Many small business owners I come into contact with understandably feel lost when faced with the prospect of managing their website’s content for the first time and their main questions are usually about how to write content in a way which will attract search engines. Here’s a quick set of points to get you started.
Get to know useful SEO keywords and key phrases your customers are likely to type into Google
We often tend to have language we use in our industries that isn’t the language Joe Public is likely to type into a Google search box. List those terms so you can refer back to them.
Write for your customers, not search engines… and write regularly
The behaviour of people informs how search engines are written. If people like your content and return to it, or even better, link to it, search engines will like you more. Interesting, well-written, well structured content with an awareness of keywords and phrases is enough to get you on the right footing. If you write regularly both customers and search engines will visit more and SEO rankings will be higher.
Don’t try to fool Google
There’ve been many ways to spam Google over the years, but the quick-win Silver Bullet approaches usually end up in tears and a change in Google algorithm can quickly see you lose your footing.
Name your images well and choose appropriate captions
Naming images appropriately, with the kinds of phrases your customers may search for is likely to improve the rankings for pages with your images on. It may also help search engines list the images themselves which can be a good hook back to your web site.
I commonly see new writers of blog posts using the return key and making text bold in order to create headings and sub-headings. It’s far better to use headings (h1, h2 tags and so on in HTML) and most Content Management Systems will have a dropdown menu of text type (normally with Paragraph selected by default).
Be generous with links
Links in to your site are important. Linking to other blog posts relevant to your own will help reciprocal links come back to you which will help SEO. Being generous and patient is a good tack – it can take a lot of links out to get one in.
Many Content Management Systems and blogging tools give you the ability to add multiple category checkboxes to select for your content. As time goes on and the number of your blog posts grows, you”ll soon get to a situation where you can have a secondary menu of links of category names with a list of posts below each. Search engines will reward you with higher rankings for those terms.
Address your customers, not your peers
Finally, and at the risk of creating a grandmother / eggs situation, try to keep your language and tone focused on your customers and not your peers. I often see bloggers pulled into dialogue with fellow bloggers and start to cmmunicate at an industry peer level which can be alienating to the people you may be trying to keep coming back. Using marketing personas to keep your customers in mind can really help.