Keyword Density: To Stuff or Not to Stuff?

What do you know about keywords? They improve how the search engines perceive your content. But, too many can also get you a bad name. Learn about keyword density and how to mix and match for the perfect combination.

A Keyword Myth

Common sense is not always the best approach especially when thinking about keyword use. Your mind says that if such and such keyword is the one you should be using to attract customers, then it should appear everywhere. So far, you are right.

This next part is where many veer off the track. Putting them everywhere doesn’t necessarily mean stuffing your content like a keyword burrito. At one time, you may have gotten away with that but search engines have evolved much like anything else. They are smart enough to know that a keyword is not going to appear in every third sentence as the normal course. This is keyword stuffing.

Keyword Density

A search engine is a complicated mix of algorithms that the average person won’t ever hope to understand. All we know is that it tells the bots to do their thing and they do it. They search for keywords that are entered into the search box on thousands and thousands of sites, blogs and the lot indexed all over cyberspace.

Keyword density is a measure of how many of those particular words appear within text. For instance, if your article is around 500 words, bots will calculate how many times a certain word appears within that text. Internet gurus used to always say that a safe keyword density was anywhere from 3-10%.

But, search engines have their own ideas about what constitutes the proper density for their rankings. Now, it can be as low as 1-3%. For a 500 word article, that would be 5-15 occurrences for any keyword. Most err on the lower end just to be safe. Besides, in 500 words, encountering the same keyword fifteen times may seem a little banal depending on your subject matter.

Keyword density also takes into account the number of words in your target keyword. Long tail marketing has become popular and can further focus your content and website for a larger, well-defined market.

But keyword density also works for your website in general. Using keywords in picture tags, as anchor text within content and as subheadings as well as headlines will also get you noticed. The content will get people to visit you over and over, but your entire website will be the linchpin that can help you gain and stay on the first page of search results.

Using Keyword Phrases: Variation on a Theme

By now, you have heard of search engine optimization (SEO). It is the process of using keywords to draw targeted traffic to your website business. But what about keyword phrases? They can bring in even more lucrative traffic.

Keywords are used in content, webpage headlines and the like to gain interest from the major search engines. Once you register your website with them, their little soldiers (bots/spiders) go to work checking out what you have to offer. Use words that your customers will choose to search for your website; your content can then rank within the first page of results. This means that you will be the first link anyone sees for those words.

But, there are other ways to optimize besides just keywords. You can use keyword phrases. Nowadays, many keywords have become commonplace. Entering “chocolate” into a search engine, brings back millions of results. Someone can wade through the first ten pages (highly unlikely) and still not find exactly what they are looking for.

Now, they will try a different tactic. Instead of one word they will enter something like “chocolate peanut butter cookies.” This is definitely more specific. If you sell recipe books, it would be more beneficial to you to choose the latter phrase instead of just the former single keyword.

Importance of Keyword Phrases

If you have used any type of keyword tools, not only will you get keyword results but also phrases. It is harder to use phrases in an article and appear natural. But, you can use those targeted phrases in another way – create unique WebPages on your site.

Some people miss out on all that keyword optimization has to offer by simply listing all of their products on one or two pages. Let’s say that you sell cookbooks. Well, there are several different types of cookbooks: desserts, main dishes, appetizers, drinks and ethnic fare to name a few. You could have a link that says “Cookbooks” and links to that section of your shopping cart.

To make use of keyword phrases, though, you could also create a unique page for each keyword phrase. On the home page, include links to each page using that keyword phrase. You will get credit for the phrase appearing on the home page too. You can also pepper your content with the keyword phrases where appropriate and use it as anchor text for a link to the corresponding page on your website.

Keyword phrases are just as important as single keywords. Use them throughout your website to improve your search engine ranking.

Keyword Tools for Your Website Content

What do you do with that list of keywords after you’ve taken the time to brainstorm? Well, you could potentially be holding on to a gold mine of profitable words. But, you won’t know that unless you analyze their potential with keyword tools.

You don’t have to go out to your nearest computer store and purchase any software. Most of what you need is available on the Internet for free or a small fee. If they offer a free trial, use it. At least you will learn how the process works and if that particular software works for you.

Here are a few software tools for finding appropriate keywords for your website. All of these are free tools but some offer more features for a paid subscription.

  1. Wordtracker (http://www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com) – There is no way that you could possibly think of all the different combinations of words that are used to find results in your niche. That is where software like Wordtracker comes in handy. Using the list of possible keywords you have compiled, choose a keyword to enter into the program. The software will return all possible combinations (according to your search parameters) and the number of searches for each. You may even notice a few that you haven’t thought of before. You can even compare results by search engine.

  2. Wordstream (http://www.wordstream.com/best-keyword-tool) – If you want to let the software pick the keywords for you, here are a few tools that you can use. Wordstream returns keyword suggestions that work well for content and pay-per-click ads. You can also manage your keywords. You will be able to pick form the best words and phrases for your niche.

  3. Overture (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion) – This keyword tool is brought to you by Yahoo. It is now called Yahoo! Search Marketing. Using this search engine, the tool returns results for a variety of keywords and how many searches are done for them. You can choose to keep or discard the ones that have too many search results and opt to exploit the keywords that have not been overdone. 

  4. Keyword Discovery (http://keyworddiscovery.com) – This tool will return the best keyword results from one keyword that you enter. It pulls information from over 100 search engines to compile a focused list.

Another great source for not only keywords in profitable areas, but tons of other research as well is Affiliate Niche Packs (http://www.affiliatenichepacks.com). If you’re looking to get make some cash online quickly, these packs will save you tons of research time. 

