This week one of our SEO specialists, Randy, was working with a client who is completing a refresh of the company website. As they reviewed the keyword research, our client wanted to get her arms around various ways to leverage that research by using keywords more effectively in her content. She asked:
Does it work to repeat myself quite a bit?
No, not at all. In fact, search engines might consider that spam. Being repetitious with your keywords is called “keyword stuffing” and, in the early days circa 2000, it did help boost your web pages in search engine rankings. That hasn’t been the case for many years, however.
If you keep this in mind, you will solve a host of potential problems. Always write content for the reader first, not the search engine.
It is of key importance to provide content that will be of great interest to your target audiences. Then, double check that the content is relevant to the search terms you are targeting. If it isn’t, either change the search terms to target and/or create new web content to highlight a search term or keyword that appears to be a great match for what you offer. Finally, include other relevant terms associated with the selected keyword that is your focus for any particular page. For example, if the targeted keyword is “children’s health resources,” other terms that might fit naturally into the text of the page may include words like “kids’,” “youth,” “information,” “services,” “healthcare,” “wellbeing,” etc. Don’t force a keyword into content; just remember that where you might choose to search for “children’s health resources,” others will search for “help for kids health issues.”
When devising a keyword strategy for your website, there is no 1 answer. As search engines have evolved, a process called “latent semantics” has taken over human aspects of the ranking process as far as text is concerned. Picture IBM’s supercomputer Watson telling you what a page is about. By analyzing the words on the page, Watson could tell you exactly that, even if the actual word or phrase was never used in the text. From what I’ve read, in the future, there will be more and more of that and Google’s engineers won’t even be able to tell you for certain what text on the page led to a high ranking of a particular page.
In the meantime we know this for sure: repeating one’s self for the sake of search rankings is usually very obvious and a turnoff to site visitors, and can get your content devalued – and consequently discredited – by both your target audience and the search engines.