Best Practices _ Writing For High Rank on Google Search

Best Practices _ Writing For High Rank on Google Search

shutterstock_196838036In today’s digitally dominated environment, establishing an online presence benefits both blue-chip companies, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike. A study published by the National Retail Federation reported that the most effective way for gaining new customers in 2014 was through search engines. The effectiveness of search engine doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of diminishing. Online audiences are increasingly reliant on search engine to make it easier for them to find what they are looking for in an information overloaded ‘wild, wild web’.

According to Net Market Share, Google Search ranks as the leading search engine in the world. In 2015 Google accounted for 93% of the search engine market share in South Africa. It is imperative that brands understand how to write for search engines (specifically Google) if they are going to stay ahead of the proverbial pack and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive search marketing arena.

Online copy

Writing for digital is not like writing for traditional media. The volume of information on the internet is vast, making the digital realm a lot more competitive. The quality of content is thus more important. You have to compete with others to ensure that your message is received by your target audience. Writing for online is a skilful act of ‘juggling many balls’ – trying to meet numerous objectives at the same time. Online copy must deliver useful information to visitors, keep them engaged, sway them to take desired actions, whilst communicating the brand ethos.

Writing for online

Step 1: Know your audience

In writing for digital, you should research your audience. Understanding your audience and what they want and expect is essential in guiding you to develop your content strategy, determining what topics to focus on and how to organise information in a way that makes sense.

Step 2: Communicate effectively

The reason we have content is to communicate something. Regardless of whether you decide that the best format to communicate with your specific identified audience is long or short copy, your message should be effectively communicated – should not only be received but should be understood.

Step 3: Consider HTML formatting

When writing for digital, it is important to consider the use of basic HyperText Markup Language (HTML) – the foundation of documents on the internet. It should be easy for a reader to skim and skip the copy as they please, thus the importance of HTML in the layout of the copy. Basic HTML is not difficult to grasp and some basic tags include:

<b> to make letter bold;

<u> to underline and;

<a href= “page url”> for inserting links.

HTML tags are also used by search engines to recognise the layout on of content on the page.

Get to grips with SEO

The reason for search engines to exists is to help audiences find what they are looking for. To guarantee that they list the best results (most relevant to the searcher) at the top of a page, they consider signals of: Page popularity; authority; search relevance; trust; and importance.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves optimising a website to appear as high as possible on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Sometimes referred to as organic/ natural optimisation, SEO involves optimising websites to achieve ideal rankings on search engines for identified key phrases.  In determining relevance and ranking for a webpage, Google uses over 200 different factors in their algorithm. One of the more popular algorithms they rely on is PageRank. It is used to determine the order of webpages appearing on the search engine results page (SERP). To get an estimate of a website’s importance, the algorithm counts the number and quality of links on the webpage.

SEO can be a very effective way to generate new business for your website. Augmenting your copy so that search engines can understand it is imported because the audience you are targeting will most probably use a search engine to search for services and products you may be offering. Keywords and phrases are key in optimising your content for search – informing Google which content you are publishing.

Optimise for Google and expand brand reach

When writing for Google (or any search engine), a major difference with writing for print is that you are not only writing for a human audience only but also the search engine itself. Your primary focus should be writing for an audience but you should always keep in mind that the copy you create speaks the search engine’s language. Key phrases are effective for both long and short copy online. It is vital that you have a comprehensive understanding of SEO and ways to integrate this into your copy.

  • Design a more user friendly website

All technical barriers must be removed to ensure easy accessibility to your content.


  • Compile a list of well researched key phrases

When researching your key phrases, there are four main factors to consider in choosing your key phrases:

o   What is the search volume for the phrase for users looking for what they want?

o   How many of your competitors are using that phrase to target audiences?

o   For each prospect attracted by the keyword, what average value do they have?

o   What is the propensity that the user using that key phrase with go on to your site?


  • Create relevant content aimed at targeting identified key phrases

The content you create for your website should target your selected key phrases and be relevant to your target audience.


  • Gain popularity for your links

Links are very good means of authenticating the relevance of your website and signalling that it is important for search engine spiders to find it. When another website links to your page, they are casting a vote to vouch for your webpage. This once again highlights the importance of ensuring that you have valuable content on your site.


  • Build brand awareness from user insights

Search engine promote sites that are relevant and provide value for audiences. In optimising your site for search engines, you need to ensure that:

o   It has valuable content that ‘naturally attracts’ visitors and links;

o   It is able to retain users and have them return;

o   It is able to convert users.

The two major strategies involved in SEO

  1. On-page optimisation – aims to make a website more accessible for search engines, and extensions (ensuring users find it easier) through changing the HTML code, structure and content of the site.
  2. Off-page optimisation – aims to build links to the website, focusing on activities like social media and digital PR.

Search marketing has firmly established its role and influence in promoting a business and its product/service offering. It has the potential to significantly impact your brand equity. Ensuring that your website is optimised for search engine is an investment that could see your brand reach new heights on the web – a dominion of infinite opportunities for marketing.

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