Using TCS3 to implement authoring guidelines for search engine optimization (SEO)


Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the ranking position of a web page in search results for relevant user queries. 

Conventional SEO methods use content authoring guidelines and best practices to optimize web page content for search engines. Highly optimized content enables search engines to easily understand what your web page is about and who might want to read it. The better the search engines understand your content, the higher they rank your web page in relevant searches. 

Search engines also take into account the popularity of a web page to determine its rank. The number of incoming links to your web page from other pages, forums, and social media is a key indicator of popularity. The more incoming links your web page receives, the more search engines think the page is popular and rank it high. 

Some SEO methods, therefore, focus on ways to increase incoming links to web pages. See Backlinking strategies for your web page.

However, you still need traditional SEO methods to generate content that is highly relevant to search engines. Presenting relevant, high quality content enables search engines to easily index your web page and display it prominently in searches. 

And here’s the best part… 

You can use authoring tools, such as Adobe® Technical Communication Suite 3 (TCS3) to implement content authoring guidelines for SEO. 

You might be aware of most of these guidelines, if not all. However, applying them in SEO context to author online content will probably help increase its visibility on the web. 

Title

The title is a crucial component that needs to be optimized because it tells search engines what your web page is about. An effective title significantly enhances the chances of your page being ranked highly by search engines. 

For unstructured FrameMaker 10 documents, select File > File Info from the main menu, and specify the title. 

For structured FrameMaker 10 documents, specify the title at the DITA topic level. 

In RoboHelp 9, specify the title in the Topic Properties box when you create a topic. 

SEO guidelines

  • Include the main keyword/keyword phrase for your topic and (if possible) a synonym in the title.
    For example, if your topic describes how to create/modify fonts that combine Japanese and Western fonts, use the keyword phrase “combined fonts” in the title. Consider having the following title for your topic:

    • Working with combined fonts of Japanese and Western characters
      Note: The word “characters” could be used as a synonym for the word “fonts”.
  • Include separators, such as pipes, dashes, and colons to make the title more searchable. For example, if your topic describes how to check alignment settings for horizontal/vertical lists and matrices, consider having the following title:
    • Alignment settings: Check alignment settings for horizontal lists, vertical lists, and matrices
  • Put the main keyword toward the beginning of the title
  • Do not include more than 10-12 words in the title
  • Make the title unique and relevant to the content
  • If possible, specify the following in the title to narrow your focus to the target audience:
    • Geo-specific information
    • Operating system details
    • Product version
    • Workflow tasks

For example, if your topic provides an overview of FrameMaker 10 support for DITA 1.2, choose the title DITA 1.2 support in FrameMaker 10 (specific to the product version) instead of the generic title DITA support in FrameMaker.

Note: When including these additional details, keep a check on the title length to ensure that it does not exceed 10-12 words.

Metadata Description

Search engines often display the metadata description along with the link to your web page on search results pages. Provide a precise summary of your content for the metadata description to help your target audience find your content.

For unstructured FrameMaker 10 documents, select File > File Info from the main menu, and include the metadata description.

For structured FrameMaker 10 documents, specify the metadata description at the topic level.

SEO guidelines:

  • Include the possible user search keyword/phrase in the metadata description. For example, if users search your topic Test XML roundtrippingusing the search keyword phrase “XML roundtrip”, include it in the metadata description as follows:
    • This procedure demonstrates how to test the XML roundtrip function after you have configured structured FrameMaker 10.
  • Use your main keyword in the description
  • Put the main keyword toward the beginning
  • Include synonyms for the main keyword
  • Make the description appear natural, not keyword stuffed
  • Limit your description to 25-30 words

Headings

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3…) provide content titles within your web page. Having highly relevant and unique headings helps reinforce the title and encourages users to read your content.

Consider including one main heading and a few subheadings for topics created using Unstructured FrameMaker 10 or RoboHelp 9.

Note: Topics created using Structured FrameMaker 10 rarely have subheadings because they are normally standalone content blocks. Use the same SEO guidelines to optimize subheadings in cases where topics created using Structured FrameMaker 10 have subheadings.

SEO guidelines:

  • Have one main heading per page
  • Include your main keyword in the main heading
  • Try and include the main keyword at the beginning
  • Include synonyms for the main keyword in subheadings
  • Include action verbs in headings to reinforce the title

Text

Search engines consider your content highly relevant if it includes keywords and phrases that users commonly associate with your topic. Search engines reward highly relevant content by ranking your web page high in searches.

SEO guidelines:

  • Use the main keyword and related variations frequently throughout the text
    Note: Increasing keyword frequency in your content enhances your page ranking as long as the keyword density (percentage of times a keyword appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page) is within permissible limits. Search engines consider web page content with keyword density greater than 5.5% as keyword-stuffed content. They might penalize such content by downgrading the web page in searches. Most importantly, synchronize keyword usage with the natural flow of content to prevent search engines from thinking that you stuffed keywords.
  • Embolden/italicize the first occurrence of your main keyword
  • Use other keywords and their synonyms in bulleted lists, definition lists, and tables

Images

Images enhance the visibility of your content on the web. Moreover, they encourage users to read and share your content with others. This user engagement ensures sustained search traffic to your web page. Optimize each relevant image for the search engine and ensure that it is accessible to searchers.

SEO guidelines:

  • Ensure that your images have keyword-rich names. For example, if your graphic depicts rich media integration in digital publishing workflows, consider using one of these names for the graphic:
    • integrate_rich_media.png
    • integrating_rich_media.png
    • rich_media_publishing.png
  • Use numbers to name logos or irrelevant background images. Naming irrelevant graphics with numeric names ensures that they do not cause search engines to misinterpret your content.
  • Include ALT text for images. Ensure that ALT text does not exceed 70-80 characters
  • Include keywords in ALT text

Click here to download a PDF copy of this blog post.

, , ,