How do I SEO a webpage?

Q: I’m in the process of redeveloping our company website and have to write a lot of new copy to fill these pages. What I’d like to know is how to optimise these pages so I get a good ranking in Google. Can you help?

Marketing Manager

Lancashire

A: SEO’ing a web page is a common question, with a fairly simple rules to follow. Before we go into this, it’s important to appreciate that SEO isn’t a trick. Whatever web page you write, it should have quality content of use to the sort of people who visit your site.

So long as you have this attitude of delivering quality information, then optimising your page so that Google and the search engines recognise its value is a good thing.

You also have to bear in mind that Google doesn’t just send you visitor traffic. It checks to see if the page they recommended was useful, ie, did the visitor stay or immediately bounce away because the page wasn’t relevant to their problem

To avoid a high bounce rate, it’s not enough to SEO a page. It needs to be optimised for maximum conversion, and this should be seen as part and parcel of any optimisation.

The rules of SEO as I know them are as follows:

Content

The following approach to optimising web page content will ensure:

> More users act on the info (rather than click the back button)

> Google and the search engines give you a higher ranking than otherwise (ie more free traffic)

Start by considering that most webpages have three parts:

> above the crease, ie, the visible area that is immediately seen by the user, and therefore needs to engage and compel

> below the crease, ie, not immediately seen and can contain lots of useful reference info

> the meta content, pls see below

Above the Crease – The Visible Area

Each page, where possible, should be structured as:

A Heading which:

> has an attention grabbing theme/benefit/headline

> contains a keyword

> is 5-8 words long

Followed by a short 2-3 point bullet list of what the page delivers:

> shown as benefits or deliverables where possible

> uses keyword

Concluding with a Proposition:

> What the user is expected to do, or accomplish, or next action. It sums up the reason for bothering to read the page

> It should be short, quickly graspable

And a Picture:

> has keyword in the alt text (the text rollover often found on web images). Contribute will allow alt text to be easily inserted

However the page is structured, the keyword should always appear in the heading and in the 1st 25 words, and pref leading the 1st para

Below the Crease

> Contains useful original content

> 500 words or more. If 500 words not possible then at least 250 words, otherwise Google will tend to think the page “slight” in useful info content terms

> Call to action at the end

> Avoid paras. Use scannable sentences

> Keyword in last 25 words

> Keyword in link labels (can be done in Contribute 3)

> Liberal sprinkling of keyword, its variations and associated words

Meta Content

Search engines consider this area important

Your CMS or, say, Adobe’s Contribute 3, will allow easy meta content editing for non-tech staff

Meta content includes:

> Page title – the blue bar at the top of every web page

> Meta keywords – hidden stuff

> Meta description – hidden stuff

Page Title:

> Should lead with the keyword where poss

> Should contain a useful strapline. a descriptive pitch of what the page is about

> Should be 5-8 words, pref same as the page heading, or close

Meta Keywords:

> Insert keyword and associated keywords

> do not use keywords that are not found in the page content

> usually same as title and heading

Summary

The above is a list of the basic SEO rules.

If you follow these rules you’ll win more free search engine traffic to your site.

It’s best to learn these rules off by heart so you tend to automatically optimise as you develop the page.

Search engine optimisation on every single web page is important

© Studio Rossiter 2008

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