How to Organize and Create Content for SEO
I thought I'd post the presentation for the Webinar we hosted yesterday, which was titled "How to Organize and Create Content for SEO."
The presentation was a step by step process detailing how you can create an SEO-friendly information architecture for better Google rankings, and how to create and organize content geared for search engines, which includes some tips on keyword research and integrating specific SEO best practice page elements.
This post includes both the slide presentation and the script I used for the Webinar.
SLIDE 1 – INTRODUCTION
Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us for today’s webinar: How to Organize & Create Content for SEO. My name’s Ken Lyons and I’m the Senior Online Acquisition Marketing Manager for WordStream. Today I’ll be walking you through a series of steps to creating a Google-friendly site, with search engine friendly content.
SLIDE 2 – AGENDA
On today’s agenda, you see we have four key topics to cover (see slide).
SLIDE 3 – WHAT GOOGLE LIKES
“So what is it that Google likes?” Well, let’s take a look and see.
Here we have the two core components of what Google is looking for in deciding whether or not to show your page to searchers (and in turn send you a lot of search traffic)
- First, Google wants to see that the content a searcher is searching for is actually on your pages. If it’s not, you won’t get found.
- In addition, Google also wants to see that your page is popular and trusted (or that other pages around the internet and on your site have pointed to your page as a reference, via linking to it)
Throughout this presentation we’ll use the term “venture capital” as the example for a site focus and the collection of keywords we’ll be targeting.
SLIDE 4 – WHICH SITE DESERVES MORE CREDIT FROM SEARCH ENGINES
So how do search engines determine which site deserves more credit?
Well, this slide may be a bit over-simplified, but it does illustrate the general premise that one of the biggest factors Google uses to determine which pages rank for a given keyword are the quantity and the quality of links pointing to a particular page.
Here we see two pages – our page and our competitor’s – both trying to rank for the same term. Meanwhile, several pages across the Internet (some from our own site, some from others) are linking to these two pages. Since more third party sites or pages are linking to our page, this sends a signal to Google that our page is a better resource to show searchers.
When compiling search results, Google even counts pages from our own site that link to our pages. This means it’s crucial to think about the way that we use our own content to link to other pieces of content on our own sites. For this reason, site structure and intelligent internal linking are critical components of strong SEO.
SLIDE 5 – HOW RELEVANT IS A PAGE FOR A TARGET KEYWORD
Another major factor in determining whether Google sends you a lot of really high-intent search traffic is whether the contents of your page match what a searcher is looking for. For this reason, you want to identify high-volume keywords to target, by using keyword tools and your site’s analytics, and then you want to author content that is tightly themed around those keywords.
Typically, you want to choose between 5 and 10 closely related variations of a core, target keyword and then strategically craft your page to speak to that keyword and those variations. We’ll talk more about the various SEO elements you should use on your pages in greater detail later on in the Webinar.
SLIDE 6 – HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR SITE
Okay, so how do you structure your site so that it’s Google-friendly?
As you build out your site content or set about optimizing what you already have, you want to think strategically about the type of site structure Google is going to reward. To do this, identify a portfolio of keywords to target and make the most competitive, higher traffic keywords appear more prominently in your site structure. This creates a hierarchical pyramid of keyword targeting that will be very helpful for your site’s SEO.
SLIDE 7 – PYRAMID OF KEYWORD TARGETING
Here we see the pyramid premise at work. The basic idea here is that you want to place those highly competitive, high traffic keywords you’re targeting higher up in your site’s structure – on the home page or in your site’s universal navigation.
As you continue to create content, you want to start to “branch out” and expand your terms by creating a handful of mid-level keywords, with respect to level of competition and traffic potential.
Finally, as you get past your top-level pages and start to build out tens or even hundreds of pages of really specific content you want to try to target very specific, lower competition keywords and topics, also known as the long tail of SEO.
SLIDE 8 – INVERSE PYRAMID: WHERE YOUR LINK JUICE LIVES
Here’s an illustration of why you want to structure your site as a hierarchical pyramid of keywords. Since your home page is where people generally link to you when they talk about your business or product, this is the page that attracts most of the links on your site. That means it contains most of the “link juice.” To compete on really competitive keywords, you’re going to need all of this link juice, so concentrating your home page on highly competitive terms make the most sense strategically.
Meanwhile, each time you move down your site’s structure and away from your home page, your pages become a bit less powerful in terms of link equity since the “link juice” gets diluted. This means that these deeper pages should target slightly less competitive to significantly less competitive keywords. The good news is, for lower volume, highly specific topics, you don’t need much link juice or link equity to rank for the terms because they face less competition in the search results.
SLIDE 9 – REAL WORLD EXAMPLES OF KEYWORD TARGETS – YOUR KEYWORD TREE
This slide demonstrates an example of this type of site structure in action. Here we see that the home page targets a broad, competitive keyword that will drive a lot of traffic, that being, “venture capital.” Meanwhile, the top level and lower level pages are focused on more specific variations of the term. And even though these deeper pages are not as “link rich” as the home page, they should be able to compete in the search engines and drive traffic for these specific keywords.
