If you have ever worked with an SEO company, you know it is said over and over that content is king. Content is the food that feeds search engine crawlers. Having between 200-300 words, per page, of unique content is considered an SEO best practice. However, there is more to it than just the amount of words on a page. As with everything surrounding internet marketing, there should be a strategy for the content you write.
Incorporating quality content that is well researched with proportionate keyword density is a great way for your site to get recognized and ranked by search engines. Taking the next step to ensure your content is fresh and engaging will help lead to clickthroughs and conversions. Nevertheless, the foundational steps to optimizing content are paramount. There are strategies that are more scientific, and then there are those, which are more artistic. Let’s discuss…
Writing quality content is extremely important. You want your content to read well and be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Some questions you might what to consider when writing content for your pages are: Does it offer a reason for people to spend time reading? Does the content I am writing offer real value?
Good keyword research is also important when drafting your page’s message. You want to create content using keywords – “the search terms people are using to find your website.” Doing this, in effect, optimizes your page with content that actually “answers” a visitor’s query. From there, look to craft your message with language your industry would use.
Moving on, we come to keyword density — “the amount of keywords used in correlation to the total amount of words on any given page.” In this strategy, you want to be careful not to overdo the amount of keywords; rather, you want place them in strategic places, such as the h1 tag, and use the remaining text to compliment the keyword theme. A good keyword ratio for “best practices” keyword density is 2.45%.
Once you have completed the above steps, you will want to start incorporating your message into a flow using your own words. This would be having fresh and engaging content – the art of SEO. This strategy is what is going to give your visitors that extra motivation to “convert.” Likewise, it is going to distinguish your website in the eyes of the search engines. As this approach is more fluid, it is difficult to provide detailed insight. Rather, I can offer a few thoughts to consider when writing:
Be human when writing. Think about why people are visiting your website. Do not try to overdo, such as crafting a message that attempts to over sell a visitor. Also, refrain from copying what another site says. Simply share your message and include calls to action, such as “contact us today.” This should take care of the engaging portion. Being authentic in your writing style and that will take care of having fresh content.
All-in-all, content is king when it comes to SEO. Take your time when drafting the text for your pages. Allocate time for research before and during your writing, and be sure to get feedback from others around you. At the end of the day, the science is the science. It is pretty straight forward, but taking the science portion and making it read well, while engaging the audience to convert is the art of good optimization writing.
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?”
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 naÃ¯ve; 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.
When I speak with clients about keyword research and content optimization, they often ask me what tools I use to gather the data or make recommendations. Here I will give you a little insight to some of the tools I use regularly.
One of the best places to start with keyword research is Google. Google offers a suite of free tools that you can use to insights about the keywords you are researching. One that can be used by aspiring SEO’s and paid campaign managers alike is the keyword tool. This tool will give you some approximate statistics and other recommendations for your keywords. You can get additional data about your keywords with Google Insights and Google Trends.
Another component of page optimization is keyword density. We recommend that your pages each consist of at least 200 words of text and have approximately a 4% keyword density. To check what keyword has the highest keyword density, you can use the MoreVisibility keyword density checker. If you need to check the density of copy you are writing for new or revised pages, you can use the live keyword analysis tool. It allows you to copy content and past it into the provided fields to get the statistics.
Another set of tools I use to checks PageRank, backlinks and cache date. These items are good to monitor so you can see how the search engines are viewing your site. Downloading the Google Toolbar is what you need if you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer as your browser. If you use Google Chrome, I have found that the Chrome SEO Extension works pretty well.
While there are many other tools out there, some paid and some free, the few that are mentioned above will give you a good start to researching and analyzing your SEO efforts.