A Qualitative Guide for On-Page SEO and Keyword Selection

Don't overthink an SEO strategy when you're building service or landing pages for a professional website. Trying to cram too much into the presentation makes it difficult to communicate the ideal value specific consumers are searching for. My qualitative guide for on-page SEO and keyword selection will help you maximize, structure, and personalize every form of content you produce.
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As of late, search engine optimization has become more tactical than process-driven. Far too many “marketing” agencies and freelancers and cutting corners to increase views. This just isn’t sustainable in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape. Instead of investing in original means to create memories, most publishers are chasing popular search phrases and trends. But intent is where it’s at!

Even though you may be presented with a promising organic gameplan, it doesn’t mean it’s your best bet. In fact, it could very well be a devastating gamble. Search services are never cheap. Nearly every “marketer” slangs a slew of unnecessary add-ons (that they talk their clients into) in order to drive up their residual income. The more you know the better. 

Phony SEO Experts Hinder Any Organic Strategy.

The guarantee of higher rankings doesn’t always mean better profit margins. Since SEO is an upfront cost (rarely providing a return in less than 60 days), a lot of money can be spent before any proof is in the pudding. Conveyer belt SEO is solely responsible for the high turnover in my space. And quite frankly, it’s the main reason why quality brands won’t take people like me seriously.

Trust is a big problem. It’s hard for decision-makers to know what is going to pay off when they don’t understand what they need. No matter what you think or feel about organic methods, you have to be able to hold your marketing team accountable. Creating a unique story that resonates with visitors needs to be incorporated and at the forefront of your SEO strategy (even if you’re covering a trending topic).

Quality SEO implementation is not something you can just hand to someone and expect done in a few days. It takes time and understanding. Investing in the reach of your definitive value is important. There are tons of ways to improve organic traffic. Here are some ways keyword selection can enhance your on page optimization efforts. 

1. Find Descriptive Search Phrases.

Every qualitative guide for on-page SEO needs to begin with the brand’s reason-for-being. In other words, quality optimization requires certainty and boundaries. Far too often, I see companies chasing quantitative results instead of targeted returns. It’s not about duplicating a successful competitor and hoping to win people over with pricing. It’s about finding the genuine pockets you speak to best. Basic SEO practices leave a ton of money on the table – every single day!

When analyzing SEO strategies, I often find that a majority of keyword outlines (title tags, page structures, content mapping, etc..) surround broad, high volume search phrases instead of detailed search variations that magnify a problem, want or need. Unless you have a true, tailored approach to converting online visitors, you’re competing with buckets and buckets of options. Dialing things in and dominating smaller pockets of less-popular-keywords is far more rewarding. 

Now, I’m not saying high volume keywords should be ignored. But when you’re developing a webpage or blog, you have to be willing and able to expand the search horizon and see where opportunity lies. You store might be located next to all of your competitors – but are you really going to purchase billboard ads next to them all too? On-page efforts should always cater to the most intentful user searches without compromising company goals and brand standards. Anything less us pure laziness and extremely wasteful.

When there is certainty behind the keywords you target, the job of any content writer is a whole lot easier. Boundaries and vision help them get directly to the point. Continuously adding copy or cramming keywords to boost rankings only makes things worse. Being found is only one step of the process. Less competition, detailed answers, and clear value is a recipe for high conversion rates.  

2. Stop Force Feeding Focus Keywords.

Optimizing a webpage with one single keyword is one of the most common misrepresentations of search engine optimization. Again, quantitative methods don’t work as well for SEO. It may seem like a no-brainer to force feed a specific search phrase (evenly) throughout the copy, but you’re going about it all wrong. If you take anything away from my qualitative guide for on-page SEO, it better be the use of search phrase variations. Like I mentioned before, diversity matters.

Methodically writing copy that doesn’t come off as repetitive and spammy gives the site a chance to rank for multiple keywords that are relevant to the purpose of your on-page copy. Remember, search engines don’t just count keywords. They measure they experience; or quality of writing and user navigation. Sometimes, breaking down copy into sections with unique titles drives tremendous results!

Map Out the Flow of SEO Verbiage.

