Article writers know the importance of keywords in helping to get their work near the top of a search engine’s ranking, but formatting also plays a key part in SEO – that’s where the O in Search Engine Optimization comes in. When crawling content on the internet, search engines will pick up on techniques used to format the words on a page that give them more emphasis than straight text.
How words are displayed on a page make a difference in the way the search engines read them, not unlike the eyes of your readers. If you want to make sure your audience doesn’t miss certain points in your print article, you might use bold or italics to make them stand out. Search engines need to know what’s important too, so make it clear by using basic html tags to emphasize keywords and phrases.
Fortunately, some of the natural formatting we apply to make our pages easier for the human eye to process, are also techniques utilized in SEO.
Breaking Up Isn’t Hard to Do
Run-on sentences and long paragraphs are difficult to follow. Make it easier for your audience to comprehend what they’re reading by giving them a break between major points in your text. The Yahoo! Style Guide suggests paragraph titles as being useful to tell your audience what to expect next; using keywords in paragraph headings also allows you to write with a more natural flow, being less concerned about keyword placement within text, which can lead to keyword stuffing.
Bold and Italics Say: This is Key – Look at Me!
Your readers’ eyes naturally gravitate to bolded text on the typewritten page, but the use of bold in your article is also important to the way a search engine reads it. Bolded text is not just easier for your readers to see; it also tells search engines what’s most important on your page. The use of italics can also make a word or phrase stand out, but in a more subtle way.
Instead of muddying up words within your paragraphs with bolded text that may look out of place, consider bold characters for your paragraph titles, and perhaps italics within the paragraph itself.
Make a List, Check it Twice
According to The Yahoo! Style Guide, lists are another way to stress importance with just a few words. Flowery adjectives have their place in print and fiction writing, but internet searchers want concise information that gets to the meat of the topic. A paragraph title (in bold, of course) with a sentence or two that leads into a list gives them what they want.
– Break up long text with bold paragraph headings
– Consider italicized text for less in your face emphasis
– Use bullets or lists to quickly share concise bits of information
The Yahoo! Style Guide