The Anatomy of an Optimized Page

Getting found in search takes more than just writing and publishing blogs. While content may be King, SEO is Queen, and we all know the Queen is really in charge. If you want your content to rank well and engage your users, optimizing your pages is a must.

In the video below, I’ll share some basic best practices for optimizing your site pages for search. While some of the elements are technical, they can be accomplished by nearly every site owner. If you want to learn more about SEO and how to practically apply it to your site, check out my course Simplified Search here.

Video Transcript:

Hey everybody, welcome to Hack My Growth. In today’s episode, we will be talking about the anatomy of an optimized website page or blog post. Now optimizing your site for search is essential to be found by people looking for the information you’re providing. All right. Let’s go.

the anatomy of an optimized page infographic

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Today we will be talking about search engine optimization, and more specifically, technical aspects of SEO and how we can optimize our pages for search and our users. An important thing to make sure we’re doing when optimizing our site is to make sure that we’re optimizing it for both groups: the search engines and the users. Our content is significant, but if it’s not optimized, it’s not going to rank, and it’s also not going to convert.

When discussing a web page, a website page could be broken down into three areas. We’ve got our header, our body, and our footer. Now your header is an essential part of the page.

Web Page Header

Inside that header bracket, you will have things like your title tags and your open graph tag, which helps optimize your site for social sharing and social links. Make sure you have the right kind of images and the description that you want to show up on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and there are other platforms.

Meta Information

You’re also going to have your meta information inside your header. This is where you’re going to add your description, maybe your keywords, if you want to use those, but it’s also where you’re going to add some other scripts. Your Google Analytics tracking script will also be inside the header of your website page. 

Web Page Content

Now moving down is our body, where most of the content is placed. This is where people interact with your blog post or your web content, and here is where you want to optimize your page more than other places, and there are a lot of different things that we can do to optimize inside of that body.

We’ve got content, we’ve got multimedia, so we’ve got images, but we’ve also got videos, other pieces of content that we can optimize. We’ve got links now that include both links internally to other pages of your site, as well as adding some of those outbound links to other sites. Now you may seem like, “What? I don’t want to send people to other pages,” but there’s a trick to using outbound links, and it’s essential to use them, and we’ll get to those in just a minute.

Schema Markup Placement

You also want to add your markup here. This is where you can use schema markup; whether you’re marking text or content, we like to use JSON-LD. It’s just a little bit more descriptive, and it’s easier to implement. You can add it to your page and drop it, specifically for the search crawlers, to better understand the context of the information you’re giving them. There are a couple of excellent tools, and I’ll make sure to link to the device that allows you to create that markup that you can just copy and paste into the code of your body.

Web Page Footer

Then finally, we’ve got the footer. In the footer, there are typically some links and maybe some more information about your site, perhaps the location of your site or map, privacy policy, but you’re also going to have your JavaScript typically load in your footer if you’ve got a lot of Java going on.

Now anything essential to users coming to your site, you want to load at the top, but some of those other parts of your JavaScript that may not be essential to your initial load should be put in the footer of your page so that your page loads faster. Speed, and load time is extremely important. If people have to wait, they’re not going to stick around.

If a searcher, a crawler, has to continue ping your site and it’s not getting the information it needs, it will leave and not crawl the rest of your site because it’s too slow. You want to make sure that you’re optimized for speed as well.

Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive into a website page. We’ve sketched one out here, kind of top to bottom, and that’s how a crawler will be reading your site, from top to bottom. Now, up here at the top of the bar, you’ll see your site’s title tag. This is what is going to be in that title bracket. Now, when optimizing a title, use your keyword and the main keyword you’re trying to focus on. If you want to add your brand, that’s fine, but add it to the end of your title tag. Right underneath that, we’ve got our URL.

Page URL

Now we want to ensure that our URL is descriptive and short. Now many people have these long URLs because they’re trying to add keywords, or maybe they’re just not thinking about it, and they’re just having their title tag be their URL string. Well, that isn’t good for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s tough to share. If somebody wants to say, “Hey. Go to www.mysite.com/seo to check out this information.” Well, if you’ve got /seotoolsfromanseoagency, it’s not easy to share, it’s not easy to say, it’s kind of annoying. Another reason is that crawlers like and prefer shortened URLs. Shortened URLs typically rank better, and there are several studies that have proven that.

Now as we come down a bit, you’ve got your navigation. One of the things that’s helpful from a user perspective, and optimization, it’s not necessarily going to earn a lot of brownie points with the crawlers, although it also helps them, is adding some breadcrumbs to your top.

Maybe home/ the page you’re on, and what that does, it allows the user to know where they are on your website and where they can find other relevant information. It is also helpful for the crawlers a little bit too because it shows the contextuality of this page and how it’s related to your navigation and your site flow in general. That won’t make a huge difference, but it is helpful to your users.

Header Structure

Right below that is our page title. Now typically, a page title is wrapped in an H1 tag. Now, if you’re using H2, H3, whatever the top header tag you have is what will have that prominence. If you don’t have an H1, it’s not that bad as long as you have an H2. Now, you want to make sure that in that H1 tag, you’re complimenting what you’ve titled the page. This means you want to have contextually appropriate keywords inside that header tag.

You want to be descriptive and tell the user exactly what the page is about. Again, just like the user, the crawler will read your page from, top to bottom. They will look at that information inside there and say, “Yes. This is the page I was looking for.”

Now dropping down into the content, we want to make sure that we are using our keywords, but not just the same keyword repeatedly. In the years past, you may have heard of terms like keyword density. Now, keyword density was never something that Google used to understand the page’s context. It was something more we used to give us an idea of how frequently we should use a term.

