Search engine optimisation has moved far beyond keyword density. Search engines now penalise keyword stuffing, and they can recognise content quality. The rules have changed. Here are the guidelines to keep in mind when writing SEO friendly content for today’s search engines.
Select the Right Search Terms
You should look for long tail search terms that aren’t highly competitive like “auto insurance in Omaha” or “Calgary pest control”. You aren’t going to rank well against high authority domains for terms like “insurance” or “pest control”, but you have a chance of dominating more specific key terms. Check out the search terms bringing traffic to your rivals for an idea of what could work for you.
Match the Intended Query
Google is using artificial intelligence to determine user intent, and your content has to match that intent to rank well. Your content will rank better for search queries if you spell out the entire question that the person is likely asking, which is why frequently asked questions sections are making a comeback on many websites and even product pages on Amazon. Don’t repeat the question with different wording, though, or it could be penalised as poor quality.
You don’t have to create content that spells out every question the user may ask. Including the long tail keywords that visitors use for very specific queries is sufficient to rank well, as long as it is part of high quality content.
When your product page features dozens of user questions, each with a unique answer, the search query density isn’t a problem. However, the key search terms need to be repeated with 1% to 2% density for good SEO. If the content covers too many questions or topics, it will have poor SEO overall and you’d be better off creating separate pieces of content, each on their own page.
Search engines now grade the quality of your content. They penalise sites with poor spelling and grammar, and keyword stuffing will go against you because the text looks unnatural to the search engine. Poorly translated content and machine spun content are penalised as well.
Quality content is measured in several ways, only one of which is equivalent to a spelling and grammar check. Another metric search engines use is how long someone stays on the webpage. If they open the page and quickly leave it, your SEO is irrelevant because negative signals by users will be used against you. The solution is to focus on the answer to the user’s question in a short concise answer near the top of the page with a more detailed explanation down below. Break up the content into paragraphs with headers that allow someone to quickly scan and find the answer. The side benefit of content headers is that they allow you to increase keyword saturation.
Avoid answers that could be used in the rich snippets format unless you write one that still leads visitors to your webpage for more information, like a short explanation on a medical condition while referencing treatment information on your webpage.
Keep the Content in Context
SEO has traditionally relied on keyword density to determine the focus of your content. The artificial intelligence behind the search engine now tries to determine its context. When someone has an article on routers, secondary terms in the text are analysed to determine if the article is technical or wood-working related. In an article on arrays, the search engine uses latent semantic indexing or the density of related words in the text to determine the context, whether it is a math lesson or article on antenna arrays.
Your content has to include key search term and related terms in the text. You can improve the SEO of your key search term by using latent semantic indexing terms at half the rate of the main term. If you are writing an article about networks, deliberately include terms in the text to ensure that your article doesn’t come up for computer networks when it is discussing network marketing.
Keyword density is still relevant to SEO, but your keywords should not be used excessively and secondary terms that indicate the context of the content are essential. Write content that answers questions the user is seeking to have answered, and create additional pieces of content instead of trying to be an all in one resource. You must create quality content that isn’t penalised by search engines and isn’t dominated by higher authority sites to rank well.
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