Tips on how to write for the web

First of all one must understand that writing for Internet is not the same as writing for a printed article.

This means that if we write something and we want this to be found by persons while looking through search engines such as Google, Yahoo or others, these texts must be optimized for the search engines (SE from now on).

To write an article, optimized for SE, is not the same thing as writing an article for a newspaper or a magazine, as in these cases they will be read directly by intelligent and thinking beings. But an article written for SE must be prepared taking into account that spiders (robots that read texts) cannot read images, nor understand funny, ironic or logical expressions, or others stuff that the reader will understand. In addition to this and what is most important the SE will display the page in a response to a search ONLY if they found it relevant for this search and this is why it should be written in a different manner, but always giving importance to those terms by which we want to be found.

I will frequently be using the words “keywords� and “keyphrases�, and this is why I will define them. Because each text has the objective of transmitting one or several ideas and these are summed up in a word or phrase; we will then use one or two phrases with their synonyms in the text. Bear in mind that for Internet it is recommended that each text has no more than two or three terms as an objective.

Keyword: Word or term for which the text was written, for example, in a text which refers to grapes, the keyword will be: “grape�.

Keyphrase: This is an important phrase for which the text was written, for example, a text prepared to sell an estate by the owner in Houston Texas will then have as a keyphrase: “Farm for sale in Houston Texas� and when it is written that phrase should be used as much as possible in the text.

Keywords and keyphrases shouldn’t be chosen simply by what the writer wishes to display, but mainly by what readers wish to find (this is especially valid if the objective is to sell something). To know what my potential customers want, what we (the SEO experts) do, is to use a tool that allows us to know what terms related with the subject of the article people use in their searches. There are many tools to find these keywords.

Once we know the terms potential customers use in their searches, then we may begin writing the article. Following is a list of important points to bear in mind when writing for Internet:

  1. Prepare a study on what terms people use to find information related to the subject you want to talk about.
  2. In the wording use the most popular keyphrases.
  3. Try to place the keywords or keyphrases as high as you can on the page, on the first title and as close as you can from the beginning of the first paragraph.
  4. Write your keyword or keyphrase in several parts of the text, particularly at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the text.
  5. In order for the text to be of importance to the SE, density in the keyword or keyphrase is necessary. A density of 7 to 1 is recommended, which means that for every 7 words, one is your keyword. This means that you could obtain a strange text, my suggestion is that you ignore it, but bearing in mind to use the keyword as many times as possible instead of synonyms.
  6. Try to put sentences in the exact order that people are searching for, especially on titles and first paragraph phrases. For example: If people are searching for “Epson Printers�, then try to use that mostly and in less quantity “printers brand Epson�.
  7. Do not only use these exact sentences, use synonyms or variations of the sentences, for example:Costa Rica surfing, surfing in Costa Rica, costa rica surfers, etc ... This will help the text to have a subject, but according to my observations, well-positioned pages have the exact term in the exact order written in the text. And keep in mind that real people will be ussing all kind of synonyms and misspells.
  8. Try to not use long paragraphs, break the long paragraphs into little paragraphs, it helps the readers.
  9. Use an inverted pyramid format, like many newspaper writers do. Start with your conclusion. Then progressively add less important information as you proceed down the page.
  10. Reduce your text –eliminate clutter– embrace simplicity. According to Jakob Nielsen, most online text should be 25-50% shorter than its printed counterpart.
  11. Make your text scannable. Once you’ve chunked your text, call your reader’s attention to important information. For example:
      We offer:
    • Exclusive properties
    • The dreamiest properties with spectacular ocean views
    • Possibly the best Farms for sale in Costa Rica
    • Gorgeous beachfront lots
    • Excellent investment opportunities
    • Beautiful homes unique to the Southern Zone

    Everything in one place.

  12. Use the keyword-keyphrase in titles and subtitles and in the HTML use the corresponding H1, H2…not only bigger text or Bold.
  13. Use meaningful subheadings
  14. Provide bulleted or numbered lists
  15. Use tables to organize information, but if you can use CSS instead of tables, you will have the same visual effect but most light code for SE
  16. Use bars and spaces to signal changes in topic
  17. Highlight keywords (try bold and colored text)
  18. Don’t go wild with color- people find black text on a pale background the easiest reading combination. But, that suggestion depends on who is your audience, maybe you need lots of colors and things, keep in mind who is your audience: younger people, eccentric people, older people, etc. If you feel you can use strange things, well, go ahead!

About the author
Rashid Herrera is the manager of Gallery Webs and has been working on web design for more than 10 years, using all the technologies such as php, asp, html, css, flash and has focused his work on creating websites that can be found, by applying search engine optimization techniques.

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5 Comments

Great tips and advice,

I highly agree that we need to show readers what they want.

FabZ of smallfishbigmoney .com

Thanks for that very good points for a beginner like me writing first few articles

It´s a pleasure, if you have any question don´t hesitate in post it.
thanks

Great tips on writting for the web. People do not realize that it is not what you want the reader to read, its how you want them to find you!

writing for internet si different also becaues thanks to the ability that internet gives to people about answering in real time, your message must be directed taking into account that situation, that your articles are prone to be discussed, while writing for publishing is more like a monologo or conference; wirting for interent would be more like having a direct conversation with the audience.