This is a continuation from A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 2. Here we will look at some important aspects of content development relevant to marketers.
Content Development Basics for SEO
Here are a few necessary factors that can help marketers create content that is picked up by search engines.
H1 Tags, Titles, and Meta Descriptions
H1 tags, which are used to encapsulate the main headings for a page in HTML, allow the heading to show up in SERPs. Another point to remember with headings is to incorporate at least one keyword you are optimising the search for in the title, especially in blogs or articles. Also necessary is to have the various headings (the main heading and the subheadings) in the natural progression, starting from an H1 tag, moving on to the H2 tag, and ending in an H3 tag.
Moreover, it is also important to be mindful of the meta descriptions, those lines below the title tags on SERPs that explain in little more detail what the page is about. Remember to keep them short, with a few keywords, and to the point as overly long descriptions won’t be picked by the search engines. Keep your focus on the customers and their needs, so the descriptions should let them understand the benefits of clicking on the page while piquing curiosity to know more.
Length of Blogs, Articles, or Posts
Google favours long-form blog posts or articles and ranks them highly—most first-page search results feature write-ups in the range of 2,000 words. However, long stretches of text not broken into smaller chunks are intimidating to read. With blogs and articles, keyword stuffing is something that is now penalized. It’s best to avoid that and instead focus on adding long-tail key phrases, understood as a combination of search keywords rather than singular or short combinations of isolated keywords. For example, while optimising for a cleaning service, the keywords: “top cleaning service” would not be as effective as “Canadian cleaning services highest-rated year over year.”
Image and Video Optimization
Image queries on search engines are almost as frequent as text-based queries, so it is vital to use relevant supporting images. It is estimated that nearly 40 to 60 per cent of the transferred data on the web comes in images, which indicates that images are data-dense assets. The main aspect of image optimisation is choosing the right quality, size, and format so that there is the least load time involved. Although JPEG is the standard format for the web, it might not be the most optimised every time. For instance, PNG can save space and decrease load time when used for images featuring solid colours. Also, for browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, WEBP can lessen image size by 10 to 30 per cent without significantly compromising image quality.
Moreover, the images should be original whenever possible as stock images are available to everyone, which would lower uniqueness and impact appearance in search results. Title image file names descriptively, such as “man-sunbathing-on-the-beach-in-Hawaii.jpg.” rather than “sunbather1.jpg.” This is because image titles are derived from their file names by some web development platforms like WordPress, and Google indexes images based on their titles. Similarly, metadata, which are descriptive pieces of data that help Google index images, should also contain keywords.
Rules for video optimisation are also similar: good titles with keywords and user-focused meta descriptions, metadata making use of keywords, and optimised video size and streaming time. Moreover, the thumbnail image should be attractive to look at and offer a clear understanding of what the video is about.
We will discuss off-page optimisation and technical SEO in the last post in this series, A Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Part 4.
Arslan Ahmed | Staff Writer