SEO Writing 101

 

 

Google is like Pinocchio; they both want to seem more human.

pinocchio touching his nose

Write well.

That’s what Google wants you to do. Because that’s what your human audience wants too.

Become an expert on something and share well written content about that something.

But people (and Google) care about more than the naked content of a piece; we also care about its presentation. Is it easy to skim for quick grokking? Is it easy to categorize? Is it easy to find on your site? And so on.

Imagine this article without headlines. No paragraphs. No images.

Images are worth some amount of words. Right? Especially if we mark them up well with alt attributes and avoid web-image mistakes.  If nothing else, an image might make your page look better and/or encourage readers to linger longer.

Good headlines help human and robot readers quickly understand what’s in a document. Sub-headlines break up long sections of otherwise more-boring-looking text with contextual cues about what follows.

Link to relevant related content on your own site with good anchor text. Good intralinking strategy will help Google and readers learn more about you/your topic.

Invisible-ish bits are important too. (Because they’re not invisible to Google.) Learn how to write and use great titles and meta descriptions. Learn about microdata and some specific ways obscure bits of markup can help you succeed in Google.

Maybe those last two links are more “SEO 201” than SEO 101.

What else can I do for great SEO?

Plenty. UX plays a big part in SEO. Tune your website so it’s fast. Remove hurdles between visitors and the prize at the end of the tunnel. (Shorten the tunnel?) Run multivariate tests to figure out what works. Stay relevant. Integrate your social efforts with SEO and otherwise encourage people to connect with you and your excellent website. Backlinks are key.

And if you’re serious about ranking well for important keywords, your first foot forward is good keyword research. Yes. Keyword research. Those last two keyword research articles are almost a decade old. Don’t bother reading them. They’re there to underscore that “Stay relevant.” note.

…Some say video is the future of SEO. Don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to optimize video SEO, too.

Good luck.


Dan Dreifort consults on UX and SEO for small large businesses, large small businesses, and non-profits. He doesn’t love working with large large businesses because he likes to quickly affect change. Is it ironic that those with the deepest pockets are often the slowest? Maybe. Final note: Do as I say, not as I do; there are way too many links in this blog post!

SEO Intralinking Strategy for Blogging

So, your SEO maven hooked you up with optimized landing pages, but they’re relatively orphaned. (Nobody’s linking to them much, not even you, from your own site.) Should you link to them from your other site pages, like from your blog? Yes. …And no.

Intralinking Case Study (Hypothetical)

Keyword: blue widget

SEO Landing page: …/blue-widget/

Obviously, you mention “blue widget” on other pages too. (If you don’t, get on that. You’ll never rank for a keyword if you only mention it on one page; Google can quickly suss that you’re trying to game the system by optimizing a single page for a keyword.)

Are you selling widgets? Presumably, you have one or more “blue widget” product pages, too, whether or not you’ve opted to make them text-rich pages. (Content is king. Your product pages should be troves of information, but unfortunately some brand identities don’t allow for that.)

So you blog.

You should blog. Be an expert in your field, publicly, often.

You mention blue widgets in a blog. …Hell, you write a blog post about blue widgets. You’ve used several variations on your core “blue widget” keyword in that blog. How can you best use those keyword iterations as link anchor text to other content on your site?

Head to Google.com

Type this in the Google search field:

site:[yoursite.com] [the keyword you’re trying to boost]

…Swapping for your domain and your keyword for the [bits in brackets].

Screenshot_2Hit Enter on your keyboard.

Screenshot_1Or click “Google Search”

Or the little magnifying glass icon.

e.g. site:dandreifort.com SEO
gets you a list Google’s favorite SEO themed pages on this site, in order. (Top is best!)

If your blue widget SEO landing page is new, it probably won’t be toward the top of that list yet. You should then definitely link to that blue widget landing page to get it some traction. But what if your landing page is #4 on the list, and a few of your product pages take the top three spots?

Keep it Natural

Sometimes, link to the blue widget landing page. Sometimes link to one of the product pages. We want to tell Google that our whole stinking site (or at least considerable chunks of it) are good pages for them to consider for blue widget Google search results.

So, I should link to several of my pages from my blog?

Maybe a couple. Sometimes just one. Often, not at all, unless you have a good reason to. Blogs shouldn’t be salesy or pitchy. Blogs are for engaging, not selling.

With rare exceptions, I highly recommend against linking to a single resource multiple times from a single page. But similarly, don’t pack your blog post full of links to every related product and page.

Why?

It’s ham-fisted. If your content is overstuffed with links, people can quickly see that over-stuffing; they’ll likely feel like they’re being “advertised at” so to speak. …Google’s even more keen at that assessment; Google knows when you’re stuffing all of your content with links. Keep it natural. (Somewhere between zero links and ‘too many’ links, on average—that’s your goal.)

Anchor Text Variation

Mix it up. Don’t always use “blue widget” verbatim to anchor the link to your other “blue widget” content. “Our blue-tinted widgets…” is fine anchor text. Do you use a synonym for “widget”? (whatever your ‘widget’ is!) Using that synonym as part of anchor text is a great idea! Not everybody searches the same way, and the more ways you’re able to describe your products, the better.

Linking to third party URLs?

Yes. If your brand manual allows it, definitely link to relevant third party content sometimes, or even often. Just don’t link to your direct competitors. No need to help them!

Most of my clients’ blogs do NOT intralink to their own content from their blogs, but they do link to interesting content on other sites from their blogs. That’s best practices, if you can afford it.

In short:

  1. Be aware of your keywords when you’re blogging.
  2. Note that most of your blog posts don’t need to link to your own content, but if you’re a brand-strong blog, (i.e. an inbred blog, or otherwise unwilling to link to other sites from your blog,) and that works for you, (lucky,) you can err on the side of always linking to your own supporting content.
  3. site:yoursite your keyword – is the syntax to find out what pages Google likes already. Don’t fight Google, just nudge them.
  4. Don’t always link to the same page; pick a few to regularly reinforce.
  5. Mix up the anchor text, too, if it makes sense.
  6. Linking to other sites is fine. But consider adding “nofollow” to sites you don’t want to help.

 

Dan Dreifort consults on SEO and UX. He also likes making noise with other musicians.