Best Practices

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.

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:

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:

Body

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

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
Style Flesch Reading Ease Score Average Sentence Length in Words Average Syllables per 100 Words Estimated School Grade Completed Estimated Percent of U.S. Adults
Very Easy 90-100 8 or fewer 123 or fewer 4th Grade 93
Easy 80-90 11 131 5th Grade 91
Fairly Easy 70-80 14 139 6th Grade 88
Standard 60-70 17 147 7th or 8th Grades 83
Fairly Difficult 50-60 21 155 Some High School 54
Difficult 30-50 25 167 High School or Some College 33
Very Difficult 0-30 29 or more 192 or more College 4.5

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

Anchor Text - the words displayed on a web page as a hyperlink to another webpage. Anchor text is usually underlined, indicating it is a hyperlink.

Alternate Keyword Suggestion - other search terms related to a keyword.

External Links - a hyperlink to your website from another website.

Internal Links - a hyperlink to another page on the same website.

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.

Social Media - as defined by Wikipedia: media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues.