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.
- 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.