One of the most important things you can do for your content is to optimise it for both search engines and users. If you want your content to succeed you must create a well-researched SEO strategy and understand how to write content for SEO.
When you optimise your website pages – that’s everything including blog posts – you are working at making your site more visible to people who use search engines, enabling them to find your service or product. Content structure is one of the increasingly important components of high-quality, high-ranking content.
What is content structure?
Content structure involves using headings and subheadings effectively to help break up your content sections, which allows users to read articles more easily, results in the opportunity for higher ranking on Google and provides a better experience for the reader.
Once you have taken the time to create an SEO strategy, it’s time to focus on the content itself. Below are some tips on how to create a better content structure in your articles, in an effort to improve your overall ranking in search engines.
Tips for improving your SEO content structure
Organise your content
Before you even start to write any content, you should try to have some understanding of its eventual structure; in doing so, you make life easier for yourself and your time will be spent more productively. When planning your article, divide it into an order that makes sense, as this will allow you to work on each part separately and make it easier for you to take breaks during the writing process. Each piece of content should have an introduction, main body and a conclusion. Sure, you can have some fun with the structure of the main body and how it is presented on the page, but overall those are the three necessary components of a well-structured piece of content.
Remember your keywords
All that keyword research you did when creating your SEO content strategy should be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to creating any articles. If somebody else is creating the content for you, make sure to share your keywords with them.
Using your relevant keywords in articles isn’t about using as many of them as possible on one page. This ‘keyword stuffing’ approach has developed quite a reputation in recent years and generally search engines frown on this behaviour. Instead try to focus on one or two long-tail keywords per article, as these are more likely to keep your article focused on your chosen topic and are likely to be highly relevant to your target audience. Research shows users searching for long-tail keywords are more likely to engage with your content for longer and eventually convert.
Where to use keywords in content
Once you have chosen one or two keywords, it’s time to work out where to include them in your content. In order to improve your search ranking, it is important to try to include your keywords in the title tag, headers and body, URL and meta description of your content.
The title tag, or headline, of your article is the first thing a search engine or reader is likely to see when trying to work out relevancy. Try to keep your title under 60 characters and always include your keyword within it.
Headers and body
Use your keywords within the headers and body of your copy in a reader-friendly way. No reader wants to see the same word repeated in a series of sentences. If you’re new to creating SEO-friendly content, read your words aloud occasionally to check that it flows naturally. Your main aim is to deliver what your target audience wants to read; if you use your keywords effectively, you should naturally optimise for them and deliver a helpful article that encourages readers to convert.
Your URL is one of the first things that a search engine such as Google will crawl on a page. It is a great opportunity for you to show exactly what the article is about. Make sure every URL is unique and always try to include a keyword in each.
These give search engines and readers more information about the content on the page. You should use your keywords in this description to make it clear what readers can find on this page. Try to make it as engaging as possible to encourage a higher click-through rate.
Google places importance on meta descriptions; the maximum length of them is now around 300 characters, suggesting that the search engine wants to give users more information about what each page is about. To fully optimise your meta description, use your long-tail keywords in each.
Don’t be afraid of detail
Google’s ever-changing algorithm loves detail. The more in-depth your blog posts or articles are, the more likely it is that you will see an improvement in your ranking. But your article isn’t just there for Google’s pleasure (as much as it might seem like that sometimes!) – it’s there to give your target readers what they are looking for. If you are an expert in a particular industry and can really offer your audience what they are looking for, do not hold back on detail – just make sure you’re using the same keywords that will allow those readers to find you in the first place.
Use Heading tags well
This is one of the most important steps in structuring your SEO content. Break down your article subtopics using H2 and H3 subheadings. Informative subheadings will improve your content readability. Generally, subheadings follow a hierarchy: the title of a blog post should contain only one H1 tag on the page and include a keyword. The main sections should contain an H2 tag, and subsections should be H3.
Make your subheadings descriptive; most readers will skim over your content and dash through one heading to the next, so they need to easily understand what the article is about from the outset.
Include image alt text
Search engines value visuals, so shouldn’t contain only text – especially if your product or service is visually appealing.
Although ALT text isn’t visible to website visitors, search engines use this information to understand what the subject of the image is. When using ALT text, try to use informative descriptions that contain your core keyword naturally.
For example, if you sell birthday party accessories and focused on ‘50th birthday balloons’ as your long-tail keyword, you would create an ALT text for this image of:
While using alt text can help your image or video to appear higher in search ranking, it is also important for screen readers so that visually impaired people have a positive user experience of your content.
Image alt text generally makes for a better user experience, as the text relating to the image is displayed when the image itself cannot be found or isn’t downloading for the user.
Create user-friendly URL structures
Checking and rewording your article’s URL to ensure it clearly relates to the topic is important for SEO content. Each URL you publish should make it easy for your visitors to understand what content it is they are going to find on the page.
If you do set an article live without checking the URL structure, you’d be best to leave it, rather than change it. Changing it will be a step backwards for your SEO ambitions. Instead, check that the article title and body contain your keywords as discussed above.
Link to related articles
A good backlink is an important component of an SEO strategy, but you should also regularly link to articles from your own blog – this can positively impact your search ranking too. Links to other pages on your own site help to show search engines the relevancy of your content. It is considered best practice to link to any pages that are relevant to the subject you are writing about.
Plan evergreen content
‘Evergreen content’ means content about topics that will remain relevant over a long period of time and that might only require minimal updates. Evergreen content is hugely important for SEO. Why?
- It can bring in a steady amount of traffic to your site long after an evergreen content article has been published
- Evergreen content helps you to rank over time – it is a long-term SEO effort
- Due to the traffic it generates, it can help you to bring in leads over a significant length of time
Update existing content
When creating an SEO strategy, one thing to remember is that you should keep your content up-to-date after publication. In your industry, findings might require updating or outdated content will need to be removed or at least altered to stay relevant. But why focus on updating existing content, rather than bash out new content regularly? A new piece of content takes longer to appear on search engine results pages, whereas by updating an existing piece of content that has authority, you are more likely to see results almost immediately. And considering updates usually take less time than generating new content from scratch, it’s a good use of your time!
So you have created your SEO strategy and better understand how to create content for SEO. You’ve written your content and think ‘job done’ – not quite! With your goals in mind, you should regularly review your content by checking your analytics.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are both free tools that will help you to analyse clicks from Google Search. Essentially, they are a helpful look at which keywords people are using to find your content. Reviewing content regularly is so useful for your overall SEO goals and the results can even inspire some ideas for future content.
The bottom line
Getting to grips with the right structure for your SEO content can take time, but in the long term, it is worthwhile. By following these practical tips, you will produce high quality, relevant content for both search engines and users.