It’s well-known these days that context, relevancy and a clear copy theme are vital for SEO. In short, the more you stick to a topic the more likely it is that a search engine will judge the page to be about that particular subject and rank it accordingly. However, good copywriting alone isn’t enough to achieve positive positions on search engines. This takes a combination of quality copy that is refreshed regularly, a website that fulfils the technical fundamentals and a consistent off-page campaign of backlinking, social media and marketing.
While it’s not really the job of the copywriter to cover any technical features of a website, there are certain elements that should definitely be incorporated into your writing if it’s going to have any realistic search impact.
In this article we’re looking at a couple of these simple on-page SEO considerations – page titles and H1 tags – which when tied in closely with your copy can produce a potent response on search engines.
Page titles, as the name suggests, are the titles that appear in the header bar of the browser. In their most basic form they should identify the content on the webpage they represent, but they offer an opportunity to do much more than that. Carefully using keywords in the page title helps search engines clearly identify the topic, and when you repeat those keywords in your copy the clarity is strengthened even further.
The right way to write page titles;
- Use short, succinct titles that contain one or two relevant keywords
- Make them specific and individual to the page they represent
- Use the keywords early in the title, in the first or second words – these are given priority when the page is indexed
The wrong way to write page titles;
- Using long, keyword-stuffed titles
- Using the same page title for multiple pages
- Using generic, unhelpful words such as “Home”, “Contact Us”
H1 tags, or headline tags, are the text-based headings that appear above the body copy on a webpage. These seemingly innocuous lines are judged by search engine robots to represent a definitive indicator to the content and theme of a webpage, therefore they should demand your attention when writing copy.
The best practice for writing H1s is largely the same as page titles, in that they should be kept highly on-topic, use one or two pertinent keywords and offer a seamless lead-in to the content on that particular page. Again, taking the keyword inclusion approach too far will likely have a negative effect.
So, next time you’re on an SEO copywriting job make sure you take the time to consider page titles and H1 tags – they might just make sure that people will actually end up reading all that great copy you’ve written.
The red herrings – meta keywords and meta descriptions
Two of the most misunderstood technical elements for on-page SEO are meta keywords and meta descriptions. These are the terms that are usually spouted by people who first heard about SEO earlier that day and want to come across as informed.
First off, meta keywords are simply a legacy from the early days and don’t play any part whatsoever in the search ranking of a website. Imagine the state of search results if you could rank by simply loading a stack of terms into the meta keyword tag? It would kill the search experience.
Secondly, meta descriptions are also irrelevant to the technical ranking of a website. They do however play a subtle and important role in the overall process of attracting visitors to a website. Meta descriptions are the snippets of text that usually appear underneath a link result on a search engine. So, if you’ve got some particularly snappy and persuasive copy in there you might just encourage a click. That’s why meta descriptions should always be considered to some degree. Just don’t expect them to affect your ranking positions – because they won’t.