In This Chapter
Writing for maximum readability
Varying content to increase user interest and search-engine ranking
Formatting your text for optimum readability
Enabling user-generated content
Writing an effective call to action
Search engines find out what your Web pages are about by reading them. They read everything they can find on your site — the text on your pages, the text in your HTML code, the names of your files and directories, and the anchor text in all your links (which is the text someone clicks in order to follow the link). They also read the anchor text of any inbound links to your site from other people's Web sites to find out what they've written about you. Using all of this textual information along with a few other factors like links and engagement objects, search engines determine what your site is about, what search terms your Web pages are relevant for, and how much of an authority you are on your topics — and then rank you accordingly.
Because of this focus on written words, a successfully optimized Web site must have a lot of content. A home page with a single graphic and no textual content can't rank well with the search engines, no matter how cool it looks. On the other hand, a page with a lot of words but no cohesive theme also won't rank well, and for the same reason: The search engines can't figure out what the page is about. The right balance is to have enough content and to have it focused on a theme. ...