I often tell clients they need to bear two audiences in mind when writing their web copy - human users and search engines. In this post I hope to offer some practical guidelines for producing content that helps your site's organic search engine performance.
DISCLAIMER: This is most assuredly not the definitive copywriter's guide to Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is a multi-million pound industry and a vastly complex subject. But if you're looking for some broad considerations to get you started, this should be helpful.
1. Write useful, unique content
You're bound to have heard the phrase 'content is king'. Well, it is, but that doesn't mean that filling your site with pages and pages of text that you pinched from other websites is going to help. It won't. What you need is good, original, informative content - if it's good enough you might even get some inbound links, which raise your page's ranking, which brings more visitors... you see where this is going.
2. Pick your keywords
This isn't easy and, to an extent, the term 'keywords' is misleading - you wouldn't optimise a web page for a single keyword like "website" - what you really want to identify are search terms, which in our case would be things like "website design berkshire
". Try and put yourself in your customers' shoes - what search terms would you use to find a company offering your services? We're really looking for between four and six core terms that are going to be the focus of the site, and the more focussed and specific they are the better.
3. Keyword density
Your keywords need to appear in titles, most paragraphs and at the end of each page. And try and include synonyms of your keywords - this demonstrates that your copy has depth which, believe it or not, Google can measure
. Then just focus on writing good copy.
What you don't want to do is just stuff your copy full of your keywords. It's spammy behaviour; search engines will penalise you, and it makes for horrid reading for your users.
4. Use proper HTML markup
In most cases this will be down to the web developer who is building your site but if you're a DIY enthusiast, make sure you mark up your text correctly. The most important tag for SEO is the h1, which is used to identify the main heading of a page and is given high importance. Needless to say, you want your keywords to be in your main page heading. You should also use h2 and h3 tags to create a hierarchy of headings.
5. Emphasise keywords in your content
You can use italics or bold text to pick out the keywords in your copy. This is useful for both your users, as it aids scannability, and to help search engines identify what your keywords are. Don't underline text though, it looks like a link. And try and limit your use of bold and italic text to your main keywords otherwise you dilute the benefit.
This is old-school SEO, but it's still relevant today. Make your title and description tags similar or identical, don't repeat keywords, keep them short and try and make them meaningful. If your description tag does a good enough job of describing the content of your page, Google will use it as the site description on search results pages, so we want it to encourage users to click through to your site.
7. Keyword links
As mentioned in writing for the web part 1
, your links should be a meaningful part of a sentence, ideally included in a substantial block of text. Isolated links or lists of links are spammy and ignored by Google. Use internal contextual links with anchor text that is relevant to the page you are linking to - such as view our web design portfolio
- and external links to other good websites with content that is relevant to your site.
That should be enough to get you started! I hope you found this post useful - if you have any queries or would like to have a chat with us about your next project, drop us a line
, we love a good natter.