Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Create Search Engine Friendly Web Site Copy

Search engines read text and not much else. Because they can't generally index graphics, search engines rely on the text in web sites to provide information about the site content, which they can compare with search queries.

Webmasters therefore need to use body text on any pages on the site that they want indexed by the search engines and ranked highly for matching search queries. Not graphical text that was created in design software, but actual, visible body text. Not sure if your site uses graphical or body text? A good rule of thumb that I learnt from search engine guru Danny Sullivan is to try and highlight the text with your mouse. If you can drag your mouse over individual words in the text when viewing it in a browser, chances are this is body text and the search engines can read it.

The most important page on which to use body text is the home page. Above is an example of a home page that uses graphical text instead of body text. Figure 1 shows what content the site visitors see, while Figure 2 shows the content a search engine sees and indexes.

How much information about a site’s content does a page like the one above provide a search engine? That’s right, very little. With next to no text to be found, the search engine would have to rely on the page’s Title and META Tags to tell it what the page is about. With such little information to go on, it is unlikely that a search engine would consider this page a relevant match for search queries relating to its content. To remedy this, it is widely recommended that each web page you want listed in search engines should contain at least 250 words of visible body text.


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