Getting content displayed prominently within a Google search result is simple – it’s called search engine optimisation, or SEO for short.
Google, and other search engines, are very complex in how they work and it’s impossible to fully understand the finite technical details of each one but, that said, they all work in basically the same way. They look for content on our website, index it and then make it available when people enter certain phrases. Getting content to appear high up in the search results is known as search optimisation.
Top tips and tricks include:
- The page URL should match the page title and the page title should also appear in the first paragraph.
- The meta data keywords should also match the page title and ideally should be unique (not used elsewhere on the website).
- The page title should be more than 40 characters and less than the recommended 70 character limit (this is what Google use in their search results as the clickable link).
- Do not use spaces in the page URL.
- The Google search result description is approximately 130 characters and anything more may result in … appearing at the end rather than the whole sentence or paragraph.
- The main body of content should be more than 300 words – but content needs to be relevant and useful which is more important than word counts.
- Use H1, H2, H3 headings to structure the content rather than just the normal bold setting.
- Images should contain ALT tags that are relevant to the image but also to the page and the overall page content.
- Links remain a valuable tool to help search engine optimisation and should include both internal and external links.
Each page should have a point and a key message otherwise what’s the point in publishing it?
Google, and others, look for content that is deemed useful. Defining useful is hard but common sense is our best friend.
- A page that talks endlessly about strategy, plans and the like will not be ranked highly.
- A page that talks about how to complete a task, where to look for more information and generally ‘doing’ tasks will rate much higher.
Even with all the tips and tricks in the book, if the page is not useful then it’s unlikely to show in the search results.
Google (and others) will look at frequency so a page that only a few people search for each year will be lower on the list than a page that many people search for on a regular basis.
Flesch–Kincaid readability test
Finally, if you want to get really technical there is something called the Flesch–Kincaid readability test. These are readability tests designed to indicate comprehension difficulty when reading a passage of contemporary academic English. There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. Although they use the same core measures (word length and sentence length), they have different weighting factors. View more on Wikipedia
Use the Flesch–Kincaid readability test with a pinch of salt but 2 online resources you might find useful include:
A score of between 60% and 70% would be considered good and anything higher is even better.
This is far from a definite how-to list but hopefully helps answers some of the common questions relating to search engine optimisation.