing pages, however, the data gets a bit less clear.

A 2020 study by Backlinko points to some correlation between first-page results and word counts of around 1,400 words but, ultimately, word count matters less than the quality and clarity of the content. What matters most is that a page contains enough content for Google adequately contextualise the intent of the page.

Use Subheadings to Provide Organisation and Structure

Subheadings help separate blocks of text and make it easier for visitors and search engines to determine the relevancy of content to the broader intent of the page. No matter the length of your content, you should always use subheadings, as they offer an opportunity to utilise your keywords and improve your page’s readability, both of which will go a long way to increasing the SEO value of your website. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Heading Structure to learn more.

Content Must be Unique

Search engines expect original content when ranking web pages. If large portions of your content are copied from other websites or even another page on your site, Google will try to determine which of those pages is the original source of the content and disregard the duplicates.

If you have duplicate content on your website, try to rephrase or remove it entirely to ensure your page has the best chance of ranking.

Write For People, not Google

Understand your target audience and write for them, not just search engine bots. Sure, you want to make sure your content is keyword rich and attractive to search engine algorithms but remember that people know spammy content when they see it. Write content that appeals to people and makes them want to stay on your website. Striking this balance is the secrete to effective SEO content.

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