Best practice content writing for Search Engine Optimisation

Published February 2018 by Leanne Millar BSc

A good place to start

When writing content for search engines a good place to start is by offering a brief overview of the page at the beginning. SEO is more than just keywords but you should always include your focus keyword in both the page title, description, first header and first paragraph of every page. You should only have one focus keyword per page although two or three would be OK providing they feature at least three times within the bulk content of the page and in the aforementioned areas. Make sure your overview is both readable and content rich. You can use Online-Utility.Org to confirm that your content is easy to read and understand.

Keywords

Keywords are still really important to Search Engine Optimisation. Despite the algorithm changes to ensure better design across the web. Google still needs to know where to index your information. It does this by picking up Keywords within the content of your site's pages. As Google indexes each page individually your site stands a better chance of being found by having multiple pages focusing on particular areas that you want to be searched for. Within this page we want Google to find us for SEO as the post is about Search Engine Optimisation. The focus meta keywords for this page are SEO & Search Engine Optimisation. Google, Bing and other major search engines will find the meta tag and scan the rest of the page to ensure that this focus word is actually part of the content. Keywords aren't the be-all and end-all of SEO but they are still an important part of the process. Whatever the keyword for your page is, it should appear on your page at least three times and should definitely be within the page title and first paragraph of your content.


Content

The content of your page should be well written and easy to read. Good grammar and punctuality are important, not just because you can't face a 20-hour lecture from the grammar police on Linked In, but because it reads better and that is important for most major search engines. Readability is a major component of today's search engine algorithms and technology is becoming more and more advanced in order to detect poorly written content. You don't need an English degree to do this either. There are many free tools online which can help you to improve your content writing. For WordPress sites, the YOAST SEO Plugin is a very useful tool. For us hand coders out there you can use things such as Online-Utility.Org to confirm that your content is easy to read and understand. Either way, you should be using Grammarly to check that your grammar, spelling and punctuation are adequate. One of the unique features of Grammarly is the ability to select a language by location. For us British, that means no more Americanisms within our content. The Grammar police on Linked In love it and so do search engines.


Page Speed

One of the most important concerns in Search Engine Optimisation is good page speed. In this modern age of superfast broadband people and search engines expect things to be at your fingertips before you've managed to click your fingers. You have around 5 seconds before somebody gets bored of waiting for your site to load and moves on to another. There are several ways to improve your page speed but one of the most prominent is that of file sizes. Most specifically images and video. There are loads of free tools online to help you reduce these file sizes. Compressor, is my personal favourite. Sites like GT Metrix are also very useful for analysing how fast your page speed is.


Good Quality Code

The most important area of Search Engine Optimisation I believe is the quality of the code that you produce. The old expression 'You get what you pay for' has never been truer than in this area of web development. Having said that quite often even the more expensive companies are failing to deliver on quality of code. The best way you can determine whether the quality of the code on your website is up to standard is to test it yourself on W3c Validator. If you are about to purchase a website, run some of their client's sites (often found in their portfolio) through the W3c Validator. What you want to see is a green badge saying zero errors found. A few yellow warnings aren't too bad. However, when you have plus 20 red error signs you should be quite concerned that the code isn't up to the World Wide Web Consortium standards and should probably find a web developer who is maintaining these standards for their clients. This is where I have a love/ hate relationship with WordPress. The quality of code that is in many free themes out there is sub-standard. However, the functionality of the Content Management System and the availability of thousands of web developers eager to make your website better makes it hard to ignore. If you do require WordPress functionality then please ensure that the themes that you either purchase or have developed for you are meeting the requirements of the W3c Validator, and always have a separate landing page that is completely error-free. The landing page is by far the key element to ensure that the code meets standards.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Search Engine Optimisation is basically providing a well coded, easy to read, content-rich and accessible website which is fast and effortless to use. That's the nuts and bolts of the science behind search engine optimisation, despite what many "SEO Experts" try to tell you. It's not that complicated. Sure there is a lot of work that goes into it, but ultimately it is basically down to two things. From the developer's side (they're doing their job properly), and from your side, you are regularly updating your website with useful content. Blogging and sharing on social media will greatly impact your site's visibility. So if you want to be seen, start shouting.

At The Kick-Ass Donkey Group Limited, we provide intensive 1-1 and group training on Search Engine Optimisation. If you would like to learn more or book a free consultation please do not hesitate to get in touch.


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