Search engine optimization (SEO) is a common theme of website-redesign projects these days. Many RFPs dedicate an entire section to the topic, which can be quite confusing to those who do not completely understand it.
Let's walk through a few steps to understanding and approaching SEO... The major work needs to be done by the owners of your website's content, and your search rankings depend on your adhering to a few well-established rules.
Keyword Management and Content
In a world where content is king, keywords are the power behind the throne. A basic rule of thumb to follow is this: No more than two keywords per page, and no more than three pages per keyword. Confused? Let me explain.
First, a keyword is not necessarily a "word." It can be several words that appear together and are subject-based, such as these: "Record of the English Language," "Online Dictionary," or, simply, "OED."
Second, use your keyword, in context, within the text of your page. Write for the reader, not some unknown bot, and focus on that keyword within the content. Yes: repeat the keyword, in context, throughout the text. No, don't simply repeat the keyword over and over again. Bots are made and programmed by engineers at places like Google—you're not going to outsmart them, so don't even try.
Third, build your list of keywords, and develop pages around them. Always think about the Long Tail and remember not to forget about less popular and slightly obscure keywords.
A note on content: Write your page content for the people who are reading it. Your content should...
- Be roughly 500 to 1,500 words
- Include images, titles, and well-structured paragraphs
- Be relevant to the keywords
- Include links to other pages within your site, or to other sites