Why writing a well structured first paragraph or excerpt is important for SEO

by Chris

We invest a huge amount of effort into writing content, because we know it’s important to our users. But what’s the point of all that hard work if hardly anybody actually finds your content? If your content is written and structured well, your chance to rank well in Google will be higher. Here are a few points for writing content optimised for search engines:

1. The first 160 characters
The first 160 characters of your paragraph needs to cover the main point of the page or post. This way, you make it easy for your reader to figure out what your page or post is about and you tell Google what it’s about. Try the inverted pyramid approach.

2. A compelling and descriptive paragraph
Write a compelling, descriptive and unique paragraph and use plain English (don’t use words like ‘require’ or ‘obtain’). Keep the paragraph active and include a verb.

4. Keywords
Don’t forget to put your focus keyword in the first paragraph! Especially ones you haven’t included in the page title.

5. Avoid less known acronyms
Only use acronyms if they are very common, such as EU and NATO. SA (South Australia) is not a commonly understood acronym. It can be confused with South Africa or South America.

6. Non-alpha characters
Do not use quotes or any non-alpha characters (Google, cuts them out of the meta description).

7. First paragraph/excerpt length
A good first paragraph is short enough to be consumed quickly, but long enough to give some substance and hint at what is to come. There is no hard rule, but this experiment suggests 55-60 words is the ideal length for SEO.