SLIDE 10 – HOW TO TARGET KEYWORD PAGE-BY-PAGE
Now that we have an understanding of how to create SEO and Google friendly site structure, we can start to focus on how to create content on a page-by-page basis. There are a series of specific elements on each Web page that you need to use in creating an SEO-friendly page for your target keywords. We’re going to look at seven specific page elements, each of which was mentioned as a key ranking factor in Google’s own SEO Starter Guide.
SLIDE 11 - #1 OPTIMIZING TITLE TAGS
First up: title tags…
Your page’s Title Tag (seen in example #1 in the diagram) conveys the main focus of each Web page. It’s the first line of content users see in the search results (which is both blue and clickable). The Title Tag is one of THE most important pieces of content on your website. So it’s imperative that your target keywords live here.
If you want to learn more about title tags, be sure to check out my post on “creating high performance SEO title tags,” which you can find at the link listed at the bottom of this slide: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2009/08/05/seo-title-tag-formulas
SLIDE 12 – #2 - OPTIMIZING META DESCRIPTIONS
Next up are meta descriptions…
A meta description (seen in example #2 in the diagram) is a snippet of text that serves as your “search engine results page (SERP) advertisement.” You should use this space to sell your page to searchers, and speak directly to their interest/search query.
Again, you want to include your target keywords here as well so your offer matches the searcher’s query, which facilitates more clicks.
You can read more about creating meta descriptions in my recent article on “how to take control of your meta descriptions,” which you can find at the link listed at the bottom of this slide: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2009/11/19/meta-description-mutiny
SLIDE 13 - #3 –URL STRUCTURE
Another important element of SEO is the URL structure of a Web page….
The URL structure or file name (seen in example #3 in the diagram) is the address of your Web page. The SEO best practice for URLs is to keep them clean and use your target keywords in those file names.
SLIDE 14 – SITE NAVIGATION OR INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE (IA)
Information architecture is also key to good search engine rankings…
Information architecture simply refers to the way you organize your website’s information, or Web pages. This is basically the same thing as site structure, which is something we covered earlier. But an important component of strong site structure for keyword targeting and search engine optimization is how your pages are interlinked using keyword-rich anchor text.
SLIDE 15 – ANCHOR TEXT
Which brings us too anchor text…
Anchor Text is basically text that is linked to on one web page, which, when clicked, brings visitors to a new page. The bolded keywords “venture capital” is an example of hyperlinked anchor text: <a href=“http://www.venturefundingsite dot com”>venture capital</a>.
So again, when creating these text links on your website (or if someone else is linking to your website), you want to use your target keywords. Also, remember to use the target keywords for the page the user is being sent to, not the ones that are the focus of the page the user is on currently.
SLIDE 16 – HEADING TAGS
Heading tags are also a key ranking signal in SEO…
So here we have an example of a heading tag. Heading tags are headlines within your content, which are represented by the HTML tags H1, H2, H3, etc. So once again, this is a prominent piece of real estate in your copy, so you want to include your target keywords to maximize your SEO efforts.
SLIDE 17 - ALT ATTRIBUTES
Next up are alt attributes…
Alt Attributes supply the text that serves as an alternative to an image, so that certain browsers and screen readers – as well as search engines like Google – can tell something about an image from a text description.
You see, search engines like Google don’t have eyes. So they can’t actually SEE images. Instead, they rely on text to tell them exactly what an image is. Inserting keywords in the text of your alt attributes ensures that the pages they live on are SEO friendly.
SLIDE 18 – FINDING THE KEYWORDS TO PUT ON THE PAGES
Finally, the biggest component of determining how to structure your site and how to focus your content is keyword research. You need to know which keywords are competitive, which are popular, which will drive traffic and which ones are the best fit for specific pieces of content on your site.
One way to do this is to look at your own site for answers, and find out which pages are already ranking in the search engines. Then your goal is to try and improve those existing rankings through keyword research. Doing this will help maximize their traffic potential, so pages that only get a handful of visits will see even more targeted traffic.
Additionally, you can leverage keyword tools to get a general idea of how competitive a term is or to get a sense for the popularity of a keyword. There are a lot of keyword tools out there, and this list includes some or my favorites. And of course, the final entry on the list is WordStream’s own suite of advanced keyword research tools, which you can use to research, discover and group keywords for better search engine results.
SLIDE 19 – WORDSTREAM FOR SEO
So now we’re at the point in the Webinar where I’m going to talk a bit about our brand new software product, WordStream for SEO…
Now, if you’re goal is to build Google and SEO friendly site architecture and content, you might be interested in checking out WordStream for SEO.
We built WordStream for SEO to help you perform each of the tasks I covered in today’s Webinar, with a specific emphasis on site structure (or information architecture) and content authoring suggestions, which you can discover with the help of our WordStream SEO for Firefox Plugin.
In addition, WordStream for SEO also helps you find the best, most profitable keywords to target for your website. Best of all, you can try WordStream for SEO absolutely free.
SLIDE 20 – LEARN MORE – SITE STRUCTURE & CONTENT OPTIMIZATION FOR SEO
Okay…so we’ve reached the end of today’s presentation. I’m now going to open it up for Q and A now, so you can ask questions and get answers to whatever’s on your mind.
But, once again, if you’ve enjoyed this presentation and want to learn more about information architecture, keywords, and content for SEO. Or if you’d like to try to put some of these best practices to work, you can check out our SEO white paper or try WordStream for SEO for FREE, by visiting the links listed on this slide.