It all starts with keywords. If you pick the right ones, you can definitely find a profitable website. Using these tools can help you narrow your search even further than the list you came up with. Which ones will be winners? You’ll have to test them and see.

Which Keywords to Use for Your Niche

Website content is not just something for visitors to read. It is also a way to attract the “right” visitors in the first place. Using the correct keywords throughout your website will garner high standing with the search gods and get you noticed.

Doing your Homework

You thought that homework stopped when you graduated from school. In the world of business, you never stop learning if you want to go as far as the road will take you. To that end, it is time to do a little homework for your content – keyword research.

Now, you don’t have to be stellar at research in order to get this done and get it done right. Keyword research is finding the words that will rank your content and your website head and shoulders above the rest. Are you ready? Let’s begin.

Conducting Keyword Research

There are a few things that you can do:

  1. Create a list of words. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What words would you input to find you? Write down as many as you can. Better yet, record them in an electronic spreadsheet for easier editing later. Choose single words and multiple word phrases.

  2. Ask your customers. You already have some customers. Survey them to find out how they found you. If it was through an Internet search ask what words they used. It seems too easy, but most business owners overlook such a resource because they don’t ask the right questions.

  3. Use keyword software tools. These tools can be very helpful once you have your list of possible keywords. The software will let you know a variety of things about your keywords and whether they are good enough to reach your target audience.

  4. Analyze the data. From your list, whittle down to just the keywords that are likely to get you what you want. Then, rank those keywords in order of best to worst.

  5. Try out those keywords. Don’t use all of them at one time, but keep track of which ones you use and for how long. Using website management tools you can find out how much traffic and conversion (how many people used your keyword content as a means to do something – click, sign up, or buy) rates changed.

So, are you ready? You obviously already use content, but maybe it isn’t working well enough. There are always ways to make it better and keywords are one of those ways.

Why Use Keywords in Your Content?

The Internet is a place where anyone can find information on just about any subject. If you want any one or two of these billions of people to find you there, giving them what they desire is the key. Using keywords in the website content you post is the way to begin.

What are Keywords?

This word has been tossed around a lot on the Web. Keywords are the words that people use to search for information in cyberspace. Now, every word is not a keyword. Some words like “the,” “of,” and others are too common and are usually excluded from search results. Only the main words are used in the search parameters.

Based on those entered words, a series of results are returned for the viewer. Usually the results are in the millions but no one is going to look at all of those entries. So, if you are not featured on the first page, you might as well be entry number 999,999.

Use Your Content

The world is being educated now about bots and spiders. They are icky but they perform a great service for your business website. They crawl your articles, headlines, picture tags and unique pages for the words that searchers enter. If they are found, you get ranked for that word.

Is that all? Of course it’s not. We left out that the number of times the word appears (keyword density) is highly important. The crawly things are looking for how many times that word is mentioned to calculate where you stand compared to other content using the same word.

The hang-up is going to be finding those words. And, for each topic of interest, there are an untold number of words that can be entered alone or in the form of a phrase.

But, what you have to remember is that without the keywords, it will be next to impossible to reach your target market. Some use the “net casting” approach and try to appeal to everyone using generic wording in their articles and advertisements. Not only are you going to get a large amount of uninterested people but you are also going to waste money doing it.

Keywords narrow down the field to only the people who are likely to use your product or service. Just like with ads, you will want to test out these keywords to see the rate of return you get from your efforts. But at least you will start off on the right path.

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5 Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website Pages

 
Search engine optimization can be one of the hardest and most rewarding tools in your business arsenal. It helps with marketing, advertising and selling your products or services. Because it is a wide category, there are plenty of places where you can go wrong with it. Here are just five of them.

Under-Using Your Website – Optimizing your website involves every aspect of your site. Most people think that the only important part is the content. Optimizing content is only one piece of the pie. When you concentrate on content and not on leveraging all areas of your site, you are robbing your own pockets.

You will get visitors if your content is on point, but the search engines can rank you even higher if you used keywords in other places. Articles have titles, pages have headlines and pictures have captions. Learn to use them all to your advantage.

Keyword Overload – Search engine bots are smarter than most people give them credit for. Using keywords too much will cause them to just skip over your content and thus give you a lower ranking for those keywords. It seems like you could use as many as you wanted in an article and that would make you more visible but it’s not true.

Search engines recognize when people are cheating by overstuffing their articles with keywords. Content that is well written will stay within the allowable keyword density. And, those keywords will show up naturally throughout the article so it doesn’t sound like it was thrown together just for the keywords.

Keyword Density – You can have too few keywords as well as too many. Some people write their content without even thinking about keywords. You might have a strong article that talks about cutting edge information but without something to help the search engines look upon you favorably; no one will ever read it. Using the word once or twice in an article is not going to cut it.

No Variety – For better optimization, a website doesn’t use just one keyword. If you started with the word “chocolate”, your entire website wouldn’t be based on it. People use a variety of similar words alone or in combination to find what they are looking for with search engines. If you make and sell chocolate fudge, there are better words to use: fudge, Candace’s fudge, how to make fudge, etc. it’s like throwing all your eggs in one basket if you don’t diversify your keywords.

Reciprocal Links – While it is true that backlinks can increase your search engine ranking, all links are not equal. And search engines like organic links better than simply offering reciprocal link sharing. You want others to link to you because they like your product and what your website presents to others. Using quality content on your site, in article directories and on social bookmarking sites can increase your quality inbound links for higher ranking.

Start out on solid footing with SEO. Learn how to avoid common mistakes that first-timers make.