On-Page SEO Guidelines
In this 1st on the List blog post, our 22-point SEO content checklist will highlight many of the SEO best practices and techniques for creating high-quality web content in a post-Google Panda world.
The whole purpose of Google’s Panda algorithm update was to eliminate web pages with low-quality web content and reward pages with high-quality website content. See this Google Panda Update article by Search Engine Journal for more detailed information.
We’ve all heard the term “Content is King” but is it possible to write great web content that engages the visitor and meets the criteria of the search engines? Absolutely!
Our SEO content checklist will show how your web content needs to be original, desirable, and relevant but also must meet other important quality content guidelines.
Below, we’ve compiled this SEO content writing checklist to help you create great web content that is appealing for both your visitors and for the Search Engines.
SEO Content Checklist
- Write with a specific purpose and audience in mind – one central theme from start to finish.
- Answer the reader’s most important question and help them complete a task.
- Be an authority on the subject – make sure your web content includes all the information your reader may be looking for about this topic.
- Make your web content relevant and timely.
- Write web content in a voice that represents your brand and keeps a consistent style of writing.
- Write for your audience and not your peers; stay away from industry jargon.
- Stay on topic; each sentence should have a purpose.
- Write without promoting yourself and without overt sales pitches.
- Link to good sources – off-site links need to be high authority websites that support the theme of your web page.
- Double check all your facts, stats, and sources.
- Organize text into sections with headers, quotes, bullet points, and so on – use plenty of white space, so that it is visually appealing.
- Make the content easy to scan as readers will read as little as 20% of the words on the page.
- Write a clear and concise Page Title to catch attention and indicate what content is about.
- Be sure to proofread multiple times and ask someone else to proofread once you think it’s perfect.
- Provide clear calls-to-action statements to encourage readers to take the next step – what do you want them to do next?
- Make the content easy for readers to share through Social Platforms.
- Organize text into thematic sections using synonyms, related terms, and supportive phrases.
- Write a strong Meta Title and Description that isn’t too long or short for the SERPs.
- Don’t overuse your primary keyword for the sake of SEO; be sure to use related terms and synonyms.
- Clearly define yourself as the author on the page for both readers and Search Engines to recognize.
- Make sure your content is 100% unique and provides unique value not found anywhere else online. Is your content adding anything new and of interest to the Internet or is it just rewriting someone else’s thoughts?
- Aim for a minimum of 500 (+ or -) words. Longer articles tend to do well in search so, depending on the type of content you are creating, it’s okay to strive for 1,000 words or more, but never compromise quality for quantity.
This SEO content checklist isn’t exhaustive by any means. We also recommend that you refer to Google’s guidelines for high-quality content to see how your writing measures up.
Web Content Questions You Should Ask Yourself
Below are some of their hardest questions you need to ask yourself as a web content writer:
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- How much quality control is done on the web content?
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
About 1st on the List
1st on the List has been serving clients throughout the United States and Canada since 1997. We offer professional SEO services plus PPC and SEO web design services.
We hope this SEO content checklist has been helpful. If you need assistance writing new web content or optimizing and improving your existing web content, we can help.
Please Note: This article was originally published January 19, 2015, and has since been updated to reflect current SEO web content best practices.
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