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Search engine optimization is no longer about gaming the system by stuffing loosely related (or completely unrelated) metadata keywords into a site’s header. Search algorithms are finely tuned to prioritize a site’s actual written content over almost all else.

What does this mean? It means that search engines are built to “read” a site as a human would. An outstanding model to follow for web content writing comes from elementary school.

The old “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them” structure you learned in fourth grade holds true.

The first paragraph of a page or article gives a summary of the entire piece. The body paragraphs contain the relevant information with examples, data, lists, and quotes/testimonials. The final paragraph is a conclusion on what has just been read.

And let’s not forget the importance of proper spelling and grammar; while Google may not care about good spelling, it helps to keep the “search spiders as humans” concept in mind. Would you trust the New York Times if it were full of spelling mistakes?

All too often the job of creating web content is left to web developers, sales managers, or even the secretary. Looking again at the Times, do the Editor in Chief, Ad Sales Manager, or receptionist have a hand in reporting? Or is the job of finely crafting news and editorial content up to the journalists who have expertise in not only their reporting field but also in writing about those topics?

Finally, remember peer reviews? Reading and commenting on other relevant blogs is a great way to not only promote your own site, but also get other folks reading and commenting on yours. Easy-to-understand content will help others in the process of vetting your information by commenting and linking to your site.

So it’s not just important to have great content; putting your site out there for review/comments is a great way to promote and get links.

If your company lacks the resources to hire content producers with an intimate knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style, at the very least you can remember your elementary school compositions and keep it short, simple, and relevant. You will undoubtedly find your site is rewarded with the A+ grade of increased search ranking.

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