Tips and Tools for Optimized Web Writing

Optimized web writing requires preparation work and a writing style that is adapted to the web. This will increase your pages' visibility in search engines and make it easier for site visitors to use your content. Here are some tips and tools to help improve your web writing skills.

1. Preparation

Use the following tools to optimize website content:

  • Use Google Insights to help you choose the key phrases that will be optimized.
  • Use web analysis software or install Google Analytics to find the key words and phrases that send visitors to your website.
  • Refer to your organization’s style guide.
  • Check the readability of your text by using Juicystudio (for English texts) or Antidote (for French texts).

2. Get started

Determine the purpose of the content.

Why are you writing this document and its associated web pages?

Determine the audience.

Who are the intended readers of this document and its associated web pages?

Make an initial plan.

Make an outline that lays out the structure of the document: state the overall topic, decide what information to include, identify the main ideas (themes) and secondary ideas.

Choose key phrases.

Choose unique key phrases for all web pages in your document using your initial plan. Find synonyms and other variants, and then validate them with Google Insights.

Make a final plan of the content.

Based on the user search results from Google Insights, modify your web pages’ key phrases to make sure they can be found easily.

Create a title [<Title> element] for each web page in the document.

For each key phrase, write a title of fewer than 60 characters that summarizes the web page in question.

From the title, create the page header [<H1> element].

The header [<H1> element] and the title of the page [<Title> element] should be identical where possible, or else very similar (80%).

Write a description for each web page.

The description should summarize the content of the page in a few words. This summary tag is called <meta name=”description”>.

Insert the key phrase strategically in the web page.

The key phrase can be inserted in: the URL (filename), the Title element (first 60 characters), the header (<H1>), the first sentence of the first paragraph, the image directory name, the image file name, the image title, the image alt text, the image caption, sub-headers (<H2>, <H3>, etc.), metadata, attributes, or contextual hyperlinks on pages that point to the page you are optimizing.

3. Checklist

Does my web page meet the following criteria?

  • Written with my key audience and objectives in mind
  • Optimized for key phrases
  • Communicates the message in the header and sub-headers; is easy to understand and scan visually; uses a journalistic style
  • Is 250 to 500 words long
  • Contains short paragraphs, no longer than 100 words each
  • Contains short sentences, no longer than 17 words each
  • Uses simple words (three or fewer syllables)
  • Uses the active voice
  • Has a high readability level according to Juicystudio and/or Antidote.

Did You Know…?

Optimized web writing will:

  • greatly improve your site's search engine ranking;
  • help you target your audience more effectively;
  • improve the visitor experience, because they will be able to understand the web page’s key message more quickly;
  • require the creation of a style guide so that your contributors can provide high-quality text; and
  • above all, focus on the human user over search engines.

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