Provide Content People Want to Read
Providing content people want to read means writing for your human visitors first, then the search engines. This first suggestion for optimizing your content has nothing to do with techniques or strategies. It has everything to do with being real about the content you’re providing.
For example, if someone does a search for “how to change a flat tire,” you can pretty much guarantee that a vast majority of them are looking for information on how to change a flat tire! This makes sense, but so many people might be tempted to target that keyword phrase, and then not have the information people are actually looking for available on that page. When you do this, you dilute your reputation, because people won’t trust that what you say your page is about is actually what the page is about. Google can see this when people click the “back” button to go back to the search results to find what they were really looking for. And when this happens repeatedly, Google will penalize you by removing you from the search results for that keyword or keyword phrase. So the bottom line is: make sure your content provides enough information to satisfy the needs and desires of the person doing the search. You don’t have to give all the information away for free, but you better provide enough to make the page relevant to the person performing the search.
Keyword Density – Fact or Fiction
Keyword density is a topic that is widely debated among search engine optimization professionals. As you write the content of your page, you may wonder how many times you should use your keyord throughout the page. The general consensus is somewhere between 2-5%. Aaron Wall provides a free keyword density tool that can help you look at existing pages on your website and determine their keyword density. But take this information with a grain of sand. While there may be some magic number of times you should use your keyword within a certain amount of text, the truth is, we will never know what that number is, and it probably varies greatly depending on the search engine being used. So while keyword density can be helpful, there is no hard fast rule for using it to optimize your content.
Use Your Keyword in the First Sentence
After your H1 heading (which should also contain your keyword or keyword phrase), the very first sentence of the very first paragraph on the page should contain your keyword. Ideally it will be the first word in the sentence, and it will be emphasized with a style, like bold letters. Most search engine optimization experts agree that these stylizations make the keyword stand out for both your visitors and the search engines.
Keyword Usage in the Rest of Your Content
As you continue to write content for your page, try to use your keyword often, but in a natural way. If it makes sense to use your keyword, then use it. If it makes your content sound illogical, or difficult to read, then don’t use it. In addition, the supporting text of your page is just as important as your keywords. To test this, try removing your keywords from your text. If you can still tell what the page is about just by reading the supporting text, then your content is probably strong. And be sure to pay attention to places where you use generic wording to explain something. These are often areas where you can strengthen your content by using your keywords or words related to your keywords.
Don’t Over-use Your Keyword
This is called keyword spamming, and search engines hate it. You don’t need to use your keyword 100 times on a page to get the point across that your page is about that keyword. Search engines are pretty smart and they’re getting even smarter about figuring out what a page is about. So just use your keyword appropriately. In addition, overuse of your keyword makes most readers uninterested in reading your content. So keep in mind that you want your content to flow naturally, so that people will actually read it. Trust us, this helps your search engine ranking too!
Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is content that appears in multiple places on your website, or in multiple places on the Internet. For example, if you have a blog, when you publish an article to two different categories, that article shows up in both categories, thus producing duplicate content. Or, if you submit an article to an article website, like ezinearticles.com, and also publish it on your website, this creates duplicate content. In both of these cases, search engines are apt to ignore the content that is duplicated, which can affect your placement in the search engines. Therefore, duplicate content should be avoided.
Link to Relevant Content
Linking to content that is relevant to your topic is very important. These links could be to other pages on your website that are related to your topic, or they may be to other people’s websites that have good content you’d like to share with your readers. Whenever possible, these links should make use of anchor text that contains your keywords, or terms related to your keyword.
Don’t Give in to the Dark Side (of SEO)
Unethical SEOs often use black hat tactics such as hidden text, small font sizes, and other tricks to increase their keyword density while hiding keywords from human eyes. They do this in hopes that it will improve their search engine ranking. Don’t succumb to the dark side! If you write high quality content for your human visitors while paying close attention to your use of keywords and supporting text, your page will rank well. Using black hat tricks may help you get short-term results, but it won’t take long for search engines to catch on, and then your page or website may get penalized, essentially undoing all your hard work.
More Content Optimization Videos
Matt Cutts of Google discusses problems with duplicate content and the importance of great content and authority links.
Okay, this one’s not a search engine optimization video, but it’s worth reading…SEOmoz discusses content optimization best practices.
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