6 SEO Tips for Website Content

Posted on Thursday, 17 January 2013 by

Any effort you put into backlinks or social media for SEO is futile if your website itself is not search engine friendly. SEO friendliness depends on the following:

1.) SEO-friendly website design.

2.) SEO-friendly website content.

We will look at how SEO-friendly website content is achieved. To start building SEO-friendly website content, you must first research the right keywords for your website. In the past we have discussed 16 Free Keyword Research Tools that will help you find good keywords for your website content.

Here is a list of the top six content tips to make your website search engine friendly:

Tip #1 – URL:

Ideally your website domain must be something that is easily remembered (short and related to your products or services), for example, watchshop.com. You can use your brand name if you are already an established business at a physical location. If your company is an online start-up you could strategize whether or not you should build your URL around your target keyword well before buying a domain.

It is generally seen that top ranked search results feature web URLs that match the search term. However, this practice is being abused by webmasters and may be eliminated in the near future. To be on the safe side you could mix a brand name with a keyword.

The following are some innovative ideas for each URL type:

Examples of Branded URLs:

Zappos.com
Amazon.com
Apple.com
Yelp.com

Examples of Keyword URLs:

Carrentals.com
Handbagfashion.com
Herbal-cosmetics.co.za
Autotrader.com

Examples of Brand + Keyword URLs:

Teletextholidays.co.uk
Baghaus.com
Kineticfountains.com
Gayatriherbalsindia.com

You can find domain name ideas on sites like NameStation, DomainsBot and Domjax.

Find more domain name inspirations in this article from TheNameInspector.com.

Do:

  • Look for copyrighted names before you register your domain name at copyright.gov.
  • Keep your URL length under 65 characters.

Do Not:

  • Use plural, hyphenated or misspelled versions of other famous domains.
  • Use a high frequency of the letters  – ‘q’, ‘z’, ‘x’, ‘c’ & ‘p’ (for usability).
  • Do not use more than three to four hyphenated words.
  • Try not to use numbers.

Your job to make SEO-friendly URLs is not over yet. Once all the pages on your site are created you need to make sure that the URLs are clean, that they contain the inner-page keywords and that you refrain from using PHP/ASP code or other dynamic parameters in them. When your URLs are clean and devoid of dynamic parameters they are fit to be used as anchor texts (hyperlinked words that describe the content of the link) while linking to your site. This is a really good SEO practice.

Example of a URL that is not SEO-friendly: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007TJ5OG/102-8372974-4064145?v=glance&n=502394&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&n=3031001&s=photo&v=glance

Example of an SEO-friendly URL: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd400/

You can rewrite your URLs using the following tools:

 

Tip #2 – Title and Description Meta Tags:

Meta tags are an important element of a website. Among tags the Meta Title Tag and Meta Description Tag are the most important ones as they are the first thing a user sees in organic search results and the thing that helps them decide whether or not to click through.

An Example of Meta Title Tag and Meta Description content in Search Results

An Example of Meta Title Tag and Meta Description content in Search Results

Title Tag

The Meta Title Tag content appears in the search results as shown above, while for direct website visitors it is seen on the browser just above the URL as shown below:

A Sample Title Tag content as seen on the Web Browser

A Sample of Title Tag Content as Seen on a Web Browser

Best practices for Title Tag content for SEO are as follows:

  • The ideal length for the title is anywhere between 10 – 60 characters (with spaces). Writing longer titles does not negatively affect SEO but they will be cropped short when displayed in search results. If you do write longer titles, ensure that the most important content is within the first 10-60 characters.
  • Never stuff keywords into your Title Tag content. Use only your core keyword, (and if necessary, one additional keyword) and make sure it reads well and that the user is able to interpret the contents of the page it leads to.
  • Make sure the Title Tag is relevant to the page being visited.
  • Write unique Title Tag content for each web page.  Writing a common title for all pages or duplicating a title on more than one page is not SEO-friendly.

