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SEO Best Practices

SEO Best Practices from Scribeseo.com

Overview

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the traffic to a website from the organic or natural results of a search engine.

SEO does not try to trick search engines. On the contrary, the goal of SEO is to provide information-rich content in a way that is naturally weighted by the search engines because it follows the “rules” of the search engines. Below are guidelines for optimizing content according to current SEO best practices. You can also download the document Creating Compelling Content.

Before you Begin

The first step to writing content that is search engine optimized is to determine the primary topic of the page. This will be your initial keyword or keyword phrase and should be the central theme for the content of the page. The more closely the page is related to the keyword phrase, the more relevant the page will be ranked by the search engine. The goal is to write a full page of content centered around one keyword phrase.

Content Title

When writing the title for the content, follow these basic guidelines:

The title length should not exceed 72 characters. This will ensure the full title is visible in a search result, increasing the likelihood of a click-through.

The title length should include at least 4 words.

Include the keyword phrase in the title. This will increase the relevancy of your content for that keyword phrase. In addition, the title usually becomes the headline for the SERP, and including the keyword will increase the likelihood of a click-through.

Include a Primary Keyword toward the beginning of your Title to increase the relevancy of the keyword within the search engines' indexes.

Description

The description will generally be the “snippet” copy for the search result. Depending on the website that hosts your content, the description may also be used as a subhead for a press release, serve as the first paragraph of a web page or be the <meta> description − only seen on the SERP. When writing the description for the content, follow these basic guidelines:

The description length should not exceed 165 characters. This will ensure the full description is visible in a search result.

Include the keyword phrase in the description. This will increase the relevancy of your content for that keyword phrase.

Include a Primary Keyword toward the beginning of your Description to increase the relevancy of the keyword within the search engines' indexes.

Body

When writing content for the body, follow these basic guidelines:

The body length should be at least 300 words, ideally centered on one or two keyword phrase(s).

For keyword density, each keyword or keyword phrase should not represent more than 5.5% of the total words on the page. Otherwise, the search engine may consider the page to be keyword stuffing.

To give a keyword phrase additional emphasis, bold the first occurrence of the keyword phrase in the first paragraph of body. Including some content in a bulleted list is another way to add emphasis.

Include one hyperlink for every 120 words of body content spread out evenly down the page. For example, 500 words of content should include 5 hyperlinks with approximately each paragraph containing one hyperlink. Be sure not to “spam” or “keyword stuff” your content with a paragraph of keywords linked to the same web page over and over again.

Include a hyperlink at the beginning of the body in order to show prominence.

Ideally, hyperlinks should link to content that is relevant to the keywords, preferably to an interior page of your website, but when linking to another website, link to an interior page. In other words, do not link to a website’s home page if there is an interior page that is more relevant to the keyword phrase.

As an example, consider a relevant hyperlink to be included in content focused on “home medical supplies” is a link to an article about “The increasing need for home medical supplies” at http://www.timelymedicalnews.com/supply. Following are four acceptable ways to link to the article:

“According to Timely Medical News, home medical supply needs have more than doubled since 2005.”

“According to Timely Medical News, http://www.timelymedicalnews.com/supply, home medical supply needs have more than doubled since 2005.”

“According to a new report, home medical supply needs have more than doubled since 2005.”

“According to http://www.timelymedicalnews.com/supply, home medical supply needs have more than doubled since 2005.”

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

Flesch Reading Ease Score − one of the best-known and most popular readability indicators. The formula rates text on a 100-point scale based on the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence. The closer the score is to 100, the easier the content is to read; the closer the score to 0, the more difficult the content is to read. In general, a score below 30 is considered very difficult, and a score of 70 is estimated to be written at the eighth or ninth grade level. Research has indicated that a score of 70 is likely appropriate for adult readers. A score of 100 represents that the content is understood by readers with at least a fourth grade education.

Flesch Reading Ease Table

StyleFlesch Reading Ease ScoreAverage Sentence Length in WordsAverage Syllables per 100 WordsEstimated School Grade CompletedEstimated Percent of U.S. Adults

Very Easy90-1008 or fewer123 or fewer4th Grade93

Easy80-90111315th Grade91

Fairly Easy70-80141396th Grade88

Standard60-70171477th or 8th Grades83

Fairly Difficult50-6021155Some High School54

Difficult30-5025167High School or Some College33

Very Difficult0-3029 or more192 or moreCollege4.5

Adapted from Flesch, R. (1949). The art of readable writing. New York: Harper. p.149.

Keyword - a word (or combination of words) that describes the topic or subject of a piece of content. It is also a word or combination of words that are used in a search engine to search for a topic or subject.

Primary Keyword - a term developed by Scribe™ to designate the keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) in a piece of content that are most likely to result in an organic search listing based on Scribe's analysis of the content and the keyword usage.

Keyword Analysis – a proprietary process utilized by Scribe™ to determine the keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) in a piece of content based on popular search terms. It includes a report on the rank, prominence, frequency, density and search volume of the keyword(s)/keyword phrase(s), and provides related terms, along with their search volumes for comparison.

Related Keyword Tag - words or combinations of words added to a piece of content that describe the main topic(s) or subject(s) of a piece of content.

Keyword Rank - a proprietary algorithm developed by Scribe™ that determines the value of keyword(s) or keyword phrase(s) in relationship to a piece of content and to each other. Keywords are ranked in descending order of importance as either Primary, Important, Significant, or Not Emphasized.

Keyword Density – the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears in a particular piece of content in relation to the total number of words in the content. It is usually represented as a percentage; the higher the number, the greater the density. Current SEO best practices suggest that a keyword's density be less than 5% for one piece of content.

Keyword Frequency – the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears in a particular piece of content. It is usually represented as a whole number; the higher the number, the greater the keyword frequency.

Keyword Prominence – a proprietary formula developed by Scribe™ that determines the value of a keyword or keyword phrase based on its relative placement within a particular piece of content. Prominence is rated as either Very Low, Low, Medium, High or Very High. The higher the prominence, the more favorable the keyword/keyword phrase is presumed to be weighted in the content by the search engine algorithm. You should strive to achieve a Prominence rating of high or very high for your Primary Keyword/keyword phrase for a page. However, all keywords/keyword phrases on a single page should not have a high or very high prominence rating to minimize the chance that search engines will consider you guilty of keyword stuffing or spamming.

Keyword Research - the act of exploring keywords. The process frequently involves reviewing search volumes of targeted keywords and alternative keywords to determine which keywords to include in content.

Keyword Stuffing (or keyword spamming) – adding an excessive number of keywords or keyword phrases to a web page or repeating a keyword or keyword phrase excessively on one page in place of relevant content. It is typically a technique used by those trying to “trick” the search engines into ranking a website in organic searches.

Trend - the approximate search volume of a keyword or keyword phrase over the past 12 months. Trend is helpful to identify seasonality of keywords that may have a low volume but are on the rise.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – the web page(s) containing hyperlinks to related content provided by a search engine in response to a search query. Usually, the results page returns both paid ads (sponsored links) and organic listings.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – the practice of improving the traffic to a website from the organic or natural results of a search engine.

SEO Best Practices (white hat SEO) – utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that align with the guidelines of the search engines’ ranking algorithms without the use of trickery. Examples of trickery include using hidden text, duplicating content, link farming and keyword spamming, to name a few.

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