Urgh! Keyword Density

October 19th 2010       Sally Ormond       copywriter, freelance copywriter, search engine optimisation, SEO copywriter

copywriter - keyword density

Before we get going I just want to make one thing clear – the term ‘keyword density’ should be confined to the rubbish bin.

There, I’ve said it.

It is often used by ‘SEO experts’ who claim to understand the ins and outs of Google’s algorithms – well if that were true, they’d know that ‘keyword density’ was a nonsense.

So where did it come from in the first place? Well the basic thinking went along these lines:

If I use my keyword more often, its density will be higher; if it’s higher Google will regard my copy as more relevant than anyone else’s. So, the more keywords I cram in the better.”

Oh boy, how wrong can you be?

Working along these lines, you completely disregard any competition from other websites for the same keywords. So what do you do? You go and check out those sites, work out their keyword density and then beat them.

The problem is the more you do this the more you head towards SPAM. And when this happens you can kiss goodbye to legibility, clarity and usability.

If you think I’m talking a load of b******t then answer me this. If all you had to so was fill your site with keywords, everyone would do it, the internet would be full of gibberish and no one would use it. It’s not and they are – so who’s right?

The search engines aren’t daft – keyword density ignores keyword distribution, contextual relevance, links, navigation, usability etc.

So I guess you’re wondering how you can create SEO copywriting that the search engines love.

It’s all in semantics

Let’s get one thing, the research you do to find your keywords and their use is important. If you write naturally, a pattern of keywords will be used along with synonyms, verbs and nouns which all construct meaning.

You also have to know where to put your keywords (H1 tags, META tags, title tags, navigation, anchor text links etc.) but they alone won’t tell the search engines what your page is about.

The answer to that is semantics.

Researching related words

Basically there are two ways to identify related words:

  1. Guess – not very scientific
  2. Use the Google Tilde search

All you have to do is type your keyword into Google’s search box preceded by the tilde sign (~). In the results you will see bolded words and terms which Google identifies as being related to your keyword/search phrase.

So if you searched ‘ink’ Google suggests the following:

  • Inkjet
  • Cartridge
  • Inks
  • Toner
  • Paint
  • Pen

All  you have to do is pick the relevant terms to produce a list of related words that can be used within your text.

By using semantics you website copywriting will become more relevant in Google’s eyes. And the more relevancies you show, the higher you are likely to be ranked.

But don’t forget this is just one part of an SEO strategy and shouldn’t be relied on in isolation.

Tags: copywriter, freelance copywriter, search engine optimisation, SEO copywriter
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