The Content Pillar: Onsite Optimisation
In this episode we talk about the first pillar of SEO – onsite optimisation, which we refer to as the “content pillar”.
We explain what it is and how to do it better than 9 out of 10 of your competitors.
The tools mentioned in this episode are:
We also recommend making use of People also Ask feature of Google as well as marking up your content with Schema.
Hope you enjoyed the episode!
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welcome to the SEO Show. I’m your host, Michael. And as always, I’m joined by Arthur Hello, hello, how’s it going? Well, not too bad, really not too
bad at all. Because
it’s that time again, we’re talking SEO SEO. We’re talking another pillar this time. So as you remember, in the last episode, we spoke about how there’s a lot of factors that Google’s algorithms look at when deciding how to show search results. But they all sort of neatly fit into four main pillars. What are the four pillars?
on site technical authority, and UX user experience, beauty.
So today, we are going to talk about the content pillar or on site optimization. So what is that? It’s really everything you can do on your website, to the content to make it pleasing to Google. Would that be right? It’d be cool. A little bit weird way to say, No, you got to play with Google give it what are the way you said, Please, and then it will give you what you want. So how do you do that? And I guess what is going on? Well, as we, as we covered off in the last episode, Google’s crawlers vary from page to page and read everything. So when Google’s reading all of the content on your page, it’s storing that back in its index, and it uses it to figure out whether your site is relevant for something someone’s searching for. Yep. So really, on site optimization is just going through your site and checking all the boxes and making sure that it’s giving Google what it needs to see in the places that it expects to see it to give yourself the best chance at showing up in the search results.
Yeah, that’s right. So things like your page title h ones all the content on the page.
Yep. So we spoke about how no one really knows exactly what Google looks at. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know a lot of what Google definitely looks at. Because you know, what Google’s been around since the late 90s. Yeah. People have reverse engineered it. Yeah, longer. Yeah. People have reverse engineered what works. So when it comes to on site optimization content, and the like, there are key things that if you do them lead to better results with with Google, with pleasing Google. So we have a few tips here for nailing your on site optimization. So the key areas that you need to look at, and if you do them, it’s going to help you out. So first and foremost, it does start with keyword research, right?
Yeah, that’s right. So that’s basically using a bunch of different tools to identify what people are searching for, or which keywords people are using to find your website. Yeah, they’re using h refs, keyword Explorer, using Google’s Keyword Planner, getting all the high volume, high value keywords, and mapping them out to all the right pages on the website.
Right. So let’s pull that apart, because there’s a bit going on. And we want you to follow along. So I guess if you think about it, there’s keywords that people search for, there’s going to be some very popular ones with a lot of searches every month, there’s going to be some abstract random ones that get very little searches per month. There’s going to be informational searches, there’s going to be commercial searches, there’s going to be just nonsense searches. So not all keywords are built equal. You as a business owner need to be making sure that your website is going after the ones that sort of, you know, lead to the outcome that you’re looking for. Right? Yeah. If you’re a lawyer, you want to rank for commercial you want to commercial lawyer, Sydney?
Yeah. All the different areas of law, basically. And wherever, whatever the location is, sure,
but ranking for something like how much does a lawyer get paid? Probably not as good for business? Because you know, that’s just some I’m looking for some information. Yeah. So when you do the keyword research, you mentioned tools before they address Google Keyword Planner. Yep. Basically, there, you don’t have to just sort of pluck keywords out of the air and come up with them and hope that people haven’t been searching them. You can use these tools to find out how often these keywords are searched each month, how competitive they are, you know, how many other people are sort of ranking for them and the like and be a bit strategic about it. Right trips. It is a third party tool. It’s not something Google man. It’s your favorite tool. It is my favorite tool. If I had to pick one. Yeah. The reason I love it so much is because it is basically like a mini Google itself. it crawls the web. It stores information on keywords and rankings and links just like Google does. Yeah.
I think they’re only second behind Google out there in terms of how much of the web they crawl. Yeah, that’s
I think that that’s correct. I think YouTube is like the second biggest search engine type thing.
