At SilverServers, we provide content writing services for small and medium business websites. The focus of this service is to make it easier for Google to digest the content it sees when it comes to your pages – also known as search engine optimization, or SEO. When a web page’s content is optimized for search engines, it’s easier for them to understand what your company is providing, who you’re providing it to, where you’re providing it, and what other questions the content answers. In this article we’re going to look at how Google and some other search engines look at a webpage and how you can optimize the text content on that page. This way if we’re working on a “page optimization” for you, you’ll know what we’re doing – or if you want to optimize your pages, you’ll have a better idea of how to do that!
The main goal of any search engine, including Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, is to provide their users with quick, relevant, high-quality results to the questions being asked. If your website demonstrates that it has answers to the questions people are asking, then search engines are more likely to display you in a higher ranking. Therefore, the first question you should be asking before you get started is ‘what are people searching?’.
If you’re part of our Grassroots SEO program then you can look at your SEO report’s top 5 keywords section or you can request a full-length keyword report from our support team. That report will show you what keywords you showed up as a result for during the past 3 months (or any other time period you might like). If you’re not part of our program, tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you get this information. Google Trends is also a great tool for researching keywords in your location!
It’s important to remember that search engines are computers. They’re smart computers – but they aren’t always great at understanding all of the nuances, idioms, and double meanings of words and phrases in human languages. When you’re writing for people, you would write in a way that catches their attention and keeps them reading. This might include strategies like introducing the speaker in the 3rd or 4th paragraph or starting with a quote or two. You might also tell a story or share a fact that they might like to know more about. When you’re writing for SEO or optimizing the words on a page, it’s best to keep all drama, emotion, fluff, non-keywords, and possibly confusing information to a minimum in the first paragraph. In the same way that this might help someone new to the English language not miss anything in translation, it can help ensure that search engines understand what you’re writing about.
After you know what phrases people are searching in order to find your website and you’re committed to having clear, descriptive information in your first paragraph, you’re ready to take a look at optimizing your page’s text content!
When our content writers at SilverServers look at the content on a page, we instinctively look in the first paragraph for what some of us like to call “the Four W’s”. Similar to how the Five W’s you learned in high school English class help you write content that stays on topic and relevant, our Four W’s help keep website content relevant to Search Engines. Here are our Four W’s, in no particular order:
1. Who you are. This would be the name of your company. In cases where your own name is publicly well-known too, you might add your own name as well!
2. Where you are. What you put here will depend on the location of the audience you’re trying to reach, but in general this would say where your business operates.
3. What you do. This is usually a descriptive phrase or sentence that says what your company does – separate from the topic of the article. You should be aware of your main keywords when crafting this sentence or phrase because it’s best to structure the sentence in a way that allows you to write the exact keyword as closely as possible. As an example of how this can be challenging, it may be easy to write a sentence that includes the keyword “Kamloops lawyers”, but it would be a challenge to craft a sentence that includes the keyword “lawyers Kamloops”. In those cases you would do the best you can!
4. What this page or article is about. This is where you explain specifics about what the article is about. Many content writers keep this as simple as “In this article we’ll talk about…”. On certain types of pages (ex. your Services pages) ‘what you do’ and ‘what the page is about’ are the same. In those cases you would skip this!
These four items should be clearly present in the first paragraph of every page or article on your website. When writing SEO-friendly content, we often write an intro paragraph entirely out of these four items and just add that to the beginning of the copy. However, when it’s possible to tastefully integrate these into the existing text without compromising the article’s voice or diluting the clarity of any points, we do that too.
We are often asked why we would put the same pieces of information on every page of a website. Many website owners are concerned that visitors will be deterred from converting into customers because there’s too much to read! Our initial response to that is simple: if visitors can’t find your website in the first place, then why are you worried about what they’re reading? It doesn’t matter what your website says or looks like if no one gets to it! Properly optimized subject matter helps visitors get to your website. Let’s look at a few more reasons:
Modern search engines, especially Google, don’t display only your home page. If you have a blog post or a Service page that answers a person’s question, that visitor will most likely be sent to that page. We’re sure most people have been in the situation of searching for something online and clicking on a search result only to find a difficult-to-navigate website that doesn’t tell visitors what the company that owns the website does. That’s frustrating. Google knows that. They’re in the business of serving you web pages that clearly identify themselves on whatever page visitors land on.
Some search engines (ex. Bing), for the sake of keeping things simple, only look at the first paragraph of a page’s text. If you identify your company and your services after the first paragraph, these search engines won’t see it, and so you’re unlikely to rank well – no matter how descriptive the rest of your page is.
Google and many other modern search engines look at a page’s copy from the top down and evaluate the importance and relevance of the topics that way too. Simply speaking, if your explanation of what the page is about is in the 2nd or 3rd paragraph, then it will probably be assumed that those ideas are 2nd or 3rd priority from whatever is written in the 1st paragraph.
We hope this helps you get started with optimizing your existing webpage content for search engines. This is only one of many strategies for optimizing text! In the future we’ll also look at how to use headers, meta tags, and internal links to guide Google through your site and give them better context of what to expect when they’re reviewing your pages.
If you don’t have time to write or optimize the copy for your website, contact us at SilverServers to find out how our content writing services can help keep your website healthy! If you need even more help than writing services, get a free website review from us and we can get in touch with you to discuss how our services can help!