There are a variety of tasks you can perform to optimize your content. This includes adjusting topic titles, heading tags, file names, index keywords, body text, and meta descriptions. You can also determine whether or not the search engine considers how many internal links there are to a topic when considering that topic's search result ranking.
For Flare and for search engine providers, the topic title is one of the most important considerations taken into account when ranking search results. Topic titles are important because in addition to including important keywords, as shown below, titles are also highly visible elements in search results:
Where Topic Titles are Visible
Flare Search Results
Search Engine Results
Social Media Bookmarks
Here are some recommendations for improving the quality of your topic titles for search optimization:
- Give Each Topic a Unique Title Every page in your output should have a unique topic title. It should also accurately describe the page content.
Add Only One Title Per Topic A page should have only one title. For best results, it should be contained in the <Title> tag. In Flare, you can set the topic title in the Topic Properties tab of the Properties dialog. You have the option to always use the first topic heading as the title or you can manually enter a topic title.
See Changing Topic Titles.examples
In the topic Properties dialog, you can use the first heading in each topic as the topic title by default. When you use this option, the topic title is not included within a <head> tag on the page.
You also have the option of manually typing a topic title in the Topic Title field of the Topic Properties tab. When you use this option, the topic title is included in a <title> tag within the <head> tag on the page.
Contain the Title Tag in the Head Tag Most search engine optimization (SEO) experts agree that you can improve page rank if you include the topic <title> tag within the <head> tag.example
Below is an example of the HTML code for a topic title:
<head><title>Feeding a Cat</title></head>
In order for the title "Feeding a Cat" to appear in a <title> tag within the <head> tag, open the Properties dialog for the topic. In the Topic Title field, type the title:
Below is an example of how the title appears in the Flare Text Editor:
Limit Title Length to 70 Characters Because topic titles display in search engine results, experts recommend limiting page titles to a maximum of 70 characters, including spaces. This increases the odds of end users clicking the link.example
Place Important Keywords at the Front of the Title Tag For best results, order keywords in a title from most important to least important. For example, if you anticipate that your end users use query terms such as "Online Help Writing," it may be preferable to ensure the terms Online and Help are at the front of the title tag. For example, "Writing Online Help" or "Online Help Writing"
- Place Keywords at the End of a Title If you want to include your company branding or project name in a title, it is recommended that you place those keywords at the end of the title. example
Heading tags are important page elements. Below are some best practices for optimizing your heading tags:
- Include Important Keywords in the <h1> Tag Because the text in the <h1> tags are used for search categorization, they should always contain important search keywords.
- Limit <h1> Tags to One Per Page You should always apply the <h1> tag to the most important heading text in a document. As a general rule, it is best to include only one <h1> tag per page.
- Keep <h1> Tags Unique Because search engines score unique pages higher, it is best that the content of an <h1> tag is unique from other <h1> tags in a project.
The Flare search engine considers keywords in the body text when ranking search results. While the search algorithm is different, major search engine algorithms also consider keywords in the body text.
Following are some best practices when it comes to body text.
Include Keywords in the Topic Abstract For best results, carefully craft your paragraphs to include your most important keywords in the first paragraph of the topic. Flare's search engine places a high preference on keywords found in this paragraph, which acts as the topic abstract.
Note: If you use a meta description, the information in the meta description appears in the search result instead of the topic abstract. See Adding Meta Descriptions for Topics.
- Use Important Keywords in Heading Tags You should always include the most important keywords in the heading tags, as most search engines give headings more weight.
- Apply Emphasis to Keywords Some, but not all, search engines give preference to keywords where bold or italics are applied. The Flare search engine weighs text with inline tags (i.e, formatting applied with span tags) slightly higher than regular text.
- Consider the Frequency of Your Keywords Consider the number of times you use a keyword on a page. Flare's search engine places gives preference to topics that use a keyword often.
- Include Hidden/Invisible Text You can optionally include hidden/invisible text as described below.
