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November 04, 2015 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

Chunkify! Part 6: Improve SEO Value And Readability With Better Formatting

As a former professor, I believe formatting is key. If a student’s paper was well formatted, the student’s grade would automatically bump up a letter in my eyes (and my gradebook).

Formatting is Good for Humans and Search Engines

On your B2B website - you don’t need to impress a professor. But you do need to impress users and search engines. Strong page formatting will create a better first impression with people and robots (search engines!).

For humans, good formatting simply makes it easier on the eye to scan through a piece of content. For robots, proper formatting tells search engines what to read first and what to score higher.

See how much easier it is to read the Furman University page than the TSU page? It's easier for the robots too! Use headings!

How Search Engines Read Web Pages: HTML
HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It’s the language browsers use to output your website. Good HTML coding will helps search engines read and rank your page. Search engines are looking for elements like title tags (<title>), meta descriptions (<meta>), and page headings (<h1> <h2>) to decipher what your page is about and what is important.

Strategies That Improve Formatting and SEO

Only have 1 H1 heading per page

The H1 heading is the first thing a search engine reads. Your H1 heading should include relevant keywords to rank with search engines. The H1 tag should declare page content.

Use headings, not just bolded text

Have your web designer style headings H1-H6 so both your human users and robot users can differentiate your bold text from your headings.

  • Avoid using all of the headings on one page.
  • Don’t worry about keeping them in a particular order.

Add keywords and headlines to improve your formatting and SEO.

Compare the headings to the bolded text, which stands out more to you? The headings? They also stand out more to the search engine.

Use lists

Lists keep your content short and sweet. Break up text-heavy pages to make your users more inclined to scan or read. Check out Chunkify! Part 5 Using Lists To Break Up Content for some more tips.

Bold or italicize important phrases

Definitely do this, but make sure you do it sparingly. If you bold or italicize too much, the importance of these words and phrases lessens.

Don’t underline text, unless it’s a link

Underlining show users which are links and which are not. By underlining something for emphasis you create a lot of confusion that will mislead users.

Formatting behind the scenes

Alt text adds necessary context to images. The users can identify the purpose of the image and search engines can identify the source code.

Optimize your alt tag with relevant keywords!

Formatting: Double Check All Content on The Page

What most don’t realize, is that content refers to more than just the words we type. Content is everything on that page, including headlines, formatting, images and more.

If you format text effectively, the search engines will easily pick up information and know what users want to see.

One Page Exercise: Re-format your most recent post for better SEO

Use what you have learned from this post to make the necessary changes on text and images to improve your sites readability and SEO across the boards.

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