SEO 101: Optimizing Visible Content

Optimizing all of the content on the page for the same keyword theme gives your page the best chance of ranking. In addition to the critical search engine optimization (SEO) metadata — title tag and meta description — the headings and body content are important elements to optimize. 

Unlike the metadata, however, they’re also visible to visitors, which makes optimizing the headings and body copy a more nuanced affair.

The H1 Heading

Headings act as the titles and subtitles for a page’s content. King of these headings, the H1 heading is the most influential of the headings for SEO performance. Here are a few helpful tips for optimizing your H1 heading.

Length

In less than five-ish words — ideally more like two or three — create a heading that tells both the visitor and the search engines what the page is about while using your primary keyword. Unlike the title tag, there probably won’t be room for much more than that keyword because you don’t want such a visible element to look too long and scraggly.

Use the Keyword Theme

Research shows that using the same keywords in the title tag and the H1 heading decreases the chance of the title tag being rewritten by Google. Being consistent between these two elements helps Google realize what your page is about if it matches the title tag for the page. 

You may have other headings — from H2 to H6 — on each page to break the content up into digestible sections. Let’s be honest, we all skim content from time to time, and these lesser titles help visitors and search engines alike understand the hierarchy of information on the page.

See below for the H1 heading on page and in the code. 

Now that you’ve optimized your H1 heading, it’s time to start writing and optimizing the body on each page of your site. 

The Body Copy

The rest of the visible content on the page falls into the category of “body copy.” Whether there is already some copy on each page or a need for content because it is glaringly missing, the body copy has boundless possibilities for SEO optimization. Optimizers intuitively understand the importance of the body copy and appreciate the opportunity to creatively influence organic search performance. 

The goal of the content on each page is to thoroughly and effectively describe to searchers and search engines what each page entails while incorporating the primary and secondary keywords from the keyword map within the text on the page. 

Not all copywriters have what it takes to optimize content that is appealing to both searchers and search engines. There is a fine line between well-written content that is optimized and overly optimized SEO copy. 

Writing Compelling Body Copy 

Sometimes it’s best to write the content first without focusing on or stressing about adding in enough keywords. With the keyword theme in mind, take out a pen and a pad of paper if you are old school, or open up that document or template and start typing away. Get the juices flowing, and you’ll naturally write better. Without planning it, you’ll probably end up including some of your keywords in the content. 

The next step is to figure out proper placement and additional areas where you can naturally insert keywords without making your beautifully written composition sound like awkward SEO copy. Here’s how to do it. 

Keyword Placement

Since the beginning of any element is the most prominent, try to use your primary keywords in the first sentence. Use the primary keyword at least once, and then repeat it in the following copy once or several times, depending on the length of the text you’re optimizing. Use your secondary keywords to strengthen the keyword theme without having to duplicate the same phrase over and over again.

There is no magical keyword density. The correct amount is based on how you can creatively work the keywords in while preserving the quality of the content. 

To determine whether your copy is optimized or too forced, read it aloud to yourself. The ear will pick up awkward constructions much more readily than your eyes will. If your copy sounds too forced, either rewrite the sentence in a way that flows, or disregard that keyword instance and try to place it somewhere else. 

Links

To strengthen your internal link network and spread link juice throughout your site, select a handful of pages to link to that are related to the body content you’re writing. Using anchor text with a keyword for those internal links helps improve SEO for the page you’re optimizing as well as for the page you’re linking to. 

Length of Copy

High-quality content is always more important than just writing more words for the sake of longer text. It’s good to have a descriptive writing style that draws the reader in. Cut out the fluff, and be sure to get to the point so it’s easy for your readers to digest. 

Informational copy will typically be longer than transactional, ecommerce-oriented copy, but not always. The right amount is the amount that search engines rank commonly for the search query you’re optimizing for. 

Formatting Copy

Using additional formatting techniques like additional headings, to break apart and form paragraphs, helps the flow and readability of your body copy on your site. For lists or steps, it’s a good idea to use either bulleted lists or numbered lists. When you have multiple headings, use those H2 through H6 heading codes to draw more attention to them both visually and for SEO purposes. 

Optimizing the visible content on the page needs to serve two masters — SEO and user experience. Because visitors are reading the content as well as search engines consuming it, your content and headings need to be both well optimized and high-quality.

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