SEO Best Practices for On-Page Content - Updates

By: Michelle Law  | 06/28/2016


Back in April of 2015, we drafted "SEO Best Practices for On-Page Content".  With all the SEO changes that have happened since this blog post originally launched, we thought we'd update it to meet these new guidelines (highlighted in yellow below).  You're welcome!

Because marketing activities are moving from traditional efforts to the more cost-effective inbound marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), keeping up with the latest SEO trends is crucial to your company’s bottom line.  As search engines improve their data collection every year, SEO must progress along with it.

When it comes to SEO, optimized content is one of the two most important ingredients to getting your company noticed.  Below are some best practices for on-page content we have witnessed with our clients that will help you stay ahead of the competition.

URL

  • Use hyphens to distinguish spaces between words
  • Always use descriptive terms and avoid numbers to identify products/services
  • Employ shorter URLs (but make sure it still accurately describes the page!)
    • Generally keep folders to 5 words or less (we realize this will not always work)
  • Use keyword, if possible, but no more than once

Title 

  • Use the keyword in the title tag once and try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning as possible
  • Search engines display 70-71 characters (this preview tool will show if it displays fully on Google)
  • Create a compelling title to improve click-through rate on search engines
  • Use branding, if decided at the end of the title tag
    • Example: Cleveland Marketing Agency | Hileman Group

Meta Description

  • Create a compelling description to improve click-through rate on search engines
  • Use keyword - it will bold in SERP
  • Keep length to 278 characters
  • Place the most important keywords in the first 160 characters
  • Ensure the first 160 characters make sense as standalone content

H1 or H2

  • Include keyword, preferably in H1 and, if not, in H2
  • Ensure the H1 closely matches the title tag

Body Copy

  • Use keyword near the top of the page
  • Include keyword 2-3 times, including variations, or more if text is lengthy
    • A generally accepted guideline is 1 keyword to 200 words
  • Do not link anchor text with targeted keyword to another page
  • When pointing to other pages use targeted keyword or variation

Images

  • Always use image alt text with keyword term

Implementing these SEO best practices for on-page content will allow search engines to better detect your site content where it is most relevant, ultimately improving the site’s search engine result rankings and increasing the number of visitors your site receives via search engines. Following these suggestions requires little effort, but the rewards can be great. Take the time to make your site standout to search engines allowing you to market the unique value of your website.

Our new thoughts:
Google (and other search engines) are constantly testing their results page to provide the best user experience. You may have heard that this year Google removed the right-hand side ads from their results. Now, in a change mostly likely connected to this update, Google has changed the length of its organic results, allowing organic results to spill out further on the page. We have updated our SEO best practices to align with this new appearance. Our new character suggestions allow the results to capitalize on the new character length if available, but still make sense if the results remain limited to two lines of descriptions. But, if we had to guess, this new lengthened format is the future look of Google.

Need help planning and implementing your SEO strategy?  Hileman Group can help! Contact us today for more details.


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