What do search engines want from on-site copy?

I realised the other day that some of my posts are far too technical for absolute beginners. You know what it’s like – once you have a firm grip on a subject it’s easy to lose all sense of what it’s like not to. So here’s the first in a short series of absolute SEO basics to redress the balance.

What kind of website content do Google and co like?

Google uses words to explore and analyse websites and the links that point to them. Words are the driving force behind natural SEO. Search engine algorithms – the maths they use to ‘decide’ where your site belongs in the search results – use logic. They can’t make value decisions. So you need to be crystal clear in telling Google what your web page is about. How? By using words logically in a prescribed way.

This should help you please Google

Here’s an example. Imagine you sell flowers in the UK.

  • you call your website uk-flower-delivery.co.uk
  • your About page is called uk-flower-delivery-about.htm
  • the page header is UK Flower delivery – About us
  • the first sub-header on the page is UK flower delivery – Beautiful blooms for special occasions
  • your body copy includes the phrase UK flower delivery often enough to make it completely clear what the page is about
  • the page meta data includes your key phrase to reinforce the message to search engines and searchers
  • your inbound link text to the page – the bit that actually turns into a live link – is UK flower delivery too

In a nutshell, scattering the key phrase ‘flower delivery’ throughout your page and further afield helps search engines identify what the page is about… namely UK flower delivery!

Obviously there’s more to it than that. Life’s never that simple. Your copy needs to persuade people to buy as well as pleasing search engines. You can’t just crowbar your key words in as if there’s no tomorrow. And there’s SEO-friendly formatting to think about. But knowing why words influence search engines is a good start. Carry the pattern with you as you venture deeper into DIY SEO and use it as your guiding light if things get confusing.