How To SEO Blogposts

Got a great question in an email from a guy named John, asking:

Do you have a resource that can actually spell out (or at least provide guidelines) for how often to use a keyword in an article, and a little bit about placement for someone who is really green, but keen to get started?

keyword seoSoapBox Answer: The problem with looking for a reliable keyword-to-content ratio or set of guidelines, is there is none. Different niches and scenarios will bring similarly different results. One size cannot possibly fit all.

Keyphrase strength becomes an individually evaluated thing that flexes wildly. More importantly, this is only one thing (among so many) used to evaluate a site or page’s value. Concentrating on keywords and keyphrases alone is more likely to hurt you in other aspects, most commonly in general usability and coherence.

You also run a very real risk of a search engine filtering for over-optimizing, should you get too happy with repeating a keyword in a page or a link campaign.

When the keywords are the most important things, you lose track of why you are creating the web page to begin with, which is to engage readers. Step back a bit: it’s time to see the forest, too.

It’s true, the right keywords will work wonders, but it is infinitely easier for most people to figure out something that makes them special. Subject matter expertise is going to trump most keyword-driven shenanigans. Certainly, if you are in it for the long haul, this is going to prove true…give it time.

The Sad Truth: The Right Keyphrases Are Not Magic Pills

Ultimately for most people, keyphrases themselves just won’t help you like you think they will. You can’t plug them into your idea later on – normally, they should’ve been a part of your idea from the start. Pasting them on later is very difficult, and rarely effective  – unless you are paying for it to happen, or guided by professionals. Better to chuck the idea of keywords at that point, and simply create better and deeper content for your readers, based on subject matter.

And don’t think there is a magic ratio, or keyword density or anything like that that matters. I promise you, there isn’t and it doesn’t. Anyone selling you a recipe including keyword density optimizing, is full of shit. There is no blanket approach that will work for you in every situation, there is no formula to attach to it.

Keywords are nuanced by niche activity.

No Ancient Chinese Secrets Here

You must only write things that connect to your audience for it to be effective. The emphasis on keywords is really displaced, because you need to focus a lot more on each page having a specific meaning to your visitors. But meaning is an esoteric thing, and hard to evaluate, or measure, or pay for. Yet it works – quite often, better than many keyword-originated strategies will.

Google is drastically changing what it is doing and how it is ranking things – so creating the assumed value around a keyword or keyphrase is as important as the words themselves, if that makes sense. Build meaning.

OK. But How Do I Optimize a Webpage for Simple Keyphrases?

That babbling disclaimery stuff all said, making sure you are amply covered for a specific keyphrase/keyword is easy.

  1. Include your keyword in your page title {This tells the search engines what the page is about}. Titles have been important for years. They continue to be…though, I personally have reason to believe a focus on page content over titles is a smarter move for staying power. I completely optimize every page title of important sites with a ton of care and time. Even on lesser sites, I make sure each one is unique at a minimum to make them work effectively. Aim for titles of about 70 characters, but don’t worry about counting your characters. Just write a decent title, and use your keywords in a realistically strategic way – nothing earth shattering needs to happen. The placement of keywords might be important, so value the left side as strongest, and create your titles with your main keywords coming up more immediately in the flow. There doesn’t seem to be one separator preferred over another (dashes, commas, colons etc.). Using less or more characters in a title does not seem to tip it either way on its own merit, though I admit never isolating it to fully verify this. Just a good hunch, here.
  2. Include your keyword thru your body copy{Use it both verbatim, and in various forms for greatest effect}. There is no set rule on where, and how much to use keyphrases – I veryloosely aim for the opening sentence, the middle of the page, and the conclusion if possible, at a minimum. Why? Because then the keyphrase occurs naturally thru the entire page. Emphasis here on “natural” appearance.
  3. Add a meta description that is meant for enticing readers, that is about two sentences, and includes the keyword again, naturally in the flow of describing the page contents. No big whoop. 30 seconds per page.
  4. Use various forms of the keyword to build a link campaign {Using the keyword and variations, create internal and external links to build power to the page you wrote-variations will help you deflect or minimize over-optimizing filters}. In your own site’s content, blog comments, article sites, or wherever you are building links, try to use the keyword and its various forms as anchor text. Mixing it up but staying on topic is a great strategy.

That’s it – rinse and repeat, ad infinitum. Never ends, but what a ride.

Final Ideas: 

Don’t feel the need to buy anything. Products and memberships might come later, when you understand more. There is plenty to learn for free, on your own, before you start paying for a boost or joining a club. Test more, on the cheap – join less. Read tons.

Read – learn, and start websites. See if it -this work- really makes a good fit for you. Take in everything, but let experience guide you. Not every message is true or honest out there – and if you are trying to learn, getting swept-up believing in “easy” can cost you a fortune. Build sites, and test things. Be skeptical. Empirical data rules.

I’ll repeat: there is no easy. There are smart, hard workers that certainly succeed and emerge every day – but none of it comes easy. It is hard work, and smart moves. Pony-up, and roll up those sleeves. Unless of course, following those 4 steps above comes very easy for you – in which case, you should be both pleased, and insanely busy. More power to you. Milk it hombre, and you’re buying next time we meet.

There is never going to be a single product that makes web marketing easy.  I think I gave you here, all you need to know to get started, provided you have something worth starting. The latter is the key point to chomp here: have something worth saying before you decide to start talking. {NOTE: talking to a friend, he said he disagrees here. He believes more in the get started, and let experience provide you something to say – which I thought was a good point. My own point, is geared more toward the folks I am seeing learning techniques in search engine loop-holes without having a deeper foundation in a business direction first. I am old, though, and cantankerous.}

I think you should have an airtight business plan before you plan on spending profits, or outsourcing anything. Start with a product to promote, not the process to promote.

No one cares about another Internet Marketer one way or another. Make them care about something you believe in personally, and you are on your way. No reason to shill: find a calling that suits you, and work into it slowly. Plenty for everybody out there, and you don’t have to scam to succeed.

Good luck – and I hope you forever avoid squishing into the unicorn poop of Internet Marketing.