Content and Copy
Yesterday, we briefly touched upon the topic of SEO and although we didn’t really get into too much detail you should now have a little better of an understanding of how your content gets found by the search engines. Keywords, once the standard for ranking in search results, now enjoy a much more dubious status in the eyes of SEO professionals. In fact, some SEOs will even tell you to dispense with the notion of keywords altogether and to focus exclusively on creating quality content that adds value (i.e., something people actually want or need) and is highly shareable (i.e., something that is interesting).
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to the question but to me it seems awfully rash to simply throw out the use of keywords and speaks to the fact when most people thought of keywords they were really just thinking of stuffing. In other words, most “pros” didn’t give any thought at all to learning how to use keyword techniques correctly so that their copy read naturally. Rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water, why not focus on learning how to write SEO keyworded copy so that you can have the best of both world? Make sense?
By now, we all should know that keyword stuffing can result in manual penalties from Google and Bing and result in a sudden and dramatic loss of traffic. Clearly this is an uncool scenario at best and down-right catastrophic for an ecommerce site. There are a number of keyword density checkers that you can use online for free (my favorite is http://www.wordcounter.net/) or, if you’re the paranoid type, you can simpy use the Find function in Word. In general, a good rule of thumb for keyword use is a density of less than 2% is optimal for ecommerce sites and 1.5% or less for blogs running ads. Now that you understand what kind of numbers you should be aiming for let’s take a quick look at how it’s done.
Because I’m lazy and because Tim Nichols at Clickz.com did such a good job of explaining it I’m just going to straight up copy and paste his example of how good SEO copywriters artfully use punctuation and word order (both of which are ignored by search engines) to weave keywords into quality text. Take a look and be inspired:
“The ABC-XYZ Company provides professional ad copy writing services to more than 1,000 leading businesses worldwide.”
The above is fine, it reads well and it says what it needs to. However, it’s easy to get it wrong and that’s when content can seem stilted. If the writer repeated the string “professional ad copy writing services” too often in succession, then the work would take on an unnatural and monotonous feel. Adapting the keyword string by means of punctuation or using the words in a slightly different context are clever tricks that the more accomplished SEO writers employ.
Bearing in mind our string of keywords, “professional ad copy writing services,” take a look at the following two examples of how these nifty techniques can be used:
“What if you aren’t personally up to creating professional ad copy? Writing services or promotion specialists are probably your best bet.”
“If you want your promotions to be professional, ad copy writing services are available.”
So, what’s the takeaway here? In short, although keywording may be much less important than it once was it may still have a role in SEO writing as far as Cutts and Company are concerned (that’s Google’s director of search spam). What’s more, many clients still ask for keyword optimized text so it’s in your interest to know how many to use and how it can be done well.