Lots of Content to Share? Don’t “OES”

28 January, 2012

keywords, seo, web content

Whiteboard sketch of a person with stuffed cheeks like they are about to explodeLots of content to share?

SEO matters for copy, but flipped backwards–OES–I call it “opportunity for excessive stuffing.” Writing for a keyword density is so last decade. It’s like overindulging in fatty foods. And the process of writing becomes that of watching the needle on a weight scale as you force-feed content, grow rotund, and bon-bon stuffed. It’s obsessive, distracting, and self-absorbed.

Lots of content?

Set it up in a magazine format. Excerpts offer expanded opportunities to thicken the appeal of a landing page or blog page, while delivering snack-size content that’s easily available in entree-sized portions at the click of a “continue reading” link.

Could it qualify as a “braindump”? I believe that legitimate brain dump info is about the only opportunity for purge on a page. Rapid-fire, hugely valuable, and very akin to an overloaded toolbox. Criteria? It’s usually a quick memory “dump” of info from sources that are not available for free–tech exams spring to mind, driver’s license exam questions, and other very tactical info that is hurriedly pulled from short-term memory. If you’re confident a braindump is brimming with goodies, then the audience will gobble accordingly. Leverage the term, “braindump.”

Shorten content whenever possible. Avoid the urge to purge on a webpage. Install keywords in the page meta title and description tag, in the H1 and H2 header and subhead and again in the first two sentences of web copy. After that, page content that remains clearly focused on topic will build a rich mix of natural language (organic) synonyms.

Nice examples of magazine formats: (in fact viewed small like this, it’s much easier to see the overall shape the content takes)

Frieze Magazine - example of a very nice magazine style webpage templateWired magazine










If you’re going to focus on keywords, remember to:

  • keep them clustered to the left of the webpage
  • as close to the top left corner if possible
  • certainly in the first couple lines of copy below any page head or subhead
  • especially above the fold (or where the webpage is no longer visible below the computer screen, which could be pretty small given the form factors).

    illustration of current device form factors- iphone, ipad, laptop, newspaper

    Form Factors

Why “left,” “top,” and “above”? Long ago eye tracking heat-map experiments concluded that humans survey a webpage in an “F”-shaped pattern. The upper left quadrant of a webpage is hot real estate. Aim to get your best copy there. (Which would make “J”- shaped content really undesirable, right?)

Write for humans, first. They still need keywords… a search engine-y way to say “topic.” Everything in moderation.

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