10 Steps to Writing Super Content for Search Engines

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Ben Cotton gives 10 tips on increasing search visibility for content. Check out the speaker notes for a more detailed description of the points made in the deck.

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  • One of the undeniable strengths of digital marketing is the wealth of data and insights available to help you back a winner. Before creating content research Google Analytics for the search terms and keywords people are using to arrive at your site and the popular pages. Are your readers Joe Public or do they have specialist knowledge and use technical language? Are there topics which always do well? To increase online visibility you need to combine what you want to say with phrases and topics that people are searching for, not what you think they are looking for. Tip – the  Google Keyword Tool  will offer you more data on search terms frequency
  • Pretty self explanatory, but your important content and keywords should be near the top of the page. This includes your title, opening sentences and paragraph. The reason being is that web crawlers start at the top of your page and work their way downwards. Whilst they will definitely start at the top, there’s guarantee they’ll reach the bottom. So if you’re interested in increasing your web visibility put the wittier or ironic lines at the bottom and bring keywords to the top of the page as Google hasn’t figured out humour (yet). 
  • In order for content to be easily identified by Google as important, maximise the use of headlines. You can signal to search engines important keywords by making them headings. Not only that, ensure where possible headlines are a different font size and bold, this again makes things standout for Google web crawlers. 
  • Don’t be afraid to link internally to content you have previously written; this is good for search and driving traffic to posts. However, make sure that your links are clear and contain keywords. In the case of my blog,  Personal SEO  and  e-portfolios  would better than ‘ways students look after their online reputation’. Links that contain keywords signal to Google what type of content can be found on your site and helps its crawler navigate around your site 
  • Same as the previous, but link externally to other high ranking websites and blogs to increase search visibility. This is because external links help Google understand what websites you associate yourself with. For instance, three example would be  social media news ,  online reputation management and  blogger outreach tips . 
  • Meta description is the couple of lines which appear on a Google search below the title. It’s perhaps best thought of as your pitch to readers, as well as Google – and strong meta description can be the deciding factor that gets someone to your website. There is a character limit of 160 to consider, but the principles of writing for both humans and search engines in mind, as well as front-loading with relevant keywords apply here. So make every character count. 
  • Wherever possible use relevant keywords in web page URLs. This is for two reasons; Google says that it helps SEO efforts and inner pages now rank more frequently for keywords than homepages. Secondly, people will be likely to link to your website using the keyword URL as anchor text; further strengthening the association between your website and particular keywords – all of which increase search visibility.
  • Although the importance of ALT text has diminished somewhat in recent years, it still acts as an effective way to drive traffic to your website and should be considered as part of good SEO practice. Many websites automatically generate a random title for ALT text which is unhelpful. You should amend this to describe primarily what is happening in the image, but also look to incorporate relevant keywords.  
  • Although, the Google search page is constantly evolving, it won’t have escaped your attention that images feature prominently at the top of listings. So if you want your content to score highly on search, images should not only fully be optimized for search, they have to be an integral part of your SEO strategy. It’s also worth noting that search results with images tend to have higher CTRs and lower bounce rates.
  • If you’re thinking about re-designing your website I would recommend using WordPress due to its formidable online community of developers who are constantly innovating and improving what has become an industry standard platform. Another  reason is that WordPress boasts many fantastic SEO plugins, such as  Yoast ,  All in One SEO  and  Platinum SEO Plugin  all of which can optimize content with relatively little effort.  
  • 10 Steps to Writing Super Content for Search Engines

    1. 1. February 2012 By Ben Cotton [email_address] www.twitter.com/bencotton www.socialwebthing.com www.linkedin.com/in/bencotton 10 Steps to Writing Super Content for Search Engines
    2. 2.   1. Research <ul><li>Research Google Analytics for the search terms and keywords people are using to arrive at your site </li></ul><ul><li>Are your readers Joe Public or do they have specialist knowledge? </li></ul><ul><li>To increase online visibility combine what you want to say with phrases and topics that people are searching for </li></ul>
    3. 3.   2. Put important content at the top <ul><li>Important content and keywords should be near the top of the page </li></ul><ul><li>This includes your title, opening sentences and paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>web crawlers start at the top of your page and work their way downwards </li></ul>
    4. 4.   3. Headlines <ul><li>Signal to search engines important keywords by making them headings </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure where possible headlines are a different font size and bold, this again makes things standout for Google web crawlers.  </li></ul>
    5. 5.   4. Internal links <ul><li>Link internally to content you have previously written </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that your links are clear and contain keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Links that contain keywords signal to Google what type of content can be found on your site and helps its crawler navigate around your site  </li></ul>
    6. 6. 5. Create external links <ul><li>link externally to other high ranking websites and blogs to increase search visibility </li></ul><ul><li>External links help Google understand what websites you associate yourself with </li></ul>
    7. 7. 6. Maximise meta description  <ul><li>Meta data is your pitch to readers and Google </li></ul><ul><li>Strong meta description can be the deciding factor that gets someone to your website </li></ul><ul><li>There is a character limit of 160 to consider, but the principles of writing for both humans and search engines in mind </li></ul>
    8. 8. 7. Keyword URLs <ul><li>Wherever possible use relevant keywords in web page URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Google says that it helps SEO efforts and inner pages now rank more frequently for keywords than homepages </li></ul><ul><li>People will be likely to link to your website using the keyword URL as anchor text </li></ul>
    9. 9. 8. Rename image ALT text <ul><li>Although the importance of ALT text has diminished somewhat in recent years, it still acts as an effective way to drive traffic to your website </li></ul><ul><li>Many websites automatically generate a random title for ALT text which is unhelpful </li></ul><ul><li>You should amend this to describe primarily what is happening in the image, but also look to incorporate relevant keywords.  </li></ul>
    10. 10. 9. Use images <ul><li>Images feature prominently at the top of listings </li></ul><ul><li>They should not only fully be optimized for search, they have to be an integral part of your SEO strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Search results with images tend to have higher CTRs and lower bounce rates </li></ul>
    11. 11. 10. Utilise SEO plugins <ul><li>WordPress boasts many fantastic SEO plugins, such as Yoast, All in One SEO and Platinum SEO Plugin all of which can optimize content with relatively little effort.  </li></ul>
    12. 12. Thank you Contact details [email_address] www.twitter.com/bencotton www.socialwebthing.com www.linkedin.com/in/bencotton

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