Ranking well in Google and other search engines is not easy. Competition is increasing daily for the keywords you are targeting and keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates can be tiring. There are, however, some basic things you can be doing to maximise your opportunities when it comes to on-page optimisation.
What is on-page SEO?
Before we get into the tactics you can deploy to supercharge your content and give yourself a much better chance of ranking for the keywords you are targeting, let’s first get a better understanding of on-page SEO.
When we talk about SEO, we usually break it down into a number of key areas:
- On-page SEO
- Technical SEO
- Local SEO
In this post, we are going to focus on on-page optimisation tactics and this particular branch of SEO is the combination of great writing and the science of SEO. On-page SEO includes a variety of elements including meta tags, keyword optimisation and the way your content is formatted and presented that all contribute to helping your content to get found by search engines and drive customers to convert with you.
On-page SEO is an essential part of matching the searcher’s intent with the information you present to them when they click through to your page. If you don’t match that intent in a way that is friendly for the visitor to consume, it is likely that they will bounce back to the search results and click elsewhere.
The way you present your content on a page can make a huge difference to the way users interact and engage with that content so it’s important to map out your content and ensure you keep your visitors on track. It’s also important to have a clear goal in mind for each and every piece of content. Whether that’s driving conversions or getting people to visit other key areas of your website, you should have a clear plan of how your content is going to help your visitors to take that next step.
In this post, we are going to highlight three of the tactics you can easily deploy to supercharge your content and give you a much better chance of ranking well for the keywords you are targeting.
Format your content to make it easily digestible
This is one of the oldest tactics in the book, however, it’s amazing how many posts and pages you come across that lack basic formatting that would make it much easier to read and digest.
By formatting your content in a way that makes it easy for visitors to engage with, you are also going to tick another box – optimising your on-page content for robots and making it easier for the content to be scanned and the key information easily understood.
Some of the best tactics for optimising the overall layout and presentation of your content include:
Break up copy with header tags
Not only do header tags (H2, H3 etc) help to break up large pieces of content, but they also help to highlight key sections of your content, making them easier to scan and digest. From a technical perspective, H2 tags are great for SEO as they can be used to indicate target keywords or exact-match questions, giving both visitors and robots a really clear signal about the content they will be reading.
Keep your paragraphs short
Content is more easily digestible when paragraphs are kept short. This is especially true for people reading on mobile devices where large “chunks” of content can seem daunting to readers who may just skip past them.
We use the SEMrush writing assistant to provide feedback on every piece of content we write and paragraph length is always an important area that is often fluffed. Try to keep paragraphs to a maximum of 2-3 sentences to make the content easier to read.
Use bullet points and lists
Bullet points and numbered lists are another great way to break up hard-to-read content and they help you to summarise the points you are trying to make. They can really draw attention to key bits of information and if someone is scanning, they are much more likely to read the content in a bulleted or numbered list than a long paragraph.
A common tactic that we see today is the introduction of a bulleted list at the top of a post that summarises the topics covered in the post and these will often include anchor links that can take the visitor directly to a specific section of your post.
Bulleted or numbered lists are also good from a technical SEO perspective as they can help your content to rank in SERP features including featured snippets.
Use images where relevant
Images are another great way to break up your content and make it easier for visitors to scan and engage. Only use images where they are relevant – we see a lot of random images inserted into posts that are not relevant to the content of the post and these can be more off-putting than engaging.
The benefit of inserting images is the opportunity to add captions and alt tags to your images that allow you to include more target keywords in a relevant way and these can also help your content to surface in image search.
We’ve already touched on the opportunities to optimise your content for featured snippets by using bullet points, however, there are other opportunities out there to capture those all-important featured snippets.
Since their introduction back in 2014, featured snippets have become highly sought after by SEOs thanks to their “position zero” ranking. Ranking for a featured snippet essentially puts you above traditional organic blue link listings, helping to drive more qualified traffic to your website and improving the overall CTR from the target keyword.
