How to Optimise Webpages + Content for Search Engines
Published on June 23, 2018
To follow on from and earlier blog posts, where I introduced SEO and why it’s a critical marketing tactic for tourism brands, and shared how to select the right search queries for your SEO strategy… in this blog post I’ll show you how to optimise webpages and web content with search query phrases, so that search engines have the best opportunity of ranking your pages positively.
Where to place SEO search queries in your webpages
One Search Query Per Webpage
Each webpage has the ability to rank in search engine results for relevant search queries. Therefore, when optimising our webpages for search queries, we need to only select one search query per page. This will ensure that we are being as specific with our content as possible, and also allows us to be super focussed on the content we are delivering for our users and also for search engines.
If you try and optimise your webpages for more than one search query, you start to dilute the message to your visitors, and search engines, therefore not giving yourself the best chance for your individual webpages to rank as high as possible in search engine results.
Optimising your Webpages
Once you have chosen your search query for each of your pages, then it is a matter of working them into the content on your site.
When the idea of SEO was in its infancy, people would fill the backend of their websites with keywords (known as keyword stuffing), which search engines once used as a signal for ranking web pages. This no longer works. Since Google’s Panda (February 2011) and Penguin (April 2012) updates, the search engine no longer considers any Meta Keyword data. So, if you have loaded your webpages with ‘meta-keywords’ then take the time now to remove them from each page they are present.
Optimise Off-Page Elements
You need to ensure your search query is placed in the URL of your web page. Most content management systems will offer the option to personalise your URLs, except for your home page.
NOTE: If you do change your URLs, make sure it does not affect any of your URL redirects, or menu structures.
Ensure your keywords are placed once in your page title, and once in your meta description. The meta description doesn’t get used by search engines for ranking purposes, but it is still good to place the keywords here for user clickthrough optimisation – think of it as a two line sales spiel. Keep your Page Title to under 55 characters, and Meta Description to under 150 characters.
Optimise On-Page Content
It’s beneficial to have your search query represented in your H1 Heading, and other headings (H2, H3, etc) as appropriate, the first 100 words in the body copy and 2-3 times as variations within the rest of the body copy – just make sure that your copy is relevant to the visitor, and reads sensibly.
Optimise Images for ‘Image Search Results Pages’
Before uploading images into your webpages, save the file as your search query initially. Then, when you upload it into your gallery, ensure you add the search query into the ‘Alt Attribute’ tag in your image details section (see below).
This will assist your images to rank for keywords when people use the ‘Image Search’ functionality in search engines.
Optimise Videos for ‘Video Search Results Pages’
Finally, as a Google product, YouTube gains loads of traction in Google’s search engine results. So where possible, you need to be publishing your free video content on YouTube and then embed the content on your website.
When you are uploading your videos into YouTube, there are several optimisation opportunities you should take advantage of to ensure your video leverages Google’s search engine results:
- Optimise your video filename for relevant keywords
- Make your video public
- Ensure your video title includes your relevant keywords
- Write detailed, keyword rich video descriptions (if you are putting a link in the description make sure you use the http:// prefix before the www so it is a live link). Use the first 22 words strategically, as these are seen in the query page.
- Add relevant keyword tags to your video (but don’t stuff too many in)
- Choose the most relevant category for your video
Optimise as you go!
Optimising your webpages and content for search queries seems like a huge task, and depending on the number of webpages you have, it quite possibly could be.
So, my advice is to tackle your most popular content first (the content that is getting the most visitation already) and then work your way through your webpages. And, everytime you create a new page of content (whether it is a static webpage, or a blog post) ensure you undertake your research and optimise your webpages and content as you go – then it will become part of your content creation, not a separate task to be constantly catching up on.