Shaking Off SEO Myths: Part 4 of 6
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing content, and with good reason. Writing the right content, in the correct place, at the appropriate time is critical to your SEO success. That said, it’s important to remember that the quality of your content is far more important than the quantity.
Your H1 is the End all Be All of On-Page SEO
H1 title tags were once vitally important ranking influencers. Until quite recently, these tags signaled page contents to search engines and were rewarded with increased rankings. However, black hat SEO practitioners and spammers abused these tags, rendering them largely useless.
Search engines are smart and while the words used in title tags are still important, they no longer boost rankings. Instead, think of the structure of your webpage as an outline and be sure to present your most important information first. Quality content should always lead with the most critical information first, using the remaining content space to further flesh out ideas, present data and strengthen narratives.
In 2016, a strong page is optimized first for users. In other words, don’t worry about crawlers; instead, use your title tags to clearly state to your readers what your content is about. Take the time to develop a clear H1 that makes sense to your audience. If your headline resonates with your clients, it’ll resonate with search engines, too.
A strong H1 may not increase your rankings, however, it will display in the search engine results pages (SERP) as the very first thing visitors see when conducting a search. To insure that your content grabs readers, keep it short (approximately 55 characters) and relevant. Readers shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. So think of your H1 as the cover and title of your webpage and develop an H1 that supports your business and your content.
Your Homepage Needs a Ton of Copy
It stands to reason that if content is king, then you need a lot of words to rule. Delightfully, this is simply no longer the case. This is great news both for your readers and for your content team. Writing strong, concise and highly relevant copy will better serve your buyers and will satisfy the needs of today’s content-savvy crawlers. Curated content leads to increased page quality, which keeps Google and human visitors happy.
As you develop your content, think carefully about your buyer personas and provide solutions to the kinds of questions your personas asking. Your homepage content should be long enough to convey your mission, value proposition, services, location and direct your visitors to additional content or offers. Your homepage is your an opportunity to tell your story and convey your value in a way that both satisfies visitors and encourages them to delve deeper.
The More Pages, the Better
Obviously, the bigger the site, the more likely search engines will be able to find it and the better rankings will be, right? Once again, this is completely false. Not only does the footprint of a website have no bearing, but sites that resemble labyrinths rather than logical outlines will likely frustrate visitors and lead to increased bounce rates.
It’s important to realize that not everything you publish will be indexed by crawlers. Not only that, but sites with endless pages of content usually forfeit quality in favor of quantity. Sites that present succinct, unique and quality content will rank higher than sites with larger footprints and repetitive, poorly constructed content. As you develop your sitemap and create content, it’s critical to consider the goal of each page and to publish only the strongest copy that’s most likely to help your business achieve its goals.
FACT: Quality Beats Quantity
While much has changed in SEO over the past few years, it’s reassuring to note that these changes keep internet users — humans users, that is — front of mind. As you develop your organization’s content strategy take the time to consider your buyer personas, your clients and any additional stakeholders. Write for them, not for Google.