Content Writing Structure Planning & Expansion Tips
When you’re building new pages on a website, it’s important to take time to research potential page topics and making plans for your writing. By organizing sub-topics on each page, you’ll make it easier to write each article and they’ll be easier to understand for your readers as well as search engines.
This guide is going to walk you through each step that I use when I’m writing a new page for my websites. I’ll also be discussing how I expand existing pages on my site to keep content up-to-date or to make new additions to improve search rankings.
Primary, Secondary & Semantic Keywords
To get started on each new page, come up with a plan for your keywords. Figure out a single primary keyword phrase to designate as the topic of the entire page – everything else on that page should have a direct relation to this topic / keyword.
Then figure out some secondary keywords. These will generally be longer, more specific keywords with each referring to one specific sub-topic of your primary keyword phrase.
Now do a semantic keywords mental exercise to get a list of these words that will be excellent to use in your writing. If you had a conversation with a friend about your keywords, what other meaningful words would be used in that conversation?
New Page Title
In addition to an article and a summary for each page, you’ll also need to write a page title.
This page title is best when it accomplishes as many of these things as possible..
- Contains Primary Keyword Phrase
- Contains Other Semantic Words
- Accurately Describes Entire Page Content
- Is Unique Among Other Website’s Page Titles
- Compelling Title That Peaks Interest Yet Leaves A Mystery
Plan Page Sub-Headers
If you have a list of secondary keywords that you want to target on this page, that can be a great starting point for planning out sub-headers. A sub-header is just a word or short phrase that summarizes content found directly below it. A number of these can be used throughout your article to break it up into easier to understand pieces.
I like to take my primary page topic and break it down into sub-topics. Each of those sub-topics then becomes a sub-header on my page and is often associated with a secondary keyword phrase. I can then go back through this outline to add a couple sentences to a few paragraphs of text below each sub-header and a general page summary at the top of the page to write a complete article with ease.
This is not only an easy way to tackle a subject and turn it into an article, but it also makes the content easy to read / understand for site visitors and easy to digest for search engines to help you achieve better rankings.
New Page Content
Now write out your article for the new page. Focus on quality over quantity, use as many different semantic words as you can and avoid overusing keywords you’re targeting.
Word count is once again not very important, but you do want to make sure that you have enough content to justify a dedicated page on your website. 500 words should be your minimum goal, but I would really recommend getting closer to 1,000 as long as you have enough useful information to share about each subject. When relevant, it’s quite okay to make pages well over 1,000 words – sometimes this is necessary on high competition keyword phrases.
If you have defined sub-headers for the page, it makes writing a lot easier because you can write a couple paragraphs of text under each header. I will also include a summary of a couple paragraphs at the top of the article, above all of the sub-headers – this summary simply describes what the entire page is about and may even tease at some of the information found later on the page.
Finally, you’ll want to write a brief summary for your page. This should be unique content that you haven’t already used because it will actually go on a different page of your site. This summary is for the category page that will link up to this new page, so it should tell readers what the page is about and even tease at some of the best info from the article (but don’t give it all away because you want this summary to entice them to click to read the full page).
In general, these summaries should be in the neighborhood of 60 – 120 words. Depending on how your site was made, you may have a set limit for these summaries (if you use the WordPress category system and create these new pages as WordPress “posts” then there is likely a hard limit on the length of the summary but this can vary from one site to the next – check your site settings).
At some point in the future, it can be helpful to update and even add new content to the pages on your website. Over time, information can become outdated, which requires changes to keep your content relevant. You can also add new content to pages to make them larger to try to improve the search position if your rankings aren’t high enough yet.
In most cases, this expansion content will likely NOT be targeting your primary keyword phrase for the page you’re working on. Most of this content will be new sub-topics that you’ve picked out to target as secondary keywords on the page.
First, make sure that you are aware of your primary keyword on the page to avoid using it in your expansion content or to very sparingly use it because you likely have already used it in your existing content.
Next, identify a secondary or long-tail keyword that you want to target with the expanded content. Consider whether this secondary phrase contains all / part of your primary keyword phrase. If it does, you may need to omit the repeated words when you write your new content.
For example, if you had a page about “Ford Mustangs” and you wanted to add some new content to target the secondary phrase “Ford Mustang engines”, you would likely want to omit the “Ford Mustang” part of the phrase and just talk about the “engines”. The omitted part of the secondary keyword phrase is understood because that is what the page topic is about. If you had a lot of content about this sub-topic, you could consider using the full exact phrase once.
In most cases, my sub-headers will be the sub-topic that I am covering with this part of the content expansion. This sub-topic is generally the secondary keyword phrase too, so this not only helps the content to stand out to your visitors but also defines it for search engines.
Again, if your secondary keyword contains your primary keyword, you may need to omit the repeated words for your sub-header. With my “Ford Mustang engines” example above, I would just use the sub-header “Engines” followed by a couple paragraphs of content about the engines.
Expansion Content Writing
Go through your list one at a time and write content for each new piece of expansion content needed for your overhaul project. If in doubt, just go for a conversational tone – pretend like you are teaching the subject to a friend of yours and write out what you’re going to say to them.
Before you write each piece of content, think about your topic, your keywords and especially the semantic words. Also remember to focus on writing quality content that will actually help someone and/or teach them useful information about the subject you’re targeting.
The amount of content you write is entirely up to you. Ultimately, say what needs to be said about any given subject and the word count you end up with is just fine. However, as a general rule of thumb, your pages will rank better when they have more content – 500 words is a good bare minimum count for an entire page but going up to 1,000 words or even higher can certainly have SEO benefits as long as the content is high-quality and focused on your subject.