There are several types of featured snippets that Google can display based on the search intent of a specific query. In the early days, it was a time-consuming process to identify search queries that returned a featured snippet, however, today, tools like Stat or SEMrush will tell you which queries have a featured snippet, making it easier for you to factor this into your SEO planning.
Here are some of the most common types of featured snippet:
> Paragraph featured snippet – one of the first types of featured snippet to be seen was a simple paragraph featured snipped. This is typically a short paragraph of 40-50 words that provides a short summary that can quickly answer the searcher’s query. Ideally, the featured snippet would then encourage the searcher to click through to find out more.
The best way to “capture” a paragraph featured snippet is to provide a very concise paragraph at the very top of your blog post that best answers the search query. Your post then needs to back up this information and cover off the topic in-depth, helping to improve the overall engagement stats when visitors click through to find out more.
> List featured snippet – we have already talked about the benefits of including a bulleted or numbered list in your content and the opportunity to capture a featured snippet makes this type of content even more important. Typically queries like “how to” will trigger a list featured snippet as they like to display the relevant steps someone needs to take to complete a task.
Google will typically display 6-7 bullet points in a list featured snippet so make sure your list has more than this as they will display a CTA for people to find “more items” and this will link through to your article.
> Table featured snippet – another common featured snippet is one that contains a table of information. These are perhaps the least common and often the hardest to factor into your content and should only be used where relevant. Most table featured snippets are 3-4 columns wide and 6-7 rows long, however, they can be much shorter.
Tables are great for showing content like pricing comparisons or summarising a process and they should be formatted using HTML rather than CSS as research suggests that is the preferred format.
As well as featured snippets, another opportunity introduced by Google in 2019 was the option to use FAQ schema markup on FAQ content on a page. This markup tells Google that you have FAQ content on a page, and this can then help you to drive more clicks to your website due to the way that content is then pulled into the search results.
Since it launched in 2019, Google has played around with the way FAQ content is displayed in the SERPs. To avoid a cluttered SERP full of FAQs, Google seems to have settled on displaying two FAQs for three sites for any particular search query. It is not clear how they decide which sites will have FAQ content displayed, however, the first step is to make sure you are adding both FAQ content and FAQ schema to your blog posts and product/service pages.
Why use FAQs?
FAQs bring a number of benefits to your content including:
- Increase impressions – FAQ schema will help to boost your visibility and impressions, contributing to growing your CTR.
- More visits – more impressions typically lead to more clicks to your pages and posts.
- Improved visibility – if Google decides that you are one of the three sites it will display FAQs for, this will give you improved visibility and real estate within the SERPs, helping to push your competitors further down the page and increase the chances of people clicking on your link.
- Internal linking – within the FAQ schema, Google will also allow sites to include one internal link and this can help with visibility and the opportunity to drive people to other key areas of your website. Make sure the links are relevant to the FAQ and you could see further benefits from your FAQ schema.
- People Also Ask – whilst the main goal is to get your FAQs to show up under your main listing, there could also be secondary benefits of including FAQ content on your page. You may find that you also start to appear for additional queries within the People Also Ask section on a page for a particular query you are targeting, helping to drive more clicks to your site.
When researching the most relevant FAQs to include on a page, we always like to conduct comprehensive research and look at the questions people are asking in the People Also Ask section for a query we are targeting. Google is giving us a really clear indication about the FAQs that are relevant to a specific query, so it makes sense to include these on our page.
Power up your content today
None of these tactics are particularly difficult to execute and the potential benefits for your website are huge. Increased visibility, improved readability and more clicks are three of the things all of us working in SEO are chasing every day and these relatively simple on-page SEO tactics can really help to give your content a boost, helping you to get found online and drive more conversions.
If you are looking to supercharge your content but you’re not sure where to start, talk to the team at Digital Hothouse today and find out how we are helping our clients to drive more visits and conversions every day.