Create a website with SEO in mind: Content optimization

If you make a website from scratch, you need to take a few SEO related things into account. It’s incredibly important to do this right from the start, as that will prevent a vast number of future headaches. Things like speed optimization and the right use of heading tags help to improve your website for both your visitors and Google. Now, I am sure you have covered the technical basics we described in the first part of this article. Just be aware of what you are doing, add focus and you’ll be fine. The greatest challenge begins when you start adding content to your website.

In this article, we’ll go over a number of steps everyone who makes a website should take when optimizing content.

Filling the website with content

You can optimize the entire technical side of your site and still find it lost on page two or more in Google. SEO isn’t a trick. It isn’t something your web developer can do for you. It’s something you can get guidance in, for instance with our SEO courses, or in our Yoast SEO (Premium) plugin. But first and foremost, SEO is Seriously Effortful Optimization. A continuous process, and something you, as a website owner, should make a strategy for. If you make a website, be prepared to write valuable content about the topic/purpose of your website. And that process starts with a bit of research.

Read more: 10 reasons why you should use WordPress »

Keyword research

Speaking from experience, I have often seen product manufacturers describe a product from their point of view. Let me give you an example: our Yoast SEO Premium plugin has an internal linking feature, which analyzes what posts on your website best match the content you are writing in your new post. You can copy that link from the WordPress sidebar and paste it into your post, to optimize your site structure. How awesome is that? Well, it might not sound so awesome to the user. They’re probably wondering what exactly they’re gaining with this feature. From a developer’s point of view, the description matches the feature. But for the user, the description should be:

Our internal linking tool allows you to create valuable links to all pages of your website, which will help these pages to rank in Google.

And even that might be a bit technical. In your keyword research you should focus on customer lingo first: how do people call your product? Find the right keywords and start writing. Want to learn more about keyword research? Take our keyword research training course for more insights.

Setting up the menu and site structure

In that same SEO copywriting training, we continue the SEO process for your website with the next step: site structure. You can even take our site structure course for more on this subject. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good structure. It’s the foundation of your visible site. If you set up a proper site structure right when you start a website, you’ll make optimizing your content so much easier.

As Marieke put it:

Your users need the structure to navigate through your site, to click from one page to the other. And Google uses the structure of your site in order to determine what content is important and what content is less important.

That’s a quote from our ultimate guide to site structure. It’s as simple as that. Optimizing the site structure influences SEO, UX, crawling of your pages and, let’s not forget, the right structure makes maintenance so much easier.

Good site structure will also help highlight the most important pages for your users. Include these pages in your (main, sub or footer) menu. As with customer lingo, use the data collected from Google Analytics to find the pages your visitors like most, and use these in your menu. Read more about optimizing your menu here.

One page per topic

Keyword research is done, the structure is set up, so now we can start writing. And we’ll create one page per topic. Need more pages to elaborate on a topic? Then feel free to do so, but use a new, long tail keyword for every new page.

Using one focus keyword per page, you force yourself to make a hierarchy in your collection of keywords, something you already started when doing your keyword research.

Small step back to keyword research

Now I see you thinking about this focus keyword and the analyses in our plugin during your writing process. You know that feeling when you check keyword density and wonder what to do with synonyms? The first thing to do here is to check Google Trends. Let’s say we optimize for (just an example!) “create a website”. A synonym is “start a website”. Google Trends tells us the main keyword should be “create a website”, see graph here:

Make a website - Google Trends

But we use “start a website” a lot ourselves and want to include that phrase in our post as well. In the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, I can simply insert a second focus keyword. Overall keyword density should be right in that case (check both keyword tabs), as we know Google treats them as the same keyword: If I do a search for “start a website”, “create a website” is also a highlighted (bold) keyphrase in the results. “Make a website” is also a valid synonym. Just a small peek into the way I approach this myself.

Title tags

Using the focus keyword we mentioned earlier, creating a great SEO title for your page is easy. Google still values that title highly, so put some effort in improving it. We usually use the title as the main article heading (or the H1 we mentioned in part 1 of this post). Besides that, it’s used as the most important part of the actual <title> tag, the tag that also defines your title in Google’s search result pages. This tag is not only visible when someone shares your post on Facebook or Twitter, it’s also used when someone bookmarks your site.

Optimize the title page according to these guidelines » 

Optimize your content

Here we go: use Yoast SEO to optimize your page’s content. I’m just going to tell you that again. And if you don’t use WordPress, that’s not even an excuse anymore. We have Yoast SEO for Magento 2 and Yoast SEO for TYPO3 these days (created with our partner MaxServ).

Our SEO analysis will tell you, every time you write a post or page, what can be improved on your content:

Read our SEO blog, as there’s a ton of free information about content optimization in there. And subscribe to our newsletter to keep your knowledge up to date.

How about meta descriptions?

I felt the need to at least mention meta descriptions here. Most SEO plugins, plans or whatever, mention meta descriptions as a must-do. I agree to a certain level. If you can write a nice, optimized ‘invitation’ to your website, you should most definitely add a meta description to your product pages. Usually, there is so much unrelated content on a product page (dimensions, manufacturer info, terms of service, etc.) that there’s always a risk that Google creates a meta description for that product page that doesn’t give the right information. So it makes sense to serve your own.

