If you want your business to be successful online there is no getting around Google. The magic term is search engine optimisation (SEO), and up until a few years ago this marketing knowledge was kept a secret. Now there are many practical tools that can help get you gain a better overview of the keywords, rankings, and performance of your website and can even be used by beginners.
Whether it be an online shop, news portal, or hobby project – no matter the website – the main goal is to be found by search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Nowadays users are less likely to write the full website URL into the address bar. Instead, they simply type a certain keyword into the search engine. When a user searches for a certain phrase, the search engine coughs up a unique list of websites that best match the searched term. There is great rivalry amongst site owners to rank as high as possible for relevant keywords and to earn themselves a prominent position in the search results. This can be achieved through content optimisation. The following ten tips should help you to write SEO texts that will attract readers to your website.
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1. Make sure your SEO texts offer value to the reader
There are many measures you can take to make your texts SEO-friendly. Each search engine aims to deliver the best results relating to the user’s search query; therefore there is no point if human readers are overlooked. Google, Bing and Co. use algorithms to try and understand how relevant the site is for the user. This is determined by the content that is available on the website. Optimal SEO content should thematically match the search term to which it was optimised, but also be easily readable and offer value to the user. The best case scenario would be for the text to contain the answer to the search query. If you want to create high-quality SEO content, you should concentrate on a certain topic and provide information for any questions that could be asked about it.
2. Avoid SEO texts with duplicate content
It is not just the reader that loves new content: search engines also love it. This content should not appear anywhere else and is known as unique content. There are often pre-fabricated product descriptions or pre-formulated press releases online that you can copy word-for-word for your own website. This, however, is not the way to get to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Plagiarism isn’t just bad taste, it is also recognised by the search engine and mercilessly punished. When you are creating your search engine-optimised website content, you should avoid duplicate content at all costs. Even publishing your own texts several times on your own site falls into this category. The reason for this is the search engine algorithm, which attempts to present the user with different content in the search results. If the same content is found on two different URLs, only one will appear in the SERPs and this search result will be the one with the original content. Websites that contain duplicates slip down the search results or, in the worst case scenario, may even be deleted from the search index. Be aware that duplicate content does not just affect individual subpages — it can also have disastrous consequences on the relevance and credibility of an entire domain.
3. Match the amount of SEO content to the particular topic
Since Google released its Panda Update a new creed has been adopted in SEO circles: content is king. Texts comprising of 200 – 300 words used to be more than enough to gain an adequate ranking position. Now users find themselves having to create longer SEO texts to achieve a good ranking. The Panda quality update doesn’t target all web content alone; however search engines like Google use elaborate algorithms to evaluate the information content of a text and determine the value it offers the reader. These show semantic analyses and user metrics such as the average length of a visitor’s stay. Since it is impossible to constrain every topic to the confines of a predetermined minimum word count, the scope of your SEO text needs to be proportional to the complexity of the relevant topic. More content does not automatically mean a better ranking. Instead, search engines honour well-researched content with conclusive arguments and reliable sources.
4. Balance your keyword density
Search engines rely on keywords to determine how relevant a website is for a search query. These keywords make it possible to assign a website text to a certain topic area. Before you start creating SEO texts, you should define relevant topic areas for your own website and research significant keywords for your topics, products and services. It is recommended to cluster keywords in synonymous keyword sets. Each of these clusters is available as a basic framework for a search engine optimised website. When integrating keywords into the SEO text, you should make sure to keep a balanced keyword density. A keyword distribution of one to three percent is generally recommended. Ultimately it really depends on each individual case as to how you distribute keywords. The writer should always have the human reader in mind and avoid stuffing too many keywords into the text to please the search engine. Instead, it is advisable to use synonyms, variations, topic-relevant terms and inflection in order to cover the whole semantic field of a topic.