I remember hearing that somewhere in one of the conferences I went to,
yeah, ahrefs probably asked. It sells out. But um, it’s not wrong, like they know a lot about the web and what people are searching for, for sure. So with keyword research, you know, basically, you want to sort of enter in a few seed keywords into a tool like hrs, or Google’s Keyword Planner, which we touched on as well, which is basically that’s, that’s a tool that they have in the Google Ads platform that they make available to their advertisers to figure out what keywords they should be running ads against. And the reason these tools are good is because they show you how many times per month on average, these keywords are searched. So you can start to filter by, you know, most volume through the least volume, discount keywords that aren’t being searched that much and sort of focus your efforts were likely to lead to traffic to your website. Yep. So basically, as a business, you want to be researching keywords, and then coming up with a plan to optimize your website accordingly. Is that right? That’s right. So how do you go about keyword research? At the moment? My what’s your process,
I try to keep it pretty simple. To be honest, I’ll look at a website, obviously, look at the structure see, like, obviously each websites different. I’ll see what the categories and subcategories are what services a website or client might have, and start putting keywords into keyword clusters, or keyword seeds. And they basically just kind of visit each one of those seeds and try to find a pool of keywords that are relevant to that seed that are relevant to the to the client. Yep. And start building those out. So that way, I get a good idea which keywords we need to include on the page for each page of the website. Cool. So when you say building it out, you’ll take those seed keywords and what do you do with them. I’ll take a seed keyword. And I’ll use either a href or Google Keyword Planner, and use the keyword ideas tool to see I guess, different keywords which people might be searching outside of the guest core keyword or primary keyword. And then, like you said, Have a look at what people are searching for the search volumes to see how competitive a keyword is. I might even you know Chuck the keyword into Google and see what other keywords come up when I search for it. And basically, I’m basically just explaining keyword research here. But we will create a document, which where we can kind of visualize and see all the keywords for the whole website structured in a way where we can see it’s all mapped out to different pages.
Cool. So you’ve done that research, you’ve got the keyword, you’ve got the volume there, you sort of figured out the competitive ones, the non competitive ones. Yeah, every business is going to have main keywords that they want to get for sure. Yeah, like a dentist wants to rank for dentists and then whatever suburb they’re in.
That’s right. Yeah. And when I say keep it simple, I mean, a lot of the time, nine out of 10 times, we already know what the keyword is going to be. Yeah. So we don’t really want to go too crazy. And you know, pull out hundreds and hundreds of keywords, because that’s just yeah, a lot of the time, it’s a waste of our time.
Yeah. And that can be the temptation when you’re doing this is to sort of search for all sorts of different keywords and think you’re going to build 1000s of pages and just rank for everything. But what you find is a lot of pages will rank from multiple, multiple keywords. So it’s better to have you do this research to find the key themes or ideas that are relevant to your business. And then with your on site optimization, ultimately, you seek to create content around those themes or ideas. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Cool. So basically, look, that’s where we always start things with on site optimization, it’s knowing what keywords you want to go after. From there, I guess. It’s a process of mapping, right? That’s right, yeah. Where you take the keywords, and figure out what each page in your site is going to target. Because you don’t want to have multiple pages on your site or going after the same keywords. You don’t want to sort of be trying to target too many keywords in one page, you might need to create new pages if Yeah, that’s virginity too. So the mapping process is just basically mapping out both keyword themes or topics to the relevant pages on your site. So you might get an Excel doc or something like that. Get the whole architecture of your site. So all of the pages in there, just figure out in that Excel Doc, what the key word themes are going to be for each page.
Yeah, that’s right. Like you said, it’s also a good opportunity to propose any new pages that you might need on the site. So
okay, what we’re talking about here at the moment, I guess, is theoretical, you know, you’re you’re researching, you’re mapping things out. But when it comes time to actually make changes to pages, there’s a fair bit that can be done. So probably, we probably want to start with talking about the basics, because coming back to the Pareto principle 80% of your results are going to come from 20% of your effort. There are certain areas on every page that we know from experience that SEO community knows from, you know, sharing knowledge, that if you optimize them, it is pleasing, very pleasing, please. What are the unset basics you know, when you’re when you’re optimizing your page, if you had if you had a gun to your head, and they’d go and go like, oh, optimize my page some psycho had you bailed up and said I need you to optimize my page? Do do the main areas, what would they be?
