Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
“I want a keyword density of 6%. Please put the keyword two times in each paragraph.”
Those were instructions given to me by clients when I first started out freelancing. I complied, of course, because I assumed that was how the web worked. I wish I could tell you how crazy those clients were or how wrong I was. But that was how the web worked as late as 2007. Cramming keywords in content like crazy was a sure-fire way to rank for them.My first clue this couldn’t last was when a client wrote back to tell me he was disappointed with the article. He didn’t think it read very well. I’m the first to say that it is sometimes hard to accept criticism about my writing. But I usually see the problem when corrected. I change things even if I don’t agree. But, it was tough this time because there was no way around it. The topic the person chose combined with the keyword density requested made for an article that was readable (quite a feat with that keyword density!) but not particularly useful— it was too constrained to be useful. I did what I could to make him happy, and I am grateful for that bump in the road because it woke me up to what should have been obvious. Keyword stuffed content wasn’t sustainable because it (excuse my language) sucked. I started to make changes then and there. Keyword density was still important but I usually managed to steer the client to allowing me to just put it in the title, first paragraph, and conclusion at the minimum. This gave me more freedom to write articles that were actually useful and read well. It turns out this was a good move. Search engines were getting smarter and so were readers. Clients saw how much better the content was when the focus was on the reader instead. They also saw that they ranked just as well, and usually better with improved content. In this article, we’re going to focus on today’s climate of ranking content in the search engines. It’s even more critical to focus on the reader today than it was even last year. It’s even more critical to do it a certain way. There is a new way to write content to please Google and your reader. It has very little to do with the previous gold standard of writing SEO content. There are only a small percentage of writers and marketers who are writing this ‘new’ kind of content. You’re about to be one of them. Put what you read here into practice right away and you should see better search engine rankings. You should also see improved conversions and a more engaged readership.