Great writing is the silver bullet of search, but if you want people to be able to find your content, it needs to be properly set up in your content management system. It’s relatively simple, just identify your content’s key terms and don’t cut corners when you fill out the input screens. It’s difficult to optimize content for lots of key phrases, so pick the most important phrase and use it exclusively.
If we’re publishing a “Summer Reading” roundup, we can use the Google Trends tool to check the best key phrase, then try to use it appropriately in the following input fields:
- Page Title
- Metadata (meta-description and meta-keywords)
- 1st Mention High Up in the Body Copy
- Image Captions
- Image Alt Tags
- Link Anchor Text
- URLs (make sure URLs can be edited)
Another great place to find kind phrases is Moz.com’s Keyword Explorer.
Understanding How Key Phrases Are Used
The easiest way to think about key phrases in the context of search is: To what question is this content the answer? If I type in “What is the best medical school in New York,” or “NYU Medical School,” is this the page to which my reader should click-through? And, if so, what should the search results look like?
Using Key Phrases in Content
The key phrase doesn’t have to be in every possible field, so use it appropriately and don’t try to force it.
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting all the good SEO elixir is to use a SEO plugin (for Drupal and WordPress), which gives you a basic analysis directly inside the content management system. It’s a little simplistic, but can serve as a good on-page checklist.
Moz.com has more info on doing keyword research. Using the keywords in a content management system is another matter.
Luckily, most modern well-built content management systems are already pre-configured to support search engine optimization before they are handed over to the editorial or production team. If you want to see what developers take into consideration, this is How to Build a Search-Friendly Site