Making content findable

Information architects and search engine optimisation experts specialise in making information findable. But web writers play an important role too. The following tips apply to content published online as web pages or documents.

10 tips for web writers and editors

  1. Create useful, quality content
    Publish content users need. Don’t duplicate existing content. Write for people, not search engines.
  2. Use the right topic terms
    Use words users are likely to associate with the topic. Be careful with jargon and specialist terms. Prefer words users might use when searching.
  3. Write an accurate, meaningful <title>
    Make sure the title allows users to identify the content in search results, social linking, and browser tabs, history, bookmarks and favorites
  4. Fully identify the content
    Include the organisation name or the site name at the end of the title, or work it into the title text.
  5. Make the <title> scannable
    Start with the topic terms. Be careful with titles phrased as questions.
  6. Keep the <title> concise
    Use no more than 70 characters.
  7. Write a useful meta description
    Supplement the title with an informative summary or description of the content. Keep it under 160 characters.
  8. Write short, meaningful file names
    Use topic terms as the file name. Limit file names to 2-4 words. Use hyphens between words.
  9. Label links with topic terms
    Clearly identify the linked content or function. Avoid labels like ‘read more’. Don’t use the address of the page as the link text.
  10. Use topic terms in the main heading
    Use the same topic phrase or similar topic terms as used in the title.