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Technology & InternetKeyword Stuffing: A Little Too Much of a Good Thing
Keywords are the words and phrases people type into a search engine to find your website.
Keywords are the words and phrases people type into a search engine to find your website. Someone concerned with issues like the environment or peak oil supply, for instance, might enter a phrase such as “energy solutions California” — the phrase will generate a listing of thousands of sites, and the person will sift through the listings until they find what they are looking for. Obviously, being ranked closer to the top is a good way for sites to get noticed.
Choose Your Keywords Carefully
When you sit down to write copy for your website, hold a brainstorming session with your marketing team and try to imagine the different terms people might use to find your website. In the example above, for instance, the person might use several different keywords or key phrases:
- Environment California
- Saving energy Los Angeles
- Prevent pollution San Francisco
- Peak oil effect California
- Alternate energy sources California
If you get stuck trying to think of keywords, Google has a free AdWords Keywords Tool that will help you come up with some extra ideas if you need them.
Write Your Content
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, your challenge is to weave the words and phrases you’ve selected into the content in a way that doesn’t seem unnatural or jarring to readers.
Years ago, when the search engines were first becoming popular, it was common practice to include a keyword phrase in every single sentence. The search bots loved it, but the human readers were up-in-arms because the content didn’t flow smoothly and was hard to understand.
Today search engines have gotten a lot smarter. They no longer assume more repetitions mean better content. In fact, if they spot a website that uses too many of the same keywords — a practice referred to as keyword stuffing — the site will be assigned a low page ranking, and the result will be less traffic.
If you get stuck writing content that incorporates keywords smoothly, you may want to consider hiring a professional copywriter who is used to using search engine optimization (SEO) while at the same time writing for real people.
What Is Acceptable Keyword Use?
Although the search engines do not reveal their carefully formulated algorithms, it’s better if short articles only mention a keyword phrase like California forklift by Yalechase once or twice — perhaps at the end of the post and the beginning. Longer articles can get away with repeating the phrase three or four times, once at the beginning, once at the end, and once or twice in the middle. Any use beyond this, however, is probably pushing your luck.
Just remember, keywords are friends that can help your website and articles get noticed by the right people. Like friends, though, they don’t appreciate being overworked so choose your keywords wisely and use them sparingly. In this case, less is more.