Optimising your online content for better search rankings

When writing for the web and with search in mind, focus on how your products or services solve your customer’s problems – instead of focusing on the model, make or title. Problems frame what consumers type, say or click on in search.

So what are your customer’s problems?

Here are some examples of problems that can be framed in a search request.

  • I need a boat that is easy to get on the trailer by myself.
  • I need a boat that is very stable on rough seas and crossing a difficult bar.
  • I can not decide between these two boat models which one is best?

To help you identify these problems it can be helpful to do some keyword research. Google’s adwords planning tool can provide you with some good metrics to start with. But there are many ways people search and more frequently now people use longer search queries, these queries often include why, how, who, what questions. Type some ideas in to google, social (facebook, instagram and You Tube) and see what comes up and if your competitors are showing. Google has a great function called Google suggest that gives you a good indication of how popular a keyword is when you start typing into the google search box. It is often worth targeting longer queries that have less competition to gain your advantage, we refer to these in the industry as long tail keywords.

There are a few other tools that you can use such as Google Trends to see what people are searching for and Yoast’s longtail keyword finder.

Always write for your reader never for the search engine.

All businesses focus on customer satisfaction. Take time to consider that this is also what Google, Bing and the other search engines aim to do. They want to provide the best answer to someone’s problem so that they will continue to use their service.

To do this search engines rank websites in a search against a certain query based on what they have learned about a previous interaction with that same query and the relevant websites. The search engines use clever algorithms to do this.

These algorithms change frequently and therefore there is no way to trick them, instead your best approach is to actually identify and answer your consumer’s questions. You will know if you have done this effectively if you can get people to stay and interact longer with your website. This is just one key indicator that tells Google and the other search engines they have done a good job by directing a visitor to your website.

The title – helps you to rank well and encourages people to click.

The meta title, titles & subheadings should hold as many keywords as possible without sounding wrong or spammy. These keywords are targeted to match up with the customer’s query in text or speech. But when writing your titles keep in mind you are not just wanting to be found but you actually want people to click. So again it is important to write for people and not just the search engines. Decide on the keywords you want to target and frame them in a title which makes the reader think you can solve their problem if they read it.

Your Meta Title alongside the Meta Description are the most likely to be shown by the search engines when they rank you page in a search. Take your time to make sure these are written well to include keywords and encourage a click.

Your main page titles should be H1 titles in your html code – basically saying this is what the page is about. There should only be one H1 title per page.

Here are some examples of titles which solve problems:

  • Why our boats offer supreme stability for offshore fishing?
  • What design features make a boat better than other boats on the market?
  • Tips to getting your boat easily onto your trailer.
  •  Five reasons why our boats are easily handled by one person.

Breaking up your content.

Introduction text – the first part of any content should summarise what the entire content is about. It should include keywords at the start and if shown as a snippet by the search engines or social media it should be worded to encourage someone to want to click to read more. Its is also your first and last chance to capture and keep your readers attention – make it count.

Meta Description – You meta description will be very similar to if not the same as your introduction text. It summarises you page and should inform the reader that you can solve their problem. Meta descriptions are sometimes but not always shown by the search engines in search listings.

Subtitles – can be H2, H3, H4 and so on, be sure to include keywords in your subtitles. The lower the number the more important. Unlike H1 titles you can have more than one H2, H3, H4 titles on a page as they are sub titles. Focus your subtitles around problems just like your main heading.

Here is an example…

(H1 Title) Tips for getting your boat easily onto your trailer. (H1 heading)

  • (H2 subheading) Assessing your wind conditions.
    (someone may be searching for a boat that they can easily load in bad wind conditions)
  • (H2 subheading) Securing your boat easily to the jetty.
    (someone may be searching for a boat they can easily pull alongside a jetty)
  • (H2 subheading) Aligning and hitching easily with the boat trailer.

Below these headings talk about what it is that makes your product good for solving these problems.

Lists – Break up content and make it easier to skim read. They also get across points quickly and stand out to the readers eye.

Links – Providing links to reputable websites or to internal parts of your website of your page is not only a great way of drawing your reader deeper into the page or your sales funnel, they are also great for SEO. Be sure to include keywords in you links, these capture your reader’s attention as well as the search engine.

Images – Everyone likes a good looking picture or video but remember search engines can not see them. So you have two ways you can tell the search engines what an image is about. Firstly with the file name, include keywords eg. blue-fishing-boat.jpg . Also when possible add an alt tag this is added to the code of the page and describes what the image is eg. Blue boat deep sea fishing in Hawaii

Duplicate content – Your content should be unique to your site and unique to the page you put it on. Content that is duplicated over multiple pages can be marked as being deceptive to customers and therefore can be penalised in search rankings.

Social – Social posts including Facebook, Instagram and You Tube do have an impact on being found in search and can help to increase your ranking for set keywords. Therefore it is important to consider these same factors when writing for social. To increase pages rankings for certain keywords be sure to use these same keywords in your text when promoting the pages link without writing duplicate content.

Quick SEO Ranking Check List.

  • What problem/s am I solving for my customers?
  • Is this problem/s one that many people have (search volume is it worth targeting)?
  • Does my title include keywords that relate to that problem?
  • Does my title encourage people to click?
  • Have I summarised the content in an opening paragraph which includes keywords and lets the reader know you can solve their set problem.
  • Have I written my content with the consumer in mind (avoid technical or industry-related jargon)?
  • Have I included subheadings, lists, images, and links to break up my content?
  • Do these also include keywords?
  • Have I added when possible keywords in the Meta Title, Meta Description, Alt tags for images and Image Titles?