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SEO Writing Guidelines

Overview
The content on your website is the main communication medium between you and your audience. The bottom-line goal of a business website is to increase recognition and sales through online marketing. The content of your website plays a critical role in maximizing the marketing potential of your website. The main priority of site content is to inform your website users; however, it is also important to optimize content for search engines to increase search engine traffic and help to achieve business goals of recognition and sales.
Content Writing for Search Engines
Writing for search engines is primarily about knowing where keywords should be within your webpage content, how often they should be used, and what the upper and lower limits are to how much should be done. Before this is discussed, let’s define a few terms and concepts on keywords:
Keywords
• Primary Keyword – The focus word / topic that we are optimizing for to rank well within search engines (ex. “Poly phone”).
• Keyword phrase - A collection of keywords as a single line that we would optimize to rank for the phrase within search engines. These are usually more descriptive & can also be referred to as a “long tail” keywords (ex. “Poly phone compatible with Skype”). These terms typically have a lower search volume than primary keywords, however, can be a more significant for conversions as they are more specific.

Identifying the proper keywords to center your content around is integral to ensuring that your content has to ability to appear in search results for the proper term. Proper keyword research will allow you to focus your page on a specific subject to provide high quality content that has relevance on search engines and is informational to the reader.
Although it is not impossible to rank for multiple keyword phrases with one page, if there are multiple keyword groups that you want to target, you will need to create that are dedicatedly optimized for each specific subset of keywords.

Main Target Keyword Examples:
• Internet Marketing Company (Main)
• Internet Marketing Specialist
• Internet Marketing Agency
Long Tail Variation Examples using Adjectives and Modifiers:
• Best Internet Marketing Specialist
• Best Internet Marketing Company
• Best Internet Marketing Agency
• Internet Marketing Company in San Diego
• Internet Marketing Specialist in San Diego
• Internet Marketing Agency in San Diego
• Best Internet Marketing Specialist in San Diego
• Best Internet Marketing Company in San Diego
• Best Internet Marketing Agency in San Diego

Keyword Metrics
Keyword Count
Keyword count is the number of occurrences of a keyword on a page. While there is no specific number of times your keyword should appear on the page, it’s total should be looked at in relation to the total amount of content and should be dispersed throughout the page in a natural manner rather than keyword stuffing to hit a pre-determined count.
Keyword Density
Keyword density is the amount of target keyword divided by the total number of words. There is no magic keyword density number to target and is no longer a major ranking factor. Today, generally 5% and below would be a good keyword density to target. Going beyond 5% may raise red flags for suspected keyword spamming.
Keyword Prominence
Keyword prominence refers to the distance of the target keyword from the very beginning of the source content. The closer the target keywords are to the beginning of the page, the more relevance placed on the keywords. This rule does not only apply to the page, but also within individual HTML tags and parts of a page, such as in the HTML title tag, the meta tags, header tags, beginning of the main content, the first paragraph and so on.
Identifying the proper keywords to feature on your page begins with keyword research. For example, if we were to target “Poly phones” on the homepage, our group of keywords might be:

