Many of us know a bit about SEO, or search engine optimization. However, not all of us know how to actually DO it. Here are some thoughts from a self-avowed technological dinosaur on writing an SEO-friendly article.
Search engines, as the tech-savvy know by osmosis, are pieces of software that search for words or phrases, or other data, throughout all the internet’s web pages. Users type in a search term to Google (the current behemoth), and Google displays the webpage titles and URLs containing the closest match to these search terms. The user can then click to access whichever they prefer. So far, so simple.
However, people are, unfortunately, profoundly lazy, and unlikely to scan down more than a handful of entries in a list before impatiently clicking one or trying another search term. Thus, only the top of the list is prime real estate for being noticed. This parallels the advantage of having one’s advertisement appear ‘above the fold’ of an old-school printed newspaper page, for those antiquarians who can remember reading news on paper.
For many firms, websites are their major advertising channel. Thus, they want to appear at the top of any search list, to grab maximum eyeball exposure.
This phenomenon has spawned a whole industry to obtain top billing on the search page for a website. One way is to pay.
The other way is to create web content that cues the search engine to believe that YOUR website most closely fits the goal of the searcher on the web. The search engine uses the frequency and placement of specific searched-for words and phrases as a proxy measure of relevance. Thus, if a particular web article repeats the search terms at the top and throughout the article, the search engine will likely deem it relevant and place it near the top of the search results display.
An effective SEO web article features the searched-for words strategically throughout the article, thus triggering the search engine to find it. In addition, the article needs to provide original content to avoid being dismissed as duplicative. Finally, a web article must provide useful content to grasp reader attention. Even with these provisos, this can be a relatively easy task if the article is about the search terms themselves.
Here’s an example from real-life – public relations professional Laura O’Hear Church, who specializes in organizing publicity for grand openings and re-openings after the renovation of franchise convenience stores. She wants to be noticed by owners of such businesses. Some important search terms might be “green renovation”, “groundbreaking”, “convenience store”, and “reopening”. You might produce an article heralding the advantages of investing in a green renovation – no mention of her PR business, necessarily – you are trying to provide useful content, not an ad. You could end up with something like this as a first effort (check an expert for code):
Page file name and path:
<TITLE>Green Renovations Turn Convenience Stores Reopening’s into Major Events </TITLE>
<META NAME=”description” CONTENT=”Turning Your Convenience Store Reopening Into A Major Event By Choosing Green Renovations “>
Convenience stores: How fast they move from ground-breaking to major facelift
Convenience stores undergo a huge amount of wear and tear. A high-traffic convenience store, fresh and cheery for a few years after first breaking ground, edges towards dilapidation depressingly fast. Once the inevitable arrives, franchisees face the effort and expense of closing down, rehabbing the property, reopening, and regaining business.
Go for green renovation
Given the direct expense and opportunity cost, franchisees can consider the route of green renovation, the hottest thing in upgrades. As with most investments, green renovation covers a range of options. At the modest extreme, owners can add energy-saving lighting, permeable pavers, low-flow sinks and toilets, and low VOC paints. If you wanted to invest more in renovation, green roofs, geothermal wells, solar panels, living walls of plants, even small wind-power generators, groundbreaking smart timers for heating and air-conditioning are all possible.
Reopenings: Ramp up the drama after green renovation
These green renovation choices can often save money in the long term. In the near term, these improvements, especially if you can become certified, can then become part of marketing your convenience store to the community once you are ready for a grand reopening.
Notice the multiple use of each keyword/keyphrase, in various locations in the article, and with variations (OK these with someone who knows!). Note how the keyword/keyphrase variations enliven the article. If our exemplar, Ms. Church, had one or more web site, the keywords would be in links elsewhere on her site(s), pointing to this webpage.
To do this well requires a flexible command of sentence structure and vocabulary. More information about writing optimized content for websites and blogs can be found at this link. As with most skills, the task of writing a good SEO article becomes less of an effort with practice, and more of a puzzle to be solved.
Writing high-quality content can be tricky, but luckily, nowadays, you have plenty of options. Other options than researching and writing the topic by yourself, include finding someone who can do the job for you. Luckily, there is a large number of writing agencies and freelance writers today that you will not have any problems when looking for one. Keep in mind that some might charge more, but they should be the ones providing higher quality.