Frequency. Density. In some circles, keyword density dominates SEO strategy, as if it were the most important factor in SEO performance.
Although we appreciate the importance of keyword density, at Walker Sands we know that there is much more to the SEO story.
Why? Because the way content is laid out on a page can be even more important than the basic keyword density techniques employed by entry-level SEO strategists and web designers.
In our experience, the most effective business websites are meticulous about the way they structure on-page content. Unfortunately, that isn't as easy as it sounds because productive sites constantly battle to strike the right balance between providing a large volume of content on a page, which helps with SEO results, and maintaining a clean site that doesn't overwhelm visitors.
An Effective Structure for On-Page Content
Here are a few tips for structuring on-page content for maximum effectiveness:
- The On-Page Information Structure - Effective on-page content structure begins with information structure, i.e. properly ordering the information on a page to draw attention to your key messages. Your most important messages should jump off the page. High priority information should lead at the top of each page and details should be pushed lower on the page.
- Know Where the Fold Is - In web design language, the fold is the place on a web browser where users have to scroll down in order to see additional information. The bulk of your SEO-friendly, rich text should be below the fold. Except for rare instances, avoid the trap of saving the highest value content for a big reveal at the end of the page. In fact, it's best to assume that many people won't scroll down below the fold. Still, it's good to have a long page with scrolling because the search engines love that authoritative, longer text.
- Clean Design - It goes without saying that the design has to be clean and simple. An awareness of basic and advanced design elements contributes to overall site performance. A clean design featuring headlines and images controls eye movement, quickly drawing the reader's attention to the most valuable content on each page. As a result, visitors receive more value per visit and are more likely to reward your content with a positive response.
- Communicate With the Search Engines - Each page should be optimized for at least one target SEO keyphrase. Tell the search engines what's important by using HTML's H1 header tags and by occasionally bolding or italicizing important phrases on the page. The target phrase for a page should appear in the Title tag and should be used elsewhere on the page, in the body of the text.
- Write Your Search Engine Snippet - We try to include a paragraph on the page that we later use as the page's Description tag. By doing this, we feed Google and other search engines what we believe is the best description of the page. It almost always includes the page's target keyphrase.
- Breakup Pages Into Multiple Pages - While it's OK to have information below the fold, there is such a thing as a too-long website page. Some sites contain long pages of text, rather than breaking pages down into chunks of easily digested content.. That's a problem because large quantities of text overwhelm users. A better approach is to view every page as a sales asset. By dividing long sections of content into multiple pages, you create additional pages for SEO and create a more pleasant experience for users.
If you are serious about ranking better in the search engines, the tips discussed above will come in handy but that's just a starting point. There are dozens of other on-page optimization tactics for SEO purposes and for encouraging a site visitor to do a desired action, such as completing a lead generation form.
At Walker Sands, we specialize in helping business clients design sites that generate leads, produce conversions and encourage user engagement. If your site architecture and on-page content design isn't getting the job done, we invite you to contact our Chicago web design professionals for more information.