SEO 101: Love Your Body

Now that we’ve explored how you can use your HEAD content to improve search engine listings, let’s move along to the BODY portion of your HTML code. Even if you never touch a META tag, you can still get good search engine performance if you have good content in the BODY of your web pages. Just keep in mind, content means text, particularly text that is meaningful and relevant to your business. 

Those two words, meaningful and relevant, are more important than you can possibly imagine! If the content in your web pages is meaningful to your potential customers, then it cannot help but have words and phrases that they are likely to use when looking for something using a search engine. Likewise, if the content in your site – it’s sections, titles, articles and blurbs – if those are relevant to the concerns, interests and questions your target audience is asking, then, again, you cannot help but get good search engine performance.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Years ago, before the Dot-com bubble burst I did a lot of technical training for a company known as Learning Tree University. It was a great gig for me in a bunch of ways, partly because I really love teaching and partly because it was a wonderful way to network with other IT professionals. The classes I taught ran the gamut from basic HTML and JavaScript to advanced eCommerce concepts and how to optimize images for web use. It was a genuine blast!

In addition to creating handouts for the classes I taught, I also posted references on my personal website. After all, it only made sense – I was teaching people about various web technologies, so why shouldn’t I use the web itself as a teaching tool and as a way to provide links to even more references available online?

Here’s the funny bit. If you went to your search engine of preference at that time and entered the name “Learning Tree University” into the search field, my web pages came in ABOVE pages from the official LTU website! Every single time!

The reason for this was simple. The content in my web pages was more meaningful and relevant to LTU students looking for information about Learning Tree University and its classes. The official LTU site was pretty, but the folks who made it didn’t understand how search engines operate, nor how to cater to their preferences. I did, hence the fact that my web pages got better listings.

So how do you create good content? Easy!

If you have done a good job of identifying your target audience, developing meaningful content should be a snap. Remember that list of questions I had you write down at the beginning of this series? If you did your homework, those questions can become the starting point for an equal or greater number of informational articles you can post on your site.

Web-based articles don’t have to be excessively long, either. A typical post can be as short as 200 words, or as long as 1,500 words. I recommend, however, that you break up a longer article into several smaller one that become a series, just like this one. The goal is to keep your customers coming back for more. If you post frequent, short-but-useful articles, they will come back to your site again and again.

On the flip side, if regular maintenance of your site is not something you’re up to doing, then work on filling your site with information that is useful to potential customers. Think about every conversation you have ever had explaining something to a current or potential client. Think about the analogies you use, the way you break things down for people who are not experts in your particular field.

If you can capture that information, write it down and include it in your website, you have a chance to show the world the depth of your knowledge. THAT is a great way to inspire customer confidence, and when the customer trusts that you know what you are doing they are far more likely to give you their hard-earned money!

Once your content is written, you need to go back through each article to make sure they contain key words and phrases common to the core issues each article addresses. This is where writing web-copy is both an art and a science, because there is a balance to be struck between having enough key words and phrases to be useful for SEO, but without being forced or artificial.

If going through for a key word and key phrase pass seems to make your head hurt, don’t worry about it. Just make sure that as you edit your text that you ask yourself over and over again, “Is this meaningful to my customers? Is it relevant to their interests and concerns?” If the answer to those two questions is Yes, you can’t lose!

Next time, links and link bait…


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