I received quite a few questions about the intricacies of keyword density after publishing Where to Put Keywords in Pages and Posts in August. Several asked about the line between keyword “stuffing” and appropriate keyword usage. Let me quickly recap the principles of on-page keyword placement by sharing the formula I use every day. For sure in every post, the keyword or keyword phrase (interchangeable!) should be in:
- One of three sub-headlines
- Once every 100 words (really, once per paragraph)
- Once within the first sentence or two and certainly in the intro paragraph
- Once in the final paragraph (this one I came up with myself, assuming that Google is following appropriate essay structure and insisting the conclusion carry a tight focus on the main topic.)
If the post is over 700 words:
- Two of five sub-headlines
- Once in final paragraph (I settled on this one without backup from big SEO people. I know that good writers focus on the main topic in the conclusion paragraph and suspect Google believes the same. If you want to let this one go, it won’t hurt my feelings. I always use it, however.)
This formula is fashioned from advice from top search engine optimization professionals like SEOMoz and Search Engine Land, as well as premier SEO copywriter, Karon Thackston. Not surprisingly, the top, most principled people in their industry tend to agree with each other on what is keyword stuffing and what isn’t.
Keyword Density and Black Hat SEO
Some who read “Where to Put Keywords in Pages and Posts” were surprised at the keyword frequency I suggested, asking, “Isn’t that ‘stuffing?’” ‘Stuffing’ involves deliberately tricky moves like:
- Putting keywords in white on white text.
- Using a “footer” at the bottom of the page, that, while the text is readable, is generally considered outside of the visitors typical reading area.
- Putting the keyword into every sentence on the page. Often, this tactic can extend to “spinning,” putting keywords into random sentences which are strung together enough to trick Google into thinking the whole piece is meaningful. Google doesn’t like tricks. In the past, these “articles” have even been written by computer programs, and oh boy did they get busted with the Panda update.
None of Informed Web Content’s clients really want to get involved with Black Hat SEO or keyword stuffing. Most ARE focused on delivering quality, helpful content rather than keyword-stuffed nonsense. It’s funny that those trying the hardest are the ones most concerned about crossing the keyword density line. I guess that’s just the conscientious personality! I’m not bold enough to think that I can outwit 20 MIT, Google engineering PhDs with my own gaming system either. I play by their rules, which luckily for this writer, means meaningful, quality content—just the stuff I like to write.
Google is on the Side of the Conscientious Business Person
Keep in mind, too, that Google recently filed an abstract with the U.S. Patent Office that further fine tunes their algorhythm so that more businesses get ranked rather than just those that have million dollar SEO programs. This fine tuning or (yikes!) ‘update’, termed “jumbling rankings,” AGAIN benefits high quality content. If your SEO manager is telling you to get more quality content on your site, Informed Web Content can get you started with SEO optimized posts that meet all of Google’s and other search engine’s criteria. You can go forward by modeling your own posts on these initial examples or we can also get a backlog of posts written for you so you can cross this marketing step off the list! Contact us today for a free, 20-minute consultation.