Writing Search Engine Optimized Content for your Web Site

At the end of the day, if I could give one piece of advice to people looking for better search engine rankings, it would be: “Write better content, and more of it!”  Content is what search engines are all about.  The search engines are always going to be trying to filter out the people trying to trick their way into the top spot.  But if you honestly have lots of great, proprietary content, then you are what the search engines are looking for!

Writing good content is an art and something that most people are not at all good at.  It’s hard enough to write good content for people, but when you include search engines in your audience, it gets much more complex.  The problem is that creating perfect content for people won’t be good for search engines, and creating perfect content for the search engines won’t be good for people.  So from the beginning, you are going to have to decide where your priorities are because you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Good content (in terms of search engine optimization) should be written much like a journalist would write an article for a newspaper.  Put your most important stuff first and stick to the important words.  Don’t waste space with words that don’t contain relevant keywords. This makes for a “high keyword density” – something critical to optimized content.  (Note: by definition, ‘density’ is the ratio of something to everything else in the mix.  If we consider the concept, a page can ONLY be truly optimized for one key word phrase (in terms of absolutes) because if you have more than one phrase that you’re targeting, you reduce your density of that phrase by a factor of two.  So remember: one keyword phrase (ie, ‘theme’) per page!

It also makes a difference as to where your keywords are in the content.  If they’re only at the top of the page, then the search engine assumes the whole page isn’t about that term.  If it finds your keywords at the top and bottom (and in the middle), then it assumes the whole page is about that topic and makes it more relevant.  Also, search engines are smart enough these days to read formatting and headers.  If you can use your keywords as headers or at least make them bold or italic or put them in bullets or links, it will give you extra ‘points’ towards your relevancy score.  Better yet, use the heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) for maximum effectiveness.  It’s common place these days to define custom CSS classes and define them in a linked style sheet.  Modern web designers seldom use the heading tags.  But I would advise that you use them and redefine them in the CSS file.  (If we’re building your site for you, you needn’t worry about that list point—we’ll take care of that for you).

Let’s look at some examples:

The keyword phrases is: “migraine headache aspirin”

okay:        If you get a lot of really bad headaches, you should try our new aspirin.

good:       Cure your migraine headaches with our aspirin.

better:      For your migraine headaches, try our migraine headache aspirin.

best:         Our New Migraine Headache Aspirin!

Do you get migraine headaches and your aspirin doesn’t work?  Try our migraine headache aspirin.  It’s aspirin just for migraine headaches.

As you can see from the “best” example, at some point the keyword stuffing gets to be too much (in extreme cases, search engines can recognize that and actually penalize you for it).  That’s where you have to decide which is more important: better search engine ranking or better readability by the traffic that you do get.  So with this in mind, get in the habit of using your keyword phrase (and variations of it) as often as possible in writing your content.  This can be one of the most effective things you to do increase your search engine ranking!

There is more to content than just what I’ve outlined here.  This is the very basics of writing optimized content.  But we’ve not touched on things like conveying tone, including a call to action, casual vs. formal writing, and competitor SEO siphoning (where you intentionally reference competitors by name for the sake of coming up when someone searches for them).  We’ve also not addressed page titles, file names, meta data, alt tags, and some other key SEO things as it pertains to content.  And of course, like anything else, there is that realm of ‘black SEO methods’ (those less scrupulous means of getting ranked high by trying to trick the search engines.  They can be effective, but if you get caught, be prepared to pay the price.  I’ll cover these topics in future blogs.  But the reason I did this topic first is because it is by far the most important in the grand scheme of things.

I realize that I’m making your head spin.  Writing content is hard enough without all this hanging over your head.  But as they say, it is what it is.  I don’t make the rules.  The good news is that if you’re not a modern day Shakespeare, we can help.  Warning: sales pitch ahead!!  Taoti offers as much as or as little content assistance as you need—everything from doing everything for you, to simply reviewing your stuff and suggesting tweaks.  If you’re a client reading this because we’ve sent you here to understand how you need to write your content—well, now you know.  If you’re not a client and are considering working with us, drop us a line for a free, no obligation evaluation of your content.  Even if you don’t retain us to work with you, you’ll end up with some free advice.