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Writing For Search Engines

writing for search engines

There are many aspects to writing for search engines that affect the placement of your web page or article in organic search results.  The number of incoming links to your page, the way your pages link together, the time visitors spend on the page and the number of click-throughs are all important.  Most important of all, however, is the way you lay out your webpage.  In writing for search engines, your page should provide distinctive markers for the search engines to use in page ranking.  In this page, I will discuss how to lay out your page with the search engines in mind.

Search engines use what is know as an algorithm (a set of rules) to determine which pages on a topic are the most relevant.  Search engines will bring back results which attempt to list the most relevant pages first.  Each search engine has its own, proprietary algorithm, which is one reason each search engine brings back different results for the same search term.  Although each search engine is different, the rules listed below are pretty common, and if you pay attention to them when you are writing for search engines your page will rank better than it otherwise would.

URL Selection

Use your primary keyword in the URL of your page.  Doing so helps the search engines determine what your page is about.

Page Title Selection

Card catalogs in libraries usually provide searches according to subject, title and author.  Title searches are also primary information for a search engine, so the way you title your page when writing for search engines is crucial.  If you want searchers to find your page based on the keywords you enter, you must have the keyword in your title.  Pages that have the primary keyword in the title are considered to be more relevant that pages that don’t have the keyword in the title.  

Search engines will also check to see if your primary keyword is near the top of a page, such as in the headline or in the first few paragraphs of text. The assumption is that relevant pages will use the keyword right from the beginning.  So, don’t title your pages “home” or “about us”; that doesn’t tell the search engines anything.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the another factor to keep in mind when writing for search engines.  A search engine will analyze how often your keywords appear in relation to other words on your web page.  The ratio of your primary keyword to other words is called ‘keyword density”.  If your page uses your primary keyword frequently, your page will be considered more relevant to the topic than competing web pages with poor keyword density.  When writing for search engines, try to keep your keyword density in the one to two percent range.  

Search engines will penalize pages if they detect keyword “spamming”.   Keyword spamming is when a keyword is repeated dozens of times on a page in order to increase the keyword frequency in an attempt to increase the page’s search engine rank.  Keyword density can be checked with one of the many free density checkers that are available online.  Or, you can simply count your keywords and divide by the number of words in your article.


Originally posted 2011-03-09 11:28:00.

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