Article must be reproduced unedited and in its entirety. Resource box/bio
and copyright date must be included. Live links must be given
to any URLs within the article and/or resource box. Do not
list your own site as the original publisher of this article. Do not
direct visitors to link to your site in place of the author’s
site. Please email us notification of where the article will be used and a copy
of your newsletter if you are publishing the article in an ezine. Thank you!
Keyword density. When
it comes to SEO copywriting, this has to be one of the most talked
about subjects. Why? Because keywords are the very foundation of
search engine copywriting. Without keywords we wouldn’t even
have SEO copywriting. Because keywords (or more accurately, keyphrases)
play such an important role in search engine copywriting, it might
make sense that there are certain rules and regulations - certain
formulas - that should be followed. It might make sense, but, I’m
sorry to say, the mystery… the magic… is more like a
I have a guess as to
where these magic formulas come from. Someone brags to their friend
that they got #1 ranking for a particular keyphrase. The friend
studiously looks over the site and starts taking notes. “He
used this phrase eight times in a 500-word piece of copy. He put
the keywords in here and there and over here, too. That means you
have to put keyphrases in these places and reach a keyword density
of 1.6% in order to get a #1 ranking.” Not so! Let me explain
why keyword density formulas don’t fly.
Is One Piece of the Search Engine Optimization Formula
Copywriting, in my opinion
and the opinions of respected search engine optimizers, is 1/3 of
the puzzle; but there are other pieces to the puzzle, too. What
about coding and linking? Those are two extremely important factors
that also come into play.
*IF* copywriting were
the sole factor, then maybe - just maybe - keyword density formulas
might be a reality instead of a fable. But alas… it isn’t.
Density Formulas Are Unproven
Go to any search engine.
Type in your primary keyphrase. Look at the results that fall into
the number one through five slots. Do they all have the same keyword
density? No. Some have higher levels, some have lower levels.
If keyword density formulas
were carved in stone, every single site in the top 10 would have
the same keyword saturation levels. But alas… they don’t.
Keyphrases Aren’t Created Equal
Think about the competitiveness
of the various keyphrases on the Internet. You have some like “search
engine marketing” that are exceptionally competitive. Then
there are others like “sushi restaurant in Charlotte, NC”
that aren’t. You have to account for how many other sites
you’ll be battling with when you write search engine copy.
In addition to the number
of times a keyphrase is used, you need to pay attention to *where*
your keyphrases are used. While it has not been proven to my knowledge,
it is strongly suspected that keyphrases that have special formatting
carry additional weight. By special formatting I mean bold, italics,
in bulleted lists, in <H> tags, etc. As I said, this has not
been proven. Again, go to your favorite search engine and type in
a keyphrase. If formatting and positioning were a carved-in-stone
rule, all the sites in the top 10 would be using these tactics.
But alas… they aren’t.
I understand why people
want formulas. Having hard and fast rules to follow means, if you
apply the formula, you know you’ve done the job right and
you can’t fail. The problem is there isn’t just one
right way to create search engine copy. There are as many ways to
write SEO copy as there are sites on the Web.
Am I holding
back? Am I trying to protect my highly classified industry copywriting
secrets? Not at all. In fact, go to my site at http://www.marketingwords.com.
Visit the portfolio section. If I had a fiercely protected secret
that I was holding out on, all the sites with SEO copy in my portfolio
would have the same keyword density. But alas… they don’t.
So after I’ve dashed
your dreams, the least I can do is give you some insight into how
*I* write SEO copy. I don’t do any or all of these in any
particular order. I don’t do them all every time I write.
I am NOT saying that you should do all of these things every time
1) If possible, I try
to include keyphrase(s) in the headline and sub-headlines. If it
doesn’t make sense, if it sounds odd, I don’t include
2) When it flows, I include
keyphrases roughly once or twice per paragraph. Do I count words?
Do I run keyword density ratios? Never! I just eyeball the page
to see if it looks right.
3) This I do EVERY time
I write… I focus on natural language. If the copy sounds forced
or stiff after including keyphrases, I scrap it and start over.
Read your copy out loud. If it sounds stupid or redundant to you,
it will sound stupid and redundant to your site visitor. Don’t
compromise the flow of natural language for the sake of search engines.
What good will number one rankings do if - as soon as visitors get
to your home page - they click away because the copy is so awful?
All the number one spots in the world won’t pay your grocery
bill. You ultimately have to have sales and that means winning over
your human visitors.
4) If possible, I try
to include keyphrase(s) in bold, italic, bulleted lists, or in other
text that is specially formatted. If it doesn’t make sense,
if it looks funny or sounds odd, I don’t include them.
it. Are those feelings you had when you learned there wasn’t
a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny coming back? Sorry. I truly am. But
it’s for your own good. If you’re going to be an effective
search engine copywriter, you have to learn the truth. Relying on
myths will only hold you back. Now pick yourself up, dust yourself
off, and get moving on that next number-one-ranking page.
Copy not getting
results? Learn to write SEO copy that impresses the engines and
your visitors at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.
Be sure to check out Karon’s latest e-report “How To
Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your
Copy)” at http://www.writingwithkeywords.com.
to Copywriting Articles Menu]