The content on each of your pages should provide your searchers and your search engine the answers they need to solve their problems and improve their effectiveness. But making it easy for the search engine—and your searchers—to really understand your page and what questions it answers takes time and attention to detail. Take a moment and review these steps on how to write content for a search engine.
- Focus your page on a single topic. Searchers seek simple answers to their question. They’re on a mission and don’t want to waste time. Each page should focus on answering a single question—or small set of questions—and provide bite-sized answers to their questions. Split your content into multiple pages, and focus each page on answering a few simple questions about a single topic. If you are designing a hub page about a big subject, the question could be something like, “What is this subject about?” and your page can provide an overview the subject and contain links to more page that answer more specific questions. For more details on this idea, check out “How Do I Decide the Purpose of My Web Page?”
- Place relevant keywords early in the document and reinforce throughout. Keyword placement matters for many search engines. Try to include your primary keywords within the first paragraph on your page. Additionally, include the keyword regularly on the page, where appropriate to serve the needs of your searchers and your search engines. This does not mean you should “keyword stuff” your content, placing as many keywords as possible in the shortest amount of space. It means that your content should naturally incorporate those keywords where appropriate. If your specific page talks about product pricing, for example, think about using the actual product name followed by the word “pricing” instead of simply using pricing by itself. Work to include relevant keywords within your copy at appropriate opportunities to help your search engine locate your content and to help your searchers answer their questions.
- Subdivide content and include relevant keywords in page headings. Heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.) help search engines to identify the key topic areas on each page and help searchers to quickly skim and understand at a glance whether the page meets their needs. Use heading tags that include relevant keywords to subdivide longer content into bite-sized, easily-digestible chunks. When your heading tags don’t include relevant keywords, or when your longer pages have no headings at all, searchers frequently won’t read more deeply to see if you offer what they need. Make sure that you use a unique h1 for each page that incorporates relevant keywords. And use h2-h6 tags to outline longer content to aid searchability and readability.
- Ensure appropriate content length. Just as very long content can create challenges for readers (easily solved by subdividing and including keyword-rich heading tags), content that is too short often provides little value to search engines. Where possible, ensure your page contains at least 300 words to provide additional context for the search engine and additional opportunities to include relevant keywords for you as a content author.
Writing content for a search engine involves a number of highly related steps. No single element alone guarantees high ranking within a given search engine. However, if you focus each page on a single topic, include relevant keywords within your content, incorporate keyword-rich headings into your content, and provide enough content to help the search engine determine your page’s purpose, you will find that you will help your search engine locate your content and help your searchers solve their specific issues.