How to Optimize Website Content for SEO

SEO Guide Step 7

SEO content optimization: You must optimize your content or it will not rank well in search engines. To do that takes some understanding of SEO, the set of practices and methodologies that help the search engine see your webpage as worthy of ranking. Content is often written for impact on users and not to meet search engine needs, and although you impress yourself, few people may see your pages if they don’t rank.

Optimizing website content is not going to happen by accident. Show care in getting the proper message to both the user and search engines.

If you’re ready to launch some new content, read on to learn how to optimize your website content to be found in the search engines. Two free tools make this an easier task, as they help you measure your on-page content compared to what is natural among competitors.

If you ONLY write it they will not come!

Here you’re going to learn:

  1. How much content is required per page.
  2. How much content YOU need to optimize your specific webpage.
  3. How to look at competitors’ pages to help you optimize your own.
  4. How to check that your webpage content hits the mark.

1. How Many Keywords Per Page?

Keyword Stuffing picture
Photo by Cheryl (CC BY-SA 2.0), modified

In general, write each webpage around one primary keyword phrase and up to two secondary keyword phrases.

Focused content yields stronger keyword relevance. It also satisfies visitors because the page delivers what they searched for.

Site-wide, you may have hundreds or thousands of active keywords assigned to different pages. Your keyword list can grow as your website grows, as long as you have enough content to support your relevance to each keyword.

Always be careful not to overuse, or “stuff,” keywords on a page. As we stressed in Step 5, write for users naturally and go for quality.

Just also incorporate keywords and related words strategically throughout the page (as explained in the previous step). This helps search engines identify what your page is worthy of ranking for.

2. How Much Content is “Enough” for a Keyword?

To rank for a keyword, how much text do you need per page? And how many pages do you need?

Well, the answer varies. Each page needs enough original text content to compete. The right amount will depend on what’s normal for that keyword.

For example, if all the top-ranking pages have 1000 words, then you’ll also need at least 1000 words of text.

Competition aside, here are some general SEO recommendations for page length:

  • Research pages: 500 to 600 words minimum per page
  • Ecommerce pages: 300 words minimum (shopping pages tend to have lots of product pictures)
  • Blog posts: 200 words minimum per post, but probably much more

If you use WordPress, you can install the Bruce Clay SEO plugin to analyze the top-ranked pages for EACH KEYWORD dynamically. You’ll see custom recommendations for page length and keyword usage that will help your page compete.
Find out more about Bruce Clay SEO for WordPress.

Types of Keywords
Examples of non-competitive, brand and competitive keywords.

As for how many pages will establish your relevance, you’ll need to match your competitors’ amount of content about that keyword.

The next sections give you an idea of what to expect.

Non-competitive keywords don’t require as much content.

Non-competitive keywords generally aren’t searched a lot. One relevant, high-quality content page about the keyword might be enough to rank if the keyword falls within your overall site themes.

Competitive keywords are tougher battles.

For competitive keywords, you’ll need a landing page plus some subpages to support your site’s subject relevance. Here are brief descriptions:

  • Landing pages are where you want people to “land” when they come from a SERP. A landing page should offer keyword-focused content. It should give searchers what they expected to find and provide a good first impression of your site.
  • Subpages link to/from the landing page and support its subject relevance. A subpage can be a blog post, article, video, or other that contains detailed, related content. (You’ll learn SEO tips for site architecture in Step 12 of this guide.)

Brand terms and your brand’s main keywords might be easier to rank for.

Some keywords naturally appear across many pages, strengthening your relevance site-wide.

For example, our website is packed with resources on “search marketing” and “SEO.” Our main service descriptions and our brand name “Bruce Clay” appear on almost every page.

Even though your site naturally uses your brand and main keywords throughout, each term still needs its own focused landing page. That way, the search engine knows where to send searchers looking for you by name.

Compare Keyword Usage on Competing Pages

As you’re writing the title, meta description, and other elements critical to your webpage optimization, you may find it helpful to compare what your top competitors have written.

Use our free SEO Multi-Page Information tool. You’ll be able to read the all-important title tag, meta tags, and H1 heading tag for many pages all at once, as well as whether the page has a rel=”canonical” tag.

Simply enter up to 6 URLs (one per line) and click Get Data below.

SEO Tool: SEO Multi-Page Information Tool

Test Your Webpage Optimization

The most popular search engine optimization tool in our entire SEOToolSet® is our Single Page Analyzer, which lists the top keywords plus a whole lot more. The free version below, provided for you as an essential part of this SEO Guide, shows a small fraction of that tool’s power.

Running the Single Page Analyzer shows you the density for your keywords in the various categories: title, meta description, meta keywords, image alt attributes, heading levels, first 200 words, and total body copy. It also analyzes the reading level and other metrics, so make sure those are appropriate for the audience you’re targeting.

Following our specified SEO web page optimization methodology, you can review these reports to see what you need to change or add to your pages. SEOs often run this tool several times as they test and adjust their web page’s optimization. The Single Page Analyzer reports show red to indicate a value that is too low, and blue for a value that’s abnormally high, based on SEO best practices.

Enter the specific URL of your web page and click Run Page Analyzer.

SEO Tool: Single Page Analyzer

Placing keywords in the right spots with natural and reasonable frequency is critical for search engine optimization, but there is much more. You want your content to be the best it can be, and then just maybe you will be considered relevant. Expert content always does better than rambling text with randomly inserted keywords. Yes, you need the keywords, but you also need to make your content worthy.

If your content is not worthy, it does not belong on your website — fix it or remove it.

Now that you know how to optimize website content for SEO, next you’ll find out how to submit your site and help search engines find your web pages faster so your freshly optimized website content can be indexed.

Need more SEO tips?
Read more about how to avoid Keyword Stuffing

Related blog posts and articles:

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