Keywords are often seen as one of the most important elements of SEO. Quite simply, a keyword is a brightly colored flag sticking out of the haystack with the words “needle here” emblazoned on it. But at the same time, it is pointless having such a flag if the needle is not there and especially if there is no needle.
Over the last decade or so, the importance of keywords has varied and so has the rules concerning their distribution. In the early days, search engines would pick up all words in a text. This meant that a high-ranking site would turn up in search results for terms mentioned in its text, but which were not important to the content.
This changed to a system where keywords were denoted on account of their repetition. This meant the spiders would assess a text, remove functional words and concentrate on repeated vocabulary.
An Example of Keyword Stuffing:
“Vacuum cleaners clean carpets. Vacuum cleaners clean all surfaces. You need vacuum cleaners. Vacuum cleaners can be cheap or expensive. Good deals on vacuum cleaners are really good. You should buy high-quality vacuum cleaners at low prices. In conclusion, buy vacuum cleaners!”
This led to keyword stuffing, or an attempt to make a working rank higher by filling a text with keywords above and far beyond how they would be distributed in a normal text. Search Engine updates such as Google’s Panda in 2011, were created to equate keyword stuffing, an over natural abundance of repeated terms, with spamming.
Before you do anything, you need to know what words you want to rank for which means finding out what words your target customers search for in the search engines. Once you know the words that relate to the products or services you provide, these will then become your ‘keywords’. Only when you know them, can you target them?
Advice varies from site to site on the frequency of modern keywords and keyword phrases, but it is generally good to have one keyword or keyword phrase per 100 words of text and no more. Keywords can come as single words or as phrases. A keyword phrase tends to include a cluster or concentration of keyword nouns. For example “cheap reusable bags” or “high-quality graphics.” The more specific keyword phrases tend to work better for smaller sites than using single keywords. This is because large multinational companies naturally have a higher rating, larger websites and so on.
Your prime objective should be finding the most relevant keywords and keyword phrases for your webpage. As this is page based, you can have different keyword phrases for each page, so long as they remain relevant. First, before you write your page, make sure you understand what the page is about and what it is trying to say. Also, think about the title. A functional title means you can use the prime keyword phrase in the title line, and then repeat it on the web page itself.
Second, write the page’s content with the keywords in mind. Try to include the keywords once every two paragraphs on average. Of course, this means you can include such a phrase twice in one paragraph, so long as it is balanced. It is also advisable to try to use the phrase in your opening line if possible.
Warning: avoid shoehorning phrases into unnatural situations. This means you may often have to use variations on the phrase. Variations are usually used for grammatical or syntax reasons, such as changing the tense or pluralizing a word. This is fine because the keyword phrase has changed and represents a secondary keyword phrase.
Edit your web page and check the keyword density. If you have around 430 words, then you should have around five repetitions of the keyword phrase.
Another tool at your disposal is the secondary or even tertiary keyword phrase. Used less often than the primary keyword phrase and never used in the title or the first line, the secondary keyword phrase gives you a second opportunity to highlight keywords for the spiders to find.
In order to generate a secondary phrase re-read your web page and look for any repeated themes or ideas. For example, a page on vacuum cleaners might often talk about certain accessories. Alternatively, if your primary angle of the page is the vacuum cleaner’s low cost, you might also repeat its power, its convenience or other features.
Similar rules for keywords apply to secondary keyword phrases. They should not be stuffed into the text and should not be shoehorned into the wrong sentences.
Before posting the web page brainstorm any other keyword ideas that come to mind. English, for example, is one of those languages where there are many ways to say the same thing. This means it is very useful for you to keep a thesaurus handy because, for example, while you may want to sell vacuum cleaners, British clients might be googling hoovers and might not find your site.