Good day and welcome to the third part of our article in which we assess the content that should be included in a website in order to optimise it for success.

As the heading suggests we will be looking at the written content that all business owners should include in their websites.

If all the content on a website is evaluated and prioritised in the order of their importance I am sure that written content will top most evaluators’ lists. Written content is the foundation of most websites and also the most reliable content for search engine spiders to establish whether a particular website is offering valuable content to possible visitors. As mentioned in almost all my articles, search engines rank websites according to the value it will add to visitors.

With the above in mind we can consider what type of written content we can add to our website and what value it will potentially hold for visitors to a website.

1) Articles:

Articles need no introduction. We see it in newspapers and magazines, both in printed and electronic media. We also see it in blogs. As you will agree, articles are almost always used to inform people of something. It therefore goes without saying that a website can benefit tremendously from publishing informative articles.

With this in mind, all business owners should consider having a blog on their websites in order to keep their customers and visitors continuously informed in respect of new products, sales, developments etc. By publishing articles regularly your brand is being promoted and your services/products advertised without the high advertising costs usually attached to it.

2) Tutorials/explanations:

Sometimes your product or service is of a very technical nature that warrants proper explanations or even tutorials. Although many tutorials should be made in a video or image format there are still many reasons why written tutorials are needed. Principles or theory, for example cannot be explained in any other manner than in written format. Although this can be done in the format of a blog as explained above, this can also be included directly as part of your static website.

Once again, written tutorials/explanations will lead to higher search engine rankings.

3) Headings:

I can already hear you asking why a heading would matter.

Let’s have a look! All written content as with any other website content is placed there using the HTML5 (Hyper Text Markup Language) (version5) coding language. HTML5 allows web designers to add written text in an article and section on the webpage. As we will all agree any article or even a section will have to have a heading to make semantic sense to a reader.

HTML5 allows for 6 different heading sizes to be used. They are created by using the codes

<h1> through <h6> These codes may be used as follow:

<h1>Main Heading

<h2>Secondary Heading 1

<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 1

<h2>Secondary Heading 2

<h3>Sub-section of the secondary heading 2

As you can imagine, a search engine will pay more attention to a <h1>heading as opposed to a <h3> or <h5>. Search engines have become more and more specialised and it is therefore important to allow the search engine spider to grasp the main topics of a long post. It therefore establishes the relevance of the content of the article. Heading should however not be used to manipulate search engine optimisation as this will easily be picked up by a search engine resulting in your website being penalised. I think I should write a full article on the proper use of headings from a SEO perspective as there is simply not enough room for an elaborate discussion within this article.

4) Descriptions:

I know this heading may raise a few eyebrows but it is actually worth mentioning. Why? Because of its SEO value!

For the purpose of this article I am going to keep to three uses of descriptions on webpages.

The first use is for meta descriptions. A meta description is a snippet of information that is displayed below the link of a search result e.g. in Google. See illustration below.

meta

This meta description is carefully constructed and built into the header tag of your webpage using HTML5 coding. Information in your header tag is not displayed in the browser window and is therefore not visible to the visitor on your website. Normally meta descriptions will be using action-orientated language, provide a solution or benefit, kept short and not aimed at deceiving searchers.

The second use is for descriptive page titles. This is not to be confused with meta descriptions as above, or with an article title. Every web page has a title. You will be familiar with pages titled Home, About, Contact us etc. Instead of just giving the homepage the title “Home” It can be titled “Home | The house of creativity” if you are a creative artist. This description is also added to the header part of your website and is displayed right at the top of the browser as per the below example.

title

The third most general use is to use image descriptions. As you will imagine a search engine cannot understand the content of an image and can therefore not give it a ranking. For example, if a student is searching for images of an artefact found during an excavation of some sort, Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines will not be able to make it available as a search result.

For this reason web designers make use of two different approaches to assist search engines in understanding the content of an image. First a caption can be used to describe the image and secondly HTML5 coding can be used to give an image a title when it is placed on the website.

We have barely touched on the use of written content on a website. It is however not our intention to write a complete textbook here. If this article managed to share some insight into what happens between the web designer/developer and your website and how it may assist your webpage’s search engine rankings we have achieved our goal.

Thanks for reading and as always, you are welcome to leave a message, comment or ask a question.

®WebScripto, a Pretoria based Web Design Company.

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