On regular pages and posts, Google will most probably grab a piece of related content, including the keyword used in the search query. That makes a lot of sense for news sites, for example. Still, I recommend adding a meta description to all your important pages. Facebook will use it as a description as well. And usually, when you are setting up a page on your website, it’s not that much work to add it, right?

Go make a website!

So, with this second part about content optimization, we have covered the very basics of SEO related things you should take into account when you make a website. I am sure you can come up with more insights, more tools or any other help for people that want to create a new website. Please feel free to add these in the comment section below this post, our readers (and I) will appreciate that!

Now go start that website!

Keep reading: The ultimate guide to Content SEO »

Coming up next!

23 Responses to Create a website with SEO in mind: Content optimization

  1. Eric
    Eric  • 7 years ago

    Hey Michiel
    Thank you for this great article. Yoast SEO is truly amazing and been using this since 2011. Earlier I was using using All in One SEO pack but over time I realize that Yoast has much more to offer. Now I use it and also recommend it to my friends.
    Do you have any tips on how we can get indexed quickly on the search engines.

  2. Mtel
    Mtel  • 7 years ago

    Should Website use a Silo Structure? Someone talk about it such as best structure for websites
    Thank u,

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Silo-ing is a content strategy. Have you read our article about cornerstone content? We usually recommend that strategy instead.

  3. Jefferson SEO Consultor
    Jefferson SEO Consultor  • 7 years ago

    Hello Michiel, are u ok?

    I don’t use Google Trends as a rule, that is just one of parameters that I use in my projects.

    What do you think about its reliability in real time?

    • Jefferson SEO Consultor
      Jefferson SEO Consultor  • 7 years ago

      Yes I do it too :)

    • Michiel Heijmans

      I think it describes trends and is valuable when comparing certain words to each other. You are right to use it as one of the parameters. But overall, I pass by that website on a regular basis – you?

    • Jefferson SEO Consultor
      Jefferson SEO Consultor  • 7 years ago

      I don’t know if you understood my question, my English is so poor.

  4. Patrick
    Patrick  • 7 years ago

    The article written is very easy to follow & understand. With SEO, what would be the do’s and dont’s you would suggest to beginners? As for those just beginning to do optimisation, what would be the first step? Thanks

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Write great content. Add value to what’s already on the internet. That could be something new, your passion, layman’s language, your company’s USP’s. ONly when you have something to say, optimize that.

  5. Hazim Alaeddin
    Hazim Alaeddin  • 7 years ago

    I love Yoast SEO plugin. It keeps me within the boundaries that are set by the focus keyword, it makes sure the writing is easy to read and tells me exactly what to do with my focus keyword (images, title, first paragraph, etc). It truly is brilliant.

    You guys do an amazing job. Thanks as always, Micheil and team.


  6. rizkart
    rizkart  • 7 years ago

    Beautiful post, and very informative. I wish I can find an easy check list for it :)

  7. Amrut
    Amrut  • 7 years ago

    thanks for sharing great information with us. this article help me optimize my content

  8. Aman
    Aman  • 7 years ago

    What do you recommend for a 7 years old website to increase its seo presence?

  9. Jamiel
    Jamiel  • 7 years ago

    Guides are very complete and fun to read for the owners of websites and blogs. This guide teaches me to present good information and easily understandable by readers and search sites. thanks.

  10. Jual pemadam kebakaran
    Jual pemadam kebakaran  • 7 years ago

    Lately My website was hit by manual action by Google because I made a post reply why?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      That sounds odd. You probably have more information in Google Search Console? Be sure to check that.

  11. Ahmed Saad
    Ahmed Saad  • 7 years ago

    Great article as usual.
    May question is related to Arabic sites and Arabic Content.
    Is there anything special about each language, especially Arabic, or SEO and optimizing content for all languages are working in the same way?
    My second question is why you dont write articles by Arabic language or RTL languages or SEO for Arabic Sites?


    • Michiel Heijmans

      Just writing in English because the by far largest group of visitors is LTR.

      We did help some Arabic sites, always nice to think ‘the other way around’, so advising for a logo to be on the right-hand side, images to align to the left to maintain the right reading line. But to be honest, even on these sites, the majority of SEO isn’t that much different. You might run into some cultural differences, I can imagine.

  12. Fred
    Fred  • 7 years ago

    In some cases it’s best to put subtopics on the same page as the main topic, isn’t it? Otherwise you can end up with a bunch of pages with titles that seem sort of redundant. It’s like the hallmark of the spammy, overly optimized site – “gee look I made a page and rambled for 500 words about every long tail keyword I could possibly find.”

    Not every topic is worth of its own entire page – no?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Agreed. You be the judge of that; you know your target audience. It has to make sense, absolutely.

  13. Fred Harrington
    Fred Harrington  • 7 years ago

    “Need more pages to elaborate on a topic? Then feel free to do so, but use a new, long tail keyword for every new page.”

    Wait… really? I thought it was better to create a single long page on a topic and then have subtopics as subheadings on that same page. Or does it just depend on what the topic is?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Yes, Fred. Like said above :)

  14. pinki sharma
    pinki sharma  • 7 years ago

    your post is very useful for me and i thought about the premium plugin