Everything you think you know about keyword targeting and Internet traffic is…slightly outdated, believe it or not. The idea that all you need to land a high PR ranking and attain top 10 SERPs is a few hundred articles and a hundred keywords that match your business is a bit antiquated. There is no promise today, especially since Google has begun penalizing businesses that “over use” or over-optimize their pages with keyword repetition.
So the question becomes, what does keyword repetition mean and how can one over use it a keyword phrase? First, understand that when Google came up with its Panda penalty (Panda, Penguin and other algorithm updates are discussed a bit later) the idea was to punish sites that were getting massive traffic without earning it.
These sites were getting away with “search murder” and stuffing articles full of keywords, which really made SERPs a war of numbers. Google’s latest algorithm updates changed this and leveled the playing field, allowing multiple companies the same opportunity to compete for top traffic based on the quality, not the quantity, of their content.
To this day, stuffing keywords in articles (even if the article makes sense and is otherwise a good write up) is a major risk, and can bring about penalization. Keyword density refers to how many times a targeted keyword is used within a certain number of words. If an article has 500 words and the keyword is used five times then that is 1 percent density, seemingly a good compromise between stuffing and not selecting any keywords at all.
However, the shrewdest online marketers are going one step further and avoiding the 1% density standard, citing multiple cases of Panda/Penguin penalization for sites that repeated keywords once too many times.
Honestly, the 1% density standard is not necessary, but then again, it’s not a guarantee of a penalty whereas using anything higher than 2 percent density probably is.
Most SEO marketers and savvy website owners are now trying to avoid the 1% standard and go with “natural repetition.” Repetition is simply part of journalistic writing and public speech. Repetition allows an audience to retain information. And we can probably say “repetition” one more time before it becomes cloying and really annoying. That’s the kind of thing readers notice, and now search engines notice too. It’s quite standard now to use the targeted keyword only two or three times in an article, especially if you’re already using it in the page title and header.
Another idea to work with is in using keyword synonyms, which is an effective method of natural repetition, but that doesn’t test the search bot, which is probably looking for the over-use of words. Try to be creative. Do highlight the targeted keyword in optimization, but don’t fall into the trap of over-optimization. Logically speaking, over-optimizing a page and keyword phrase is not a natural form of human communication. It is a computer-centric tactic and that is precisely what search engines are trying to fix. They want content written for people and at the same quality as we would expect to find in a magazine or newspaper.
Among the latest search updates is “keyword order”; that is, the order of words the user selects. An exact match of a keyword phrase typically ranks higher than the same group of words but in a different order. Research suggests that when people do type in a specific phrase, they often click on the site with the exact same wording. This makes since because “car movies” would obviously imply something entirely different than “Cars movie”, which might well refer to the Disney/Pixar cartoon. In fact, modern algorithms are now able to tell the difference between words in context meaning that the search engine is not as dumb as the reader might think. It knows precisely what you mean to type, as well as what you expect to find.
Additionally, search engines are now rewarding pages that have a higher than average organic click through rate. These pages are getting an SERP boost, in addition to the traffic they already acquired. High organic CTR indicates that users have already found the information at the indexed page very helpful, as opposed to other pages that don’t have high CTRs, but seem to promise a lot.
Perhaps reacting to keyword traffic, and avoiding keyword stuffing is not the most complicated aspect. Finding the right keywords to use will be your biggest challenge. We live in a complicated world market and it’s difficult to say precisely what words people respond to best. We can only assume from one of these factors:
The easiest way to approach keyword research is by using an online tool, whether Google’s Adword Planner, or another site altogether. When you peruse this program, you will notice that as you type in a keyword subject, you can instantly see how many searches are being run per month, the level of competition involved, and related keyword phrases similar to the one you typed in.
Unlike the older model Adwords Research tool, the new Adwords Keyword Planner does go into more detail and includes location-selection, as well as a breakdown of major phrases and into niche phrases. Even if you don’t take the keyword planner seriously, it is an ideal program to try—to compare your other research to. Such a program allows you to determine the worth of a keyword phrase (including how much people are paying for it in PPC marketing; more on this later as well) and how successful you might be, if you were to write a series of articles and compete against established WordPress website.
In general, smaller WordPress websites that are just starting out will go after less popular keyword phrases, and perhaps even “longer-tail” keyword phrases that better target their customers. Ultimately, this is a game of keyword targeting with the right phrase for the right customer who goes onto to buy your product. It’s not merely a game of recognizing the highest keyword search volume.
Another tip to keep in mind is that the higher your site is ranked, in reputation, traffic and total number of links, the better you can compete against higher search traffic keywords. Keywords with a 1000 searches a month might yield better results with a PR 6 or higher site.
It’s not all about the search numbers. Sometimes it is merely knowing the minds of your customers. This is why some web owners compare the search results with their own instincts as to what they imagine customers are searching for, not to mention what keywords competitors are using.
It’s not enough to guess, however. A shrewd businessperson writes this information down and makes a note of what works and what doesn’t, before developing content based solely on a hunch. You can also write down results you notice in:
And other statistical observations that may be able to help you devise your own keyword campaign.
Of course, figuring out the keyword phrase you want to work with is only half the battle—no, more like a quarter of the battle. Because after research, you have to to determine if the keyword phrase is relevant to your website theme and your content, and if it has any useful value to visitors.
You can also take note of:
How much competition exists in PPC marketing, which is similar to SEO in competition. In this market (discussed in detail a bit later) text ads are placed on the right hand side of the screen and provide direct linking. You can test certain keywords for just pennies a day and then halt the campaign when you determine your next move. Tracking impressions (how many times the ad was seen) and conversation rate with PPC will give insight into how to run an SEO organic campaign.
Remember, at the end of the day it’s not just about bringing tons of traffic to your site. Instead, it’s about bringing just a few of the right type of customers to your WordPress site with the correct Keyword Targeting, since they are the ones that actually make you money. In essence, you pay for traffic but you profit from leads who become buyers.
We’ll discuss a little more about keyword phrasing later in the strategies section. For the next section, we’re going to review some of what we learned thus far by adding the ten most common SEO mistakes in the modern age.