Since “Poly phones” shows the highest search volume we want to target that word in sequence (close proximity) but follow up with the most relevant modifiers. For that reason, optimizing for "best Poly phone" or “best conference phone” allows us to get the phrase that has high search volume (Poly phones) with a modifier that qualifies. For pages with a good depth of content (more than 2 paragraphs), try to use the most important variations in sequence as long as it still reads naturally.
Keyword Proximity
Keyword proximity is a term referring to the closeness of distance between two or more individual keywords forming the targeted keyword phrase. The closer keywords are in the target keyword order the better. Although as the longer a target keyword phrase gets with more words, the less keyword proximity becomes an important factor. In general, 3-word phrases and below, keyword proximity is important; for phrases 4 words and above, keyword proximity is less important.
When targeting several phrases, it would not make sense to have high keyword proximity for every phrase, because it would likely sound unnatural and too redundant for the users. This concept reinforces the idea of splitting up the optimization of keywords on different pages.
Example Keyword Prominence/Proximity
Looking for an expert Internet Marketing company in San Diego? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis egestas facilisis ornare. Mauris dui magna, volutpat et gravida et, auctor vitae erat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec ut erat ante, pretium vulputate arcu. The best in the industry, mauris egestas facilisis est non dictum. Suspendisse ac sem urna, nec lobortis enim. Integer gravida est eget dolor sodales ut convallis felis laoreet.
Aenean in lectus risus. Fusce pretium aliquam. Ut aliquam leo vitae nisi tempus mollis. In porttitor ligula vitae urna mollis posuere. Phasellus id odio ut our expert internet marketing specialist in our agency has worked with many of the largest firms in San Diego and the rest of the country. Sapien varius cursus. Ut nisl neque, cursus a congue a, molestie ac ligula. Maecenas nulla sem, imperdiet vitae hendrerit in, vulputate a nunc. Maecenas sed eleifend turpis. Suspendisse sit amet ornare lorem.
Note the following:
1. The main keyword: Internet Marketing Company, has a high keyword prominence. It is the main keyword, thus this is prioritized to be near the beginning.
2. Using the words expert and in San Diego, helps target long tail variations with a good keyword proximity because these keywords are near each other.
Other long tail phrases can still be targeted since longer phrases will place less importance on keyword proximity. Thus the modifier words such as best, specialist, expert, firm, agency are used within the main content to help rank for longer tail keywords, which is better than using all the exact phrases repeatedly within the main copy. This will sound redundantly unnatural to the human reader and may be flagged also by search engines as keyword stuffing/spamming.
SEO Writing Tips
The Title Tag
• Title tags are one of the most important on-page SEO elements.
• The primary target keyword should be near the beginning of the title tag for better keyword prominence.
• Search engines only display the first 65-70 characters of a title tag (depending on the engine). This is important not only for search engines, but also for your users that will be reading the search engine results. The titles should also be compelling enough to click on in order to have high click through rates.
• Although search engines only display about 65 characters of the title tag, you may go beyond this length for SEO purposes alone. Search engines can still read the keywords beyond the 65 character mark and it would be best to stay within 150 characters since this is the indexation limitation of Yahoo. Google and Bing can read beyond this limit, but to optimize for all 3 search engines, stay at 150 characters as the absolute maximum and only when necessary.
• Each word should be capitalized on the title element except for stop words (“and”, “or”, “of”, “to”, etc.)
Example Title Tags
A good default title tag format is: “Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name”
Example written title tag: “Conference Room Phones – Poly Trio 8500 | Poly, Inc.”
If the primary keyword is somewhat long, it is best to omit a secondary keyword.
The Meta Description Tag
Meta descriptions do not directly provide SEO value; however they are an important element of enhanced SEO functionality as they provide information to the user about the page and can drive calls to action.
In a search for the term "hd video conferencing" shown in the image below, you can see the meta description underneath the page link. When the words in the search query are in the meta description of a page, they become bolded to highlight the fact that they are referred to on that page. This indicates relevance to the user and contributes to a higher click through rate. For this reason, we also want to include the primary target keyword in the description.

It is best to include a natural sentence describing the product or the information contained on the page, and to finish with a call to action.
Meta descriptions have a limit similar to title tags. Generally, the limit for descriptions is approximately 156 characters, however, this can be affected by the number of pixels that the description occupies. This means that a 'W' would take up more of the limit than an 'i' for example, because of the space it takes.
Example Meta Description
Poly offers comprehensive HD video conferencing solutions including phones, cameras, & software. Contact us today to learn more.
Header Tags
Header tags are often the most visible tag elements on a page. They usually appear as the title in bold above any content and provide structure to the page for both search engines and readers. When creating the H1 header tag, the most important factor is to accurately title the page based on the content found on that page. If possible, it is ideal to include at least one primary keyword into this title/H1.
• Often, the main header tag is short, 2 to 4 words at the most within the HTML tag <h1>…</h1> (e.g. About Us, Contact Us, Our Products, etc.). If the current web design permits longer <h1> headings, feel free to do so. If longer <h1> tags are not allowed, you have the option of creating an immediate descriptive subheading right below the <h1> and use an <h2> tag.
• On the coding side, make sure that <h1>, <h2>, <h3>… and so on up to <h6> are used if needed and are not just decorated/colored and resized fonts. Make sure headings and subheadings maintain a hierarchical semantic structure, where the main heading is the <h1>. All next level subheadings will move on to the next level heading tag.
• The hierarchy should allow only one h1 tag, but you may have multiple h2, h3, h4.
• You should not use an h3 tag if you have not already indicated an h1 or h2 tag.
Example Header Tags:

