“Writing for Search Engines” is a long standing session by Heather Lloyd-Martin and Jill Whalen. It’s a great session covering the basics of SEO friendly copywriting and a good primer for those new to SEO.
Search Engines are constantly improving their ability to sniff out the spam and de-value irrelevant links such as those from link farms. They are making the same kinds of improvements to the indexing, categorization and sorting of web pages in the search results.
In order to make it easier for search engines to do their job, it’s important to incorporate the keywords for which you wish to be found in your site content, title tags and meta descriptions. Now when people search for those keywords, there’s a greater likelihood that search engines will rank the web site higher than a competitor site who doesn’t have relevant keywords in the content and links of their site.
When adding keywords to your web site content, it’s important to keep in mind that a human visitor will notice a keyword explosion on the body of your site and think it’s annoying to read the same keyword phrases like “brown high heels” over and over again. The good news is that there are new tips on how to please the search engines with your content while also pleasing your human visitors, which is who you are actually supposed to be targeting anyway, right?
Heather Lloyd-Martin, CEO of SuccessWorks International, provided several tips on how to make sure web pages are attractive to search engines as well as human visitors.
First of all, Heather says titles are the most important.
- There should be unique titles for every page on your site. Yes, every page.
- Titles should read like a headline with keyword phrases in them to draw readers in. The search engines like the keyword phrases and human visitors are compelled to click on the search results when there is a compelling title.
- Make sure the title is no more than 75 characters long, because both search engines and human readers will stop reading after a while.
Content and copy are also important. Heather suggests no more than 250 words of content per page. This, obviously, can increase as long as you have legitimate and informative content. You want to appear knowledgeable while also getting your point across quickly for those of us who want results now. The readers will lose interest if they have to keep scrolling down and down on a 1,000 word page. Search engines like short, stubby content, too. And make sure keyword phrases are in the copy of a site, or you may not rank for what you should be ranking for.
Secret Google Hint! When writing website copy, place benefit words around the main keyword phrases. That way, if Google pulls content from your site for their description on the search results page, those benefits will appear next to the key phrases, which will draw people in.
When Jill Whalen, the owner of High Rankings, came up to speak, she reinforced the idea that content is king. You must write for your target audience while keeping the search engines in mind. If you design a great, user-friendly, informative site, but you don’t make it search engines friendly, you won’t be found, which will result in low rankings and low traffic to your “amazing” site.
She says that choosing the best keyword phrases and using them in an optimal way will increase rankings. An example of this is instead of saying “our firm” say “our b2b marketing firm” to incorporate the keyword phrase.
However, she also states that when writing website content, you must make sure you are using keywords in the way that people actually speak. Instead of saying “fine dining establishment” say “fine dining restaurant”, because really, who says “fine dining establishment”?
When keeping all this in mind, the search engines are going to be able to crawl your site more effectively, index all your pages correctly and help searchers find you when they type in your keyword phrases. And users are going to enjoy visiting your site better, trust your company more and, in turn, become a happy consumer.