Once you’ve identified a slew of keywords, organize them. If you’re breaking down the on-page SEO for a webpage about gardening – what’s the main focus? Are you an expert of a certain climate, soil, region? What types of plants? How much experience? Will people want to follow you or simply read about to your journey? Will they be experts or beginners? What type of verbiage will they appreciate, or possibly misunderstand? How can you capture your personality as a gardener. 

Asking a lot of questions will give you insight on which keywords will compliment to primary search you’re targeting. The title, “Planting My First Rose Garden After Years in My Scottish Apple Orchard” (with detailed supporting keywords) is a lot more effective than, “How to Start a Rose Garden”. There are probably thousands of blogs on the latter – while the first is almost certain to draw local appeal.

Search Phrases Can Fluctuate and Improve Rankings.

If you want to improve SEO rankings so you can sell more of something (like shoes), then you better be able to communicate the unique specificities of the shoe to search engines. Little things, like imagery and quality web designs help – but they do nothing if people can’t find you! So start with differentiation, then proceed with variation. A focus keyword, such as, “white leather and pink lace little girl shoes,” can be broken down in so many ways. Make the primary phrase prominent, but sprinkle in some contrast to broaden the reach.

Expanding on the purpose of your content will draw more visitors that are specifically looking for this solution – and search engines are more likely to rank you higher based on relevance.

3. Readability Matters With SEO.

Once you’ve solidified your purpose and uncovered correlating keywords, it’s time to organize your thoughts. Landing page development is no different than writing a research paper or even a blog. Organizing the presentation and structure is key. This is why I use a content map and SEO outline with all of my clients. Every transition, new paragraph or sub-heading needs to read well and involve pertinent information.

Most website visitors skim headings, bullet points or even pictures to find what they’re looking for. Not everyone is interested in the entire article. At the same time, you still want to be detailed regarding the topic. Any time a consumer can completely understand the purpose, value, or offer you’re promoting – the better. I’d be wasting your time if I didn’t mention this in my qualitative guide to on-page SEO.

Don’t Be Afraid to Create Distinct Content.

Although extensive details do matter, try not to pack everything about one topic onto one page. Breaking content down into a series or separate ideas is rarely a bad idea. It may take longer, but the reach is far greater. Doing so helps you maximize keyword variations even more. For example, the title, “What Girls Love Most About Horseback Riding Lessons in the Rockies” doesn’t have to summarize 4000 words. You could create three separate topics for women, teen gals and young ladies – and even optimize the heading by replacing “the Rockies” with Rocky ridge trails, Colorado mountain ranges and foothills.

Take the time to see what people are going to need or take the time to read. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the benefits of breaking down content ideas. A simple “horseback riding for girls” blog article could evolve into a full blown marketing campaign that changes the entire outlook of your business! You never know until you consider what you’re doing – and not just how cheaply you can get it done!

How Can You Avoid Poorly Written SEO?

In order to garner the organic results you’re seeking, consider the following tips that will drastically address the readability of your on-page content.

  • Tone down outbound links and avoid sending visitors to a site or page that will distract them from their search.
  • Bolded words can help visitors find the right information but it can also overwhelm them. 
  • Adsense income is great and all, but not if display ads take away from your conversion funnel.
  • Long paragraphs that don’t get to the point can cause disinterest and hurt your credibility.
  • A lack of headings and a breakdown of content can also disengage consumers.
  • Misspellings and poorly written sentences are a reflection of your professionalism and respect.
  • Big words and extravagant verbiage can be deterring. 

Readability is probably the most overlooked element of quality SEO. A lot of times, the technical side of things (outlines, backend tags, links) are fine – but the copy is a mess. This only ruins the first impression, which halts the entire sales cycle. Don’t sabotage yourself and hire a cheap write that’s out of touch with your value and identity. 

Far too often, I come across pages that annoy and overwhelm me. In turn, I look elsewhere for a solution. If you don’t have the money to hire an SEO strategist to help you with your message and overall presentation, there are some great tools that help you improve your readability online. But the easiest way to keep people on-site is to find a quality copywriter.

You don't always have to hire someone to improve rankings..

At PreFocus, I’m passionate about helping brands enhance their search engine optimization. It’s such a detailed process that always needs work. This qualitative guide for on-page SEO is only the tip of the iceberg, but it’ll bring you a step closer to higher rankings. If you’re still confused or want to learn more about a customized search strategy, your first consultation is always free!