If a psycho had a gun to my head? For some reason, for some reason? Um, well, the obvious answer that would be the page titles, or the page title, the headings and the content again, so making sure that the target keywords or any any keywords that you want to target, including the page title, headings, h1, h2 is, and all the way down. Yeah. Cool. And then, like I said, you’re optimizing the page copy to make sure that it is targeting the keyword slash keywords.
Yep. So there’s a bit going on in there. I guess. When we say page title,
what is that? It’s it is what it is the title of the page. So it’s what Google The first thing, one of the first things that Google sees when it crawls your page. It’s basically what the page is titled. Yeah. So it’s super important to have your target keywords in there because it gives Google context as to what the page is about.
Yep. And we’re not referring to like, if you look at a page, like the the writing on the page, it’s actually a bit of code. Yeah. In the in there. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah, the title card. Yep. meta title tag. That’s the official name for in nerdy circles. And this is the number one, this is like the first thing that Google sees, it’s like the street appeal of your website to use like a real estate term, you know, when Google rocks up, and slides, if it wants to come into the open home, it’s looking at your title tag is a straight appeal. So if you have a really nice title tag, with keywords in it, then Google thinks, you know, this page might be relevant to you, I’m gonna go in and have a little bit more of a look. So then after title tags, what next h1 I heard you mentioned,
yeah, h1. So the first heading on the page, again, making sure that you are targeting those keywords in the h1, again, it gives context to Google as to what the content is about on the page.
Sure. Now, this is something that is actually seen to the end user, like when they’re on their web browser base, the h1 tags, just like Google does.
Yeah, that’s right. So it could be anywhere in the hero banner, you know, at the start of the content, it could be anywhere on the page, really making sure that you do have an h1, and it is targeting the keywords that you want to focus on.
Yep. And there should be a theme or sent like there should be a similar sent from the title tag through to the h1 tag. So to make it simple criminal way of Sydney, you would have that in your title tag. And then in your h1 tag, you might have get in touch with the best criminal wire Sydney has to offer nothing like that. Yeah. Google is saying the keyword that needs to see, but it doesn’t look totally like gibberish to the end user. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah, Yeah, I thought so. The other thing is right, page copy itself. Google’s reading all of the copy when it lands on the site, the crawlers, what we find is you want to work in the target keyword for a page early on in that copy somewhere in the first couple of 100 words, ideally, yep. So it’s going to be again, the same sent from the title tag to the h1 tag, to the body copy. Yeah, keyword being used multiple times.
Yeah, and having the copy towards the top of the page. So Google hasn’t had to crawl through all the code to get to it.
Now, there is, I guess, on that point, different scenarios where you’ve got to think about the aesthetics of your site. Like you don’t just want a wall of text.
No, it has ways to go around using, you know, like, read more CSS hiding the content. Yeah, I say hiding burden. Yeah.
Like, have a blurb. And then yeah, read more, and it pops out with more copy. Yeah, yeah. because realistically, as a business, you want people on the site to actually use it for what you want them to use it for, or intend for them to use it for. So you’re happy to submit a lead form, you don’t want to match them with too much content. So there are ways of giving Google what it needs to see. But making sure the end user also is enjoying using your site. I guess when it comes to on server, the other basics would be content needs to be long enough, right? Like you can’t just have a little snippet of text. And then I guess a big part is probably looking at salary rank,
looking at the competitors, you know, searching the keyword or you want to rank for and having a look at the content that’s on those pages to get a good idea at the word count to see how they structured the content. It’s a good starting point. Yeah.
So really, success leaves clues. I like to say, Yeah, so the sites that are doing well in Google, just reverse engineer a bit what they’re up to, like if they, if they have a couple of 1000 words. And you just have like, welcome to our site. We are the best Criminal Lawyers in Sydney. Yeah. And you’re gonna need to add more content.
