Search engine optimisation


Search page


Before people can read your content, they must be able to find it. Most people find Queensland Government information by searching in Google.

Therefore, when you write web content, you must consider how people will find your content and use techniques to improve the chance that Google will present it in search results.

You should understand your role in search engine optimisation (SEO).

Your role in SEO

Search engines like Google reward well-written, targeted content that people want to read.

SEO involves developing your web content so a search engine like Google prioritises it in a search by someone who's interested in the type of content you produce.

SEO is a complex area and, as a web content writer, there are some aspects you don't have control over.

However, there are things you can do—namely, choose relevant keywords and use them in metadata (page titles, headings, descriptions and links) and in content.

Keywords

What are keywords?

Keywords may be a single word or several words. They're words or short phrases that people would actually type into a search engine to find your content.

They may not be the same terms you use, so ask other people if possible and, ideally, your audience. Incorporate this feedback into your content.

Where to use keywords

Use your most relevant keywords in:

But remember to write for your readers, not just for search engines. Overusing keywords in content affects user experience and results in penalties from search engines.

Keyword generation tools

As well as the keywords you create, use these free web tools to help generate additional keywords:

Metadata

Metadata is data that describes a resource, such as a web page or downloadable document.

Some metadata is visible to users, such as page titles (i.e. in your browser favourites, at the top of the browser window or in search results), and 'invisible' metadata is read by computers to generate dynamic content (i.e. lists in databases).

All web pages need metadata. As with keywords, write metadata as part of your content writing process, not an afterthought. Add it to the web update request form.

Page titles

Page titles are not the same as page headings. A page heading is the largest heading on a page, while a page title is what you see in your browser's title bar, favourites or bookmarks list, and in search results. It's placed into the 'back end' of your published web page.

Page titles must:

Descriptions

Descriptions appear in search results and indicate whether the page is relevant to a user before they click the link to the page. Therefore, the description should:

Descriptions must be concise—don't waste valuable characters with introductory spiel. Succinctly describe the page content, covering the most valuable content areas first.

Cross-linking

Using keyword-rich link text will improve your page's search engine rankings. Having other relevant and reputable pages link to your page is also beneficial. So you should make cross-links between related pages where practicable.

Read more information on using links in your web content.

Other tips for effective SEO