Description Tag

The content in the description tag is only visible to the user in search results. On the website the content within the description tag can only be scanned by search engines. Best practices for Description Tag content for SEO are listed below:

  • The ideal length for the description tag content is 170 characters or less (with spaces) as this is all that is visible on search results. Hence, make sure your best marketing pitch fits within this limit. Think of the content as an organic advertisement for your site.
  • Keep the sentences short and descriptive.
  • Include one to three keywords in a manner that makes sense to the reader. Do not stuff them in.
  • Use the same core keyword you used in the Title Tag. Keyword consistency helps search engines know what each page’s content is about.
  • Keep the Description Tags relevant to the content of each individual page.
  • Give unique descriptions to each web page. Avoid common or duplicated Description Tag content.

Make an organized list of SEO-friendly Meta Title Tags and Meta Description Tags for each page of your website. You can then generate them into HTML text within seconds using one of the following Meta Tag Generator Tools:

 

Tip #3 – Header Tags:

Header tag hierarchy begins with the most important tags in h1 down to the least important in h6.

The following are some SEO-friendly Header Tag content tips:

  • The h1 tag is the most important of header tags and thus must contain your website’s core keyword.
  • Start the content of the h1 tag with the keyword.
  • The h2 Tag content can be an expanded version of h1. For instance, if your website’s h1 Tag is Best Holiday Packages in Italy let your h2 Tag be Websites That Offer the Best Holiday Packages in Italy.
  • Use h3 to h6 tags only if necessary. Do not feel obliged to use them for SEO purposes as this can be considered keyword-stuffing unless the headings are really helpful to the reader (read webspam).
  • You must provide unique and relevant h1 tags on each web page.
  • Do not use more than one h1 tag on any particular web page.

An example of a good heading structure is shown below:

An Example of an Ideal Header Tag Structure

An Example of an Ideal Header Tag Structure

You can use this free online tool from GiveGoodWeb.com to check the header tags of various competitor websites, or test your own site.

 

Tip #4 – Images, Videos and Flash:

On most websites it is essential to include images, videos and flash elements in the content, as a website with only plain text would be boring and unattractive. When it comes to search engine robots that scan and index the website, however, these elements are like aliens or UFOs which they are not able to interpret. To help search engines identify these elements you need to add text that is relevant and includes keywords.

The following are a few tips to make these non-text elements SEO-friendly:

Flash:

Google has upgraded their flash file search capabilities but they do not guarantee to be able to index all of the flash content. There are also many other search engines that have not yet upgraded their indexing software to identify flash file content.

Some SEO-friendly tips for flash files on websites are as follows:

  • Provide HTML text for the flash files.
  • Add Meta data to flash movies using an FLV MetaData Injector.
  • Include the <noembed> tag and enclose descriptive text within it, as shown below:
An Example for the use of noembed Tag

An Example of the Use of a noembed Tag

Video:

Almost every website has video files these days to encourage conversions. Search engines, however, can only identify the content of the video via text. You need to include a video transcript or provide Meta data for your video that contains your keyword in your HTML.

Image:

Text present within images does no good for SEO. If you want your website’s images to be search engine optimized, you need to include a description of the image in the alt text attribute of the image’s HTML, as shown below:

An Example for the use of Alt Tag for Images

An Example of the Use of Alt Tags for Images

The following are some important points to note for SEO-friendly images:

  • You must include text that is related to the content around it. For example, if you have an image of a formally dressed and well-groomed woman and your site talks about ‘young entrepreneurs,’ describe the image as young entrepreneurs of today and not as smart looking young woman.
  • If the image is used for bullet lists or any other decorative purposes you can leave the alt attribute empty i.e. alt=“ “
  • If you have images of decorative text, add the same text in the alt attribute.
  • Keep the alt text content short and descriptive
  • For logos, describe the image as ‘Company Name.’
  • Use relevant keywords in context with the content on the page where it is displayed.
  • Choose an appropriate file name for the images. Avoid hyphens or underscores.
  • Label the file extension, for instance, “.jpg” (JPEG) so that search engines know it is a photo or “.gif” (GIF) so that search engines know it is a graphic.
  • If you have a really long description to add to your site’s visuals, learn more about the longdescattribute here.

