Wondering how to optimise your web copy? While you are writing copy for your prospective human customers, it’s also crucial to remember what the search engine robots also need to see in order to rank your pages well, and thus reward the relevance of your site to the web-browsing public’s enquiries. Getting your copy right for both humans and robots is the key here.
How to structure your pages
Make sure you choose one or two primary keywords for each separate page of your site. For example, if you are an online pet food store, your homepage might target the keyword “buy pet food online”, a fairly generic keyword about your business. Each of your product pages should then be more focused on their particular theme and targeted keyword, for example your page selling Organic Doggy Treats should target the keyword “organic doggy treats”, and not “buy pet food online”. Make each separate page as focused and relevant as possible.
The search engines reward relevance to particular topics or keywords, and therefore each product or service of yours should be on its own separate web page. This will allow each page to be more focused on that particular product and its keywords, boosting the perceived relevance and consequently the SEO results. When a search engine serves up a result to a member of the browsing public, this will be in the form of an individual web page, so naturally a page that is dedicated to that particular keyword or product will be more relevant than a page with multiple products displayed.
It is generally thought that search engines place more weight on the content in the top 25% and bottom 25% of content on each page; this is to mirror where the average person looks when they browse a page for the first time. You will want to therefore make sure that your chosen keywords have a high density in these areas of each page’s copy, as this is a win for your SEO as well as a way to clearly get your message across to the people browsing each page.
Using HTML Tags Well
HTML is used to describe the meaning of the content and not the visual appearance. HTML tags like <h1> (“Heading 1”) for example, are used to indicate the importance of that text on the page. In this example <h1>would be seen as the most important heading, and <h2> the second most important etc. Search engines therefore look at these tags to understand the relative importance of copy on each page, so you should have your most important keywords within these <h1>tags.
Search engines also prioritise text within other tags such as <strong> and <em> as these are generally assumed to be important words within your copy that may be in bold or italics. It is therefore a good idea to place your most relevant keywords within these tags, even if your CSS is displaying a different visual effect.
Placing Keywords in Images
As of 2015, search engines cannot read images and therefore have to rely on two major factors when determining their relevance; the image name, and the alt text of the image. It makes sense therefore to name your images with the keywords most relevant to that particular image (or targeted keyword on that page), and to duplicate this name and keywords within the alt text. The result is a clear description of what that image is about, giving your page a stronger focus on those chosen keywords.
Keep to the Standards
If you’ve setup your site using current standards in HTML and CSS it will be easier for the search engines to index and rank your pages. Try to avoid obvious mistakes like using tables for the layout of pages as this just doesn’t work well for search engine spiders (or for your future updating of the page). Make sure you use HTML only for the meaning of the content, and the CSS for presentation, and you’ll have greater success with search engines and SEO results.