When writing content for a website, one must not only think of the reader, but also about search engines. Fortunately, by keeping keywords, content and structure in mind, a website can be optimized for both readers and search engines simultaneously.
Start with keywords
Most page content writing needs to start with keywords. With so many pages and so much competition, every webmaster first needs to decide what keywords and phrases they will target. These keywords need to be based on a combination of what your site offers, what keywords people use when they search and what the competition is for those keywords and phrases. There are various keyword tools to assist you in this from free ones offered by Google to paid services. Select a keyword tool will give you information such as how often the keyword or phrase is searched and what the competition is.
Write content for your site in a way that incorporates your chosen keywords and phrases while keeping the content natural and appealing to readers. Overusing keywords will not only turn off readers but could lead to penalties from search engines. Generally, individual keywords should not exceed 2% to 4% of the total words and keeping things natural should be the number one concern.
Vary the forms and combinations of the keywords and phrases. For example, an article targeting “women’s weight training” might also use “weight training for women” and “women training with weight.”
This relates to Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI. Search engines use LSI when ranking content. Basically, LSI involves words that are related to the keywords but are spelled differently, the singular and plural forms of words, words with similar roots etc. While good writing tends to contain these words naturally, LSI tools are available that will find related words and themes to selected keywords. It is far from a requirement to have one of these tools, but they can help find articles rank better while giving writers more ideas for their articles. Regardless, some recommend that 5% to 20% of the words in your text should be your chosen keywords and phrases.
Search engines favor content rich sites. Ideally, pages should be around 500 words or more. Many consider roughly 800 a nice number since search engines tend to favor longer articles, but length needs to vary with the topic. Add as many pages of credible, original content on your niche as possible. Try to keep your keywords and phrases spread out in your site so that they appear in the beginning, middle and end of the page.
Content needs to be structured both for search engines and for your readers. Search engines generally look for well-organized, structured pages. Organize your site with your keywords and phrases with header tags, bold text and internal anchors.
It is also nice to have pages the follow certain styles in how the information is presented. For example, it might be a “pros and cons,” “myth vs. fact,” “product review,” “FAQ” or “reasons why” approach.
Finally, the site itself needs to be structured. All pages should be categorized so that related articles are kept together. In addition, any page on the site should be within a few clicks of the top page.
Add and update
Continuously adding and upgrading content shows the search engines that a site is current and gives readers a reason to return. It is not simply publish and forget, but a continuous process of building and adding content.
Readers are first
More importantly than search engines, your site needs to be written with your readers in mind. Web surfers have access to access to unlimited sites and want quick results. If they do not see what they are looking for quickly, they will simply go on to the next site. Use the structure of your site to show the reader what they are looking for quickly, thus pulling them in for a more detailed look at what you are offering.
Therefore, pages should make use of H1 tags, bolded texts, bullets, lists and other cues that breaks up the content and makes quick scanning easier. In addition, since search engines give more emphasis to words that have been bolded or with H1 tags, this will also help with SEO. You only have a few seconds to show most readers you have what they are looking for so make good use of it.
Website writing covers how to layout articles for web readers in more detail.
Call to action
Focus your content on conversion. Whatever the goal of your site is, make it clear and easy to access. Every page should contain at least one quick link (optimized with keywords) to whatever action you want your readers to perform.
Attention to keywords, structure, along with informative, unique content will make your site attractive to readers while increasing your position in search engines.