8 concrete and tangible tips on how to write search engine friendly content
How to write a search engine optimized text is not obvious and sometimes it does not matter what you write or how much you write. It can be other factors than the text content that make your page do not rank well, or rank at all for that matter. However, these factors are not something we will address in this post, but we will leave it for a future post. In this post, we will give some solid and concrete tips on how to think about the text content. By following them at least, the risk that it is the content that is the cause of a bad or no placement in the search lists is reduced.
This post is based on, and is a kind of concrete summary of our previous post “How to write good content“
1. Write for the visitor not the search engine
- It is the visitor you want to add value to, not the search engine.
- Write to your visitor to provide answers to your visitor’s questions, do not write to get a high ranking in the search lists.
- A high placement with bad content will in time become a low placement with bad content.
- High rankings are a consequence of good and useful content that gives the visitor answers to their questions.
2. Think keyword and not so much about search phrases
- “Keywords” do not necessarily have to be the same as search phrases.
- The keyword is your context, the search phrases are building blocks that are related to this context.
- Vary the keywords in your text to define the context.
- hairdresser (keyword)
- hairdresser (search phrase)
- hair salon (search phrase)
- cut my hair (search phrase)
3. Keyword density is a myth
- Keyword density is not a ranking factor.
- Keyword density will not be a ranking factor.
- The keyword density still says something important, if it is higher than a single percent it is too high. Then you should use synonyms or related words instead.
- Avoid “Keyword stuffing”. Remember that you are writing for the visitor and not for the search engine, your visitor will understand what the text is about without obvious keywords destroying the natural flow of each paragraph. Search engines understand this too and they do not like trying to fool them.
4. The text length is important
- A long text has by definition more content than a short text.
- You get more room for more search phrases in a natural way in a long text. By search phrases i mean words, synonyms and related words regarding your keyword, ie to your context.
- The long tail grows the longer your text is. The chances of capturing unique and specific searches increases the more content you have and the more questions you got answers for in your text.
- No magic limit to how long your text should be. The exact number of words your text contains is not important, the important thing is that it answers the visitor’s questions. The longer the text, the more questions you can answer.
- A soft rule of thumb is that your text should be at least 300 words and that a normal length text should be between 600 – 800 words and a more in-depth text should be over 1000 words.
5. Text formatting increases the readability
- The text formatting and readability have an indirect effect on the ranking. If it is difficult to read the text due to poor formatting, it is difficult to assimilate the content, it is difficult for the visitor to get answers to their questions.
- Headings and sub-headings must be marked correctly to create a clear structure and give a clear picture of what their underlying pieces of text are about.
- One main heading per text. There is really no limit to how long it can be but between 20-70 characters is recommended. Try to include the keyword in the main title so that the reader quickly understands what the text will be about.
- Divide the different orientations of the text into sub-headings and ensure that the underlying text is related to the headline.
- Divide the body text into short and readable paragraphs, one paragraph should contain about 4-5 normal-long sentences and about 200 words.
- Summarize the paragraph in the first sentence of the paragraph.
- Avoid spelling mistakes as much as possible. A text that contains many spelling errors can be perceived as disturbing, difficult to read and unserious.
”The first sentence of each paragraph should be some kind of a key sentence that summarizes the entire paragraph. This will make it easier for the reader to scan the text and find what is interesting to read more about. It gives, so to speak, a clue as to what the specific section has to say. The first sentence is followed by an in-depth explanation of what the section is about, but the key meaning of the paragraph should be in the first sentence.”
Example of heading structure:
- Main heading (H1)
- Heading (H2)
- Subheading (H3)
- Subheading (H3)
- Subheading (H4)
- Heading (H2)
6. The meta still plays an important role
- The meta title is what appears in the hit lists and should engage to clicks. A good meta title leads to more traffic.
- The meta title should not be longer than 60 characters, use the whole space.
- A good, informative and relevant meta description can still be seen even if the search engine may not choose to display it.
- A well-written and relevant meta description is your opportunity to influence what is seen in the results list, take advantage of that chance. If you do not type someone and let the search engine show what it “thinks” is relevant, it can have varying results.
- The meta description should be about 160 characters, use all that space to describe the content of the page.
Example of a meta title:
- Time booking | 12 characters and not very engaging.
- Hairdresser in N.Y – Book now – hairdresser.com | 47 and some engaging.
- Hairdresser in N.Y – Simple booking online – hairdresser.com | 60 characters and more engaging.
7. Links completes your content
- Internal links that lead to other pages on your site should lead to relevant pages, they lead the visitor to other interesting parts of your site and you lead the search engine to other relevant pages on your site.
- With internal links, you can guide the visitor where you want, to other content you think the visitor may be interested in reading.
- External links (links that lead away from the website) show which and what you want to be associated with.
- External links give your text a larger context and an opportunity for the visitor to delve into related and related topics.
- External links help the visitor to find in-depth information that you may not provide answers to in your text.
- If you link to someone else, the chances are greater that someone will link to you.
8. Enrich your content with compelling images
- Choose your images carefully, the motif should be related to or relevant to the content of the text.
- Your images must be of high quality and adapted for the web. No blurry images with poor lighting. High image quality gives a more professional impression.
- Compress your photos as much as you can. The “heavier” an image is and the more storage space it takes, the longer it takes to load your page. The visitor does not want to wait several seconds for your page to load and the loading times are an important factor for the ranking.
- Name the pictures in an understandable way. Try to name the image what the image represents.
- Enter a relevant alt tag. The alt tag is displayed if the image itself for some reason can not be displayed and then the specified alt tag should describe the image correctly.
Read our more in-depth post “How to write good content“