 

Tip #5 – Page Content:

Your page content does the talking to your online business prospects. Designing the structure and ensuring the quality of this content benefits you in all parts of website optimization; from usability and conversions to on-page SEO. In terms of SEO:

HTML to TEXT ratio:

It is an SEO best practice to have more text compared to HTML on your website. The formula used to calculate it is as follows:

HTML to Text Ratio = Text Size / Web Page Size x 100

  • A value between zero to 25 percent is considered a page with code bloat. The page needs more text.
  • A value between 25 to 70 percent is considered ideal.
  • A value of more than 70 percent means there is a lot of content and search engines may consider it to be spam.

Here is a list of some free HTML to text calculator providers:

Keyword Density:

Once you have your target keywords researched and ready to be inserted in the site content you need to know how many times a particular keyword must be used in order to rank highly. It used to be that the so-called SEO gurus would advise anywhere from two to 15 percent keyword density or even more. Those days are over.

The reality in today’s world of modern search engine algorithms is that the number of keyword recurrences does not matter. What really matters is how relevant it is to the context of the content where it is used. Watch this video on keyword density from webspam head of Google, Matt Cutts.

 If you are confused follow this advice:

  • Write your content allowing the keywords to flow naturally into it.
  • Make sense grammatically when using keywords in your web page content. For instance, if your keyword is how do I improve my search rankings and you cannot place the first person reference in your content you might have to use how to improve your search rankings within your page content. Better still you could say something like ‘if you are wondering “how do I improve my search rankings” here is….’
  • Content should be readable and must provide value.
  • You could check the keyword density of competitor sites that rank high in searches for some useful hints.

The following are some of the free keyword density checker tools:

Uniqueness:

The text in your page content must not be present elsewhere on the web i.e. it must be original and unique. Use one of the following tools to double check if your content is indeed unique:

If certain pages contain duplicate content that you cannot change, such as product pages on an e-commerce website, you must ensure that you indicate the preferred page as the original content. This must be done so that you do not end up with a duplicate content warning message in your Google Webmaster Tools.

You can indicate certain content as duplicate by adding an HTML tag called rel=”canonical” on the duplicate pages (with the href containing the URL destination of the preferred original content).

This rule for duplicate content is true for Title tag and Description tag content as well, so ensure that the text in these tags are unique to each web page.

Hidden Text

Stay away from hidden text in your site content. Some of the hidden text tactics include matching the text with the background color, having a font size zero, including text behind images or including hidden text in CSS.

Sometimes hidden text may be placed on your website without you being aware of it. Learn how to detect hidden text on a website using the  Web Developer Toolbar.

 

Tip #6 – Anchor Text:

Anchor text are the words that are hyperlinked to a destination URL (a link either to an internal or external web page). It used to be general practice to link pages or sites with exact anchor text match i.e. the same keyword would appear on both the linked pages. This was a strong signal to search engines to rank the website highly for that keyword. Since this practice has been abused a lot lately, a variety in anchor text that is not only bound to your target keywords is preferred. It gives the impression of natural internal and external linking to the search engines.

NOTE: Make sure anchor text linking with exact-match keywords within web pages is limited to 50% of your total links on the web page.

For example, if your anchor text is “designer watches,” here are some anchor text variations you can use when you link:

  • Keyword (<50%) (Designer watches).
  • Brand Name (Watchshop).
  • Page URL (Watchshop.com, www.watchshop.com).
  • Long-tail keywords/partial anchor text match (best designer watches, designer watches discounts).
  • Generic words (click here, read more).
  • Generic words + Keywords (read more about Armani Designer Watches).
  • Info Source (article, source, video, website, report).
  • H1 of the linking page (ladies designer label watches).

It is tough to keep up with the ever-growing competition in organic searches if other websites often feature above you in search results. You need to keep abreast of the changing SEO trends and start planning for a wholesome SEO strategy. Building SEO Friendly website content is a quintessential part of this strategy.