Using keywords in headers, subheads & body copy

| February 10, 2011

Search engines use bits of code called tags to help them work out the relevance and relative importance of words on a web page. The most common tags are <h1>, <h2> and <p>. H1 is a header, H2 is a subhead and <p> is body copy, the stuff that makes up standard paragraphs.

Keywords 101

Including key phrases in your copy’s main and sub headers helps Google rank your site in the search results accurately. Search engines also seem to pay extra attention to information in lists and bold text.

It makes sense. That’s the beauty of SEO. If you were writing an offline sales document, SEO wouldn’t cross your mind. But you’d probably arrange and format the document in much the same way as a properly formatted web page because it helps readers get the message easier and faster.

Logical , compelling headers and subheads, with body copy sprinkled with the right amount of key words, are an on-site SEO winner. Here’s an example. Say you sell hand made chocolates. Your index page might might be laid out like this:

Header (<h1>):  Hand made chocolates – Chocolate heaven in Devon!  

<p>Your body copy could include 2-5% mentions of your key phrase, in this case hand made chocolates.

subhead (<h2>): Handmade chocolates to die for… they’re wonderfully wicked!

And so on. As I mentioned in my first SEO starter kit post, once you’ve grasped the logic behind using words to guide search engines in their decisions, you’ve cracked the underlying concept behind SEO-led website copy.

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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