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Optimized content on the pages of your site is the foundation for any successful SEO campaign. It’s simple; if you don’t have optimized copy you won’t perform for your keywords.

There’s no definitive way to create perfectly optimized copy, but there are best practices to help you get close. As with all things SEO, I recommend constant testing and refinement, though these practices will get you there quicker. There are a few simple rules to follow when creating optimized copy, which are highlighted below:

Any content marketing company worth their salt will tell you that before doing anything to your website content it is vital to do the research! This is the most important step because if you get the wrong keywords you are essentially wasting your time. Decipher exactly which keywords you need to be optimizing your content for – this means relevant keywords with good traffic.

The best way to do this is by looking at the following: think like the people who are likely to be searching for your offering – how might they search? What kind of words/phrases will they be using? Look at what your competitors are optimizing for. In doing this they have done half of the work for you.

Once you have a good starting list of keywords and phrases drop them into a tool called Mergewords. This tool allows you to add suffixes and prefixes to keywords in bulk, e.g. add a location or color to the end of every phrase to create more targeted keywords. When you have all the different variations of your keywords drop them into Google Keyword tool. This will give you more ideas for similar keywords that people are searching for. The results produced by Keyword tool can be hit or miss so it’s important to go through in detail and remove and that aren’t relevant.

Once you have a complete list of keywords that you think are relevant to your offering enter them into Google Traffic Estimator. Download the keyword list and order by search volume. What you are left with is a detailed list of relevant keywords and an idea of the search volume they carry.

Now you have your keywords do the following:

  • The top pages of your site (homepage, pages high up in the menu structure) are the most powerful and they need to play host to your top keywords.
  • Each webpage should have a focus of no more than 1 key phrase. Anymore runs the risk of making the page seem like it has keywords stuffed into it and it may be punished for spamming.
  • Copy should always be relevant to the key phrase on that page. The keyword should be used as the page title as search engine place a lot of emphasis on page titles. Don’t just dump the keyword onto a random page a few times and hope that it performs – it won’t.
  • Where possible there should be at least 250 to 300 words of optimized copy on the page. As a rule the more copy you have about the subject of that key phrase the better.
  • The key phrase for that web page should ideally appear at least 3 times in every 250 words of copy. Don’t ‘stuff’ the keyword into the content as many times as you can. Search engines read this as spammy and you won’t perform.
  • The key phrase should appear in the main header (H1) of the copy once.
  • The key phrase should appear in the sub header (H2) of the copy once.
  • The key phrase should be bolded in the copy once.
  • It is important that the key phrase appears in the first sentence, of the first paragraph, since search engines place more importance on keywords near the top of the page than those keywords near the bottom.
  • The second appearance of the key phrase should be in the first 100 words of that copy.

Follow these simple steps and you should see your site ranking higher up in search engine results! And remember don’t just follow these steps and be done with it. Make sure you create well written, readable content that make sense. All too often we see content that has been butchered by optimization techniques to the point that it doesn’t make any sense what so ever.

 

Michael Evans is a passionate blogger and social media enthusiastic. You can connect with him at Google. He often contributes to Premium Post.

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