The term “SEO-text” or a text that is "search engine optimized" will probably evoke an image of an unappealing text, stuffed with many keywords. In this context you can also speak of "keyword stuffing", which was a common practice in the 90s. A text may have looked like this back then:
"A goldfish is an ornamental fish that is kept in a goldfish bowl. Nevertheless, a goldfish bowl is not an optimal habitat for a goldfish. What should be considered when keeping a goldfish can be read in various goldfish experts' forums. A goldfish has a high urge to move, therefore you should inform yourself about how to take care of a goldfish beforehand".
Google shows us that this type of content is now a thing of the past and is being rated by search engines as a spam measure. Meaning that such a text or the corresponding page is devalued by Google. The consequences are worse ranking or even exclusion from the Google index.
Principally texts should be written for the reader and the reader should be able to derive added value from the content. But how do you write "good" SEO content that is relevant for the target group, makes writing fun for the editor and is found and ranked by Google? At this point we have collected 5 tips to help you get started:
1. Define the target group
First of all, it should be determined for whom the text is actually intended, whose "problem" the content should solve, what the reader's intention is and in which "funnel stage" he or she is. Personas with corresponding user journeys can provide a point of orientation.
2. Create unique content
A unique text is not only crucial for a "good" SEO text. Unique content should always be created because the question must be asked why a user should read the thousandth content on a certain topic. Of course, this includes not copying text from other pages. Google recognizes this and does not place a copy of a text in a ranking position in the SERPs.
3. Use keywords correctly
A search engine optimized text without keywords is no SEO text, that's for sure, so the focus keywords should be included in the content. However, it is crucial where they are placed in the text.
Where should the keywords be placed in a text?
Since headings are an important part of a search engine optimized text (see also 4. Structure) the keywords should also be integrated at this point. Especially the main heading (H1) is a central element in this context. This can be compared to a book title and should therefore only be used once and, if possible, contain the main keyword. The subheadings (H2, H3 etc.) should also cover all aspects of the page's topic.
Keywords, synonyms and terms related to the keywords should also appear in the text, but not obsessively or too often. Always remember that the text is written primarily for the user. A useful tool to find synonyms and terms for the keywords can be a WDF*IDF tool like termlabs.io (at the moment just for the German market available). An example on the topic of goldfish (in German) is shown below. This allows you to analyze whether all relevant interests have been considered for the search query Goldfish.
Furthermore, images can help the content to rank better. The so-called alt-tags should be provided with the most important keywords, but keep in mind here as well: no "keyword stuffing". A description of the actual image content should be given. The recommended length for alt-tags is 2-6 words. Image captions and file names can also be provided with keywords. Alt-tags are important for screen readers, so the images should be named sensibly in this context as well.
Then there are the so-called link texts or "anchor texts" which link to other subpages and topics of the website or to external pages. Keywords can be used here as well. A concise choice of words is recommended, i.e. "Tips for goldfish keeping can be found here" (link to here) should be avoided. It would be better to link "Tips for goldfish keeping", i.e. to use a keyword or synonym.
The SEO-optimization of a page naturally also includes the topic snippet optimization, i.e. the adjustment of meta tags such as title-tag or meta description. These are visible to the user in the search results.
What to keep in mind when creating a title tag:
- should not be longer than 60 characters, longer ones are cut (for mobile and web)
- contain important keywords in a sentence, with the main keyword in the first place
- do not contain spelling mistakes or word repetitions
- do not separate words with a hyphen, better with a pipe "I". This allows the title to be prominently displayed
A tool for the correct length of the title tag determination is offered by Sisitrix with the free SERP Snippet Generator. The title-tag summarizes the content of a page and is unique like the H1. If no title-tag is defined, Google will look for any text from the content, e.g. from a subline. So you should always check if the title-tag really matches the content of the page. Google may also exclude a predefined title-tag that does not match the page content.
For the Meta-Tag Description there are more characters available, maximum 150 -160, but Sistrix also offers a good tool for this with the SERP Snippet Generator. Even if the meta tags do not represent an immediate ranking factor, the content should still contain the most important keywords and encourage users to click on the website. At this point, communication of advantages or even calls for action are useful. The same applies to the meta tags as to the title-tags. If none are defined, Google will extract them from the page content.
Important points for meta tag optimization:
- maximum 150-160 characters long (mobile 120)
- comprehensible description of the page content
- integrate important keywords
- own meta tags for each page
- use of special characters if necessary
For any kind of content it is important to structure it, but content on a website should be much more structured and divided into short, easy to read paragraphs (content bites/pieces).
The important thing is to ensure a pleasant reading flow for the reader and not to create endless text. The headline structure should therefore be logical. The main heading is called <H1> in this context, there is only one of them. This is followed by <H2>, <H3> to <H6>.
At the end of last year there were discussions about the use of the H1 headline in the SEO world, when John Müller (SEO specialist of Google) said on a Google webmaster hangout that a website can do without an H1 tag, or whether one H1 tag or five H1 tags are used is irrelevant. This is probably due to the fact that Google does not need H1 headlines to classify a web page. This can also be seen in Google's search results.
These are lot’s of websites that don't contain H1 headlines or use them for styling purposes (a misuse of the heading tag!).
In the end we agree with the majority of the discussions: In general, a text should be structured with headings, because these help to convey to the user what a web page is about and visually help to dissolve a discouraging text page and make it easier to read. And that includes using the H1 headline.
As mentioned above, in some rare cases - for example, when Google can't find the title-tag - Google may choose to extract a title from another element of the page. Often this can be an H1-element. In other words, you should make it easy for Google, screen readers and other machines or people reading the content to recognize the main title.
5. The right length of a SEO text
There is no "right" length for a SEO text. It always depends on the search query and intention. Information-driven searches often require a longer text than, for example, transaction-driven searches. In general, all questions around the search query should be answered - i.e. a text should be as long as necessary, but as short as possible. Quality before quantity. As a guideline for a “right” text length of a text you can also look who ranks on Google on the first page on the first position and use this text length as an orientation. Keep in mind that your text has to be better :)
To sum up, it can be said that content is still primarily created for the user, authenticity is required and all questions relevant to the user's decision and purchase should be answered. If the above tips are followed, a good SEO text will automatically be written. It is no rocket science! :)