Writing content for SEO

Tags
SEO

OK, you have a search term you want a page to rank for. What do you do to make that happen?

Of course, you can't "make that happen," unless you have a lot of money to give Google. You can increase the chances of your page being listed, but that's all you can do.

Meta tags

We talked about meta tags early in the course. They're tags, or attributes of tags, that tell browsers and spiders about each page. Here's part of the very first template you used:

  • <!doctype html>
  • <html lang="en">
  •     <head>
  •         <title>Title</title>
  •         <meta charset="utf-8">
  •         <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, shrink-to-fit=no">
  •     </head>

Most meta tags are in the head. charset is about what characters your page will use. The utf-8 character set is the one most pages use. It includes characters in many alphabets, like Я, à, ©, ᛗ, ლ, ⠞, ع, 體, and 😁. You can read more about UTF-8.

title is one of the most important meta tags. You should set that on every page.

The description tag helps as well.

  • <meta name="description" content="Our healthy dog treats make your doggo friend happy.">

Another meta attribute useful for SEO is the alt attribute on images:

  • <img src="rosie.jpg" alt="A cute Jack Russell terrier">

Humans look at this photo and know what it's about:

A cute Jack Russell terrier

But the Google spider isn't good at actually "seeing" anything. So, give it a hint about what the image is about, with the alt tag.

One last piece of metadata Google says is important: the URL. Check the URL for some pages, and you'll see something like:

  • https://thing.com/view.php?id=249352

What's that page about? No way for the spider to tell.

Now, here's the URL of a page on this site:

  • https://learnweb.skilling.us/lesson/keyword-research

The spider can tell what the page is about. If someone searched for "keyword research lesson," that page might show up.

The copy

"Copy" is a writer's term for the text on a page. How you write that matters, too.

Keywords in headers

The spider pays particular attention to your h1 tag. It tells you what the page is about.

It's best if there's only one h1 tag on a page. It helps the spider, and other tools that analyze HTML. If you hit Ctrl+U to see the HTML on any page on this site, and search for <h1, there should be just one.

One h1 tag

Adela
Adela

What's with all the classes and stuff?

I use the content management system Drupal for this course, with my own Skilling module added on top. Drupal adds classes to help it do its thing.

Add your keywords in the text of the page as well, usually somewhere in p tags. Don't go crazy, though. You might make your copy stilted, and hard to read.

Avoid keyword stuffing. Yoast recommends 1-2% of the copy on the page be your keywords.

It's a good idea to use your keywords in the first paragraph of the page. Seems like the spider gives extra weight to that paragraph.

That's it for SEO in this course. There's a lot more to know, but you have the gist. Some people's entire job is SEO. If you're into marketing, SEO is definitely a Good Think to Know.

Summary

How you write HTML and copy matters.

  • Use meta tags like title, and description.
  • Use meaningful alts for images.
  • Put your keywords in h tags.
  • About 1-2% of the copy on your page should use your keywords.
  • Put your keywords in the first paragraph.