Best Practices for Creating Effective Content Posts
Optimizing your web pages for specific keywords can increase page ranking and boost traffic, but it may not be enough to achieve your goals. Strategically written content pieces can help improve keyword visibility through internal links to the page.
At 5 Horizons, we recommend a hub-and-spoke model where content includes links to other pages on the site. This strategy should also include planning for links between content pieces to provide authority and keep visitors on the site for as long as possible.
Start with a Content Strategy
A good content strategy will follow a site audit for keyword ranking and visibility. Questions to ask in a formal or informal audit include:
- What keywords is the site already ranking for?
- What is the search volume for those keywords?
- What is the search volume for related keywords?
- What topics and questions show up for “people also search”?
- What are the most important pages on the site for organic traffic to find?
- Where is the most potential for increasing page ranking?
These answers will help you identify target keywords, create a list of topics that can attract searches for those keywords, and map out page links.
Create a Strong Foundation
While the actual content is quite important, there are several considerations that will make a big difference for the search engines.
Write Meta Titles That Matter
Meta titles should be limited to approximately 65 characters. This may require abbreviating the company or organization name, which is often acceptable since incorporating the keyword phrase into the supporting content is more important.
Create Compelling Meta Descriptions
The meta description is most often used as the text that appears on the search engine results page. These should be approximately 145-155 characters and contain at least one instance of the keyword or keyword phrase. Be sure to include compelling content that encourages users to click the link. If your page is missing a meta description, the search engine may grab text from the webpage that isn’t relevant, resulting in fewer clicks to your site.
Remember to Write for the Bots and for the Humans
Search engines may determine how to rank web pages, but it’s ultimately the human readers who will or won’t engage. Therefore, the content needs to be keyword-rich without simply being keyword-stuffed. It needs to be interesting, well-written, and easy to scan. Use headlines (h2s and h3s) to guide readers (and the bots) through the piece. Bulleted or numbered lists also aid in content consumption.
Say What Needs to Be Said
You will find plenty of recommendations about how long a content piece should be for maximizing ranking. The most important consideration in writing content is saying what needs to be said in the number of words it takes to do so. Too short and your reader won’t find what they’re looking for; too long and they won’t bother sticking around to find out.
General Recommendations and When to Split Up
Each content piece should be approximately 500 to 750 words and include at least three to five mentions of the relevant keyword(s). The emphasis should be on providing interesting content that appropriately addresses the keyword topic. If this greatly exceeds the recommended length, consider breaking into multiple pieces of content and linking between them.
H1s Get to Be Unique
Include the keyword in the main on-page title (h1). There should be only one h1 per page, and it should be unique within your site.
Subheadings (h2) provide other opportunities for including the keyword or other variations and also guide readers through the content, whether they are skimming or searching for relevant information. We have provided multiple keywords for each content idea, and these should be included as h2s and/or within the content when it is easy to do so while maintaining readability. Preference should be given to keywords with higher search volume.
Include Variety and Avoid Cannibalization
Frequently, the difference between identified keywords and search volume is a matter of semantics and the monthly search volume may vary widely between phrases that appear quite similar. This is why we recommend including varied iterations within the content.
At the same time, it’s important to avoid cannibalizing rankings of other pages on the site by creating content pieces that overlap too closely or use too-similar keywords. If there isn’t enough differentiated content for a stand-alone post, consider using the related keywords as h2s within the larger piece.
Use Links to Drive Traffic
Use internal links on the keyword or keyword phrase to direct to the relevant website page. Links can also connect pieces of content to drive authority for those individual posts and for the site as a whole. Each content piece should have two or three links to other pages on the website.
Encourage Engagement with Strong Calls to Action (CTAs)
Each piece should end with a clear, prominent call to action (CTA) that ties back to the purpose of your site. This could be learn more, apply now, or another relevant action.
Get In Touch
Questions about your recent audit? Coming up blank on content ideas? Ready to review your site? Reach out. We’re happy to help.