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  • Writer's pictureVikki Sicaras

Writing For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It’s well-known that websites appearing in the top search engine results get noticed. According to the latest research, more than 99 percent of searchers won’t click past the first page of Google results. Search engine optimization (SEO), the process of optimizing your website to gain traffic from the search engine results page, remains one of the most important activities to ensuring your website’s performance.


How can you optimize your website for search engine performance? While it seems the search engines’ algorithms change on an all-too-regular basis, one factor remains consistent. Offering meaningful content continues to rank among the chief contributors to SEO success. Websites that educate, answer questions and provide relevant information for visitors can expect a higher level of search engine optimization.


While a website’s content is important to SEO success, one factor that’s less important is the website’s appearance. In a recent Ragan Communications webinar, for marketers, the speaker reassured audience members who fear their website’s layout and design looks out of date. While it may be very important to a company’s image and branding that the website offers a user-friendly experience and modern images and graphics, search engines aren’t as particular whether a website is on trend with the latest designs.


When the budget doesn’t have room for a website overhaul, remember to focus on what you can control – your content. Keep in mind these tips for making sure your website is optimized for search engine success.


Evergreen Content

When it comes to evergreen content (the timeless topics and messages that are always on the website), there are few guidelines for search engine optimization. To write for SEO with evergreen content, think of each page as unique. What problem or question are you trying to solve with each page?


Evergreen content should answer important questions such as:

  • What is...?

  • Why does...?

  • How does...?

  • How to...?


What are the questions you’re constantly answering as an organization? What does your audience want or need to know? These are the issues you should answer to ensure meaningful content and placement at the top of search engine results.


Blogs

For blog content that enhances your SEO, do your research to find out what’s trending. Use tools such as Google Trends—a resource that allows you to see what people are searching—for topic ideas. For example, at the time of this writing, a search of the term “concrete” reveals that the World of Concrete trade show is one of the top searches related to that keyword.


Crafting blog articles that capitalize on current search trends will help boost your website’s presence in the search engines. Pay attention to the language that’s being used in the searches and use that language in your blog content. Finally, remember to pair the blog topic with links back to your evergreen content.


Other tips for search engine optimization:

  • Length matters. Search engines favor longer content. Research shows that longer blog posts perform better, with a minimum of 600 words being the goal. The best search results generally favor posts reaching 1,200-1,500 words. But ultimately, your content should be as long as it needs to be to answer your readers’ questions and solve their problems.

  • Use longtail keywords. Long and specific keyword terms get more clicks than single-word terms.

  • Write descriptive hyperlinks. For example, “Learn more about data visualization” would perform better than “To learn more, click here.”

  • Add subheads and bullets. Follow a tip from journalists and “chunkify” text for easier reading. Subheadings and bullet points help organize longer sections of content and keep reader interest. Subheadings act as mini-headlines that introduce the next topic or talking point, while bulleted text makes it easy to scan and skim. (If the text is easy for readers to scan, it’s easy for search engines to scan!) For SEO purposes, use keywords/phrases as your subheads and bulleted text.

  • Use images and videos. While there is no magic number, a general rule is one graphic for every 75-100 words. But beware of large file sizes and long load times. Also, be sure to write descriptions for images when uploading – Google and other search engines can scans image descriptions, too.


For SEO success, focus on the variables you can control and make sure your content counts. AOE has a long history of creating compelling content for our clients. If you’d like to maximize your website’s presence with relevant content, contact the team at AOE today.


This article was originally published Sept. 4, 2019, and updated December 2023.

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