Writing for Search Engines

Creating search engine friendly web pages goes far beyond tweaking codes -- it's a delicate balancing act between pleasing the search engine and the people who will ultimately read (and act) on your content.

All too often I've seen aspiring webmasters obsess over meta tags, keyword density, and the other arcana that's supposedly important for successful search engine optimization. While there's no denying that a certain amount of basic "blocking and tackling" helps improve search engine rankings, ultimately it's the quality of content that counts.

In short, content that pleases search engine users, and fulfils and information need or prompts them to purchase something, is good. Content that's highly optimized for search engine algorithms, but fails to satisfy search engine users, is virtually doomed to a fate of obscurity.

So how do you write good content for search engines? Unfortunately, there's no magic formula. But there are some excellent online resouces that can help you learn to be a better online content writer.

Start with Nick Usborne's "Writing Online" column at ClickZ. While Nick doesn't specifically focus on writing for search engines, he does focus on effectively communicating in an online medium. Following his advice will help you sharpen your messages and improve your "search friendly" quotient.

Then take a look at the work of two acknowledged search engine writing gurus: Jill Whalen and Heather Lloyd-Martin. Jill and Heather originally worked as a team, publishing the Rank Write newsletter. Though they're both on to new, independent ventures, the Rank Write archives still offer a treasure trove of advice for search engine writing.

Jill's new endeavor is a newsletter called the High Rankings Advisor. She still frequently writes about writing, but also touches on a wide array of other search engine optimization issues.

Heather is also publishing a newsletter, co-authored with I-Search moderator Detlev Johnson. Like the High Rankings Advisor, TagLine covers both writing for search engines and broader search engine optimization issues.

Heather has also made a chapter from her upcoming book, "Successful Search Engine Copywriting" available for free viewing. The chapter, called "Writing for Spidering Search Engines," is packed with practical advice and examples drawn from successful search engine optimization efforts. It's an excellent read, and a good indicator that the entire book will be a must-read once it becomes available.

Effective writing for search engines can seem like a challenging, frustrating task, but it'll become a lot easier if you heed the advice of the excellent advice offered by the sources below.

Writing Online
ClickZ's MVP writer Nick Usborne talks about the all-important topic of writing for the Web. In this biweekly column, Nick makes a case for giving "words online" a great deal more attention and respect than they've received to date.

Rank Write
The Rank Write Roundtable is a search engine optimization and copywriting Web site that features expert advice about successful copywriting for the search engines.

High Rankings Advisor
The High Rankings Advisor is Jill Whalen's free, weekly email newsletter discussing the latest news and information in the world of search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

Written by I-Search moderator Detlev Johnson, and Heather Lloyd-Martin, TagLine features SEO case studies, resources and search engine news.

Writing For Spidering Search Engines
Heather Lloyd-Martin's guide provides you with an in-depth look into search engine copywriting techniques and strategy, and is written for marketers, by a marketer.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Tech latest
Amazon delivers web services to the masses/.
CW360.com Mar 13 2003 2:08PM GMT
Online access news
ABC News Targets Broadband Subscribers/.
SiliconValley.Internet.com Mar 13 2003 11:41AM GMT
Online search engines news
Promotion Tip: Search Engine Power Pack Case Study/.
Net Mechanic Mar 13 2003 9:46AM GMT
Atomica Unveils GuruNet 4.0/.
EContent Mar 13 2003 5:04AM GMT
Americans check out each other with Internet search/.
Taipei Times Online Mar 13 2003 0:36AM GMT
Getting Started in Search Engine Optimization/.
Search Engine Guide Mar 12 2003 5:38PM GMT
Disney Shops Its Infoseek Search Assets/.
SiliconValley.Internet.com Mar 12 2003 1:28PM GMT
Online portals news
Yahoo's original investor leaves board/.
SiliconValley.com Mar 12 2003 12:02PM GMT
Online search engines news
Search Engines' Influence on Shopping/.
BizReport.com Mar 12 2003 9:54AM GMT
Google completes search for European HQ/.
The Times Mar 12 2003 9:11AM GMT
XML and metadata news
Native XML databases resolve XML document retrieval issues/.
CNET Mar 12 2003 7:17AM GMT
Online search engines news
Searching for Just Google Ads/.
Research Buzz Mar 12 2003 1:09AM GMT
Top internet stories
Internet 2 works to reinvent the Web/.
CNN Mar 11 2003 3:20PM GMT
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