Write for the web includes certain specificities to interest the Internet user, optimize natural referencing and facilitate navigation within the site.

With the recent release of Hummingbird, Google's new algorithm, the semantic web takes a prominent place in all SEO strategies. Good writing adapted to the web makes it possible to produce quality content, adapted to Internet users and search engines.

Here is an overview of good practices to adopt for quality web writing.

Writing for the web: interesting the Internet user

Writing on the internet: the difference with paper

La web editing must be considered with the specificities of the support: screen resolutions, limited choice of typologies, connection speed, page weight, natural referencing… so many constraints that do not exist with paper support.

It should also be noted that on average we read 25% slower on a screen than on paper and that this reading is more tiring.

Finally on the WEB, reading is not done word for word, but the Internet user scans the content to see if it interests him before reading it. This is called the reading in F.

Diagram of reading in F.
Diagram of reading in F.

The specifics of reading on the web

Quality content has an increasingly important weight in the referencing of the site. Each page of a site must be worked on to be read, understood and shared.

Reading on the web has its own specificities. On a screen, an Internet user reads more slowly and is content to "scan" the page without reading the text in detail. This "scan" lasts on average only 3/10th of a second. The attractiveness of the page is therefore taken into account: an introduction, airy texts, structured with bold, titles in h2, h3, bulleted lists and a conclusion are essential.

Writing for the web: the techniques

To meet these requirements, web writing must be done according to certain basic principles:

  • Use the “inverted pyramid” methodology: from the essential to the detail, from the summary to the exhaustive.
  • A page = a subject = a title.
  • One idea = one paragraph.
  • Write short.
  • Content divided into three parts:
    • Title + hat.
    • Texts.
    • Links to content related to the page.

Start by using a vocabulary that is simple and accessible to everyone, without spelling or grammatical errors.

The 5W rule

Ideally, a text should repeat as far as possible the famous 5W rule :

  • Who = Who?
  • What = What?
  • When = When?
  • Where = Where?
  • Why = Why?
  • And possibly: how? How many ?

The body of the text must follow a logic of inverted pyramid : start with the general idea to go to the most detailed, no place for suspense on the web! Keep in mind that the most important information should be above the fold line.

The 4C rule

La 4C rule helps you structure your content and position yourself as a trusted interlocutor.

  • Credibility: cite your sources. Do not write on a subject if you are not an expert, do not forget that writing on the net means taking the risk of exposing yourself to criticism and this implies knowing how to respond to it.
  • Clarity: a single title and a single topic per page, it will push you to create more quality content useful for SEO.
  • Brevity: a paragraph corresponds to an idea, the titles of the different parts must be relatively short.
  • Consistency: the title and content should be related.

In addition, don't be afraid to insert hypertext links (sparingly and varying the anchors) to related pages in order to facilitate the navigation of the Internet user. This will allow you to work on the internal mesh of your site while encouraging the user to consult other pages.

Writing for the web: optimizing natural referencing

Writing for the WEB is not only used to provide information to the Internet user, it is a real E-marketing lever.

WEB content is the central element of any good natural referencing. Indeed the volume of content is taken into account by search engines for the positioning of a website. But even more than the volume, it is the quality of this content that counts. Thus “writing for the web” takes on its full meaning.

The basics of quality web content for search engines are:

  • A page rich in content: 300 words minimum.
  • A well-chosen URL, taking up the theme of the page. For example: www.monsite.fr/ecrire-pour-le-web.
  • A good page title: short and containing the main keyword
  • A structured page: titles and subtitles (Hx tags). These titles must also contain the keywords on which you wish to improve your positioning.
  • A certain number of appearances of the keyword and its lexical field as well as the highlighting of these expressions (bold, italic, underlined).
  • Links (internal and external) that “point” to your content page. The name (anchor) of these links must be well chosen. For example for this page, we will not make a link named " More information » but « consult the following page in order to write for the web ».

