The basis of an SEO strategy is the precise content you want to focus on and be known for. Below are some tips for maximising SEO opportunities when it comes to creating website copy.
TIP 1: Use 1 Keyword per Web Page
- Limit your keywords to one for each web page and remember the difference between a keyword and a set of words that are related in meaning, e.g. for the keyword ‘content’, the semantic set is ‘writing’, ‘drafting’, ‘proofing’, etc.
TIP 2: Mention the Keyword within 250 CWS
- Search engines usually focus on the first 250 characters with spaces (cws) of the main body copy of each web page, so optimise these by putting your keyword at the start of the page.
TIP 3: Repeat your 1 Keyword Sparingly
- While it’s tempting to use your keyword several times, if there are too many repetitions of the same word, search engines can interpret your pages as spam. It can also detract from the normal flow of writing and result in an unnatural reading experience for your users.
- There’s no hard and fast rule about the optimal number of a repeated keyword on a single page, but studies suggest the following rule: 2 to 3 times on short pages of about 15 to 20 lines and 4 to 6 times on longer pages.
TIP 4: Introduce Synonyms
- Instead of overusing a single expression, you can introduce synonyms or terms from the same word families. This is a strong SEO tool as it: (i) reinforces your relevance for Google on a subject; (ii) increases your chances of being found; and (iii) maximises your long tail strategy (requests of several terms that are searched less often).
TIP 5: Highlight your Keyword in the H1 Tag
- The title is the most important element on your page so the title tag should contain your main keyword in the first words of the tag, i.e. HTML tag in the <head> section of your page.
- H1 is the most impactful in terms of SEO and there should only be one H1 per page that includes its keyword.
- For other headings, it’s advisable to use two to three H2s and H3s, while other tags are seldom used.
TIP 6: Include your Keyword in the Meta Description
- Although the meta description tag is not used for ranking in most search engines, you should still use your keyword here as it will appear in search results as the short paragraph of text placed in the HTML of a web page that describes its content. This can help users to better understand your content before reading it. The description tag helps to boost your click-through rates and traffic. You can add it in the section of your site’s HTML along the lines of:
<meta name=”description” content=”Here is a precise description of my great webpage.”>
Content Structure & Length
TIP 7: Keep your Main Keyword to the Forefront
- Clicks depth: generally speaking, the more competition there is for your main keyword (different one for each web page), the higher the associated page should be in your content architecture.
TIP 8: Start @ the End – w/ the Conclusion
- Reverse the rules of normal writing structure by using the journalistic inverted pyramid technique, i.e. put the content conclusion at the beginning of the page, the details in the middle and the introduction at the end.
TIP 9: Divide your Copy in Two
- You should try to halve the amount of your copy compared to print (offline) format because users read at a pace that is 25% slower on screens than on paper. You can break up your content for easy reference.
TIP 10: Use Titles and Subtitles / Heading Tags
- Depending on the length of your copy on the web page, you can use carefully constructed titles and subtitles to break it up and increase your SEO chances.
- Headings tags are useful to structure pages and inform robots about the order of paragraphs from H1 to H6.
Formatting / Typography
TIP 11: Use Links and Bold Font
- Search engines also consider copy that features as a web link or is bolded so you can use other sets of strategic terms here.
- The pages that get more links tend to perform better so create internal crosslinking to improve your SEO. Links carry more weight for search engines when they’re found in content as opposed to navigation.
- As the use of Bold (<b>/<strong>) positively affects the SEO of a page, it is recommended to bold at least one piece of content.
- Don’t exceed 8 words in bold into the same <strong> tag so that it will be picked up by search engines.
Equally, each link should also not exceed 8 words so avoid putting a link on an entire sentence.
- Bold tag: <strong>keyword</strong>
TIP 12: Use Italics and Citations Where Necessary
- Search engines will also look at italics more than words in regular form. However, use it sparingly as the readability of information is not optimal so it should be kept for use with quotes.
- Italic tag: <em>keyword</em>
- The use of a citation tag is important when you quote the content of a third-party website, allowing you to avoid duplicate content and any penalty by search engines.
- Quote tag: <blockquote>text « copy-paste » from another website</blockquote>
TIP 13: Justify to the Left
- On each webpage, you should align all of your copy to the left-hand-side because our eyes typically scan the page from left to right and so should ideally be able to start each sentence from the same place.
URLs and Images
TIP 14: Keep your URL Address Short & Close
- Length: shorter URLs tend to perform better in search results and are also easier to be copied/pasted, shared and more likely to receive a link from other websites.
- Keyword localisation: your keywords will have more weight if they are closer to your domain name, i.e. “site.com/keyword” performs better than “site.com/section/file/keyword”.
- Using dashes (-) to separate keywords is a good technique for your URL (the complete web address to find a particular page).
- Please note that this is not the case for your domain name where the use of dashes is never recommended, i.e. ‘www.yourwebsite.com’ is a better choice than ‘www.your-website.com, i.e. www.kilmurraykommunications.com
TIP 15: Use the Alt Attribute of an Image
- Using the Alt attribute of an image is important for SEO as it describes an image for accessibility, loading issues and also for SEO purposes by inserting the keyword on the page.
TIP 16: Use your Keywords in Image Files
- Using your keywords in image file names is useful as image searches can bring visitors to your site and the name of your image file is important for positioning in Google Images.
Other SEO Best Practices
Content – you must have relevant, quality content, while viral content (material that spreads rapidly online through website links and social sharing) is one of the most important factors of performance as it creates inbound links more easily and naturally (links from other websites to yours).
Basic page elements – focus on the most important SEO ‘on-site’ factors like title tags, URLs and internal links.
Accessibility – it’s important that your pages can be accessed by robots because inaccessible content cannot be indexed.
User experience – usability, your interface and the overall visitor experience are factors that influence the number of links and citations that your website will get.