SEO best practice | Turtl
Learn how to optimize your Turtl Docs for search engines.
SEO best practice
How to optimize your Turtl Docs
for search engines
What's the point?
A recap of what SEO is and why it's worth your time
Search engines are the way most of us look for content. The good news is that search engines are always looking for content too.
SEO is the way you make sure search engines find, store, and display your content to searchers.
In a nutshell, search engine optimization (SEO) is prepping a website, webpage, or piece of content for search engines. Its goal is to increase traffic to a particular page and make it easier for the right people to be connected with the right content.
How does it work?
Search engines use a three-step process:
Step 1: Crawling
The search engine scans the internet for new and updated content.
Step 2: Indexing
The search engine stores the information it finds in its database.
Step 3: Ranking
When someone makes a search, the search engine examines its index and displays the content in the order it believes to be most relevant.
SEO & Turtl
In order for your content to pass through each stage with flying colors, there are a few boxes you need to tick to make your Docs SEO-friendly.
Luckily, Turtl Docs come prepared with all the SEO apparatus you need. It's simply a case of tailoring these apparatus to your context.
In this guide, we'll take a look at what you need to do to optimize your Docs for each step of the search engine process.
*Crawling:* Getting noticed
Making sure your Docs are found by search engines
Making sure your Docs are attributed correctly
The process of search engine bots (called crawlers or spiders) scanning the internet for new and updated content.
Organizing your URLs
Search engine bots pay attention to one thing in particular: URLs. When a bot comes across a link, it scans its content in order to audit it (more on that later). Once a bot finds one URL, it follows all links in that content to the next piece of content, weaving a web like a spider through your site.
The easier you can make it for bots to crawl your URLs and jump from one link to another, the better. Having your URLs clearly linked to one another is the way to do this, starting with linking your Turtl domain to your website domain.
Your Turtl domain
You'll have noticed that Turtl provides you with a domain that ends with '.turtl.co'. It will be something like 'mycompany.turtl.co', as standard.
To improve your URL organization, and link your Turtl Docs to your website, you can set up a custom domain (or CNAME). A custom domain means that your domain ends with '.yourcompany.co' instead of '.turtl.co'. Let's take a look at the SEO benefits of setting up a CNAME for your brand.
Custom domains or CNAMEs
CNAME stands for Canonical Name Record. In technical terms, it's a type of domain record in the DNS system which links one domain to another. In simple terms, it's a way of telling search engines that your Turtl Docs are related to your company website.
CNAMEs and custom domains are great for SEO because they make sure that all the SEO benefits from your Docs are attributed to your brand's domain. Having your content listed under your company domain means that there's a greater chance of a searcher finding your website when they enter a query.
How to create your CNAME
Setting up a CNAME can be done in a few steps and takes 24 hours on our side to configure.
The first step is getting in touch with your CSM. They'll be able to give you specific guidance for your company and guide you through the remaining steps.
To see a walk-through of the process, go to the knowledge base article below.
Visit the knowledge base
*Indexing:* Making the database
Ensuring that your Turtl Docs are indexed efficiently
How to optimize your Docs for indexing
The process of search engines analyzing content and storing it in their database. When someone enters a query, the search engine consults this database and retrieves the most relevant content.
It's in your best interests to make indexing as simple and accurate as possible. The easier it is for search engine bots to decipher what your Docs are about, the quicker they can index your work, and the easier it is for searchers to find your content.
How do you make indexing simple and accurate? Hint: the answer isn't keyword stuffing.
Correctly tagging your content and strategically using your keywords is the best way to make sure your content is stored correctly.
Let's look at the best tips and tricks for tagging and using keywords in your Turtl Docs.
Tagging is how you tell a search engine to store your content. Let's start by looking at ways to optimize your title tag.
1. Limit your title to 60 characters
The best SEO title is descriptive without being too long. Sticking to the 60 character limit means that the full title is displayed in the SERP (search engine results page).
2. Add your company name - if appropriate
Companies usually choose to add their company name to their homepage, product, and service page titles. This helps to make sure your company is top of the index for searches related to your brand.
3. Don't duplicate
Your title shouldn't appear anywhere else on your site. If a search engine finds duplicates on your site, it will be confused and potentially rank both titles lower.
Add keywords to your images with alt text. On your cover page, click the three dots next to your uploaded image thumbnail to enter alt text.
As well as boosting your SEO, alt text makes your Doc ADA compliant. Add alt text to Surf and Immerse page images throughout your Doc by right-clicking on the image on your page and going to Settings > Misc.
