Content is King. You may have heard many experts, gurus and specialists sprout this time and again across many different websites, newsletters, forums or seminars / conferences. There's a reason for this.
From my experience content is the lynch-pin of a website doing well in search engine rankings. You can have all the fancy-pants elements you want on your site but if you don't have great content all this will go to waste for a couple of reasons:-
- Search engines are getting better at figuring out what good content is and serving this up in their search results; and
- Users know what great content is and if your website is bad, there's hundreds of others out there all waiting for their custom.
Readers of the web like to scan. We live in a fast-paced world that consumes information at speed so making your pages scanable is always a good idea. When writing your headings think about the section of the page that it's going to be part of and make it an interesting and keyword-rich heading.
The idea is that people should be able to read only your headings and the title of the article and have an understanding of what the article is about. This enables the reader to scan the document and make a decision about if they wish to read the web page in full.
2. Internal links
Using internal links (or deep links) are good for two reasons.
- It gives your users a better experience and creates a deeper website in that they will continue to click through to additional pages on your website and also be given helpful links that will help give their experience on your website more relevance; and
- It gives search engines more links to crawl through your site (making your website more crawlable) and gives search engines the opportunity to look at your linking structure and learn more about the pages on your website.
When using internal links throughout your website there are a few things you will want to consider:-
- Link items that will make a relevant and useful link for users
- Link through to pages using keyword terms in your anchor text for SEO purposes
- Add a title attribute to your links to help search engines learn more about your pages
3. External links
If there is a website, page or video that's relevant to the page you're writing, link out to it. The web is all about linking data and sharing information so don't be afraid to link out to relevant resources that will increase your user's experience.
Here are some points to remember when linking out to other websites:-
- Make the links relevant
- Make sure the sites you link to are authoritative websites with loads of pages and backlinks
- Use keywords that you're trying to rank for in your anchor text. (This may sound counter-intuitive but it works)
Search engines gauge the authority of a website via many elements. Authoritative websites tend to link to other authoritative websites so if you link out to well-known, well-trafficked websites this will give you more of a boost than either linking out to crappy blogs or little sites or not linking out at all.
4. Be consistent
Inconsistency in writing styles, verb tense and naming can confuse and bewilder your users.
Imagine when you write that you're a character in a movie. If you can keep that character going throughout the whole article then this will be a consistent piece of writing. If other styles, sayings or character attributes come into play this can affect the flow of your writing style and also the user's experience when reading your information. This is particularly important to take note of when multiple people have input into the copy of your website.
This is a really easy point to miss and get wrong. Here's an example of changing tense.
Yesterday I updated my website and then decided to email my newsletter out.
'Updated' is using the past tense whereas 'email' uses the present tense. Corrected this sentence would read:-
Yesterday I updated my website and then emailed my newsletter.
Make sure you keep your naming conventions consistent.
Do you have members, customers or clients?
Do people register, sign up or subscribe to your newsletter?
Once you decide on a term, name or label, stick with it and keep it consistent.
5. Write deep, write thoroughly and write effectively
This is the best advice I can give to anyone. Keyword, h1 tags, alt tags and all the other elements you can play around with won't mean much if your content is second-rate. Whenever I'm writing an article or piece for a website I try to write the most thorough and effective article I can. This can sometimes take a lot of work with research, editing, proof reading and posting to the site but the end result is something that is well-crafted and that will show.
Readers appreciate hard work and you will benefit from this.
As you can see there are some great tips here that are easy to implement on your website. There are some items that will help your users and others that will help your search engine rankings. I think both are of equal importance because you can't have one without the other.