Anyone in the online marketing industry will by now be used to being bombarded with advice about the importance of good quality, natural sounding content, especially in the wake of the Penguin update. We’re constantly being warned against the dangers of “keyword stuffing” and the detrimental effect of including search terms in your text, but it’s important not to lose sight of the very reason you’re creating this content- to appear within the search engines. After all, it’s all very well impressing visitors to your site, but for them to get there in the first place your site needs to be visible within the first page of search results, so what’s the best way to satisfy both search engines and your audience?
• There are a number of methods you can use to ensure your text reads well and entertains your consumer base, whilst still including your search terms the necessary amount of times to make sure it achieves first page search positions. One way to combine these objectives is to include these keywords in your meta descriptions and headings. By placing your search terms here, you aren’t disrupting the rhythm of your piece, but Google is more likely to recognise the relevance of your site.
• Breaking up your keyword phrases slightly with conjunctives and punctuation is another recommendable way of navigating around the problem. Thanks to the level to which keyword technology has advanced, these subtle changes shouldn’t affect how your site is picked up but they will make a difference to how your copy flows.
• Don’t be afraid to use your search terms slightly less. Before the Panda and Penguin updates, many people worked by the concept that anything up to around 5% inclusion was suitable, but following these algorithm updates, it’s more recommendable to keep to a maximum of 3%. There are a number of tools online that can help you calculate this percentage.
Generally, however, the best advice regarding the content debate would be simply to write from the perspective of your readers first and review from an SEO perspective once this is underway.