5. Structure SEO content through design features
A search engine not only finds contextual aspects like information-packed content and keyword density relevant, but also how the content is divided into sections to improve the ranking. The main and sub headings play a supporting role and are labeled ‘h1’ to ‘h6’ in the HTML code. The most important design feature is the main heading (‘h1’), which has a prominent place in the source code and should contain the main keyword of the text. Additional keywords are best placed in the sub headings ‘h2’ and ‘h3’. Divisions past the third hierarchy level are rare and should only be used as an exception if they make the text read better. Enumerations and list items can be used instead. Bolding can also be a means of structuring SEO texts, which is implemented by using the HTML tags ‘b’ and ‘strong’. The strong tag tells the search engine that the bold phrase is relevant; the bold tag is just for optical effect.
6. Use internal linking to strengthen your SEO content
As described above, SEO texts are best optimised for a certain topic. Search engine optimised websites use them in order to manage a web project’s link juice and to strengthen the relevant pages of a domain. Internal and external links can increase the user friendliness of a site and refer readers to additional information on other websites. Note that every link you add means that the other website is inheriting a portion of your link popularity. Before you start linking to external websites, you should check whether there is a suitable link target on your domain that could be useful. You can use subpages to strengthen your domain if it does not have any links from external websites. Always make sure to use meaningful link texts with internal and external links so that it makes the thematic allocation easier for the search engine. The so-called nofollow attribute should be used when linking to unfamiliar websites. This is an HTML instruction to Google that shows that the external link should not be taken into account when calculating link popularity. The link juice is therefore kept on your own domain.
7. Update your SEO content at regular intervals
Even the best-looking SEO content won’t be of much help if it's totally out-of-date. The currentness of your website is also another ranking criteria for search engines. Domains, which regularly offer new content on current topics, perform so much better in the SERPs than websites that neglect their content. It is practically impossible for web projects, like online shops or business sites, to regularly re-write product texts, category texts, and descriptions of their range of services. Instead special news reports, press sections, and integrated blogs on the site offer the possibility of providing new content for visitors.
8. Use multimedia elements to upgrade your SEO texts
Besides structural elements like titles, lists, and enumerations, SEO texts can also be broken up with images and multimedia elements. Multimedia content offers the visitor more value through its audiovisual nature since information is offered via numerous channels. The search engine wants to present its users with the best website possible and therefore rates multimedia elements very positively. User metrics show that site visitors spend longer on sites with embedded videos and graphics, which then leads to a positive ranking. It is also possible through search engine-optimised images and videos to generate traffic that does not come from an organic web search, but rather through image and video search engines.
9. Optimise your images for SEO relevant criteria
In order to optimise your website for a search engine, you should consider multiple SEO criteria when writing SEO texts. When integrating images and graphics, there are basic rules to follow in order to guarantee that your content can be found via image search. Search engines cannot carry out analyses themselves, so the crawler conveys information to them about what the image entails. If you plan on ranking in the image search, then you need to add the relevant keywords in the file name as well as in the image caption. Most search engines rate larger images better than smaller ones, so make sure they are high resolution. In order to inform a search engine of an image’s content, you should add relevant keywords into the image’s HTML code. This applies to the title (title tag) as well as the description (alt tag) of the image. The title tag appears when the mouse is dragged over the image. The alt tag, however, delivers the browser a short description, which takes the place of the image if it cannot be shown for technical reasons.
10. Enrich your SEO content with keyword-optimised meta tags
When the user types a term into a search engine, such as Google or Bing, they will receive a compilation of search results in the form of snippets. These are short text excerpts of individual websites that are always presented in the same way: title, description and URL. Note that these snippets are not created automatically by the search engine and therefore must be manually written by the text writer. The snippet is usually the first thing that a visitor sees from your website. It should therefore be a short summary of your site’s content and also contain the main keyword. To avoid your snippet being shown as incomplete in the search results, it is best to keep the title below 55 characters and the description should contain around 160 characters. You can check whether your snippets are the correct length by using SISTRIX’s free online tool.
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