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Content Strategy + SEO

Keywords

By:

Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 5/15/2010

Everyone knows what keywords are, but how they are being used by searchers, by search engines and by web developers are often quite different. In days gone by, filling the content of your web page with back to back keywords of interest was enough to get brief but significant attention from Google. Unfortunately, your copy read like a bad used car ad and interested potential customers bounced off your site as quickly as they landed if they happened to read any of your words. Google picked up on this and has spent the last few years refining their algorithms to reward succinct, relevant copy over keyword heavy advertising pitches in their search results. Fast forward to today and you will find that the most successful websites are using keywords as guidelines for developing the content and ad text instead of as actual word for word content on a page.

Big secret: Keywords are not magic bullets.

Gone are the days of web pages that veritably scream at you from the computer screen to buy, Buy BUY! or sell, Sell SELL their Widgets or whatever.

This being said, there is still irrevocable value in paying close attention to the keywords your potential customers are searching with, as well as the keywords your competition is using to guide their marketing strategy. I’ll give you an example. ((warning: the numbers in the following example are completely made up. The idea and the alluded to research is not.))

The keyword ‘Advanced Widgets‘ gets an average of (lets say) a million searches/ month. The keyword “AW“, however gets an average search volume of over 8 million a month. This little factoid tells us that while we may have written the most tantalizing and interesting copy ever for ‘advanced widgits’, much fewer people are going to find it than if we had written that copy using the term ‘AW’ instead. With just a little bit of research into keyword trends and some time spent on traffic analysis, we can make a simple change in the focus of our content. With this little bit of knowledge we can help our widgit site appeals to a much larger audience of potential customers.

Another place keywords come in super handy is in the world of Pay Per Click advertising. We’ll talk about this in another session, but its worth mentioning now because there is a lot of value to be found in purchasing ad space in highly competitive markets where your website may not hold a top rank organically.

Lets recap.
Dont:

  • pack content with all your keywords
  • expect keywords to tell the internet whats on your website
  • duplicate content to generate more pages full of keywords

Do:

  • research keywords for traffic and trend data
  • write content specific to target audiences
  • use keywords to guide your content
  • consider Pay Per Click
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