You can modify your project stylesheet if you want to include hidden/invisible text. This makes the text invisible to the users viewing the topic, but it will be visible to the indexing programs used by some search engines.
For the Flare search engine, it is acceptable to use invisible/hidden text to influence search results.
You might use hidden/invisible text on additional headings to give the topic more weight with search engines.
Important: Be careful about using invisible/hidden text for the purpose of keyword stuffing. For example, you should not include large blocks of hidden text in a topic because it can lead to major search engine providers temporarily or permanently blocking your content from their site. For that reason, it is recommended that you always research the current content standards for your desired search engines.
- From the Content Explorer, open the stylesheet that you want to modify.
- In the local toolbar, make sure the first button displays . If the button displays instead, then click it.
- In the drop-down field on the left, choose Heading Styles from the list. For this example, we will show you how to create a hidden style class for your h1 tags.
Right-click the h1 and select Add Selector from the context menu.
The New Selector dialog opens.
In the Class Name field, type a name for your style. In this example, we will name it HiddenH1.
The new class appears in the stylesheet under the h1 tag.
- In the Properties area, expand the Block properties.
Next to the display field, select none from the drop-down list. Selecting none here will let you see the element in the XML Editor and Text Editor. It will be visible to web crawlers and spiders in the code, but completely hidden from your end users in the target output.
- Save your changes.
After you create a hidden/invisible text style, you can apply it to content, such as additional headings. In this example, we show you how to apply the hidden style you just created to the first-level heading.
- Open the desired topic.
- Add the text that you want to be hidden/invisible. In this example, we will add a duplicate <h1> heading in a topic.
Right-click on the heading text and from the context menu, choose Style Class > h1HiddenH1.
The illustration below shows you how the hidden text style appears in the XML Editor.
Preview the new style in your output.
See Previewing Topics.
You can use a text editor to add a meta description (summary or abstract) manually to a topic. However, an easier method is to use the topic's Properties dialog in Flare to add them. Meta descriptions are supported for HTML5, WebHelp, and WebHelp Plus targets. See Adding Meta Descriptions for Topics.
A meta description is typically not an important consideration for ranking results. However, many (but not all) search engines display meta descriptions as page summaries in search results.
In Flare, meta descriptions are weighted heavily when ranking search results. In addition, meta descriptions are used to display topic summaries on the search results page of the output. This is also true for many, but not all, search engine providers.
If you include a meta description in a topic in an output type using the Flare search engine, the description will always be displayed as the page summary in the search results, rather than of the first paragraph of the topic.
Below is an example of a meta description that has been added using the topic's Properties dialog.
If you decide to include a meta description for your topic, the text you write will appear in the summary field of the Flare search results. The same is true for some, but not all, major search engine providers.
While not always used for ranking, most major search engine providers identify content with meta descriptions as sign of higher-quality content. Also, because end users read meta descriptions and make decisions as to whether or not to visit a page, it is generally a good practice to write meta descriptions that satisfy these minimum guidelines:
- Create Readable and Well-Written Descriptions It is beneficial to add a high-quality meta description to your topics. Just after the title on a search results page, a well-written meta description can influence a person's decision to click to view a page. This, in turn, typically improves the quality and quantity of page visits from Internet search traffic.
- Provide Searcher with an Accurate Description of Page Content Think of a meta description as part page summary and part advertisement. You want your descriptions to contain descriptive keywords, and since it will also be displayed in search results, you want it to be readable, concise, accurate, and to the point. A description should always provide a summary of the content on a page. To avoid creating confusion, disappointment, or frustration for end users, never load a meta description with repetitive keywords, inaccuracies, or promises that they will find information that isn't actually in the body of the page.
Contains Between 68-155 Characters Depending on which SEO experts you consult and where you anticipate the page summary being displayed, you will find a wide variety of recommendations about meta description length. The short answer is the different search engine providers impose different limits. However, the Google limit is widely reported as being 155 characters, so as a general guideline we recommend writing descriptions between 68-155 characters in length. If you want to check the length of your descriptions, there are a wide variety of tools that let you cut and paste text into their counter. Simply search online for "letter count" or "word count."
