12 Aug 10 Top SEO Tips
The rules for SEO are changing all the time. Here’s how to stay ahead of them
Search Engine Optimisation. To the uninitiated, it can seem like and endless game of cat and mouse with each successive tweak Google makes to its algorithms.
But one thing that doesn’t change is the importance Google places on website copy. If they think it’s clear, relevant and useful, then the better chance you have of your site making it onto the first page of search results.
So here are our ten most important pieces of advice, based on experience and hard evidence of what works, on how to recruit your humble Qwerty keyboard in the battle for clicks, hits and rankings.
1 Keywords still matter.
Getting keywords in often – and early – will help the Google bots makes sense of your site quickly and improve its score. Take care though; more isn’t always better. Too much keyword ‘stuffing’ can get your site marked down, so aim for a keyword density of 1% – 3% to hit the ‘sweet spot’ for readability and relevance.
2. Use keywords in headings and subheads.
We see so many blogs and articles that miss out on the chance to boost their ranking by ignoring this basic SEO copywriting practice. Google bots love it because it shows you’re setting out your content in an easy to digest way. And readers love it because it tells them exactly what they’re going to get in return for the time they invest in your site.
3. Content is King , but context matters.
Nowadays, the algorithms don’t just look for keywords, but for related words and phrases too. ‘Latent Semantic Indexing’, as it’s known, tells the bots what your site is about and how to categorise it. So if you’re selling Cloud services, for example, including plenty of related phrases like ‘remote server’, ‘SaaS’, and ‘offsite hosting’ will tell them to rank it in the right search category – and not in searches for the weather forecast!
4. Use ‘Natural Language’ in your SEO copywriting.
Related to point 3 above, Google’s new emphasis on context means copy written in a more ‘natural’ style will score higher in search rankings. So the rules for writing online are the same as anywhere else: Keep it clear. Keep it relevant. Make sure your tone of voice is right for your audience. And don’t use big, long words when a short one will do.
5. Make sure your blogs and articles are long enough.
It’s a question we hear all the time: How much copy should I put in my site? The critical mass for an SEO optimised page is around 1850 to 2000 words. Enough for Google make a judgement on how useful and relevant the content is, but not too much to turn the audience, or the bots, off from reading it.
6. Cater to the skim reader.
According to slate.com, we read about 60% of a page on average before giving up and going elsewhere. That means you need to keep things short and sweet if you’re to hold people’s interest. But doesn’t that fly in the face of what we’ve just said? No. It just means breaking things down so people can go straight to the bits that interest them.
7. Google loves a list.
Lists are SEO copywriting gold because:
• They’re easy for algorithms to assess
• They show you’re making life easier for the reader
• They can be linked straight to relevant pages on your site (extra Google points)
• They play to our natural love of numbers (7 Weird Ways to Lose Belly Fat. 15 Bloopers the Continuity Guys Didn’t Spot)
• They’re easy to remember
• They’re quick and easy to collate.
8. Make your copy readable.
‘Readability’ is all about pitching your copy at the right level to give as many people as possible the information they need, quickly and easily. Among other metrics, Google uses something called the Flesch-Kincaid index to assess readability. There are plug-ins and whole sites that will score your copy on this index, such as readable.com. A score of between 60 and 70 means your copy can be understood by most people, whatever their reading ability.
9. Make the most of metatags.
Metatags and meta descriptions are the short titles and descriptions that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). They may not feature in your actual website, but they are crucial for helping bots spot and categorise your page. Make sure you use them to spell out exactly what your page is about and what people can expect when they click on the link.
10. Find an original angle.
Whoever said ‘nothing is original’ wasn’t the first. None of the advice we’re offering here is new. But we hope you’ve found the way we’ve bundled up the easiest fixes useful for your own SEO copywriting efforts. Look for a side to your story readers may not have thought about before, and we guarantee you’ll hold their interest a lot longer …
This post has been adapted from an article that appeared in our DGR copywriting and content review – DGR Ink where you will also find other copywriting guides including:-
- Copywriting for advertising
- How to find the right tone of voice for your brand
- The copywriter’s guide to plain English
- To Grammarly, or not to Grammarly?
- The multimedia multi-personality copywriter
- When your company blog needs the professional touch
If you’d like one of our copywriting team to cast an eye over a piece of your advertising copy and show you how it can be improved, why not send it to the DGR Copy Clinic?
Or if you have a project on your desk at the moment that you would like to discuss why not give John a call on 07976 305 118.