Voxate Writing & Editing

South African Writer, Copywriter and Editor

SEO For Dummies (We’ve All Been Dummies At Some Point)


Writing websites and blogs for a living, I meet with plenty of different people, selling different things to different target markets. Still, every one of them needed great Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO). It’s what gets your website noticed, drives traffic.

Wikipedia says:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.

In the “old days” (you know, three years ago, or so), we used to cram the site and its content with keywords and phrases. If it was the website of a guesthouse, we would make sure that there were (sometimes gratuitous) mentions of “guest house, tourism, accommodation, holiday accommodation, cape town accommodation, beach house, destination, travel, south african accommodation” and so on. This led to a repetitive style that was sometimes jarring and didn’t always flow well.

In recent years, though, the search engines (such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing) have demanded a far more reader-friendly approach to online content. In fact, it’s almost all about good quality, relevant, readable content these days. Instead of scanning the content for keywords and phrases, these search engines actually research websites for useful, informative content that is engaging and accurate.

This means that, as content writers, we have a massive responsibility to understand the target market of our clients, research the material well, and write really good content.

Here are some tips to ensure that your site achieves the best in terms of SEO:
content writing, search engine optimization

  • GOOD content is first and foremost – updated it frequently and focus on information that is 1) useful and 2) beneficial.
  • You still need intelligent, well planned keywords and phrases, but they should be used wisely and in a way that flows. This takes research, as you will need to understand what your target market is looking for, then use these words and phrases in the body of your website / blog as well as in your meta info.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of your title – don’t be cute or obtuse, write titles that contain your keywords and give readers a good idea of what they can expect. Include your title in your title tag and in your top level heading tag.
  • Steer clear of Flash or splash pages – these can sometimes block the search engine’s crawler. Rather, use images that have relevant descriptions, making use of your keywords.
  • Keep your coding clean – this makes it easier for the engines to crawl. So, keep your titles in the title / heading tags, the paragraphs in the paragraph tags, and so on.
  • Put your readers first– if you put your readers first, consider what they need and want to know, and are committed to providing them with this, the process will be organic. The search engines are far more likely to notice and rank your site. There are no shortcuts or cheats.

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