Keyword stuffing – overuse of keywords - creates copy that turns people off and may even bring a penalty from the search engines.
So how can keyword phrases be incorporated seamlessly into website copy so that it pleases both your visitors and the search engines?
In his article, Nick Usborne gives some very good advice – be aware of your keyword phrases and then forget about them. Let your subconscious take over and concentrate on writing for the people that visit your site.
But of course the subconscious can always do with a little help and you should educate yourself on where you can place keyword phrases to good effect.
Here is a checklist that covers three areas:
- Where you must use keyword phrases
- Where you can use additional keyword phrases without artificial stuffing, and
- How you can get external sites to link to you using keyword-rich linking text.
It’s also important to remember that a web page can’t be optimized effectively for multiple keyword phrases. If you try to optimize for too many, your efforts will be diluted and you’ll end up not ranking well for any. It’s much better to focus your optimization efforts on just a primary and a secondary keyword phrase for each web page.
Where you must use keyword phrases
These are the standard features of an optimized web page:
The title tag. The title is particularly important and should include your primary keyword phrase and if possible your secondary phrase.
The description tag. If your description contains the search term people enter, and it is the first text that the Googlebot comes across, then you’ve a good chance that Google will display your description in the results.
Headings and subheadings. The
Body copy. The writer should understand what the keyword phrases are and use them in natural language on the page.
Links on the page. The words used in live links tell the search engine what "this page" is about and also what the "linked-to page" is about.
Alt text. For every image, write an alt attribute tag, good for both accessibility and optimization.
Here are some ideas for working additional keywords into your copy but use these ideas sparingly:
Bulleted lists within the body copy. Another opportunity to repeat keyword phrases so that they don’t interfere with the reader’s enjoyment of the article.
Quotations and interviews. Quotations or pull quotes are short meaningful quotes from key individuals and you can have about 1 to 3 in a standard article of 1,000 words. Interviews, where you report both the question and the answer, give you an opportunity to easily repeat keyword phrases.
References at the bottom of the article. A resource box at the bottom of an article is a good way to mention all the links and resources mentioned in the body copy.
Add a takeaway box. Usually a summary that says, "The main points in this article are ..."
Link title. Using the link title attribute in writing a link also gives an opportunity to repeat keyword phrases. In HTML code, this looks like:
<href="http://www.wordtracker.com" title="Wordtracker - the leading keyword research service">
Testimonials from satisfied customers. These are mostly used in sales pages but can also be incorporated into article templates.
Signature box at the end of the article. This presents the opportunity for the author to present his or her company and what he/she does for clients.
External linking text
While you can’t always control external linking text, there are instances where you can. These include:
Listing on subsidiary and partner sites. Often the easiest way to get keyword-rich external linking text.
Directory listings. You usually have editorial input and can specify the exact linking text that points to your site.
Press releases. You can certainly write the linking text at the bottom of your press releases, and on occasions within the body itself.
In by-lines to articles that you publish. Many sites will allow you to specify not only the linking text but the text that surrounds the link.
Reciprocal links. When you swap links you can ask for specific linking text to be used.
Paid-for links. Links that you buy will always allow you to specify linking text and perhaps allow extra descriptive text.
Writing, by its very nature, is creative and thrives when the imagination takes over. Don’t stifle your writing by adhering to a rigid keyword formula. Educate yourself in keyword strategies, immerse yourself in your subject, and above all enjoy yourself as you write.
This is page thirteen of the HMTL version of Wordtracker's Free Keyword Research Guide.
- Why Keywords Matter by Ken McGaffin
- What You Can Do With Wordtracker by Ken McGaffin
- Not This Saturday (offline keyword research) by Ken McGaffin
- Convert Traffic Using Wordtracker by Bryan Eisenberg
- It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Emotion by B.L. Ochman
- Gauge the Size of the Market by Stephen Mahaney
- In Paid Search, Keywords Are Key by Kevin Lee
- Find the Keywords and You’ll Find the Marketplace by Ken McGaffin
- The Wordtracker Breakthrough by John Alexander
- Adopt a Healthy Position by Neil Davidson
- Designing an Online Marketing Strategy by Robin Good
- Only People Buy by Nick Usborne
- Where To Use Your Keyword Phrases by Ken McGaffin
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
You can watch recordings of his extremely popular (and free) Link Building Webinars