Content production is the foundation of an SEO campaign. You can build all the links you’d like, but if your content is not built out properly, you will never rank for relevant keywords. Incorporating your target keywords into the copy found on your website is an important place to start, but taking a deeper look into technical errors that are being generated through your content and then prioritizing those errors will keep you out of the weeds and into the areas where you can generate revenue. Here are some of the most important technical aspects of content production for SEO.
HTML Structure and Content
The HTML structure of your content is not so important for your users as it is for search engine crawlers. The header structure you implement on your website builds priority into the code. You should always have one H1, and only one H1 on each page of your website. This rings true for blogs, resources, and core pages of your website. This initial H1 is similar to a summary of the page and its contents and sets the stage for what the crawler should find. After your H1, you should cascade your header structure, much like an outline, down in importance. So using ourselves as an example, if you have a Denver SEO page that discusses link building, content, and technical SEO, your H1 would be “Denver SEO” and your H2s would be link building, content, and technical SEO as they are each of equal importance. If you wanted to dig into technical SEO a little bit more with some copy, you would want to implement an H3 for those specific topics, and so on.
There are also a few HTML tags to make sure you have implemented on each page which are a little more behind the scenes. These tags are:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Alt Text
Take a look at some technical SEO best practices related to these items.
External & Internal Links
Links are like the roads to the internet and get users (and crawlers) from point A to point B. There are two types of links as they relate to a domain. First, you have internal links. These are the links that navigate within your own website. Then you have external links, these are links which point away from your website to other people’s websites. Both of these links provide excellent opportunities for ranking optimization. Internal links allow you to pass value and guide users through the experience you want them to have with your site. Your home page and navigation should contain links to all of the core pages you would like your users to visit. Then there should be links on those pages to any supporting content production or complimentary services you may have related. External links give you an opportunity to cite relevant and useful information in other areas of the web. As an SEO provider, external links pointing to sites like Neil Patel, Search Engine Journal, and Moz show we are researching and citing industry specific information from reputable sources. Those three examples are external links pointing from this blog to those sources.
In the age of instant gratification, load times are more important than ever. Google expects a page to be interactive in less than 2 seconds. Anything beyond and you are hurting your chances to rank for the keywords you have optimized for. Implementing server side caching, image and styling minification, and removing the bloat from your website can have drastic impacts on your site speed if implemented properly. This will result in more users sticking around and a more pleasing user experience overall as a result of your content production efforts.
Redirecting Old Pages
As sites develop in age, they also experience revisions. Most technical errors pop up as a result of these developments. Say you changed the URL of your about page from www.website.com/about-us to www.website.com/about. The version with the about-us may have links pointing to it. If a user clicked that link to visit your website they would see a dead page, typically resulting in bounced traffic. If we were to implement a 301 redirect, that traffic and link value, would pass from the -us version to the version without. The user would have no idea this had taken place and would still end up at the proper page. Setting up these redirects ensures your traffic ends up where it needs to be and your SEO value is being maximized.
Canonical Tags & Duplicate Content Production
Duplicate content is a huge factor in the SEO space. Unique and relevant content is the cornerstone of rankings with Google and other search engines. Google wants to make sure you have not copied content from another source and claimed it as yours. Google even factors competition against yourself, so if you have the same copy on two different pages of your website, search engines will struggle to decide which one to rank.
This is where canonical tags come into play. A canonical tag is very similar to the meta title and description discussed above. These are not directly apparent to your users, but give search engines preliminary indications on what to expect when crawling the page. A similar situation which may be more relatable is different versions of a paper you were writing in school. You have the first few drafts which change drastically, but once you start whittling down to the final product, the edits are far less frequent. You may have 2-3 versions where some punctuation was added or a singular word was changed. Overall, the document is extremely similar, but you want to make sure and note which is the most recent. You would probably name the file something along the lines of “Final Version.doc” or “Master Copy.doc”. This lets you know this is the most recent and updated version of the content. A canonical tag is very much the same concept. You may generate a few versions of a page for a PPC campaign, or look to do some A/B testing on a new page you are looking to implement. It would be important to implement a canonical tag to note the “master URL” of the content. This is the URL of the page you would like search engines to rank if they rank that page. Using Firestarter as an example again, maybe we are running ads to a landing page with the same content as the “Denver SEO” page, we just changed the styling up for clicks. We would not want that page ranking for the term Denver SEO as we have a core page on the site that should rank and is optimized for organic search. Implementing a canonical tag on the PPC landing page would give search engines the indication to rank the main Denver SEO page over the landing page version.
As you can see, there are quite a few technical aspects of search engine optimization that deserve your attention. Taking the time to build out your content and ensure you are not sending the wrong signals to Google can be the difference between success and failure in your ranking campaign.