Many website owners are familiar with the need to focus content on what potential visitors are searching for. However, overemphasis of keywords can work against you, unless you keep your content real.
My best tip for keeping content real is to read your page before you publish it.
I do not mean just scanning it before you click the Publish button. I mean you should do a Preview so you can see your page as your visitors see it, then you should read it out loud. It is even better if you can read it aloud to someone else, but even reading aloud to yourself will reveal any likely problems.
It always seems easier to spot spelling problems when you read aloud, and there are at least two more major benefits.
You can tell, if you run out of breath, that your sentences are too long. Even short sentences can be badly punctuated, and lose their meaning. Reading aloud shows this up, and fixing it is usually just a case of splitting one sentence into two. However, the real improvement happens if you can brutally remove sentences, or whole paragraphs. If you can reduce the amount of text without losing any meaning, you have done A Good Thing. Mentioning meaning brings me to the next major benefit of proofreading aloud.
Focus on your intended audience.
The habit of imagining your reader is Another Good Thing. Instead of just reading aloud, imagine you are reading to a target visitor. This helps you write for your audience.
Website Keyword Density Tool
Finally, I want to mention another tool that can help you keep your content real. At least, it will keep your words real.
Going back to your website intentions, you should have a clear idea of your target market. If you have created a detailed plan, you will have a list of target key words. Or rather, you will have a list of target keyword phrases. Even without a detailed list, your market research should have determined the most likely key phrases for you to target. If you have a list of phrases, you need to convert these to a Keyword Density checklist. A great tool for this is Word Counter.
For the Website Keyword Density tool, you do not need a long list of words. Your ten main words are more important to you than all the rest. Often, you have several phrases that relate to your main website subject, with that main subject repeating. For example, with a business website, your main topic might be a particular business technique. That technique might have associated subjects that are crucial to explaining and understanding it. Additionally, you would have keyword phrase targets along the lines of technique definition, technique planning, technique deployment, etc. These are the essence of your website, and you should be aware of them, and their relative importance.
Armed with such a list, go to Google Webmaster Tools – Google Index – Content Keywords. If there is no data, you have not published enough content yet, so come back later.
If you have only just started your website, the main subject, and any associated subject(s) should be at the top of the list. The exception is, if you have a website brand name, then this should probably be higher. If your website is mature, then the list should accurately reflect your target market. If not, you need to revise your writing to reflect your market. I.e. you need to keep your content real.
Keep Your Content Real
One common problem is that “structural” words can creep into the list. For example, as I write this, I notice that the word “blog” is the sixth highest on one of my health websites. Now, as it does contain a blog, it is OK for the word to appear. However, it is far too prominent. Most of my visitors on that website have no interest in blogs or blogging. Though it might be a natural for this online business support website, it needs downgrading on my health website. I will review that site, and remove several instances of the word until it is lower than all the words I consider to be targets.
For words that are missing from the list, or not high enough, the answer is to write more content. Sometimes this can include editing existing pages to add appropriate text. Usually, it is better to publish new content on that target keyword.
In summary, you should review Content Keywords regularly. Use the Website Keyword Density tool to identify:
- Structural words that are overstated such as blog, email, news, subscribe, etc
- Target words that are not high enough
Edit out the first, and add new content for the second. When adding new content, ensure the target keyword appears in natural context, and sounds appropriate when read out loud. Never add keywords just for the sake of it – just keep your content real.
If you need more help, or if you have similar website tools to share, please join the website keyword density tool discussion.