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SEO Self-Assessment Series: Website Content

Video 2: Website Content

Today we're talking about website content as part of our eight-part, SEO self-assessment series. You'll learn which tools and resources we use at Workshop Digital when we're assessing the words and images on our own website.

Feel free to watch the videos at your own pace—although we do recommend watching the entire series!

Transcript

Today we’re talking about content. This is a video in our eight-part SEO self-assessment series. We're going to be publishing them regularly so you can go at your own pace—you can watch them in any order. Today's focus is on all the content on your website that users are going to find and help you rank in organic search results. And when we say content, we're talking about the words, the pictures, the images, the videos on your site. It could be your homepage, your services pages, your product pages, blog posts, downloadables—anything that the visitor is going to see and engage with can be considered content.

Above and beyond the normal SEO best practices—and making sure your content is fresh and relevant to the keywords people are searching for—I want to share some of the tools and resources that we use at Workshop Digital to analyze websites to figure out if the content is also accessible to search engines. By that, I mean structured in a way that search engines can understand, and also accessible, or readable, to your average visitor.

A lot of times we see content creators forgetting that their visitors may not have a PhD in the industry that they're working in, or it may not even have a working knowledge of the product or category that we're trying to communicate about. So, it's important to take a step back and put yourself in your visitors shoes to see if you can actually create content that they can read and understand—without having advanced knowledge of your product or service or industry.

For starters, let's talk about readability. Readability is measured, a lot of times, on a scale called the Flesch-Kincaid scale. It's a really simple metric that allows you to take any piece of content (and in this case we'll just pick a recent blog post on ours), and you can copy and paste it into any of the numerous readability tools online, and it'll calculate based on a pre-established and accepted algorithm, the readability of a have a piece of content. In this case, the Flesch-Kincaid scale is the one we typically use, it's going to come back with a score of one to 100 and tell you how complex and how accessible or readable your content is—and what grade level that equates to.

So this blog post that I just pasted in equates to about a ninth or 10th grade reading level, which sounds relatively elementary. However that's pretty complex stuff for somebody that may not be familiar with search engine optimization or content strategies. If they're reading this, we want to make sure we write it in a way that's going to be approachable, so it doesn't sound like techno-jargon or gobbledigook, and it's going to be something that they can understand and absorb.

Compare that to some of the other information out there. For example, Google's own Webmaster’s information, that they present to search engine users and people that are running their own websites. A lot of this information is also presented in, more or less, in scholarly kind of technical terms. So, their reading level for their own introductory content, [requires] a high school degree, if not a college-level education to understand and interpret the content in their own introductory guide. And this might be an opportunity for them to tone it down a bit and make it a little bit more accessible and approachable for people that aren't as familiar with search engine optimization.

That's readability and accessibility—let's talk about the structure. There are some things you can do, behind the scenes with the content of your site and within the code, to make sure that search engines can parse and understand the content, and how it's all laid together. And a lot of that is called structured snippets or rich snippets or schema markup. A lot of those are very related. In Google Search Console, which is another free tool that we shared in a previous video, you're going to be able to see on a page by page basis how Google Search crawlers can parse your content, and whether or not you have valid markup—or, code on that page that explains what each of the sections is about and how they relate to each other. Things like breadcrumbs, things like pagination—which is next page previous page if you're scrolling through product pages or search results. All of that can be coded in a way that search engines can follow along and understand how those pages relate to each other.

In this example on our own site, we do have some breadcrumbs, we do have some rich snippets. We can also run that through Google's Rich Results testing tool. If you take any page on your site—or any site on the web—and you run it through this tool, it's going to tell you if the page is structured and visible, and available to show in Google search results with some of those rich snippets. Again, this is going to help you understand if your content is presented in a way that's going to help you stand out on a search results page and take advantage of all the extra real estate you can get in rich snippets or featured snippets on a search results page. So, in this case, as a local business, and within our content structures, Google is able to recognize the code or the markup it's allowing us to present our company and our content in a way that's that they can parse and understand.

Taking it a step further, one of the other tools that we shared in a previous video, is Screaming Frog—and it does allow you to extract a lot of the same information for all of your website at once. If you wanted to crawl through every page instead of going page by page, you can run a Screaming Frog crawl (and again this is a free or low-cost tool that you can use to analyze your entire site performance). It's going to break down each of the structured content, code elements on a page by page basis, and give you ideas on how to improve them—as well as figuring out, you know, what's working for you and what's not.

So that's content. This is, again, a high-level overview of how we analyze and assess websites when we're dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of content all at once. For more information about content strategy as it pertains to your own website, contact Workshop Digital.

Thanks for watching the second video in our eight-part series. For more information on analyzing your SEO strategy, check out the remaining videos below.

Learn More About Your SEO Strategy

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1. On-Site Elements

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On-site elements are important for visitors as well as search engines. Learn if your site’s basic on-page factors meet these standards and cater to your end users.

2. Website Content

(You are here.)

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Do you have a discernible content strategy that aids in copy and design decisions? Learn why visitors and search engines should understand your content.

3. Link Profile

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Search engines place more value on pages and sites with high quality inbound links. Learn more about your link profile.

4. Desktop Site Speed

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Search engines favor fast load times because they provide a better user experience. Learn more about your link profile.

5. Mobile User Experience

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Is your website accessible and easy to navigate on mobile devices? This video discusses your mobile user experience.

6. Website Analytics

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Learn why visitor and conversion data is essential to understanding how well your site is performing and identifying areas to improve.

7. Local Search Visibility

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Search engines place more value on pages and sites with high quality inbound links. Learn more about your link profile.

8. Historical Keyword Rankings

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Monitoring your digital footprint is essential for prioritizing opportunities and identifying competitors. This video reviews the importance of keyword rankings.