This article is contributed by Jane Smith.
Most bloggers have come to the realization that high quality content is the best blog marketing strategy. You might come across some newbie blogs that resort to gimmicks to boost their SEO ranking, but ironically those blogs have low visibility because their tactics are so transparent.
What tactics am I talking about? There are a handful of them, but the most regular (and the most annoying) offender is the overuse of keywords in an article to get more links.
Consider the following paragraph, which tries to maximize the keyword “basket weaving”:
The art of basket weaving goes back many centuries, to the time when basket weaving was the primary source of commerce. Travelers would come to basket weaving towns to purchase baskets from the indigenous basket weaving people.
Wow — four times in two sentences. If you were aiming for sheer frequency, you’d be churning out keywords at an impressive rate of two keywords per sentence.
But it shouldn’t be news to any blogger that you aren’t shooting for keyword frequency. Keyword usage is an important part of any SEO strategy, but it should complement rather than define that strategy. So the question is: where do you draw the line? How should we be using keywords?
Here are some answers.
1. With punctuation.
When using keywords, the goal is always to use them as naturally as possible. Remember the above example — it was pretty obvious that I was trying to saturate the paragraph with the “basket weaving” keyword phrase, and the content suffered for it.
The basket weaving example, however, was a bit reductive and doesn’t really represent the kind of keywords bloggers are trying to use. What is more typical is keyword phrases, like “SEO blogging for money,” which has the potential to render content totally meaningless if used as one phrase in a paragraph.
Instead of sabotaging the content, use punctuation to separate the phrase if possible. Punctuation doesn’t alter the way search engines recognize phrases, so if you can work a complete phrase into your writing with a period, comma, or colon, give it a shot.
“Nothing works to improve your ranking quite like SEO. Blogging for money isn’t easy, and doesn’t happen overnight, but optimizing your site will help bring in cash a little more steadily.”
2. With longer phrases.
A short phrase is usually easy to incorporate into your article, but it is very difficult to use a short phrase several times without sounding dull and repetitive. One possible solution to this is to make your keyword phrase longer. Adding words to the keyword phrase makes the repetition of phrases less obvious and makes more content more readable.
If your phrase is “SEO blog,” you could expand the phrase to:
· SEO blog tricks
· SEO blog mistakes
· SEO blog advice
Even when using this technique, however, you still don’t want to spam keywords. Repetition is repetition.
The techniques here aren’t necessarily ground-breaking, but even seasoned bloggers should revisit their use of keywords to see if their approach could be improved. Just remember: act natural.