While a lot of webmasters might be clued up on search engine optimization, there’s always the possibility that you won’t be exactly sure on how to get the most out of the text you’ve outsourced. Today, we’re going to take a look at the positive and negative things you can do to written content that could mean all of the difference between getting number one for a relevant term and being penalized by every search engine out there.
Let’s first consider the negative usage of text that could definitely bring your site down in rankings. As a rule of thumb, no matter what web page you’re optimizing for, never keep your text hidden from surfers. Some people make the mistake of hiding lots of keyword rich content on their site and it really doesn’t do you any favors if a spider finds that content to be unreadable by a normal surfer. Remember that SEO isn’t something that is being encouraged by engines – it’s merely a tool that someone can use to better adapt their site to have elements and characteristics that certain search providers like. Examples of hiding texts include changing its color to match the background and setting the font size to 0.
It’s also a good idea to avoid cramming too much written content onto one page, although it’s great practice to have at least some substance there for an engine to pick up on. You’ll find the internet is full of different optimization numbers and it’s something that really does trouble a webmaster when it comes to SEO. The real key to the right amount of words is to simply use enough to get your point across. Search engine optimization is all about optimizing your site for engines and obviously, engines want relevant, important and accurate results for their readers. Word count isn’t something that will make or break your ranking, but a ballpark to work with is between 300 to 1,000 words.
Now that the negative stuff is out of the way, we shall consider some positive things you can do with text to make it better for your website. One of the biggest problems I see on the net is the lack of organization on a page with respect to its text. While this isn’t exactly an SEO matter, it’s good practice to have no more than 20 words on a line. The reason for this is simply readability; it’s hard for the human eye to flow sentences accurately if it has to stretch back and forth between the end of one line and the beginning of another. The best place to see evidence for this is in newspapers – the editors obviously understand what’s best for the paper and as you can see, they add pictures and edit locations of text to keep lines very short across every page.
In terms of SEO, one should keep a reasonable font size and color that are at negative ends of the spectrum (as to avoid a search engine thinking you’re hiding text). One practice that some SEO gurus swear by is writing certain words or lines in bold. This is a siren to a search engine and it tells it that you’re trying to emphasize that part of the text. Of course, having entire paragraphs in this style doesn’t really do much for you, although a sentence at the end of a piece of text is definitely a good location to put in bold (and a few keywords throughout will not do any harm).
The top and the bottom of using text for SEO is simple – be natural. Search engines are not there for you to manipulate and abuse, they want to serve relevant results that will make the user come back to them. I mean really, it’s all well and good being ranked #1 for “dating”, but if the search engine that it’s on is only used a few times a day, what’s the point? The best thing to do for search engine optimization when it comes to text is to use it as organically as you can. Sure – provide lengthy pieces of text and emphasize important areas, but don’t risk it all on shady practices that could really damage your site and its SERPs.