That’s right. There’s a reason why they rank obviously, there’s something they’re doing right that Google lacks, which is why they’re ranking at the top. So
yeah. So the basics that you need on every page is an optimized title tag, optimized h1 tag, and then other headings so edge to edge, or they’re just sort of subsequent headings, less important, smaller headings, that sort of thing. Yeah. You want to have the keyword somewhere early on the page, the main keyword that you’re going after that you uncovered in the key Read research and mapping process, anyone have enough content that you’re in the same ballpark as all the other websites that are ranking already in Google? The other main basics, I guess outside of that, you probably want to have synonyms in other words that are related to your main keyword, I guess. So if you are going after criminal lawyer, Sydney coming back to that one, then in the copy, it might expect to see things like DUI or defense lawyers, fence lawyer, relevant terms court. Yeah, no win no fee, whatever the common terminology is in the space,
yeah, those are keywords that you’re identifying the keyword research versus
correct and the mapping so that, again, coming back to the idea of each page on your site, having key themes or keywords that it isn’t optimized towards. But that the basic, you know, basics that need to be done on every page. Because if you’re doing that, and all of your competitors are doing that, that’s what Google expects to see. So if you’re not doing it, you’re going to be way behind the eight ball. That’s it. If you’re doing it, you better be doing it. But if you’re not doing it, so that didn’t quite make sense, but you get what I’m saying. Alright, so moving on, the next thing that you can do from an onsite optimization point of view, with all of that in mind is making use of tools, right? Because if we were sort of talking about reverse engineering competitors, and looking at what they’re up to, that’s not something necessarily that you have to do manually, probably should, at first, if you’re just doing one or two pages on your site, and you’re learning to do this stuff, and do it all manually. Yeah. But when it comes time to do it at scale, yeah, are multiple websites. There are tools they’ll take forever. Yeah, yep. So when I say tools, what are a couple of examples that sort of we use for content?
Yeah. Page optimizer Pro is a good one. So for SEO, both very similar in the sense that they kind of look at the page that you want to rank the the keyword that you want to rank for, and it kind of spits out recommendations on things like word count, you know, how to structure the content, where to insert keywords, being in the heading bid in the, you know, paragraph text, different LSI keywords or related keywords. Basically, it’s like a, like a roadmap, or it gives you a brief basically, of what you need to do to improve your content. So it’s in line with the competition.
Yep. And what’s cool about these tools is coming back to success leaves clues. All these tools are really doing is again, take you like a snapshot of the search results. and analyze how much content is on the page, analyze all the h1 tags, or title tags keyword use, and they get like an average across all the top rank sites. Yeah. And then they analyze your site and compare how your site is faring against that average. Yeah, if you’re low here, you know, if your h1 tag or if let’s say your you don’t have the keyword anywhere near as many times as all those top rank sites do. Yep. tells you what chapter keyword.
Yeah, it’s it’s super convenient. I mean, it does all the hard work for you. It’s a great tool. Yeah. And it gets results. It does the important thing, really with any tool. Yeah.
And look, this stuff is part art part science. So it’s not to say that you can rely on it 100%. But this is definitely a way of speeding things up. Yeah. It’s gonna give you I guess, the the right path to go down with the way you optimize, you know, you’re not just writing blindly willy nilly shoving in keywords, instead of being a bit more structured about it through the use of tools like that. Yeah. So moving on. Yep. Let’s chat about other little tips and tricks, you know, outside of the basics outside of using tools. Yeah. What are some other things that can be done from a content point of view? to please Google? What’s one of your favorites? I think, you know, if I go three to one, we can both say, Okay, I’m ready to go. 321. People also ask, Is this good? Yeah. No, it is good. And it works. So let’s take a step back. Yeah. What the hell is people also ask, why does it work? Yeah.
So basically, what happens is, a lot of the time when you search for a particular search query, you will find that in the search results, there’ll be a box with different questions people have also asked in relation to that search query. So basically, what’s happened is people might have went to a site going back and searched again, because they didn’t get the result that they wanted. So what happens is, what you can do to improve your content is make sure that you incorporate those questions within the content because Google thinks that they’re super relevant to whatever keyword that you’re searching for.
