Monday, February 1, 2010

Writing for the Internet - Understanding SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

If you've spent any time writing content for the web you've run across the acronym SEO. This stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's basically where in the list of millions your content will show up when searched by a reader. If you use different search engines - google, yahoo, etc., you'll notice that each will give slightly different results from any given search. But there are things we can do as writers to move our content up in the rankings. To accomplish this we have to have a basic understanding of how SEO algorithms work.

Search engine algorithms take words literally.
  • This means that they don't understand it when we make a play on words. For example, a recipe titled, Too Hot To Handle Chili will rank lower than one titled, Homemade Vegetarian Chili. Often times a clever title will result in fewer clicks.
This doesn't mean we can't be clever - only that we have to be deliberate in where we're clever. Take that chili recipe, give it a title that can be searched literally, but describe it as Too Hot to Handle.

Search engine algorithms also look for keywords.

Keywords are the words that appear on the website that describe that page. When writing content for a client they will often give you a list of keywords. It's your responsibility to use those keywords effectively. This is called Keyword Density and refers to the number of times a keyword is used on a page.

Search engines read from the top of a webpage to the bottom, searching to see that important keywords are used throughout the page.
  • It's important to have a high concentration of any given keyword at the top of the page and then spread out evenly throughout the rest of the page.
These are just some of the basics of SEO that content writers need to be familiar with.

Keep the conversation going -

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the helpful information, Edie. I really need all the help I can get when it comes to SEO. Actually, I need help with any technology!