In SEO copywriting, the way things change is pretty astounding. So here’s an SEO tip: dial it back a little.

The way I have been seeing the SERPs behave lately, they are not favoring the heavy-handed keyword slam. The opposite seems to be true.

In the past, it may have helped you to have your keyword in the meta title, alt attributes in images, and sprinkled naturally throughout your text. That hasn’t changed – all of those things are good.

What is not good, is aligning them too literally. You pound one keyword to death – at the expense of it working well anymore. Variety. It is not simply the spice of life, it is also good for your handling of keywords.

Simple Example Using Business Turtles

You have a page about business turtle resort getaways in the islands somewhere. Pretty all the time (business turtles deserve only the best). So you want to rank well for “Business Turtle Spas” and “Business Turtle Resorts” is a secondary keyphrase you target. 

In the title, try: “Exotic Business Turtle Spas | Resorts for Business Turtles.” 

  • I have an exact match of the targeted keyword placed one word into the title.
  • The preceding word is what I call a relative modifier. I think “exotic” might not have too much interference, given it is referencing a spa. In this case, one word is sufficient. A relative modifier adds just a little padding before the optimizing begins. It is worth noting if you ask me.  
  • I pick up the secondary keyphrase as well due to L-R word order, and scoop a few related combinations.

Business Turtle Spas - Where a Corporate Turtle Can Be a Corporate Turtle

In the H1 tag, I don’t want to hammer the keyword to death. Try: ” A Spa and Resort Every Business Turtle Will Adore

  • I am not concerned as much with the keywords: I am aware of them. I imply them. I am after the reader here. And the bots. There’s that balance thing you need to achieve again, kids – discuss.
  • You may have to come back and rework this later, to make it effective. Sweating a title is not a crime – it is what carries the power of the message many times. Think of the turtles.
  • Aim it at the reader. This is on-page, so the bot becomes the passenger, behind the users and turtles. Or even I suppose is more accurate…but when in doubt, readability for the win.
  • Don’t think this is not effective toward the larger keyword just because you don’t use the keyword exactly.

In the body then, it is a light, relevant sprinkling of variations and synonyms we are seeking. The title and H1 will connect with one or two mentions sprinkled naturally within a few hundred words. The rest should not be direct.

The more competitive the term, the more information the surrounding text should carry. Repetition or (shudder) density might play a SMALL part here, but it is usually small. I think, the more competitive your niche, the more unique and valuable your content must be.

Everyone with a tent on the beach will be clamoring to get a piece of the hot Business Turtle spa action. So they will repeat that term as many times as possible on a page to try to dominate. If you, instead, blend your keyword only a few times (maybe 2, maybe 3, maybe one) and keep the paragraphs on-topic, you can substitute variations of the keyword (singular for plural, synonyms) and do very well.

Worth noting, to me.

How much is too much then? You tell me.