Avoid Keyword Stuffing Although it can be tempting to repeat descriptive terms in a meta description, there is little reason to include the same words and phrases multiple times. For example, there is no need to stuff a meta description with keywords (i.e., "Toolbar, tool bar, toolbars, tool bars"). First, this renders the description useless to anyone trying to read the summary. Also, most major search engine providers will flag keywords in meta descriptions as spam which can trigger ranking penalties and result in your page (or your entire site) being disregarded by their search engine.
Flare considers file names in rankings if you do not have a <title> tag in the document. When the Flare search engine looks at the file names in your project, it considers the following when listing results:
Keyword Matches in File Names File names with exact keyword matches are favored. For example, if you are searching for "choosing a cat," topics containing the keywords "choosing a cat" will be ranked higher than file names containing "choose a cat" or "choosing cats."
- Do Not Run Keywords Together in File Names For best results with keyword recognition, it is recommended that you do not run keywords together in file names (e.g., choosingacat.htm). When keywords run together, there is a greater risk of the keywords not being recognized, as well as not being parsed properly by search engines.
- Shorter File Names are Better Because file names are part of a URL, studies show that the general rule of thumb for page URLs is that shorter URLs are better. For example, a file named "choose-a-cat.htm" would be a more compelling link for an end user to click than a file named, "how-to-go-about-choosing-a-cat-or-a-kitten.htm."
- Use Hyphens to Represent Spaces Between Words in a File Name While it is a common practice to use underscores in file names (e.g., Choosing_a_Cat.htm), many search engine providers and SEO experts no longer recommend it because the underscore is considered by some indexes to be its own word character. While it provides visible separation between words, one point to consider is that some search engines might take regular expressions such as "Choosing_a_Cat" and interpret it as "ChoosingaCat." Because of this, some SEO experts recommend that you use hyphens to represent a space between keywords. Whichever separator you decide to use, it is recommended that you do not use periods (.) or blank spaces to separate words in file names. Periods are used by some computer systems to indicate different file extension types. Blank spaces can cause issues for Web servers, particularly those running UNIX or Linux.
Pick a File Naming Convention and Be Consistent Because some major search engine providers run indexing systems on case-sensitive servers (e.g., Apache, Unix, and Linux servers), whether a file name is written in lowercase or uppercase can make a difference to whether or not the file is indexed. For example, a page named "choosing-a-cat.htm" may be interpreted differently from "Choosing_A_Cat.htm." It can also lead to search engines creating duplicate page entries, which can result in error codes when users click links, as well as penalties for content ranking. While it is difficult to predict how each and every search engines will handle a file name, it is good to pick your file naming convention wisely and then use it consistently.
Let's say you have a project with only five topic files. The file name for each topic uses a different separator to represent the space between keywords (e.g., choosing a cat.htm, choosing.a.cat.htm, choosing_a_cat.htm, and choosing-a-cat.htm. In addition, one of the file names runs the keywords together (e.g., choosingacat.htm).
If you were to search for "choosing a cat," note how the search results will list only the exact matches (i.e., the file name that runs keywords together is not detected as a match). For example, "choosingacat.htm" is not listed in the results.
In HTML5 output, the Flare search engine uses a combination of factors to rank search results. When you search, the search engine considers the number of links to a topic (Importance) as well as the number of times a search term appears in a topic. This gives you the most accurate results. You can choose to turn off Importance and search using only the number of search term hits in each topic. This is not recommended unless you have one topic that is linked to so many times that it would skew your search results.
When optimizing your content for HTML5 output, consider if you are going to use Importance in your searches and tailor your content appropriately. For example, if you plan to use Importance, you should make sure you link to important topics throughout your output. However, if you do not plan on using Importance in your searches, you should focus on adding keywords throughout your topic.