Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the traffic to a website from the organic or natural results of a search engine. SEO does not try to trick search engines. On the contrary, the goal of SEO is to provide information-rich content in a way that is naturally weighted by the search engines because it follows the “rules” of the search engines. Below are guidelines for optimizing content according to current SEO best practices.
The first step to writing content that is search engine optimized is to determine the primary topic of the page. This will be your initial keyword or keyword phrase and should be the central theme for the content of the page. The more closely the page is related to the keyword phrase, the more relevant the page will be ranked by the search engine. The goal is to write a full page of content centered around one keyword phrase.
When writing the title for the content, follow these basic guidelines:
- The title length should not exceed 72 characters. This will ensure the full title is visible in a search result, increasing the likelihood of a click-through.
- The title length should include at least 4 words.
- Include the keyword phrase in the title. This will increase the relevancy of your content for that keyword phrase. In addition, the title usually becomes the headline for the Search Engine Results Page, and including the keyword will increase the likelihood of a click-through. Include a Primary Keyword toward the beginning of your Title to increase the relevancy of the keyword within the search engines’ indexes.
The description will generally be the “snippet” copy for the search result. Depending on the website that hosts your content, the description may also be used as a subhead for a press release, serve as the first paragraph of a web page or be the description ? only seen on the Search Engine Results Page. When writing the description for the content, follow these basic guidelines:
- The description length should not exceed 165 characters. This will ensure the full description is visible in a search result.
- Include the keyword phrase in the description. This will increase the relevancy of your content for that keyword phrase.
- Include a Primary Keyword toward the beginning of your Description to increase the relevancy of the keyword within the search engines’ indexes.
When writing content for the body, follow these basic guidelines:
- The body length should be at least 300 words, ideally centered on one or two keyword phrase(s).
- For keyword density, each keyword or keyword phrase should not represent more than 5.5% of the total words on the page. Otherwise, the search engine may consider the page to be keyword stuffing.
- To give a keyword phrase additional emphasis, bold the first occurrence of the keyword phrase in the first paragraph of body. Including some content in a bulleted list is another way to add emphasis.
- Include one hyperlink for every 120 words of body content spread out evenly down the page. For example, 500 words of content should include 5 hyperlinks with approximately each paragraph containing one hyperlink. Be sure not to “spam” or “keyword stuff” your content with a paragraph of keywords linked to the same web page over and over again.
- Include a hyperlink at the beginning of the body in order to show prominence.
- Ideally, hyperlinks should link to content that is relevant to the keywords, preferably to an interior page of your website, but when linking to another website, link to an interior page. In other words, do not link to a website’s home page if there is an interior page that is more relevant to the keyword phrase.
Images as an asset for organic search results and search engine optimization are often overlooked. Images can drive traffic through image search as well as inclusion in universal search results. Think of Optimizing images like optimizing little websites.
- Find the right images Search Flickr.com creative common attribute
- Use the Keyword in the image name.
- Create descriptive alt text
- The right anchor text
- Make sure the image matches the content
- Don’t keyword stuff the image