Search Engine Optimisation is commonly abbreviated to SEO. Writing for search engine optimisation requires a clear focus on your goal and a good understanding of what makes a web page attractive to a search engine. And by following those principals, you are making an important first step towards creating useful and engaging content for your visitors.
When approching SEO the first step is to consider the keywords or keyphrases that people will use to find you. Keyphrases or combinations of two or more keywords are the most useful way to go. Keyword research is a whole other subject which I will cover at a later date.
- Everybody wants to be top of the search listings for every keyphrase search. Unless yours is a particularly esoteric field that probably will not happen.
- Everybody wants one page to do it all. That's not going to happen. You need to craft one page for each keyphrase.
- What you write should make sense. It should be genuinely useful content designed to inform your visitors.
When writing for search engine optimisation you should attend to the following:
- Page Title. This important page element should contain the keyphrase
- Meta description tag. This provides a summary of the page contents. It should contain the keyphrase plus some explanatory text, up to a maximum of about 150 characters.
- Top level heading. This should contain the keyphrase
- Content - you need about 300 words with an acceptable keyphrase density. That means repeating the keyphrase enough times but not too many. 5% is an acceptable figure. In three hundred words, six repeats is about 5%. Writing for search engine optimisation means paying attention to the location of the keyphrases in your copy.
- Images. Appropriately named and tagged images. Pictrures help your human visitors. Google knows this and will rank pages higher if they have appropriate images to illustrate their message,
- Outgoing Links. It is the world wide web. That is a web of interconnected pages. So consider a link or two to an appropriate external website. There are legitimate concerns about losing visitors but you can always have the link open in a new window and as long as you link to an informational site and not one of your competitors you should be OK.
- Incoming Links. Very important. But beware of paying for them. It is frowned upon and may hurt your position.
- Layout. The layout of your page is important. With the most important content coming early on in the page. It is possible to structure web pages using stylesheets to get the important information out sooner without compromising the visual design of the page.
- Navigability. By making your site easy to navigate, considering how the site is structured, you not only make it easy for you human visitors but also make it more likely that a search engine will pick up on your endeavours.
- Tell the search engines. So, you've spent an hour or so writing for search engine optimisation. Your carefully crafted prose is proudly adorning your website. Now let the search engines know there is something to see. Tell Google about it here