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Free Executives Guide to SEO

Using Keywords Naturally


When we are questioned about the usefulness of text content, the answer is always: "Content is King." However, content isn't valuable to the site unless relevant keywords are included. In fact, the use of keywords within the text content is as valuable as the use of keywords within a page's title and headings.

Using keywords within the text content is vital; using keywords naturally to support the overall theme on the page is equally important. If keywords are stuffed or used unnaturally within the content, the spam filters could be tripped off and your rankings could drop. So how do you use your keywords in your content in a way that signals relevancy for a keyword search? There are several factors that determine the relevancy of a keyword:

  • Location: Where is the keyword showing up on the page? Is the keyword being used in the heading or in the first paragraph? Targeted keywords and keyword phrases should be included in the first paragraph of the text content because some search engines use the first few lines as the description in the search results. The earlier the keyword is mentioned in the text content, the more the content is considered relevant to a search using this keyword.

  • Frequency and Density: How many times should a keyword be used on a Web page? We suggest a minimum of 250 to 350 words of text content, and within this content a keyword would be used a minimum of twice - once within the first 200 words and once within the remainder of text. Normally we recommend using your keywords in the text content at a density between three and four percent. Keywords should not be repeated in a way that looks unusual or reads unnaturally, especially those terms that are less searched for. Repeating or stuffing a keyword within your content could trigger a red flag to search engines and penalties could result.

  • Proximity: How close to one another should keywords be on a single page? Proximity refers to the closeness of a keyword or keyword phrase to other keyword occurrences on the Web page. For proper proximity, include the targeted keyword in the Title, Description and Heading tags, the ALT attribute, and the first sentence of content, as well as throughout the Web page. The ideal page would have both inbound and outbound links with the keyword phrase as part of the anchor text.

  • Consistency: Do the title and headings suggest the same subject as the text content? Make sure the text that you are using on your Web page actually makes sense when you compare it to what content you have used for the title.

The above factors are good to keep in mind when you are putting together a Web page. While these suggestions are best practices to follow, they are not set in stone due to the uncertainty that exists in search engines' ranking systems. It's important to remember that there are still unknown factors in search engine indexing, and the search engines have been reluctant to reveal the inner workings of their ranking algorithms. With this in mind, we suggest that you strategically use keywords that are related to the subject and are most likely to be used as search terms. But, don't overwhelm the content with keywords so that search engines raise their red flags.