Yeah. So let’s, we’ll just freestyle an example of this here. Let’s say you go to Google and type in digital marketing agency, scroll down the page. And then in the middle of the page, that’s going to be questions like, why should I use a digital marketing agency? Who is the best digital marketing agency? Can you do digital marketing yourself? It can be all sorts of questions like that. Google leaves, little hints about, I guess what it considers relevant, right? If you’ve typed in digital marketing of the keyword in those questions, it considers relevant. So if you can then go back to your website and answer those questions in the copy. Yeah, addressing the content in a way that’s pleasing to the algorithm. Yep. So this is what we do with a lot of our pages on our sites and our client sites, is basically typing the main keyword that we’re trying to optimize for. See what the people also ask are, and then have our content writers, right, you know, 250, or 300 or 500 words, whatever the right amount is to make sure that you’ve got the right level of copy on the page overall, on those questions, yeah. And you do that? And it pretty much always leads to improve rankings, right?
For sure. Yeah, making sure it’s all that the questions asked some sort of heading into h2, h3, you can also use schema to mock it up with q&a. So that will get pulled into the search results.
So when you say schema, what are we referring to with that? I’ll let you explain schema. Well, schema is basically it’s just structured data, it’s extra markup in the code that makes it easier for Google to understand what the contents about because I’ve got a little secret here. What’s the secret? Google is not as smart as we think it is? It’s not? No, it’s not like it’s pretty smart. But like, a lot of the time, we find that adding a keyword four times instead of twice can lead to improve rankings. So it’s not like it’s genius, machine learning, artificial intelligence, like be all and end all, I guess. Yeah, Cyborg type thing that rules us all. We all think that it’s not. So with schema, it is just ways of helping Google better understand things. So for example, we’ve just touched on the topic of people also ask questions. Yeah, you can mark up those questions with FAQ schema, where you say, here’s a question, which is, you know, that the headings would be the question. Yeah, and then the answer. So you say to Google, here’s the question is the answer. That way Google can use that and display that in its search results and do all sorts of stuff with that information? So um, yeah, that’s what schema is. Moving on, I guess, in terms of content. I don’t really have too many more, I guess, tips outside of what we’ve covered today. It is just about figuring out what people are searching for, as one thing.
Oh, yeah. Writing for the end user, not for Google. True. What does that mean? So a lot of the times when people want to, I guess when they go to optimize content on a page, they’ll neglect the end user and start inserting keywords in places where it might not make sense. So making it more appealing to Google rather than the person that it’s intended for. So making sure you strike the right balance of you know, inserting the right keywords, but not at the cost of making or having the content of the page not make sense.
Yeah. And we’ve all seen that, right? Yeah. you land on a page and they’re like we are the best plumbers Sydney’s get in touch for plumber, Sydney to come here today. plumber, Sydney wants to come and running Sydney playing keyword stuffing. Yeah. Now, which can work sometimes. But yeah, that comes back to the point that Google is not as smart. Yeah. But there’s ways of addressing both segments of your audience. By audience I mean, even you, you with all the money or sort of important copy on the page, the money copy Nicola, for your hero banner, your top headings, your sales, copy the stuff that explains to the end user, who you are and how you help them. That should very much be written for the user first, not trying to shoehorn keywords into it, because just comes off as weird and sort of, you’re not helping your conversion rates, you know, you’re not helping yourself, generate leads or sales. If you’re just shoehorning keywords into your copy. You can then put your Google sort of catnip copy somewhere else on the page deeper on the page hidden behind a read more. Ideally, you don’t want to be like just jamming keywords in any way. You want to write it in a way that makes sense. But yeah, I think if you use the first probably should be the core principle behind everything you’re doing with your website. Right? Yeah, for sure. All right. Well, I think that’s been a pretty good intro to the content pillar. Seo really does come back to research, mapping, doing the on site basics, writing for Google second users first. Yep. Thank you sir. tools, like page optimizer pro surfer. Create your content around the keyword themes and new things like FAQs and schema and people also asking really nailed all of that you’re doing better than most of you competitive straight out of the gates. That’s it. So that’s about it. For this episode. We will be back with the next episode to have a chat about technical SEO, the tech side. That’s the nerdy aspect of SEO even nerdier part than what’s already a nasty subject. So it should be goodbye and we’ll see you in the next episode. See ya Tata.
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