Page 1 on Google: Content is King

2009 October 8
by velvet

Please allow me to introduce you to one of my dearest friends, Janice Waugh. Janice is based in Toronto and we share two great passions: travelling and writing. Through her site, Solo Traveler, Janice shares invaluable advice with (solo) travellers around the world. She is also a big fan of social media and solopreneurship and frequently publishes articles on these subjects. There was one article about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) I particularly enjoyed. Janice has kindly agreed to allow me to re-publish this article on Velvet Connect.

Page 1 on Google: Content is King

howdoigettopage1To get great traffic results from Google, your website needs high quality content that uses your chosen key word phrases. However, Google and search engine optimization (SEO) should not dictate how your content is written. SEO is a secondary consideration; your readers’ needs must come first.

Visitors want to know quickly that they are on a site that will deliver what they’re looking for – quickly means anywhere from four to ten seconds. If they don’t find what they want they will back-click to Google to find another site. How your content is written will affect their decision. In order of priority:

  1. Write to keep visitors and guide them through your site.
  2. Write to improve your organic traffic results from Google.

The dos and don’ts of website copy

Writing for the web is different than other copywriting. On the web, people are less patient. Until they are fully engaged with your information, they are fickle and could leave at any moment. Here are a few writing tactics that will help you engage visitors and a few to avoid so that you don’t lose them.

Do:

  • Think of what is important to your visitor before you start writing.
  • Write headlines that:
    • Are brief
    • Raise curiosity
    • Use keyword phrases
  • Break your information down into groups of paragraphs and use subheads so that your visitor can quickly find what they want.
  • Use an active voice. Construct sentences so that the person who is doing the action comes first. “The man guided the boy” is active. “ The boy was guided by the man” is passive.
  • Vary your sentence lengths to keep the pace lively.
  • Use the imperative tense to call people to action.
  • Be aware of the patterns you create for the reader. If you are making a point that is supported with three examples, use the same tense, sentence structure and language pattern for each. This makes your information easier to understand.

Don’t:

  • Overstate your benefits.
  • Deliver information chronologically. Hook visitors with relevance first.
  • Have too many long sentences.
  • Have long paragraphs.
  • Use technical or overly-sophisticated words.

Above all, be authentic and honest. Google just released SideWiki which allows the public to comment on your web pages. That means your competition can comment as well. Be real. Play nice. Write true.

Writing for Google

No one really knows in detail how Google’s algorithms work. However, there are a few things that are known for sure and others that are suspected. Here are some points to keep in mind as you write your content.

Google:

  • Determines what a page is about based on key words it find in title tags, meta tags, headings and text. Hopefully, after last week’s introduction to SEO, you spent some time determining your priority keyword phrase (kwp) as well as a few secondary phrases.
  • Gives more credit to pages that use the kwp in the text as well as tags, headings and subheads. Three to four percent of the text should be the kwp. This is called kwp density.
  • Recognizes and gives credit for kwp synonyms.
  • Looks for pages with at least 300 words of content. Some experts say not more than 600. I don’t think this applies to blogs.
  • Put your kwp in:
    • Title and meta tags
    • Your headline
    • Subheadings.
  • Try to include your kwp in the first sentence and toward the top of the page while still writing for the reader.
  • Structure sentences to get more kwp credit without sounding awkward. Google is indifferent to grammar and capitalization. Both of the following are recognized for the kwp “travel solo”: ‘Travel solo and see the world’ — and — ‘I love to travel. Solo is the way to go for me’.
  • Check your kwp density here.
  • Use kwp synonyms.
  • Link your kwp to other pages on your site.
  • Reach the 300 word mark without padding your information. If you’re having difficulty you might add a bio or summary of related articles on the page.
  • Write different pages for different kwps.

I have written dozens of websites for clients, SEO articles to update sites for specific kwps and, of course, blog posts. I always write for the visitor first. Once I’m happy with the piece, I go back and try to increase the kwp density. If I can’t reach the 3% mark without compromising how it reads, (though I usually reach the 4% mark) I don’t worry about it. Reading well for visitors is more important than Google.

Please click here for the original article.

About this week’s guest writer
janice_waughJanice Waugh is an avid solo traveller who, in her every day life, combines her two passions: travelling and writing. “I’ve been in tight spots made by strangers and been the beneficiary of great kindness from the same. Travel has been a constant source of wonder, education, fun and confidence. I enjoy the freedom of freelance writing”. Janice currently incorporates what she loves with what she’s good at in the Solo Travelersociety.

Follow Janice on Twitter.

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