How To Optimise Your Page Content: A Step-By-Step Checklist
It’s easy to overlook your written content. You could churn out a few pages in an hour, then spend weeks poring over the colours and layout.
This guide will teach you how to optimise your site on a page-by-page basis. It will cover everything from permalinks and headings to image tags and good fluent writing.
Optimising each page should be part of a wider goal of increasing your site’s ranking on Google. For a broad overview of how to do this, check out my small business guide to SEO.
What Keywords Should Your Page Include?
The homepage should be a summary of your business: who you are, what you do, whom you serve and how to contact you. It should mention the most important search terms for your trade and clearly point to other areas of your website. No-one should get lost, nobody should be bored.
Elsewhere, each individual page should have a role. Stick to one topic, choose relevant synonyms and plan a fluent, natural-sounding article. The trick is to choose useful page titles and spread them out accordingly…
Spread The Goodies
If you have ten services, that warrants ten pages. If your company has three main departments, those deserve three pages. Do not fall into the trap of fitting a dissertation into your ‘about’ page, or cramming every last offer into the ‘services’ page.
Think of your website like a heat-map. Have each page generate its own little hot of keywords, separate from other sections in your site. Sure, some words will recur throughout, but funnel the niche terms into their own space.
Page Optimisation Checklist
We’ve established that each page revolves around a keyword and relevant synonyms. We now trickle this keyword from top to bottom: from the page’s meta title all the way to the images’ alt tags. Every page should have the following features optimised:
Otherwise known as a permalink, or URL – www.example.com/my-page-extension. People overlook this part but it does factor into your search listings.
For example, a plumbing service might change their ‘about’ permalink from example.com/about to example.com/our-plumbing-company. If you do this after launch, be sure to set a 301 redirect so that the page rank carries over to your new URL.
The short title that appears in your browser tab, or in search results. This is no longer than 64 characters, and is usually formatted to include both your page keyword and brand. For example:
Bathroom Resealing Service in Ipswich | John Smith Plumbers
I’ve included an annotated photo at the bottom of this post that visualises the meta tags.
This is a unique tweet-length passage you’ll see alongside a Google search listing. Make it a snappy, self-contained statement about that particular page that happens to contain the relevant keyword(s). Aim between 120-155 characters if possible.
Heading Tags: h1, h2 and h3
Page headings, in order of importance. Normally you would include one h1 heading towards the top of the page, and before your main content.
The h2 is a normal subheading. As your page is about one topic only, the h2 would be a synonym that introduces a relevant offshoot to the opening couple of paragraphs.
The h3 is not as important and can be used generously as a splitter between paragraphs. Looking around this article – can you spot mine?
Estimates vary, but you should aim for at least 300 words per page. Blog posts and opinions pieces are often longer; some span several thousand words. Write well, persuasively and focus on your human readers. By all means, add keywords throughout the piece, just don’t recklessly stuff them into every other sentence.
Images grab your reader’s attention and provide a welcome break in the wall of text. When you add an image, look for the alt tag and fill it with a short description of the picture. Not only does this help visually impaired readers, but also tells the search engine what your photo is about. This’ll help your photos appear in Google Images.
I have not written this as a binary ‘right or wrong’ guide, with optimal keyword density and exact character counts. Google are not interested in the page that shouts the loudest anymore: they want articulate, legible and useful content. The use of synonyms in search results suggests that page ranking is as much about fluency as it is about keyword density. That is, after all, what you look for in your radio presenter, your book or your spoken conversation. Be sincere, be thorough, and avoid shortcuts. Thanks for reading.