Making Your Documentation SEO-Friendly

Understanding Search Behavior

How am I qualified to talk about this?

I like messing with algorithms that rank content according to arcane criteria. Why? Well, because I am great at these sorts of things. So much so that I made it my job. I’m a freelance SEO expert based in Montreal.

Writing With the Intent to Make Your Content Easily Discoverable

Understanding Search Behavior : the Key to Content Performance

You need to go being the search query. Figure out what motivates the person behind the search term. This is what helps any team produce relevant content to humans and search engine crawlers. Any search starts off with a desire, an intent. High quality content is benchmarked against user intent.

Write The Docs Seo Knowledge Base

Any search starts with a desire that’s expressed as a query when the visitor types it in a search bar. So this query comes with an expectation of value. When we search for things online, we expect certain results to show up. Value is measured against internal criteria for acceptance. We favor search results that seem to answer our needs or fulfill our desires. People simultaneously process acceptance and rejection criteria for every result on the SERP (search engine results page). Figure out the type of content that best matches the desire that’s expressed in the initial search query.

Wtd 2020 Myriam Jessier Make Your Documentation Seo Friendly
The key to content optimization is to keep in mind that humans evaluate search results quite fast.

What is Documentation For a Marketer?

  1. It’s where your future customers can learn about your services.
  2. Where customers can go instead of opening a ticket. 
  3. – without them having to sit on hold waiting for a service rep.

What is Search Intent?

“If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract visitors.”


Give your customers access to the instant, in-depth information they need and you will be satisfying search intent without having to hire someone like me. Google provides detailed instructions if you want to check them out to know more about how the search engine takes search intent into consideration. The search engine giant even shares internal guidelines for content evaluation. 

What Are People Trying to Figure Out About Your Product ?

You can type in Google’s search bar: 

  • “Your product name” with “how to”
  • For example, we could search for “serpstat” how to and find everything people want to know how to do with the SEO tool SERPStat outside of the company’s documentation.

Another piece of advice: check Google Analytics and Google Search Console for good insights. We like to go dig in the keyword data that they offer. 

Which Keywords And Content Drive the Most Engagement ?

Keyword Types

  • Popular but vague keywords = high freq/low intent – lots of ambiguity TOFU
  • Rare but specific keywords = low freq/high intent  – no ambiguity MOFU
  • Long tail = specific terms with 3+ words
  • One-offs = rare queries or a one time trend

Keyword Modifiers

  • How-to = tutorial
  • Your product + Integration product = Mailchimp and Google Analytics
  • Update = tutorials or FAQ pages

Think About Bots the Way They Think About Humans

Search experience optimization all comes down to making the right first impression. Create an immediate perception of the value of your content through titles, metadata and microdata. You can help Google showcase more than a title and a description for your content. Check out rich snippets available for various types of content (FAQ and Tutorials are great types of content to markup). 

On-page SEO Best Practices

  • Optimizing your meta tags (title and description)
  • Creating search engine friendly URLs
  • Implementing structured data like FAQ or tutorial
  • Adding internal links
  • Including optimized media

Address Technical Requirements

Here is a bulk PageSpeed checking tool you can use

There are many tools to get a grip on your loading issues. However, one assessment method might identify an issue which another doesn’t, shed light on a metric which another ignores, or even, highlight issues on a page which you didn’t bother to check. Here is a free bulk pagespeed checking tool by EXPERTE, which allows you to crawl a single site for up to 500 URLs or 60 seconds, whichever comes first. Those pages are then assessed automatically in your browser on the basis of both field and lab data (the same as Google’s PSI), meaning that you won’t have to check each page one-by-one.

Content Hierarchy Matters

Search engines consider H1, H2 and H3 tags. Make sure you show a pertinent content structure to humans and bots. Our eyes use titles as anchors to navigate content and bots mimic them a bit. Do not skip heading levels and make sure to use the right words. We recommend using the Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick available for Firefox andn Chrome.

Internal Linking

Google values internal and external links that point to you. Links are a sign of trust, a bit like your network in LinkedIn. Check Google Search Console to gain insights as to which websites are pointing to you. The same “Links” report also gives you proper information regarding your internal linking. Depending on your website design and your content guidelines, your website is bound to favor some pages over others in terms of how many internal links point to them. Promote your content internally with links and you will be optimizing your user experience and search engine bot experience. 

Content Opportunities Are Limitless, Even For a Boring Industry

Make sure everything is readable and answers search intent. B.E.R.T. is a technique for natural language processing used by Google. This means that you should write for humans first and foremost since the bot is trying its best to understand content the way humans do. 

SEO Tip: Feed the Position Zero With Bullet Points and Lists to Show Up When Someone Says “OK Google”

Points to Get Started

  • What questions are users asking? Check Frequently Asked Questions in Google search results. 
  • What issues are they having most with your product? Check with the help desk, read the chatbot transcripts.
  • How does your product compare against other products in the industry? 
  • What does your product do that your competitors don’t?
  • What new features are you adding?
  • Are there any features that are underutilized by users?
  • Are there any integrations with other tools?
  • What’s the history of the product?
  • Audit your competition’s SEO and content strategy.


Please do not copy paste your content throughout your knowledge base. Google doesn’t appreciate duplicate content and you may be less visible online if your content is deemed to be a pale copy of another piece of content available online.

No Copy Paste Seo

Sources I Used Beyond My Own Experience