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by Nick Usborne
Whether you are writing a website for yourself or for others, you’ll likely be addressing the issue of Search Engine Optimization. In other words, you want each page to be ranked high up on page one of the search results on Google and the other major search engines.
SEO and, in particular, the choice and use of keywords and phrases, might appear to be hugely complicated.
It’s not. SEO is simple.
To get the SEO right for a web page, here’s what you need to do:
Focus on one topic only per page and make the topic of that page abundantly clear to your readers.
That’s it. As far as I am concerned, that is pretty much the meat of SEO.
If I want to write a page about “the best coffee makers”, I’ll write the page on that topic only and will ensure I use the phrase “best coffee makers” in the page title, page description and headline of the page. I’ll likely mention it two or three times on the page.
I’m not “stuffing” keywords into the page to try to attract Google’s attention and approval. I’m using that phrase to signal the topic of the page to my readers.
Now let’s look at how a writer might go wrong when using keywords. We’ll call him Jack.
Jack uses his keyword research tool of choice and identifies a keyword that has very high demand and limited supply. He’s excited. He knows lots of people are looking for that phrase and it seems that not many other sites are addressing the topic.
So he writes a new page based on that phrase. He “optimizes” the page by adding the phrase in all the right places.
That works for one page. But when Jack does the same for fifty pages he ends up with a bunch of pages that may work as entry pages, but they are not very well connected or themed.
For instance, he might have one page on “best coffee makers” and another on “coffee tables” and another on “coffee break arcade games”. Coffee makers, tables and games? What an odd website. What is it really about?
To avoid this kind of disconnect within my websites I don’t use research tools to find hot keywords, I use them to find hot topics that are directly connected to the subject of my site.
I’ll be working on my coffee site and, using my research tool, discover there seems to be a high demand and low supply for the term “Bunn coffee maker spare parts”. Well, I have a section on the site about coffee makers and it seems that a lot of people would value some helpful information on finding spare parts for their Bunn coffee makers.
The difference in approach may seem slight, but I think it is important.
A website that is created by optimizing every single page for “hot” keywords will end up as a mess. And your readers will notice.
Instead, use your keyword research to identify topics which are of large or growing interest to your readers. Keep them relevant to the major categories of your site.
Or to put it another way, optimize primarily for your readers, and not for the search engines.
On that last point, I also write a ton of pages which aren’t optimized for strong keywords at all. I write them because I know my readers will find the information useful.
Yes, I spend time looking for hot keywords. But I use them only when the topic is relevant and useful to my readers.
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