The SEO staple. Keywords define what your content is about and lead searchers to your Docs. Placing them strategically makes it easier for your content to be indexed and retrieved. Let's look at the best ways to use them in your Turtl Doc.
1. H1 & H2
Your H1 and H2 should contain your primary keywords. On your cover page, this is your title and sub-heading (as shown on the left). Each Surf page has a H2 (heading) and H3 (subheading).
2. Your slug
Your slug is the information that comes after your domain extension in your URL - highlighted in the image to the right. Turtl automatically lifts the H1 from your Doc for this. Replacing it with appropriate keywords is great for SEO and can be done easily in Doc settings.
3. Your Doc description
While you're editing your slug, you can add in your Doc description. If this isn't populated before you click publish, Turtl automatically takes the first line of your Doc. Adding in keywords is great here - but make sure the description fits the Doc since this will appear on social cards.
*Ranking:* Making the top of the list
How to boost your Doc's ranking in search engines
How to get your Docs to the top of the list
The order in which websites appear on a search engine results page (SERP).
If there's one thing you'll be used to talking about when it comes to SEO, it's ranking. The order in which your content appears in search engines makes a huge difference to how much traffic it rakes in.
Search engines want to rank good content higher than less relevant material and spam. That way, happy searchers will come back the next time they have a query.
How does a search engine decide which pieces of content in its index are best? While the exact formula is unknown, content that is frequently cited by other sources and which shows high engagement from its readers is generally likely to rank higher.
Let's dive into how to add inbound and outbound links and monitor your content quality using analytics.
For search engines, links mark legitimacy. If your Doc is linked to by another blog, it's shown to be a legitimate and useful source. If it's referenced by several well-regarded sites, it gets top legitimacy marks. The more legitimate and useful your content looks to search engines, the higher the chances are of it rising up the ranks.
1. Inbound links
This one is easier said than done. The best way to prove yourself worthy of a high rank is by other sources linking to your content. These types of links are called inbound links or backlinks.
You've likely been targeted with some illicit backlinks requests via email at some point. There are also sites out there that try to use artificial links to boost their position. Aside from being morally dubious, this method leads to many sites being deindexed by search engines. In short: don't do it. Instead, focus on creating really high-quality content that other sites naturally want to reference.
2. Internal links
Link out to your other content from your Docs - whether that's website pages or other relevant Turtl Docs. Internal links can help to distribute ranking across your website. These links also make it easier for search engine bots to crawl your site since they have a clear path through from one piece of content to another.
Read-time is an indicator of good content, and search engines consider this too (more on this later). Internal links give your readers the opportunity to continue their reading journey once they've finished your Doc. The higher the read-times across your content, the more valuable a source you appear to search engines.
Whether it's down to causation or correlation, content that is better tends to rank higher. Engagement is a huge part of how search engines order their results - if your Doc is attracting a lot of readers and keeping them engaged for a long time, search engines spot a good resource and bump it up the ranks.
Luckily, Turtl was made for this.
In your toolbar at the top of the editing window, you'll see these options. Click the second from the left to go to mobile view.
The better your experience is on mobile, the higher the reading quality will be for a large proportion of your readers. Not checking the mobile view before you press publish might just mean that you're cutting out some of your readers, and increasing your bounce rate in the process. Two things that are likely to dampen your ranking.
Images, videos, polls, maps, quotes...any widget you decide to add to your Immerse page is going to help boost engagement. Plus, the more you add, the more trackable elements of your content you have. Which leads to...
Measure your content engagement using your Doc analytics. Average read-time, bounce rate, and click-through-rates are key metrics to look out to gauge how engaged your readers are with your content. If you notice a Doc isn't doing as well in these areas as it should, consider adding more widgets or reviewing your content to improve its engagement and chances of ranking highly. Find other ways to assess your content's performance using metrics in our analytics guide.
SEO quick five
Five SEO-boosters to check before you click publish
1. Establish your CNAME
Make sure your Turtl domain name is a subdomain of your website. This helps with crawling and makes sure that any ranking Docs are attributed to your website.
2. Optimize your tags
Does your Doc title contain your target keywords? Are your H2 and H3 tagged correctly? Have you added alt text to your cover image? All these help to boost your rankings and improve indexing.
3. Add your links
Add links to continue your reader's journey, hyperlink your images, and include any relevant outbound links. This is great for ranking - and general content interactivity.
4. Check out mobile view
User experience is integral to your Doc's SEO. Check your mobile view before you publish to make sure you're not putting off a large proportion of your readers.
5. Organize your keywords
Are your keywords used in your Surf page titles? Are they in your URL slug? Added them to your Doc's description? These help to make sure your Doc is indexed efficiently.