What Google and the other search engines use is TF-IDF, which is the term frequency-inverse document frequency. It’s involved in natural language processing which helps a computer understand the context of a page. Now we’re not going to go super deep into it, but you want to ensure you have your keyword on your page. You also want to have contextually appropriate terms; what we talked about in another video was Latent Semantic Indexing terms, and LSI keywords, which are contextually related keywords.

I hope all these significant terms aren’t scaring you. You just want to have related terms, like SEO, search engine optimization, search marketing, and those related terms: blogging, content marketing. They’re all in that realm of digital marketing. It will add that context to the page; whatever relates to your industry, that’s what you want to do. You don’t want to stuff words, you want sentences to sound natural, you want them to be informative, and you want to have quality content, but make sure you’re using the terms you want to be known for and want to be found for.

We’ll get a little bit deeper into some other posts with TF-IDF. It’s a compelling thing, it’s cool, and there are some tools out there that will help you understand what type of words I should be using in my content, but the key is, and this is something I want to stress, is write for the user first.

Write for your audience first, then come back and optimize that page or that article for the search engines. You want it to be natural. One of the worst things you can do is just try to stuff keywords in there and create content that’s not even interesting to read because you’ve written it not for a human audience but more for a computer audience. Make sure that you’re doing that inside of your keywords, inside of your content.

Now, over here, we want to have multimedia. Maybe we get an image or a video. If it’s an image, you want to have an alt tag. You want to make sure that you’re descriptive. What is that image about? Search engines are trying to understand the content inside photos, which is great, but they can’t fully do that yet, but we want to help them. We want to make sure that maybe this image can rank in the image search.

Image Alt Tag

Keyword descriptive alt tag, keyword descriptive title tag, you even want to optimize your file name. Whatever that image is called is spelled… you know, www.imageseoblog.jpg, gives an idea of what that image is inside that file type. That’s going to help.

You also want to make sure that the image is not too big, that it loads quickly, and that it’s the appropriate size for your webpage. Don’t just load an 8,000 by 8,000-pixel image into your site. It will be slow; the server will have to compress that image to fit. Just because you’re scaling it down using HTML doesn’t mean you compress the file. Make sure it is the right size, the size that you want it to be to fit inside of your page.

Now, as we move down and you will have H2 or H3 or other header tags, make sure those compliment the page. Again, we’re using those LSI terms, those contextual terms as we move down the page. Now, you want to make sure that you’re internally linking as well. Make sure that you’re linking to other pages on your site that are relevant to the content here. One that helps the user find more relevant content. Two, it helps the crawlers understand the context because now it will crawl those pages in here, saying, “Okay. This page must be related to this page.” They’re all working together. In a blog post, we typically like to link back to what we call core pages or anchor pages, or pillar pages. Whatever those pages that are delivering your service or your options to, you want to use your blog to direct people back to those. 

Now, you don’t want to do this absurdly, maybe at least two to three. Don’t overdo it. Link when it’s appropriate, and make sure that it’s natural. Again, that’s the key; be natural. Don’t try to be natural or appear to be natural, but be natural. It’s a powerful thing, believe it or not.

Now, as we move down, we have an external link. We want to use external links, mainly if we’re citing other people. It’s the right thing to do because you need to give credit to other people’s ideas. You want to make sure that you’re not just taking something as your own. Credit everybody out there giving you information. Maybe you’re using stats or quotes or an idea. Make sure you cite them. Here’s the other reason for that: it will improve your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Now those are three things that are core to Google search quality guidelines: user guidelines, human beings who are looking at it, but the crawlers are looking at that too. Maybe you’re new in the industry, but you’ve got a lot of knowledge, and you want to share that knowledge, but Google doesn’t quite yet trust you because you’re new. You have a new domain; they don’t know if they can take you seriously.

Well, if you’re citing credible people in websites that are trustworthy sources, they’re going to use that and say, “Here’s what this guy said. Okay. He’s citing this guy, who we know is a credible source in the industry. Here’s what he says. Yes, it lines up. This guy must not be a fake.” That’s going to add some value to your content. It’s going to show Google that, “Hey. This guy’s not full of it.” External links are essential. Put them on your site.

Now, you want to use a target blank in your link, or some places just allow you to open in new tab. That way, you’re not having people leave your site entirely, but they’re just going to that other page to see where you’re pulling that resource from.

Call to Action

Finally, what we want to do at the end of our page, whether it’s a blog page or another page, we want to have a call-to-action or a next step. Where do people go after they’ve had this interaction with you after reading through your content, and they’ve understood what you’ve been talking about? What’s the next step? You get to direct them. You get to help them and show them where they should make their next move.

This is why call-to-actions are important. Don’t make them absurd, don’t always try to sell people, just help them along their journey. We want to make sure that this journey is targeted, focused, and leads to the end that we want them to have.

Again we’ve got our footer here. We talked a little bit about the footer before, but these are the core elements to optimizing your pages, optimizing your blog posts, and making sure that you’re telling people the correct information. You’re helping them get connected to the story, and you’re proving your trustworthiness as a blogger, and as a site owner. Start doing these things consistently, and you will see a major impact on your search rankings and your site engagement.

Hope you guys learned something this week on Hack My Growth. If you have questions, please contact us below. If you liked the video, hit subscribe. We’d love to have you as part of our community here. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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SMA Marketing Global Digital Marketing Agency Ryan Shelley Founder and CEO Headshot
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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