Onsite Search Engine Optimisation: Proper Use of Keywords

When we talk about search engine optimisation, the ultimate goal of any website owner is to identify high traffic search terms (keyword phrases) and to have your website rank well for those terms.

The first step of optimising your website is creating a page with content that targets the particular keyword phrase you want to rank for. A fundamental mistake many make is to think that to rank for a particular keyword phrase they need to repeat it, over and over. Google and your visitors are smart enough to look at a piece of writing and know when someone is just trying to keyword stuff it in an attempt to get high rankings.

An example of keyword stuffing would be:

“I like red shoes because when I wear red shoes I have a lot of people noticing me. I think it is because red shoes accentuate my legs so, when I can, I wear red shoes and so I am always on the lookout for a new pair of red shoes”

Obviously the phrase is “red shoes”….although this is a little extreme, imagine a whole page of this! A human reader would hate this and now Google is smart enough to recognise this.

Your goal, therefore, is to write quality content.

Once you have identified a keyword phrase you would like to rank for just sit down and write it like you would if you weren’t caring about what Google thought about it. Once you have a draft, then go back and do a mild rewrite for the keyword phrase you are targeting.

Remember: Your ultimate goal is to impress a human reader, not Google. Google recognises this and over the years has become more sophisticated in the way it identifies relevant, quality content.

For any search term Google will typically have indexed thousands of pages and has an idea of what should be on a page of content that targets a particular keyword phrase, including:

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  • The keyword phrase and synonyms – it is natural when explaining something to use related terms, e.g. property investment, investing in property, buying property as an investment
  • Article length – Generally 300 to 500 words will be sufficient but for some keywords, e.g. technical industry-specific, may require 800 words
  • Links – Google often expects to see links to other web pages related to the topic

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Without going and investing in software to analyse you competitors, the first thing you would do is look at what the top results for a keyword phrase are doing and model from them. If you see that they are all 800 word articles then it is very likely that you will need to do the same. When looking at the search engine results you need to treat it as a race….you need to do what the others are doing but just a little better.

Except for low competition search terms, it is likely that your onsite search engine optimisation is only the first step. For more competitive search terms Google looks at other external factors to determine the relevance and authority of your page content, e.g. other web pages linking to yours. That being said, if you properly optimise your website for the keywords you are targeting there will be less of thise external factors required.

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