How to write for search engines.

If you’re not used to writing for the web it can feel like a complicated task filled with technical jargon and unfamiliar buzzwords. It’s not as terrifying as it sounds though and in this guide, we will give you best practices to help you write great content for search engines.

When writing for search engines there are a couple of important things to keep in mind- it’s not all keyword stuffing and hitting keyword density targets! If we could give you just one piece of advice to take away from this article it would be to remember that the actual content of the article is, and always has been, the most important factor for ranking highly in search engine results.

With regular algorithm changes designed to give the user the best results for their query, it can be difficult to determine one hard and fast strategy for creating content specifically for SEO purposes, however, if you are writing useful, relevant information for your audience then your efforts won’t be wasted regardless of algorithm changes.

Remember to write for people as well as search engines!

Create content that’s useful

Some businesses churn out content at an alarming rate, effectively spamming their customers into submission- but this is not the best way of doing things. Whilst more content does usually mean more traffic, it’s often not attracting the right type of traffic. 

seo-googleWhen Google, or another search engine, analyses the content on your website, it is looking at a number of factors besides keyword relevance and density. Search engines will also know how long a visitor has stayed on your website after being directed there from a specific article or link. If your visitor spends less than 15 seconds on your website and doesn’t visit any other pages the search engine will determine that the content was not useful or relevant to their search query. This is what’s known as a ‘bounce rate’ and having a high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. So what should you do to stop this? The answer is to quite simply create content that people actually find interesting and helpful.

Keyword optimisation

Optimising what you write for search engines with the right keywords isn’t difficult; it just means spending some time thinking about the words or phrases your potential customers’ will type into a search engine and building these into your content. You could start by making a list of keywords based on what you already know about your customers and their preferences or you could use a keyword tool such as Google’s free keyword planner for more in-depth research. For more advice on getting to know your customers read our earlier blog post.

Once you have your list of keywords and are ready to add them your article, be mindful not to tip-for-seoover ‘stuff’ them. Keyword ‘stuffing’ was commonly used in the early days of SEO and is still practised by some as a way to try and trick the search engines. If you are caught keyword stuffing you could be penalised instead and end up losing traffic- so just don’t do it! Instead, try to include variations of your keywords and use them as effectively as possible within the text. Avoid repeating the same words or phrases so often within your text that it begins to feel forced. Google gives a great example of keyword stuffing in its advice pages;

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at [email protected].

One ‘rule’ that does still hold true when writing for SEO is to try to include your keywords in the first paragraph and the concluding paragraph. Again, only do this where it feels natural and goes with the flow of the article.

Structure the page

Just like we’ve done in this article, give your content some structure. Make the most of titles, headings and sub-headings to let search engines know exactly what your article is about. Try to include some of your keywords within these titles and headings too, as the search engine will look at these first to decide whether your content is really relevant to a search query.

Optimise images

optimise-seo-imageAn accompanying image with your article will help to grab reader’s attention but it’s important to optimise any images for search engines too.  Large images that take a long time to load will slow down your website’s overall loading speed and since Google highlighted page loading times as a ranking factor, a slow loading page could hinder your SEO efforts.

Ultimately, when you write for search engines, there are no set rules or equations that you can follow for guaranteed SEO success. Try to follow these best practice tips as much as possible though and we’re sure you’ll see some positive results.