Search Engine Optimization Overview

Benefits

When your content complies with good search engine optimization (SEO) practices, publishing your documentation online gains a series of advantages.

  • It helps customers find the right documentation faster

  • It gives additional boost to your brand and products because your customers can find them easier

  • It may result in showing your brand over competitors' brands

Important SEO factors

When discussing SEO, we primarily consider Google since it is the most popular search engine on the market. Matt Cutts, a former Head of Search at Google declared in 2010 that their search engine used over 200 ranking factors. This is not something to worry about. Ranking factors can have dozens of variations, and the search algorithms evolve frequently.

Remember: There is no definitive list of SEO factors.

There are specific SEO areas to work on. An SEO factor's main focus is to assure the user that your website:

  • is trustworthy

  • has a high level of authoritativeness

  • represents an appropriate expertise standard.

Content clarity

Keep your topics brief and to the point. It makes your documentation comprehensible and easier to browse. Remember that content cannot be a wall of plain text. Consider additional resources and use variety of DITA elements like:

  • graphs and figures

  • notes

  • unordered and ordered lists

  • definition lists

  • tables, etc.

You can use the whole DITA arsenal!

Content quality

Feel free to adopt all good technical writing practices for this factor. They are relevant to SEO.

  • Your content must be factually correct and accurate.

  • Keep it simple and substantive. Your documentation should make your product easy to understand in a reasonable time.

  • Your documents should exhaust the subject. They need to be complete enough to provide all the information needed to solve your customer's problem.

  • Your content should be up-to-date. Always provide users with the latest versions of your documentation.

  • Keep your content consistent: Use the same approach and writing style for all content.

  • Adapt to your audience. Do not use complicated technical language when your readers are laypeople. On the other hand, include technical details when you deal with professionals.

  • Eliminate ambiguity and make your content to-the-point. Do not leave any questions open. Provide concrete solutions.This is the main difference between technical content and blog posts or social media articles.

Domain age and authority

Be aware that SEO needs time. Older domains are more trustworthy. It may take months for brand new websites to become more visible in search results.

Incoming links

It is good if high-quality trusted sources reference your site. It helps to build the authority of your content. As more users visit your webpages from other sites, Google recognizes that and boosts your webpages in search results. One of the easiest way to obtain such backlinks is to exchange links with your partnered companies and distributors. You can also distribute links on different domains that you may own.

Warning: Do not obtain links from fake blogs and catalogs or spam forums no longer used by real users. Do not pay for adding dozens of links from unreliable sources. This could result in a harmful filter applied to your website by Google.
Internal linking

Try to provide readers with helpful resources at the end of your articles. It helps them understand the content, and it makes them stay on your website longer. The time between clicking on a search result and returning is dwell time. If a user quickly returns from your webpage to the search page, it may mean that they are not satisfied with the result. Additionally, internal linking helps search algorithms navigate through your website.

Keyword density

Customers type specific queries in search engines to find answers to their problems. You can use these phrases in your content to put your webpages in the right context. Do not saturate your website with artificial words for search queries. It may result in the opposite effect to the one intended and can impair the usability of your content.

Mobile-friendliness

Ensure your content is easy to browse on mobile devices. Optimize your images to speed up loading time. You can use free tools like Tiny JPG to reduce the file size of your images without a visible quality loss.

Note: The Tiny JPG tools is provided by a third party, and Jorsek Inc., is not responsible for any changes in behavior, functionality, or discontinuation of the tool.
Security

Your domain should use an SSL certificate. Use the URL to determine if the site is using one. It should start with https:// and have a lock icon next to it.

Uniqueness

Do not copy or rephrase content from other websites even if it seems to be relevant. Create unique content that provides your readers with proper solutions.