Quality content must first be written for the Internet user and then optimized for SEO. Once your text is written, pay particular attention to the following points:

  • The titles : are they informative? Are they capturing interest? do they include keywords? Titles should not exceed 15 to 20 words maximum.
  • The body of the text : ideally, your text should be at least 200 to 250 words. Are the keywords and their synonyms present? The higher these keywords are placed on the page, the more important they are considered, so capitalize on the first 20 lines. Be careful, however, not to go overboard.
  • The hierarchy of content : is your text segmented? Are there titles? bold words? Work on the content to make it attractive both in substance and in form for Internet users and search engines. Reading must remain fluid, avoid repetitions of keywords.
  • Images : name your images with a fairly descriptive name: three to four keywords maximum without special characters or capital letters separated by a hyphen "-", remember to also fill in the "alt" attribute of your image. The "alt" attribute should be a short phrase or phrase describing the image. It is used by search engines to decrypt the content of your image.
  • Videos : video content is increasingly popular. Think of optimize the SEO of your YouTube videos !
  • Links : vary the anchors, avoid over-optimized anchors.

Write for the Internet user

We hear a lot about “quality content” and “in-depth articles”, but what exactly are they?
Fullerenes  feature articles refer to articles intended to inform Internet users. They bring real added value, real arguments, complete and reliable information and they push the Internet user to want to know more. These articles are the most likely to be shared on social networks. Because in theory, quality goes hand in hand with visibility.

Meet the needs of the reader

Writing quality content means meeting the needs of the user by asking the following questions:

  • What does the user need?
  • What is he looking for?
  • What is the real value of the information that I present to him?
  • What is the use value of the content?
  • How should I present the information to capture their interest?

Apply the laws of proximity

The reader is attracted by what is close to him, touches him, concerns him directly and personally.
There are four main proximity laws (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Geographical : the general theme is linked to a place known to its target: its street, its city, its country. This law of proximity takes on increasing importance with the personalization of search results according to your location. Geolocated keywords become essential in an effective SEO strategy. (Don't forget to also optimize your Google + Local listing)
  • Chronological : favors what is close to the reader in time via news.
  • Social : refers to the social environment, to societal issues that affect readers collectively (security, employment, housing, health, climate, education, ecology, etc.)
  • Psychoaffective : uses the axis of personal interest as an angle of attack, this law can be worked through the sharing of content on social networks.

Writing for the web: making navigation easier

Writing for the web means making the page as readable as possible for the Internet user. But it also makes it easier for him to navigate the site: you have to help him find what he is looking for.

To do this, three navigation modes must be made available to the Internet user:

  • The menu: the general menu of your site must be clear, structured and accessible from any page.
  • Footer links: if you have the chance that the Internet user reads your content, at the end of it you must give him the opportunity to consult related pages. To do this, offer them links at the bottom of the page on the model of "find out more".
  • Internal links: when we approach concepts in a content page, we offer a link to the user to the page defining this concept.

With these three navigation modes, you optimize the chances that the Internet user will find the information he is looking for and therefore that he will use your site. Also, if they are well thought out, these links will optimize your natural reference.

The Hummingbird Impact

Hummingbird or Colibri in French is the latest of Google's (official) algorithms. Unlike Google Panda and Google Penguin, the implementation of Hummingbird had no particular impact on site traffic.
With Hummingbird, Google plans to give direct answers to specific questions from Internet users.

In terms of web writing, this means working on local SEO of its website on geolocated keywords with specific pages, identify frequently asked questions, work on synonyms, diversify link anchors by inserting potential requests. We will come back to Hummingbird in more detail in a future article.


Web writing differs enormously from traditional writing just as reading on the web differs from reading on a paper document.

Prefer well-structured texts with links, bold words, line breaks and bulleted lists. Thus, you will optimize the reading comfort of your visitors. Insert some keywords and their synonyms, also work on geolocated keywords.

We can never repeat it enough: this content must be dedicated to Internet users before being designed for search engines. Once this content has been written and integrated into your site, don't forget to promote it on social networks!