It’s important to have content and a lot of it, but it’s also important that your content is properly optimized. By this I mean it talks to your users in a way that is understandable and informative while still taking into account your keyword research. It’s obvious why you need to have coherent content that people care about – without that anyone who does find your page will probably leave before getting through the first paragraph (you’re still here I hope!). Optimizing content based on your keyword research is important because that helps Google understand what your page is about and ultimately ties a searcher with your page. Without proper optimization no one will ever find your page in the first place.
The Problem With Doing This
Huh? I thought this article was in favor of purposefully writing content to rank better..? It is! HOWEVER, it’s easy for a novice to over optimize content, also known as keyword stuffing. As mentioned earlier, first and foremost your content needs to be written for the human reader. It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of over optimizing – adding the focus keyword in every heading and three times in every paragraph for example. It’s important to NOT do that. Notice the heading to this paragraph – it intentionally doesnt’ include my focus keyword or even a variation. I could have added my focus keyword to make it “The Problem with Optimized Content” but that probably would have been a bit over the top. Why not add it everywhere possible? The long and short of it is Google doesn’t like that. Google is smart enough to get the gist of your topic without you cramming it down their throat. No one likes things crammed down their throat, even if it is tasty. Google also likes you to acknowledge that it’s smart and doesn’t need to be spoon fed anymore. Once upon a time all it had to rely on was the number of times you spelled out a certain word or phrase, how often it appeared in headings and in the title. Nowadays Google can even infer to some degree what your page is about.
The Solution – DON’T Optimize
At least not at the beginning. When you first set out to write a blog post or article, just write it. Use your expertise and just write as you would if you were explaining something to another person. Spell check, reread for grammar, let someone else take look, etc and walk away. Go get lunch and come back to your page later. Then it’s time to think about the search terms you think people will naturally find your page for. Go back to your keyword research and match those ideas up with the words you know people search for. Now work in the search phrases you know are popular as well as the long tail terms you found. For example, in the second paragraph I said “…writing content to rank better…” – that’s a long tail term that someone will eventually find this page for (or something close). You’ll also notice I interlinked that phrase to the article about optimized content. That’s another topic altogether, but we’ll get there.
After you optimized your content (See I did it again), let someone else read it to make sure nothing sounds clunky or unnatural. One day Google will be able to read your pages exactly like a human and understand the tone and flow and all that fancy stuff, and I guarantee if your page doesn’t read well you will be knocked down a few pegs.
I just realized I recently wrote about content optimization a couple weeks ago. DOH! Well, I guess you can’t have too much info on good content. It is king after all…