If you understand the principles of SEO, you know that it’s important to use your keywords often throughout your content. However, you also know that it’s sometimes difficult to say what you want to say and include your key terms and phrases in a way that flows and sounds natural. The more you use the right keywords (to a point), the better your chances of being awarded a high ranking from Google. Recently, Google has begun penalizing websites that are overly-optimized, so you want to keep your keyword density within reason. You still need keywords, though, or search engines cannot determine what your site is about in order to deliver targeted visitors to your website. Is there a way to achieve a balance between good keyword density and great content? Absolutely – your content must be worth reading, or visitors aren’t going to hang around to become customers or leads.
A keyword density of about 4% is acceptable to Google, which essentially means that within a 500-word piece of content, keywords would be used about 20 times. So, can you include your keywords that many times within a 500-word length and still keep your content sounding natural and flowing well? Your content should offer value to your readers, persuade them to take the action you want them to take – and most of all, be coherent. No one wants to read content that has keywords packed in repeatedly, such as in every other sentence. Essentially, you need to insert your keywords in areas where they sound the most natural, and not forced.
How can you accomplish this? Analyze your keywords to determine where they sound natural. There are some keyword phrases that simply do not sound natural in mid-sentence, and are better placed at the beginning of a sentence. For example, the phrase “affordable TV repair” may sound a bit forced in the middle of a sentence, but sounds completely natural as the start of a sentence. The point is, you don’t want your content to sound mechanical; it can also sound grammatically incorrect, especially when you are optimizing your content for what is known as “long tail” keywords, which are simply keyword phrases that are 2, 3 or more words long.
Here’s a tip you may want to keep in mind. Consider your primary keyword, along with secondary keywords. By using your primary keyword once in 100 words of content and your secondary keywords 2 to 3 times for every 200 words of content, you are making your pages effective in terms of SEO optimization, but they also flow and read naturally to your visitor.
Here’s an example of primary and secondary keywords:
- Lose weight fast (primary keyword phrase)
- Quick ways to lose weight (secondary)
- Rapid weight loss (secondary)
Additionally, it’s important to place your keyword (particularly your primary keyword) as close to the beginning of your content as possible, preferably in your first sentence. Also consider the use of “stop” words, such as in, all, an, also, etc. These words are essentially “invisible” to search engines when used in the middle of your keyword phrase, and will not compromise the integrity of the phrase for keyword optimization purposes.
You absolutely CAN write quality content your readers want and still combine effective SEO.