What Content Contributors Can Do for Better SEO

By Laura Rives — Thursday, April 13th, 2017 at 11:00am

What Content Contributors Can Do for Better SEO

I am not sure if this has been your experience, but recently I’ve been hearing that search engine optimization is dead. That websites shouldn’t have to abide by a certain set of rules or principles, nor should they have to be “optimized” by marketers, to be displayed in top search results. Shouldn’t a sophisticated search engine be able to crawl through any architecture to find the most relevant results?

Well, the answer is yes and no. Generally speaking, it is important to make your website easy for both visitors and search engines to understand.

It’s well known that the Internet is one of the most important ways to build awareness, generate conversions, and engage current customers. It’s also reasonable to believe that a search engine can’t understand a web page the way a human can.

So, even if you’re not an SEO evangelist, we recommend training content contributors to complete a few simple steps before publishing web content. With so much noise out there, let’s stay competitive on the web.

Write content for visitors. Wait, didn’t she just say that search engines are important? Yes, I did. But it is best practice to present the same content to both visitors and search engines. Don’t attempt to “game the system” by cloaking your content to score higher search rankings. This will only lead to a poor user experience. Instead, create a useful site with clear and accurate information, and the search results will come.

Produce content regularly. The more content you produce, the more frequently search engines will stop by and give you the opportunity to achieve higher rankings. And more content means more keywords, so pick a keyword to focus on and include it in the title tag, at the top of the page, two or three times in the body, in image alt tags, in the URL, and in the meta description.

Create important content in HTML format. Provide descriptive and accurate alt text for images and supplement rich-media elements like Flash files, Java plug-ins, videos, and audio with text. While they are getting better, these types of assets are still hard for search engines to understand.

Create human-friendly URLs and a crawlable link structure. Basically, if the search engine can’t understand your link, it might not reach or crawl your content at all. Use keywords to create short, descriptive, and human-readable URLs. Focus on creating a clear link hierarchy—and leave no page orphaned.

Avoid duplicate content. Search engines do not like duplicate versions of content with different URLs. Search engines rarely show duplicate assets, so you’re leaving it up to them to determine which one is the original which can create competition among your own pages and potentially push good content down in the rankings. Check for this in your CMS. If you notice canonicalization, use 301 redirects that point to the strongest page.

All of this said, it is important to understand that ranking improvements take time. It’s not realistic to shoot directly to the top, but with patience, these tips will improve your search results in the major search engines.

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