Content is King!
Content is King!
You will need quality material on your website in order to achieve a lasting visitor stream
Writing for the web
This paragraph will discuss following topics:
- From generic to specific
- At page level: put your conclusion on top; 6 W’s
- 8 words / sentence, 5 lines / paragraph
- Repeat your main message on different places, using different phrasing
- Provide a clear structure
- Less is not more
“Less is more” is not always true
If people expect quality, they will read a longer article
Use repetition (with variation)
- Optimal text length ?
Search engines like 250..1500 words
Search engines require some bulk volume to grasp context
Let's drill down on this. Writing for the web is a bit different then writing a book: People reading from a screen tend to scan the text instead of using structured reading. To cope with that, following rules will help to pass more of your message on:
- Go from the generic to the specific.
The further you advance on the page and into your website, the more detail and specific information should be provided. Your homepage contains generic information and introduces products and services. As you descend the product hierarchy, you first pass some categories and subcategories to eventually arrive on the product page where your provide the details for that product or service. Each level can have text covering that specific level. So when positioned at the category level “Fantasy”, you should not be writing about “Harry Potter”, but about the Fantasy genre. Whereas when arrived on the product page of a Harry Potter book, you can make use of keywords such as “Zweinstein”, “Harry Potter”, etc... So write aligned with the level your are at.
- Conclusions on top (of your page).
Your text should start with a small resume, introducing what all your text is about. You could make use of the 6-W principle (Who, When, Where, Why, What, Which way) to write that resume. The text below then works out the reasoning & argumentation.
- Keep it shorter then when writing on paper:
Try to stick to eight words per sentence
Five lines for a paragraph.
Don’t have long paragraphs: Insert from time to time a line.
- Repeat the point you want to make on several places, using different phrasing.
People tend not to read the whole page. So even if they only read a chunk, it’s still likely you where able to pass on your key message.Search engines require some bulk volume to grasp the topics the text is going about. The variation in your phrasing increases the likelyhood for it matching a search engine request.
- Provide clear structure in your text. That’s not only handy for the reader, but also very handy for the search engine bot. The search engine bot will give a higher importance to titles, subtitles, words in bold, underlined. So it will help the search engine to pinpoint the really important keywords in your text.
- Less is not more: In most case one applies the rule “less is more”, meaning you have to write short and powerful text material.
That’s not always true though. If people expect to read quality, they do take the trouble of reading through. An example are articles in an online newspaper. So it can be better to pay less attention to keywords, and just start to write a quality text.
From a marketing perspective, it’s good to use repetition. But do use different phrasing. A trick you can use it to let a customer tell your story to repeat the message. (customer referral)
- Text length: A search engine requires a minimum length in order to understand the topics of importance in your text. 250 words is about the minimum. Search algorithms require sufficient words before they identify the topics. Consider 1500 words as a maximum length.
Providing hints to the search engine
Headings and subheadings do not only structure a text for the reader, but provides also hints to the search engine about the importance of piece of text. Below first the result of 3 levels of headers followed by the HTML code required to generate this. Studying HTML is outside the scope of this course, but looking at the code below you should get some ideas about how it works...
Headers are not only useful to give the reader some structure. A search engine uses this as an assist to grasp what is important and what less. Keywords in a h1 title are granted a higher rating then somewhere in the middle of a text. So do put your main keyword(s) in the h1 title, others in the h2’s, and so on.
Boldfacing some words in a text will also be understood by the search engine as something of greater importance.
Rules for body text
What are the rules for body text ?
- Keyword # mentions
- Focus keyword >= 4x
- In the h1
- Start, middle, end of text
- Optional: Once bold, once in a sub-heading
- Thema focus
- Text should nicely cover the focus keyword
- Offering many similar products ? Be wary for almost identical descriptive text (duplicate content penalty risk)
Lets discuss this further:
Make sure having the keywords appear a couple of times in your text. Don’t exaggerate – Your text must remain natural and attractive to read. But the search engine should be able to grasp the meaning of your text..
The focus keyword should ideally be mentioned at least 4 times. One in the header, somewhere at the start of your text, in the middle, at the end. When appearing in the text, you could boldface it, so the search engine will increase the importance of that keyword for your text. Or you could use it again in a sub-title.
It’s obvious that your text should really cover the topic mentioned by your focus keyword. In the old days, “black hat” adepts would use a more traffic generating focus keyword to pull people in, but then cover a different topic. By writing about the theme, the search engine will be able to further define the context. Add keywords in your text that might provide a better boundary. For example, if your webpage is about a Peugeot 309, you could add words like “Belgium”, “Dealer”, “Family car”, “leasing”, “Buy car”, “Fuel efficient”, “Economic car”,... if that’s the business you want to position yourself in.
Make sure each of your texts are unique. New search engine algorithms will penalize if your text is not original (taken from other older pages on the internet). But a more frequent error is to re-use the same text in the description of similar products. So be careful with a product catalogue: make sure your text for each product has some differentiation. If only the product name and some technical specifications would be different, you risk that the search engine considers them 99% identical. It will then only show one of those pages as a result, and continue with other websites search results.
You can visually show a different text then the URL when linking to a page. That’s actually a good idea. Try to give hints in your text about the subject of the link. Link text is a good place to put a keyword. This will help the to understand the subject of the website your are linking to.
Syntax to use in HTML consist of the address to link to followed by the link text:
Link text is a fine place to use some search keywords, helping the search engine to understand what the website referred to is all about.