Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is an important way to help make sure a website or blog gets found organically for important keyword searches in search engines like Google or Bing. The world of SEO is complex and dynamic, changing as the search engine algorithms themselves evolve to make sure they’re delivering the best, most relevant content to users. One key element of SEO is content optimization. This helps you ensure that each post or page you craft is optimized to be found for a specific keyword. So, we put together this quick guide of SEO content basics for local business websites and blogs to help you make sure you’ve got them covered!

1. Keywords: Select 3-5 Targeted Primary Keywords for Your Site

A critical component of your site’s SEO strategy is selecting whatever keywords or keyword phrases you want your site to be found for. To optimize your site or blog for local discovery, it’s important to research and select keywords that you can realistically rank for, as well as keywords that are localized. For example, a generic keyword like “massage therapist” would be terrific to rank for, but this is a highly competitive national keyword that would take considerable time, effort, and money to optimize. Luckily, since you want to make sure local consumers find your site, you can target a localized keyword which will be easier to optimize for – and also bring you more targeted results. So, select a keyword phrase that includes a geo-targeted term as well, like “massage therapist Plano.” Also, choose long-tail keywords, which include multiple words in the keyword phrase, because they can be easier to optimize for as well.

Note that you will get the best results by selecting a term of an actual geographic area (one with actual geographic coordinates on a map) rather than a generic referential term (what people may colloquially call a place). That’s because two types of searches will benefit from this optimization. First, a direct local keyword match search, where someone types in a local phrase like “Massage Therapist Plano,” will see results for these keyword types. Another other type of search this keyword type targets is the geo-targeted local searches, where a consumer types a general phrase like “Massage Therapist” and the search engine detects local intent in the search and sees the location of the search via IP address to present local information. That’s why keywords using actual geographic terms can get you more bang for your optimization buck.

2. Content Strategy: Focus on 1 Primary Keyword per Page or Post

Developing your content strategy will help you bring your plan to life. Creating a focused, dynamic content strategy will help you make sure that your site is a source of fresh, optimized content, helping you boost your SEO. To best optimize each page or post, make sure it is focused on one keyword rather than trying to optimize each page for every keyword you’ve selected. Not only will this help you avoid bad tactics like keyword stuffing, it will also make your content friendlier to consumers who find your business, which is the ultimate goal of SEO!

3. Content Length: Vary Content Between 300-500 Words per Page

There’s a lot of debate about content length – some say shorter posts are just effective as long-form web content for boosting SEO. For your website or blog, vary the length of the content on each page or post to get benefits from both approaches. Try to make sure each page you want to optimize for SEO includes a minimum of about 300 words for best results. Whatever length you decide, realize that this will affect how often you should use your primary keyword in the copy.

4. Keyword Density: Aim for 5% of Overall Word Count

To make sure that your page is optimized for your primary keyword, you want to make sure that you are using that keyword to represent up to about 5% of your overall copy on the page. It’s also important to make sure that your primary keyword is the one phrase in the copy that is repeated the most. So, if you’re writing a post that’s 300 words long, you should repeat some form of your primary keyword about 10 times overall, and make sure that no other important phrases are repeated more than that.

5. Keyword Placement: Repeat 2-3 Times in First Paragraph

Along with keyword density, keyword placement is also important for SEO. So, make sure you are using your primary keyword several times in the first paragraph. Then, sprinkle it throughout the rest of your content, spacing it out naturally through the flow of our copy.

6. Headlines: Position Your Keyword at the Front

It’s important to create a headline for your copy and to format it with an HTMLtag that tells search engines that it’s important information. For example, the style H1 (which most systems use for a headline) is recognized as important by search engines. So, include your primary keyword in your headline itself. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of the headline, the better. However, it’s vital to balance the SEO elements of a headline appealing to your audience. After all, you want them to read what’s on the page!  So, make sure your headline is interesting, as well as clear and descriptive of the  content on the page. Also, try to keep your headline to 72 characters or fewer, which performs best in search engines.

7. Outbound Linking: Link to Other Sites Using Anchor Text

Overall, you’ll want to include several links on each page of content. A good rule of thumb is one link for every 120 words. It’s important to link to other sites and posts from your own content where it’s relevant. Links can help boost your credibility and are also useful, when thoughtfully used, for users as well. It’s also important to use your primary keyword as the anchor text for these outbound links. Essentially, this means that you want to create hyperlinks from your most important keywords in the content rather than from less meaningful phrases like “read more here.”

8. Inbound Linking: Link to Your Own Site in Each Post

Linking to another page within the site or blog you are posting to is a valuable SEO tactic, and it also can help you provide more context to your readers. Try to include at least one inbound link in each post. And, make sure you are using important keywords as the anchor text for these internal links as well.

9. Tag and Categorize your Post with Keywords

Another way to optimize your content is to make the most of categories and tags when publishing your content. You want to make sure to tag your content with your primary keyword, as well as other important keywords for your business. You can use as many tags as are relevant to your content, so aim for including about 10 per post. Also, make sure your tags reflect what the content is about, and avoid keyword stuffing. For example, if your content is optimized for “Plano Massage,” you don’t want to include tags like “Plano Facial” unless there is content about facials actually in the post. Instead, include variations of the keyword as your tags, like “Massage Therapy Plano,” “Massages in Plano,” as well as other tags that apply.

10. Images: Name Images with Keywords, Too

Images can be an important tool for SEO because there is content associated with the image, such as the image name, the anchor text, and the alt-text that search engines will factor in. So, name your images with keywords when appropriate, and also make sure the name reflects the actual content of the image. For example, an image of a massage therapy center could be named “Plano-Massage-Therapy-Center.jpg” – which includes a descriptive term along with the keyword.

Have you optimized the content on your business website or blog? Are you targeting the right kinds of keywords to make sure local consumers find you online? Share your thoughts about local business content SEO in the comments!