The Basics of SEO Content Optimization

Darren Franks - April 8, 2011

In a recent MoreVisibility YouTube Video, I discussed the elements of a page’s content that play the biggest roles in SEO. For today’s blog post, I’ll be digging a little deeper into that topic and expanding on my answer to a very common question that we receive from clients: “What is more important, Keyword Density or Keyword Placement?”

The SEO Content Graph

To say that “keyword placement” is more important than “keyword density” is more of a relative than an absolute statement. However, I believe it is much easier to “streamline” your SEO process by ensuring that the chosen primary keyphrase for a page is utilized in all of the key areas of the meta data AND in the content and anchor text for a page.

Keyword placement is essential when writing the content for a page because the search engines will assign a great deal more weight to a keyphrase because of where it’s placed. For instance, of the Titles, Descriptions and Keywords meta tags, the Title tag is given the most weight by Google. Anything placed in the title tag (preferably at the beginning) tells Google that this page’s primary focus is this word and they will typically serve that page in search results for that term.
The Descriptions meta data is the “ad copy” for the page and can be very effective in attracting people to click on the link to get to your page. The more compelling these 155 or so words are, the better the click-thru Rate. The general consensus is that the words contained in the Descriptions meta tag are not used as a factor in ranking by Google; I myself believe this to be naïve; until Google officially says that, treat any words contained in descriptions as a ranking factor and they should contain the primary keyphrase for the page.

The keywords meta data is ignored now, but may be used in the future by Bing, Yahoo and Google, so it’s probably worth at least including the primary keyphrase for the page in that tag.

Anchor text is the word(s) that you click on to open the hyperlink. Anchor text is weighted (ranked) highly in search engine algorithms, because the linked text is usually relevant to the landing page. This is why it is essential to always use the appropriate anchor text within any links leading to other pages on your site. For instance, if you are referencing an interior page in a blog post, include the keyword elements you are targeting for the destination page in the clickable links leading to that page. In this blog post, if I wanted to reference another blog post I wrote, I would link to it like so: Why you are Shooting Yourself in the Foot by not Employing H1 Tags for SEO.

Lastly, there is of course the actual plain, text content on the page itself. In terms of keyword density, try to aim for around 2-4%, but do not sacrifice the narrative quality for the sake of SEO. Put simply, if a block of text looks “spammy” and confusingly written to the user, it will look that way to the search engines as well.

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