H1: Video Conferencing
H2: Video Conferencing Equipment
Example H1 Tag Snapshot

URL Optimization
Duplicate content can arise from issues with the website’s URL structure. This type of duplicate content is most commonly found on very large dynamic websites as well as older websites. Essentially, duplicate content resulting from URL issues occurs when one page will have multiple URLs.
Example:
http://www.example.com/
http://www.example.com/home.html
http://example.com/
http://example.com/home.html
In the example above, all URLs can be used to access the homepage. While the page may look the same to users, search engines view each separate URL as its own webpage. Google and other major search engines will treat even minor changes, such as capitalizing a letter, as an entire separate page.

Content Writing for Your Readers
While it is important to optimize your content to be properly read by search engines, similar focus should be placed on catering to the reader as well. Content that is written strictly with search engines in mind can appear stiff or unnatural and actually lead to worse performance overall.
Web Copywriting Best Practices
The Title Tag
The title tag is a special HTML tag read by web browsers. The contents of this tag are placed on the application’s title bar. Depending on the setup of your website, some content management systems (CMS) may or may not give you the freedom to edit the title tag when you update content on your website.
A title tag, being in the application’s title bar, has a somewhat limited space. Titles can be a short phrase or sentence, but it is critical to write them so that they will be compelling and will entice readers to be interested. Users often don’t pay attention to the text on the browser title bar, but the contents of the title tag are the primary one used by search engines and will be the title of the link as it appears in search engine results.
Title from Google Example:

Headings & Subheadings
The use of headings and subheadings help users by providing them with a good outline of what the whole page is all about. These headings should standout compared to the rest of the text, usually having a larger font size, and/or different color.

Bullets & Numbering
When applicable, bullets and numbering serve a similar purpose to headings and subheadings. Bullets and numbering segregate content into smaller chunks and outline what the whole page is about.
Imagery & Necessary Captions
Seeing a large amount of text of a page and nothing else may appear intimidating to the reader and may push people away when they see a large block of text. Headings and Subheadings, Bullets and Numbering do a good job breaking this monotony, but images can provide a benefit when placed with text copy. Images also give the user visual breaks to rest their eyes when reading long bodies of text. Just make sure the images used are relevant and have corresponding relevant text captions or image descriptions. This helps both users and search engines in understanding what an image is all about.

Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines
PDF files’ unique & high-quality content can be useful to users. While PDF’s they do not share the same characteristics as an HTML page, they can be optimized for search engines and can offer a good amount of potential in helping a site’s rankings.
When optimizing a PDF, ensure that the following fields are filled out in the document properties:
• Title - Used as meta title for document in search results.
• Subject/Description - This will be used as the meta description for the document. If no subject / description is provided, text from the document will be shown in the search results.
• Author – Depending on the purpose of the document, this can be attributed to the actual author of the document, or the company itself.
Depending on the program you are using to edit the document, these properties can be found in the settings:
• Adobe Acrobat - File > Document Properties > Description
• Word - Word > View > Properties > Advanced Properties > Summary
Keyword Optimized Titles
Approach the PDF document's title as you would approach the title tag of any other page. This title will be displayed on the SERP. You have 64 characters including spaces, followed by the | Poly, just as you do with a regular title tag. If there is no title specified for the document, search engines may choose to use the name of the file in its place.
Choosing the File Name
When converting a text document to the universally transportable PDF format, it is easy to save the file name as whatever was automatically generated. However, this can significantly impact its SEO value. Since it is not an actual webpage, certain factors, such as URL can be affected.
PDF files that will be displayed on the website in some form should be optimized to deliver traffic. The files should be named appropriately before being loaded onto a site. Instead of using internal naming conventions, (ex. “8500 specs_FINAL_August 2018.pdf”) it is best to use a keyword in the name of the file and, if possible, with dashes in between words to signify spaces:
Example PDF File Name
Poly-trio-8500-conference-phone-specifications.pdf
Informative Concise Descriptions
The Subject/Description field in a PDF document is equivalent to the meta description in any other page. This will be displayed in SERPs beneath the Title. You have 156 characters, just as you do with a meta description. Restate the Title in a reader friendly way, and then add in a CTA that entices a user to click on the document/page.
Content Formatting
• When using technical terms or acronyms, ensure that the full term is used at least once in the first instance on the page. (ex. “Skype for Business” & “SfB”). While these acronyms may be common terminology within your industry, it is important to ensure that the full keyword appears on the page to match a user search.
• The guidelines for using headers to structure the document applies to documents the same as pages. If possible, ensure that the primary keywords are used in the H1 followed by supporting headers throughout the document.
Link to PDF Document Internally
• PDFs often end up as orphaned pages (pages that cannot be found through a link on a website) because they serve such specific purposes (manuals, documentation, reports, etc.)
• It is important to link to them from other relevant pages on the site such as product or support pages
• This has a direct impact on their SEO potential. It sends search engines the signs they need to recognize that these are pieces of content that you want to have indexed and ranked
• Make sure to also use optimized anchor text that points to the PDF, which should include your target keyword
Link Out to Relevant Content
• Link to other relevant content on your site where possible
• This will help the search engines view your PDF as important content for your site
• When useful, it is fine to link to relevant third-party content as well

Internal Linking
Proper internal linking is important for search engine optimization and can help improve search engine visibility. Google and other major search engines rely on internal links to navigate throughout the website and access all webpages. Effective linking can also be used to improve rankings for targeted keywords. Major search engines count on the internal links of a website to assess how important a page is. A webpage linked to from the homepage or another popular page can get a “boost” in rankings whereas a webpage buried deep within the website will likely have poor keyword rankings.
Strategic Internal Linking
Internal links are a great way to bring users and search engines to deeper pages that may have lower visibility. When writing content it’s beneficial to link to relevant articles or pages that are related to the article topic. This can enhance the user’s experience on the website while also improving the search engine rankings for deeper pages that may not be easily discovered. Google’s site search operator can be used to easily find internal link opportunities that are relevant to the content topic. Simply append “site:domain.com” to the relevant keyword to have Google only return search results within the specified domain.
Example Query: “video conferencing site:Poly.com”

Types of Links
There are essentially two types of links that can be created.
1. Textual Link
2. Image Links
Textual Links
Textual links are the most common links and appear as a hyperlinked keyword phrase.
Example:
Internet Marketing Inc.
The specific hyperlinked keyword phrase is also known as the “anchor text” and is used to by search engines to understand what the linked to page is about. It’s for this reason that the anchor text for links should describe the linked to page. It’s best to avoid generic anchor text such as “click here” or “this link.” Descriptive anchor text can also help improve the rankings for the linked to page assuming the anchor text is relevant. For example, a link to http://www.Poly.com/hd-video-conferencing.html with the anchor text “HD video conferencing” could potentially improve the likelihood that the page ranks for “video conferencing”. It’s also important to ensure that the anchor text of any link is relevant to both users and search engines.

Over optimization for exact phrase keywords can incur search engine penalties. Don’t work too hard to fit the exact phrase you are targeting into the link. Also, including the brand name along with the keyword can reduce the risk of penalty. Generally speaking, internal links are usually under optimized and not over optimized.

Final Overview
There are a variety of additional factors that contribute to ranking pages and documents well in search engines. These guidelines will provide a proper foundation to your content and allow further optimizations in the future to improve traffic to Poly.com. To recap, consider these focus areas to properly optimize pages and documents for both search engines & readers:
• Concise topic & target keywords for the page or document
• Implement page titles & page descriptions with target keywords & calls to action
• Proper content structure through headers (H1, H2, etc.)
• Strategic internal & external linking to & from page or document.