Improve Your Page Content & Structure Now In 8 Easy Steps

Eval­u­at­ing your web page con­tent and struc­ture with these eight steps will put you on a path to bet­ter opti­mized, more engag­ing con­tent.

Danny Goodwin By Danny Goodwin from Momentology. Join the discussion » 0 comments

How your web­site pages are struc­tured tech­ni­cal­ly makes a world of dif­fer­ence to how the search engines under­stand the con­tent. Hav­ing con­tent that delights your users keeps vis­i­tors on the page longer, impacts your KPIs, and builds your brand and your com­mu­ni­ty.

Here are eight ways you can improve your page con­tent and struc­ture, start­ing now.

1. Read Google’s Search Quality Handbook

Google’s search qual­i­ty hand­book is the guide Google pro­vide to its team of human raters who eval­u­ate web­sites in the search results. It serves as a feed­back loop for engi­neers who build algo­rithms that seek to yield the high­est qual­i­ty results. In Novem­ber, Google pub­licly released their hand­book, with updat­ed guide­lines for a mobile world and a heavy empha­sis on user expe­ri­ence. The 160-page doc­u­ment is a trea­sure trove of price­less mate­r­i­al that show­cas­es how Google thinks about and rates qual­i­ty – and how you should, too. So start hon­est­ly eval­u­at­ing your con­tent and pages are up to stan­dards.

2. Clean Up Your Code

You want a page with clean code that’s easy to crawl and pro­vides the infor­ma­tion the search engine bot needs to under­stand and rank it. So, the code that makes up your pages can either hold your page back or help cat­a­pult it into the lime­light. HTML5  is the lat­est markup lan­guage for struc­tur­ing con­tent, and is designed with mobile friend­li­ness and the seman­tic web in mind (check out some of these new tags). If you aren’t ready for a new site in HTML5, there are things you can do to clean up the cur­rent code – specif­i­cal­ly with page speed in mind (as that’s a sig­nal in Google’s rank­ing algo­rithm). Espe­cial­ly in a mobile world, Google wants you to ren­der your above-the-fold con­tent in 1 sec­ond or less. To learn more about how to make your site faster, check out these tools to ana­lyze your web pages.

3. Relevant, Responsive, Targeted Content

The star of the show, the con­tent on your page, should be the best answer to your searcher’s query it can be. But your con­tent strat­e­gy also needs to be dri­ven by:

  • Search and audi­ence demand: What are the top­ics your audi­ence is talk­ing about right now?
  • Respon­sive­ness: Con­sid­er the needs of the mobile user when it comes to hav­ing respon­sive and dynam­ic con­tent, and how it’s for­mat­ted for a mobile device.
  • Engage­ment: More than just words on the page, con­tent is how you will achieve your page’s goals through all assets avail­able, from visu­al mar­ket­ing to video to call-to-actions and just plain enter­tain­ment.
  • Ever­green and top-per­form­ing pages: What per­cent­age of your pages per­form well his­tor­i­cal­ly? How can you make them even bet­ter? Make a plan to update those ever­green pages every so often to ensure they have the most recent and fac­tu­al infor­ma­tion.
  • Brand and tone: Writ­ing trends are chang­ing for brands, and right now, com­pa­nies have a lot of free­dom to explore their per­son­al­i­ties ful­ly through fun and hon­est con­tent.
  • Relat­ed con­tent: How will you keep vis­i­tors on your site longer? What else can you show them?

4. Rethink Your Ads

Google eval­u­ates web pages against hun­dreds of sig­nals, but there are some spe­cif­ic algo­rithms that you want to con­tin­ue to under­stand as you try to improve page struc­ture. Google’s page lay­out algo­rithm tar­gets pages that have too many ads above the fold and force users to scroll down too far to get to the con­tent they orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed to click through to. This is a user expe­ri­ence issue, and along with the rise of ad block­ers, sends a mes­sage to brands and pub­lish­ers that it’s time to focus on the user or suf­fer the con­se­quences.

5. Make Content Mobile-Friendly

For years, “going mobile” meant you were ahead of the game. Not any­more – now it’s essen­tial for vis­i­bil­i­ty and cap­tur­ing the grow­ing num­ber of mobile users (about 63 per­cent will access the Inter­net from their phone by 2017). There are plen­ty of ways you can assess the mobile-friend­li­ness of your site con­tent, espe­cial­ly with free resources from Google like this one.

6. Do Some Serious Content Quality Assessment

The Pan­da algo­rithm is specif­i­cal­ly aimed at chop­ping poor-qual­i­ty web pages from the results, and has gone through mul­ti­ple iter­a­tions over the years. We typ­i­cal­ly hear about it each time a new update is on the hori­zon, so it’s been impor­tant to stay proac­tive and make mod­i­fi­ca­tions as nec­es­sary – but when the Pan­da algo­rithm becomes part of the core rank­ing algo­rithm, it will be hard­er to iden­ti­fy if and when your site has been hit. Refer back to the first sec­tion on this list for a bet­ter idea of how Google thinks about qual­i­ty con­tent.

7. Top-To-Bottom Content Optimization

Sim­ple best prac­tices for on-page opti­miza­tion still help the search engines under­stand what your page is about. This means ensur­ing your meta infor­ma­tion is cor­rect­ly imple­ment­ed on the page in the head sec­tion, and that each page con­tains title and descrip­tion tags that sum up what the page is about. Unique meta infor­ma­tion ensures there isn’t any per­ceived dupli­cate con­tent by the search engine, and depend­ing on how entic­ing it is, can increase click throughs from the search results (espe­cial­ly impor­tant in an era of click-bait head­lines a la Buz­zFeed). Schema markup will con­tin­ue to be some­thing to explore on your pages to give more con­text to the search engines as to what the con­tent is about.

8. Make Your Pages More Secure

While HTTPS is more of a site-wide con­sid­er­a­tion, it impacts your site at the page lev­el. Google announced HTTPS as a light­weight rank­ing sig­nal in 2014 with the poten­tial to have more weight in the future. Con­sid­er HTTPS not only as a rank­ing sig­nal, but part of the user expe­ri­ence – as it will make buy­ers in an ecom­merce envi­ron­ment feel more secure. Here’s how to get start­ed if you aren’t already there.

Danny Goodwin

Written by Danny Goodwin

Managing Editor, Momentology

Danny Goodwin is the former Managing Editor of Momentology. Previously, he was the editor of Search Engine Watch, where he was in charge of editing, content strategy, and writing about search industry news.

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