Ryan Henry President & Founder

7 Basic Tips for Creating Pages Your Visitors and Google Will Love

These days, to stand a chance of ranking highly on Google's organic search engine results pages (SERPs), you can't use traditional search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, such as keyword use, alone. You must also provide easy-to-read, stimulating subject matter that fulfills the needs of your target audience. Follow these tips for producing pages that are worthy of ranking highly in the organic SERPs for relevant search queries.

1. Use your keywords strategically

Don't waste the effort you put into identifying focused keywords by deploying these terms badly. Instead, place them to maximize their effect. Be sure to place keywords at or near the start of your page's heading tag (H1), subheadings tags (especially H2 and H3), and within the first 100 words of text.

You can also place them elsewhere in the text and in those areas used to create your entry on the SERPs; namely, your page's URL, title tag, and meta description tag. A well-crafted SERP entry will entice people in and increase click-through-rate, a factor that Google considers when ranking sites.

Don't be tempted to stuff multiple identical or near identical keywords into tags and text, though. Gone are the days when you could use keywords repetitively at the expense of a good read. If your content doesn't flow naturally, people will go elsewhere and quickly.

2. Provide unique, fresh content

There is no sense in creating more than one page on the same topic, perhaps with slightly different wording but the same keyword focus. Google may see these pages as duplicate content. This forces it to choose the page it thinks is most useful to searchers, which takes some of the control out of your hands.

In addition, backlinks will be distributed over two or more pages rather than all pointing to one properly focused page. This dilutes any authority backlinks bring, which in turn can affect your pages' performance in the SERPs. Each page should be unique with a keyword focus of its own, to avoid competition with other pages and provide unique, authoritative, and informative content for your users.

Furthermore, don't leave old content lying around on your site. If it's no longer relevant, remove it, redirect the user to another relevant page, or bring the content up to date and republish. Frequently introducing new or refreshing old content pleases Google and keeps your return visitors interested too.

3. Determine your ideal content length

There appears to be a correlation between content length and ranking position. Pages offering longer, in-depth articles tend to rank better than shorter ones. On the other hand, many internet users have short attention spans or simply aren't looking for deep content all the time. What should you do? The answer to this depends on the topic of your page, its goal, and what your users want. Rather than aiming for a particular word count, produce quality content that serves your users' requirements by giving them the information they need in as many words as it takes without waffling. Be aware, however, that pages containing fewer than 300 words could result in a Google penalty for thin content.

4. Use appropriate wording

The location and age of your typical users and how much they're likely to know about your page's topic should determine your choice of terminology, spelling, and punctuation. Remember that buzzwords and technical words are generational. Use jargon only for those you know will understand it, and for everyone else, define terms or use plain English. Always be clear who your target audience is and write specifically for it.

5. Make your content easy to read and visually appealing

Google likes to see content at the top of the page that tells it about your page's topic--and so do your visitors. Don't make them scroll down past several ads to find the information they need, or you risk losing them. If your page is long, consider including a linked table of contents above your text. This will help both search engines and users understand quickly what your page is about.

To aid reading, use short paragraphs, break up text with subheadings, and avoid using tiny font sizes. Include lists and infographics to please the skimmers, if this is appropriate. A relevant image or two can improve page aesthetics, but if images are too large they can cause pages to load slowly. This annoys users and sends a bad signal to Google. Optimize your images for fast loading using one of the many free resources online. Don't forget keywords: use relevant ones in your image and infographics filenames, captions, titles, descriptions, and alt attributes (commonly called alt tags).

6. Use internal and external links on your pages

Include links to other relevant pages on your site within the body text of each page. This helps Google explore your site and can pass on some of the authority a linking page has accrued because of its popularity, quality backlinks, and excellent content. Internal links also help users access other information of interest. You can also link out from your page to relevant, authoritative sites. This may garner backlinks from the sites you link to and boost your site's credibility. In addition, it adds value for your visitors. The text used in both types of links (anchor text) should be relevant to the topic of the page the links are on and the page they're linking to.

7. Encourage visitors to share your content

Shares on social media take your content to a wider audience. They can boost brand recognition, increase traffic, attract backlinks, and through all this improve your performance in Google organic search. Provide resources that attract users and make them want to pass them on, such as infographics, videos, and, if it's appropriate, games and quizzes. Make it easy by adding social share buttons to each page.

The bottom line

Great pages aren't created solely for search engines. Today, excellent user experience is essential. Content should load quickly, be correctly pitched at your target audience, serve their intents, answer their questions, solve their problems, and read well. This will keep users on your page for longer, motivate them to share your content, and have them coming back for more. Informative pages are also more likely to attract quality backlinks. All this goes into the mix of signals by which Google rates your pages. Improve your performance in organic search with well-optimized content providing excellent user experience. Act today to improve the way you create content.

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