Last updated on November 12th, 2012
Anyone with a cursory knowledge about search engine optimization and web copywriting understands the importance of keywords. These terms are what searchers in Google, Bing and elsewhere use to locate products, services or answers to their questions.
If you’re working to build your business’ position in the search engines, you’ve likely come across countless articles and blogs touting the importance of having these keywords in your copy, metatags, header tags and elsewhere.
The constant demand to include important key phrases in copy though can, in a way, become a distraction from producing the clearest message possible. Web writers, many of which are inexperienced, can become too focused on including a sufficient number of keywords in copy they’re preparing.
This can of course lead to a situation where the keywords can become “diluted” or even make your copy sound unnatural. If taken to the extreme (a.k.a. “keyword stuffing), it can lead to disastrous penalties.
In the early days of search engine optimization, the name of the game was keywords, completely. Simply insert phrases you’re targeting all over the place – plenty in your copy, and many more in image-alt tags, meta tags, title tags and elsewhere.
As Google’s algorithms became more sophisticated though, they began to cull pages that only provided a bunch of keywords and no real value to readers. From Google’s perspective, people would eventually quit using their search engine if they didn’t find good information.
While many of the keyword techniques we’ve written about (…see below) are indeed valid and should be considered, keywords should in fact take lower priority in many cases, especially when you’re writing content for a blog.
If a page is high up in your site – like a product/service landing page or an alternative homepage – you should be more mindful of the keywords you’re targeting and ensure they’re weaved in your copy and headlines in a “natural” way.
For blog and other site content like knowledge center articles, you can be a little more relaxed about keywords.
First of all, there are literally thousands of “long-tail” keywords (…phrases that are 4+ words) people may use to search for information related to your industry. Take a look at this Google search for “filming an interview” and see who’s #1. When we wrote this post, it was never our intention to rank high for this term.
Rather, we wrote it to provide insight into how a site owner/business/content developer can film a good interview to put on their website. The keyword “filming an interview” was more an afterthought.
So what’s the moral of all of this?
Focus first on providing content that’s clear and offers value!!
Unless you’re writing the page specifically for the purpose of targeting certain phrase(s) (…like a product/service landing page), it’s okay to not focus so much on keywords.
That’s not to say keywords are not important, they are. Developing blog and other knowledge-based content though is a long-term project, one where results will come gradually. As search engines place higher importance on the value your content is offering, the number of keywords you have in your content will not be weighted as much.
Understanding the Intent of Search Queries – EMI vs. EMQ
Latent Semantic Indexing – A New Way to Look at Copy
11 Steps to Increasing Keyword Saturation while Maintaining Valuable Content