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How to write web content for search engines

Rachel Woolley
by Rachel Woolley

The best way to get noticed by search engines is to write your website content to optimise your users’ experience. Not only is quality content more likely to get noticed by Google and other search engines, it will give the readers of your website an excellent user experience.

This article discusses writing content for pages to optimise their presence in search results. For a great guide to optimising HTML for search engines see Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.

The process for writing the best web content for search engines and users is:

  • Decide what the main topic of your page is. Pick a main keyword phrase that summarises your product, service or topic. All of the content in the main section of your page should stem from this keyword phrase. An example of a main keyword phrase of one of our website pages is software documentation.
  • Pick several secondary keyword phrases. These should be corollary to your main keyword phrase and add a bit of information about your product. The secondary keywords for our software documentation page are software application documentation, user manuals and documentation.
  • Once you have decided on your keywords it’s time to write your content. When Google is analysing your page to determine what it’s about it looks at headings first, from left to right, then paragraphs, from top to bottom.

Headings

Headings are one of the main places Google looks for keywords. Google ranks the words in headings based on the level of the heading and how close to the start of the heading the words are.

Your main page heading (heading level 1) should contain your primary keyword phrase. This phrase should be as close to the start of the heading as possible. This should describe the topic of the page and is logical from a user perspective. In most cases your primary keyword phrase should be the name of the page, as it is ideal to keep website page headings relatively short.

Your second level headings should contain your secondary keyword phrases and sometimes your primary keyword phrase. However don’t feel the need to sacrifice your page content to put keywords in the second level headings. Headings that make sense and accurately describe what the following paragraphs are about are much more important than putting keywords in.

For lower level headings it isn’t important to put keywords in, but it won’t do your webpage any harm if you do!

Paragraphs

Google places priority on the paragraphs at the top of the page over those at the bottom. Your first paragraph should ideally contain your main keywords. After that there should be less emphasis placed on putting keywords in paragraphs.

Writing content that is search-engine friendly is vital, but, equally importantly, your website should aim to optimise the user experience. Yes, the search engines need to be able to find your site, but if you don’t have content that is interesting, useful and captures your target audience, then they won’t stay and read what you have to say.

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