Once you have a content idea, you have to figure out what the keyword focus of that content will be. Each piece of content should be focused on one main keyword, a couple supporting terms and a long tail phrase. All keyword phrases should follow the same word theme and all of the major SEO elements on the page must be perfectly aligned so that Google can clearly see the keyword focus.
In order to choose your main keyword you will need to conduct some keyword research. In the last course “Keyword Analysis – Learn How To Say All The Right Things Through Incredible Research” we went through numerous methods to conduct keyword research. That is something that every website owner, manager, editor and writer should be able to do.
Once you have conducted solid keyword research and are ready to choose the keyword assignment for your page, here are the things that you must remember.
- One Main Keyword Phrase
- 2-5 Supporting Keyword Phrases
- Objective of the page
- Where the page appears on the website
- User intent indicated by the term
- Role in the conversion process
- The average monthly search volume
- Where and how the keyword has already been used on your website
The above criteria are discussed at length in the Keyword Research course.
Most SEO professionals regard this as a worthless meta tag for SEO purposes. In the early 2000’s Google’s algorithm put a huge emphasis on the importance of the meta keyword tag. However, by 2004 the importance of this element was significantly depreciated. In 2009 Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, declared that Google no longer uses the Meta Keywords tag. While Google is known for putting out false information, since 2009 many people in the SEO community have dropped the Meta Keywords tag from their optimization strategies.
However, a proper keyword assignment for every page is an important part of creating a well orchestrated SEO strategy, and a few tests by SEO professionals have popped up since 2012 that claim adding keywords into the meta keywords tag did improve rankings.
Meanwhile Bing has said that they use the meta keywords tag to try to identify link spam.
Personally I believe that if the meta keywords tag was once in the top 10% of SEO factors, it is now in the bottom 10%, but I do believe that it is still a factor. If you are going to use it, make sure you only use between 1-6 keywords. Any more than that could be seen as keyword stuffing and harm your page. Here is the proper tag format:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”keyword 1,keyword 2, keyword 3”>
In 2012 Google introduced the News Keyword tag. This seemed to be a strange move after they had recently declared their sophistication had surpassed the need for a keywords tag… but regardless, this is a good tag to use for news articles for a site that is an approved Google News Partner. Google suggests putting the proper Google news categories where you would want the article to appear, as well as a few related keywords. Here is the proper format:
<news:keywords></pre>category, keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3</news:keywords>
Here is a link to the Google Support page about this tag: Google Support Topic Google News Keyword Tag
Keyword prominence is a term that implies a term is used near the front of an element. Whether that element is a page title, description or URL the terms that are used near the front are seen as more significant to setting the tone than words that don’t appear until later.
However, there is a specific strategy that should be used for the main keyword phrase in the body of content. Typically, the words and phrases that most accurately summarize content are found at the beginning of content, in the middle of the content and at the end of the content. Remember the writing lesson from high school English class about how to structure a paper? “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then, tell them. Then, tell them what you told them.” Good content will feature an introduction, body and summary. These are three distinct sections within a piece of content that clarify the core topic.
Google knows this and looks for this pattern to determine keyword relevance and quality of content. However, in order for this signal to work, the keyword phrase would have to be used prominently in at least these three places. Terms that only appear in one or two of these places, could be side notes or related subjects, but may not necessarily indicate the core focus of the article.
Calculating the keyword density for any content that is intended to rank well in search engines is important because the goal is for the content to be optimized for keywords enough that search engines will take notice, but not to have so many keyword references that the search engines will consider it spam.
Think of this as a bell curve, not too many, not too few. Also, the optimal keyword density decreases as the word count for a page increases. Keyword density for the primary keyword assigned to a page should be between 4-6% for up to 400-700 words, 3-5% for 700-1,000 words and 2.5-4% for up to 1,500 words.
All supporting keywords should be adequately represented with an average of about 1-2% keyword density for each.
Remember, for keyword density calculations, we are only talking about “exact match” terms.
Here is the calculation. Let’s say that the page is being optimized for the keyword “blue dog sweaters”. That is a three word phrase. If the page is 100 words and that keyword phrase is used one time, that would equal a 3% keyword density. If the keyword phrase were used twice, that would equal a 6% keyword density. Here is the keyword density calculation:
((number of words in keyword phrase) x (number of times phrase is used)) / (total number of words on the page) = Keyword Density
So, performing the keyword density calculation with the keyword phrase “blue dog sweater” which contains 3 words, and repeating that phrase 12 times on a page that features 1,000 words, here is the calculation:
((3) x (12)) / (1000) = 3.6%
That would work!
It is important to ensure that your keyword density does not go much higher than 6% or it will appear that you are “Keyword Stuffing” which is a very old and long-since defunct SEO strategy that will get your site penalized. There is really no way that you can write 500+ words of content, while hitting a 10% keyword density and maintain high quality content. Typically it just sounds phony. But, even if you figure out a way to do it… don’t! It will look spammy to search engines.
Think of keyword density like a bell curve. If keyword density is too low, it does not appear that your content is focused on the topic. If keyword density is too high, it appears that you are keyword stuffing and your content must be low quality. So, when it comes to your main keyword, staying in that 3-6% is just right.