Fun for some, awful task for the others – writing. But one thing everyone needs to know – writing for the web is not the same as other types of writing. Learn how to create quality content with our blog tips that both the audience and SEO rules will love.
Just as there is a difference between writing poetry and novels, so is writing for the web different from writing for print. Creating online content involves numerous rules regarding text segmentation, photos and readability. Also, some less clear terms like SEM, SEO or W3C standards are impossible to avoid.
As an agency oriented towards creating web sites, we spend a considerable amount of time advising our clients for preparing content or we create it for them in accordance with the web writing rules.
Therefore, we bring you an overview of the most important tips you will come back to every time you start writing a blog post!
Why do writing rules for the web exist?
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that despite all of the demands of internet search engines that decide to display your content, you write for people – your target audience. The content you create must be of good quality, informative, and tailored to the target audience, theme, style and format.
The goal of your content is to appear on the first page of Google search. Google is by far the leading search engine in the world with about 80% of total internet searches, and statistics show that almost 90% of all Google searches go no further than the first page of results. In other words, if you are not on the first page of Google, you will lose the ability to reach 9 out of 10 clients.
Google decides the position of your site using a number of very complex algorithms. However, if we make things as simple as possible, it will often give preference to pages with lots of quality (original, relevant, meaningful and well-structured) content, subpages and users. You will also benefit such content because it will be cheaper if you decide to promote it through Google Ads.
Your site will be highly ranked in the Google search engine if your content and your entire website are compliant with SEM and SEO rules. How do you become Google’s favorite on the first page of search? In highly competitive industries, there is no simple and unique way. However, practice and experience on our domestic market tell us that by following basic rules, with patience and effort, visible results can be achieved. Read on and learn the basics.
SEM and SEO – what do they mean, how they work and what is the difference
SEM and SEO are abbreviations that are often mentioned, but not completely clear to everyone, and the difference between them seems complicated. In short, SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing, marketing on search engines that involves paid ads (see PPC or Pay Per Click promotion). SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and most commonly it refers to Google.
SEM is a broader term than SEO and includes several search engine positioning tools, such as paid ads (PPC) and SEO. The goal of SEO is to position your site as high as possible in the results of so-called organic search, but SEM strategies also imply that placement visibility results can also be achieved through paid ads. SEMs are therefore all techniques that redirect more targeted traffic to your site.
Good Content Elements
After a theoretical introduction and clarification of the basic concepts, we can turn to practical advice. In this section we will explain the basic elements that your content must have in order to be attractive to search engines. No one said writing for the web was easy!
When you start writing an article, assuming you use the most widespread content posting system WordPress, always enter the title first, because it creates the URL of your content, that is, a link that will allow someone to open your content in web browser. Then, in the first part of the article, try to mention the relevant keywords related to your topic. Do not force this approach as you write content for people, not search engines.
Google can recognize the exaggeration and deliberate overuse of keywords for the sake of achieving better positioning results, and will penalize this practice very quickly so that you will disappear from the search results instead of getting a better position.
Keywords are the words or phrases around which you build your text, or those that best describe its topic. For example, if you are writing a gastro blog and would like to publish your amazing recipe for chicken medallions in mushroom sauce, your approximate keywords would be “cooking, recipe, chicken, chicken medallion recipe, chicken medallions, mushroom sauce, chicken in sauce” and similar variations on the theme.
Keywords are very important. They help search engines to find and serve content to search engine users. When writing keywords, it’s best to ask yourself how people will search for something similar to your content. Going back to the “chicken medallion” example, ask yourself, how would you, or any average internet user, look for a good chicken recipe online. When selecting keywords, the starting point should be the intention of the user.
Make sure you include links to other content that already exists on your site, if you have the opportunity. Avoid external links (to other websites) as this takes visitors away from your content. If necessary, make them open up in a new tab to keep your page open in the browser. This makes it much easier for the user to return to it and continue reading it if they need it.
As for the visual elements, you can insert an image, video or GIF into an article. You can also embed external content, such as Facebook or Instagram picture and video from YouTube. It is important that you have a good cover photo that best represents the content of your text, and that the images you use are optimized for the web (dimension and weight) so that it doesn’t slow down your website.
You can also use online tools such as simple image resizer to edit the image size (px dimensions) or the compressjpeg tool to reduce the amount of memory (weight in kb) the image takes up. Smaller images should take up to 100 kb of memory, while larger ones can take up to 200 kb, excluding the exceptional situations where the quality of the graphics is a priority (eg a photographic portfolio).
When posting images (photos or illustrations) to the web, give them an ALT description that defines exactly what that image represents. When possible, the description should include a keyword related to the graphic and your content. Such a description will help not only search engines like Google and others to identify what is in the picture, but also visually impaired or blind people in a way that automated text readers can translate the description into an audio reader. Captions, titles and ALT descriptions of images increase the post visibility on search engines and make the website more accessible.
Content Formatting and Segmenting
Split the content into multiple smaller, easily memorable, and clear parts. Keep the paragraph size between 80 and 100 characters. Otherwise, you will get a large piece of text that will not only be difficult to read by search engines but also by the audience. Therefore, your site will not perform well, regardless of the content quality.
All sections should have subtitles. Arrange your content by topic and add subtitles to it. This way it’s easier for readers to find the part of the text that interests them.
The minimum recommended font size is 14 pixels, and you should not be afraid to use a slightly larger font. Choosing the color of the text depends on the design of the page, but most often it is good to display the text content in dark and sufficiently contrasting letters (typography) on a white (or light) background.
For the sake of readability, make contrast between the color of the characters and the color of the background. The large number of people will see your content on smaller mobile screens, which makes this particularly important. Also, pay attention to the size of the spacing, because if it is too small, all your well thought out and quality content will seem like a randomly typed stack of characters that will be difficult to read.
Web standards are a set of rules and specifications for web content development published by W3C. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization dedicated to Internet improvement, whose members include, among others, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and America Online. Because of the influence of W3C, web standards are an important point of reference not only for those who develop and design websites, but also browser makers.
The basic prerequisite for a quality user experience is the creation of the site according to web standards. More on this topic will be discussed in a new blog.