Google: The Ultimate Web Writer?s Style Guide

Indulge me for a moment.

Forget that Google is a search engine. Just for a moment, imagine it is a style guide. A very different kind of style guide.

Instead of this particular style guide being written as a static book by an expert or two, it is written by studying the searching and browsing habits of hundreds of millions of web users.

Get the idea? Not a search engine. A style guide. A constantly evolving style guide that works from its insights into how people use and read web sites.

A style guide that puts the visitor first, puts their needs ahead of the academic opinions of experts.

A style guide that automatically rewards sites that serve their readers the best.

If we study Google not as a search engine, but as a style guide, what does it tell us about how we should write our web pages?

>> 1. Make the subject of each page absolutely clear.

As visitors arrive at your site, regardless of the entry page, the first question in their minds is, "Am I in the right place? Will I find what I want here? Can I achieve what I want to achieve here?"

Fortunately, the web page format gives us a title, headlines, first paragraphs and subheads we can use. So it makes sense to use them to make it abundantly clear to our visitors what the page is about.

We'll do this for our visitors. But, because doing so helps our visitors, Google will reward us.

>> 2. Make your home page short text clear

First-time visitors to your home page are unlikely to be able to achieve their objective through that page alone. So you need to write short text that will quickly and clearly let them know if you have what they want deeper in your site, and how to get there.

This means using the right words in your headings, subheads and short descriptions. It means anticipating the words and phrases most visitors will have in their minds and will scan for. It means understanding which words and phrases best correspond to your visitors' needs.

Write these headings and short descriptions with your readers in mind and, once again, Google will reward you.

>> 3. Make your text links relevant and descriptive

A text link that says, "More..." or "Click here" or "Learn More..." tells the reader nothing about the destination page.

Visitors scan your text links in the same way as they scan headings, subheads and short text. So provide them with clues. If you have an interior page about a weight-loss hypnosis service, write a link that says something like, "More on weight-loss hypnosis".

Do this and you'll be helping your readers a great deal. And yes, Google will reward you for your efforts.

>> Concluding thoughts...

By all means use a traditional style guide. They are great for getting your grammar right and choosing the right words. That said, many of them conflict in their recommendations as to the correct online terms. To some, a web site is a web site, to others it's a website.

But back to Google as a style guide for a moment. This whole exercise, this make-believe about Google being a digital, interactive style guide is all about the importance of writing for your readers.

Yes, what I have been talking about it using the correct keywords and phrases in the appropriate places.

However, too many people write their pages with Google as the primary audience. I think that's the wrong approach. You get a clunky text flow that, intuitively, feels wrong to the reader.

Instead, write with a clear understanding of what your readers need. Do this and you'll find that the best keywords fall into the right places with an appropriate frequency.

And Google will reward you.

Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author and speaker. You can access all his newsletter articles on writing for the web at his http://www.ExcessVoice.com site. You'll find articles and resources on how to make money as a freelance writer at http://www.FreelanceWritingSuccess.com

In The News:

What Does It Mean to ‘Do SEO’?  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Have a Negative Effect?  Search Engine Journal
7 Coding Barriers to SEO Success  Practical Ecommerce
SEO Hamilton  Search Engine People
My experience with SEO  Practical Ecommerce
WeWork Selling Conductor SEO Company  Search Engine Journal
SEO Tricks For Email Marketers 10/17/2019  MediaPost Communications
Seo Joon, so fashionable  BusinessWorld Online
What Is a Google Penalty in SEO?  Search Engine Journal
7 Things SEO Tools Can’t Tell You  Search Engine Journal
Google Shares Top 3 SEO Factors  Search Engine Journal
The High Cost of Ignoring SEO  Practical Ecommerce

Spamglish; A Search Engine Comedy With A Language All Its Own

When the movie Spanglish hit the screens in 2004, it... Read More

3.5 Tips To Help You Avoid Becoming The Next Search Engine Outlaw

Tip 1 - Hide And SeekDo not use hidden text... Read More

Top 5 Search Engine Optimization Mistakes

There are a lot of ways to promote your website... Read More

Search Engine Optimization Tip: Dont Buy Anything Before You Learn More!

Thinking about purchasing that premium SEO software that will hyper-optimize... Read More

SEO Expert Guide - Search Engines Explained (part 1/10)

Before we explore the world of search engine optimization, it... Read More

HTML Title Tags Dictate Your Rankings

There are a lot of things in Search Engine Optimization... Read More

Keywords Finalization Methodology

To arrive at the set of keywords that:Describe business correctly... Read More

SEO - Google Sitemaps Explained

Once again I seem to be writing about Google. The... Read More

SEO #1: Choosing THE Keywords to Optimize for

This is the first lesson out of 6 that teaches... Read More

Importance of Keywords in Anchor Text or Title Text

Keywords are indisputably, the single most important element of an... Read More

Why Is SEO So Important To Your Site?

You have heard the phrase LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. But wait,... Read More

Search Engine Optimization for Everyone

There are many facets to SEO and the search engines... Read More

Google Takes Care of Idiots Too

There's an old saying that goes, "God takes care of... Read More

Martial Arts Webmasters: Time to Optimize Your Site!

A few months ago I was looking through the search... Read More

Feed Those Hungry WIIFM Monsters, Get Them To Multiply

Everyone packs their website with keywords in order to feed... Read More

Making Money with Popular Search Engines

With so many internet and home business opportunities on the... Read More

Creating Search Engine Friendly Web Sites

With tons of competition and copycats online, you need a... Read More

Give the Folks at Google What They Want

Recent developments on the Google front have web marketers and... Read More

What All Top Google Websites Have in Common

While it is okay to admire and envy all those... Read More

Google, Adsense, SEO, and How It All Works

Google uses an algorithm to determine the search engine results... Read More

If Content is King, then surely Relevance is Queen!

There has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in... Read More

Search Engine Optimization Tips For 2005 - Part Two

Welcome to the second part of our series of articles... Read More

How To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

With search engines like Google currently indexing over 8 billion... Read More

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Fix Your OffPage!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something you should be aware... Read More

The Latest Craze: Local Search, 7 Steps to Being #1 in Your Local Market

Anyone would agree that it is much easier to be... Read More