Many webmasters are confused about keywords. A common warning to website copywriters has to do with keyword stuffing – don’t do it, you’ll lose your search engine position, they say. I know. I’ve said it.
For the most part, it’s true. Keyword stuffing is a bad thing. But what is it?
What Keyword Stuffing Is – And Is Not
First, let me say what it is not. Keyword stuffing is not using keywords. It isn’t using keywords a lot. Nor is it using keywords more than you should. Keyword stuffing is an obvious attempt to fool the search engines by “stuffing” your content with keywords to such a degree that you render your content meaningless. Pay attention to that because it isn’t cryptic. The key phrase here is render your content meaningless. Now what does that mean?
It really means that if I go to your website or blog and start reading and you have keywords tossed into your content so many times that it annoys me, then you’ve got too many keyword. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use keywords a lot. You should. The whole idea behind keyword density (and I don’t recommend breaking out your keywordometer to measure your density rating to within .00001 degree – there’s no such thing!) is this: That you have your keywords within your content often enough that the search engines can determine that is your keyword and that your human readers can’t. In other words, the text needs to flow naturally.
What Is Keyword Density?
Keyword density means that if you have a 100 word paragraph and you use your keyword 10 times during that paragraph then your keyword density is 10%. Is that too high? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on how crafty you are in slipping the keyword in and ensuring that the text is readable and makes sense to your human readers. That’s the main thing. You must ensure that your human readers understand what you are talking about and aren’t annoyed that you used your keyword so many times. There is no mathematical formula for figuring out what that is. It will differ from web page to web page, keyword to keyword, and copywriter to copywriter. It’s like telling a fiction writer to use X number of metaphors or his fiction isn’t really good fiction. Silly isn’t it?
Your Keyword Rule List
Here is a list of things to think about when composing content for your website or blog. These rules are the keyword rules and apply only to your use of keywords within the content:
- Use keywords
- Put your keyword in your titles and headlines
- Use subheads for long text and make sure your keywords are included in the subheads
- Subheads should use an h2 or h3 tag
- Make your content filthy rich with keywords; you’re more likely to not put enough of your keywords in the text than you are to put too many
- Don’t let fear of keyword stuffing keep you from adding keywords where it will help you
- Add some links with your keywords, but don’t overdo it
- Every now and then bold or italicize a keyword for effect, but don’t annoy your readers with this
- Not enough of your keywords is just as bad as too many keywords
- Before you write a word, be sure to conduct appropriate keyword research
- When linking to another web page that you own, use a keyword that matches the keywords used on the page that you are linking to
- Take a break, drink a beer or a glass of tea; you deserve it
The Conclusion On Keywords
Don’t get paralyzed by keyword anxiety. Write in a natural way. In fact, you should write your first draft without thinking about keywords. After you’ve let your content sit for a day, go back in and look for places you can add keywords. You might have to rewrite a few sentences to make sure the content makes sense. That’s OK. If it means you have another opportunity to add a keyword and to make your meaning more clear then take advantage of that opportunity.