Four Beginner’s Guidelines for Writing Web Pages the Search Engines Will Love
I have a hunch you're a smart person.
A very smart person.
After all, before you even started thinking about website improvements and techniques to improve your site's search engine rankings, you of course took the required first step of having expert keyword research completed for you (or re-conducted if it's been a couple years).
After all, you understand you'd be throwing your money and/or time away if you were to invest it in trying to improve your rankings...for the wrong keywords. (And you understand that when people guess at their keywords, that's unfortunately but exactly what happens.)
The tips you're looking for
Now, assuming you...
- are ultra-confident about which keywords you wish to rank for,
- have an understanding of and strategy surrounding what content your target audiences will find most compelling, and
- you're ready to write new pages or optimize existing pages in your website...
...following the simple guidelines below will help increase the likelihood the search engines will love your content as much as your website visitors do.
If there's lots of competition, don't think one page can do it all
Because it takes less work, less time, and less energy, people often try to get single web pages ranking for a variety of keyword phrases, instead of focusing on getting one page to rank well for one specific keyword phrase.
While this strategy isn't a problem if you're hoping to rank for keyword phrases with little competition, it can be a big problem if you're trying to rank for highly competitive keywords.
According to one of the industry's most respected SEO experts, Rand Fishkin, if you're trying to rank for multiple highly competitive keyword phrases on one page, "It's also likely that you’ll be competing against pages that are more highly targeted on that keyword phrase and could lose out if you don’t have that singular, pinpoint focus.”
No surprise, then, that Rand follows this by saying, “If a keyword is highly competitive, I suggest single page targeting.”
It needs to be there. Exactly. And more than once.
If you're trying to get your web page to rank for "purple googley-eyed dinosaur hats" but you don't have that exact phrase anywhere on your page, you're making things difficult for yourself. Stop it.
Having the words in your target keyword phrase spread out across your page—with the word purple in one spot and dinosaur hats in another and googley-eyed hats in another—isn't going to pack as much punch compared to having the exact phrase "purple googley-eyed dinosaur hats" displayed.
What's more, having the phrase show up just once most likely isn't enough.
If you think about it, there are going to be a *lot* of words and phrases that show up on your pages just once.
That's why, in order to know how to rank you, Google needs to see your exact target keyword phrases displayed more than once on a page. A rough industry guideline is to have your target keyword phrase displayed once for every 100 words or so—equating to roughly 4 times or so on an average web page.
Get 'em up
Optimization experts often recommend your exact target keyword phrase is shown twice in a page's first 100 words.
Because search engines assume the most prominent content on your page is the most important, relevant content. That's why.
Extra! Extra! Let them read all about it!
When you use the exact keyword phrase you're looking to target in a page's top headline, you not only make it crystal clear to search engines your page is about that particular term, you also help orient visitors who arrive at the page from those very same search engines. (So as a bonus, when your headline matches what your visitors have searched for, they’ll immediately know they are in the right place and will be far less likely to leave immediately.)
Up for debate
The guidelines above aren't science. They're... guidelines. There are eternal, fiery debates happen each and every day regarding what Google likes and what Google doesn't like.
And while strong search engine rankings are important, it's equally as important to have great, compelling content you visitors will love—pages that inform, educate, inspire, entertain, and move your users down your sales funnel.
So whether you're writing a new page for your website or optimizing an existing page, use these guidelines to help your page rise in the rankings—but also make sure the page stays readable and laser-focused on your target audience.
After all, you don’t just want to drive more traffic to your site…you want people to stick around and become real leads and sales.