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Monday, June 20, 2011

Where on-page SEO and essay writing practices coincide


Casting my mind back to (well) over a decade ago, I still remember being taught some principles of short essay writing:
  • The title should reflect the primary topic.
  • As with well-formed markup language (HTML, XML), the opening and closing sentences should summarize the topic, assertion or opinion. 
  • Each of the middle paragraphs should cover interrelated ideas that expound upon the main topic, and be ordered logically, building upon the prior paragraph.
  • Boldface and italics can emphasize important points, though they should be used sparingly.
In looking at Google's algorithm for keyword density and prominence factors, we see that they seem to expect these exact best practices in every web page in order to determine what the topic is for said page:
  • The <title> and <h1> tags should contain the primary keyword - the prominence is also dependent upon overall length of the text strings, and the position in which it occurs.
  • The keyword should occur in the first and closing sections of the main body of text.
  • Secondary and tertiary keywords should occur in the <h2>-<h6> headers, as well as interspersed through the text.
  • Text that are in <b>, <em> and <i> tags, as well as anchor text are considered more heavily than plain text.
Learning about the latter criteria was, therefore, eerily familiar, and intuitively clear. Sound writing practices would, in fact, "organically" align with these SEO-related checkpoints. I found this encouraging.

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.