Table of contents
- Search Ranking: Opportunity or Pitfall?
- Did You Know: Traditional marketing uses key terms and phrases
- Using Keyword Marketing to Build Campaigns for SEO and Social Media
- Fine Tuning Your Keyword Marketing with Long-tail
- Keyword Density Percentages (How Not to Kill Your Content)
- What is Keyword Density?
- Sacrificing SEO
- Never Forget That Quality Content Matters More Than Ever
As SEO professionals, copywriters, and all-around mad-crazy marketing gals, we get to think about fancy things like, “How are we going to use this keyword without totally bollixing the whole marketing aspect?” That’s always a fun consideration when undertaking keyword marketing.
Others might be, “How many times can we use this keyword phrase without it looking spammy in that social media campaign?” and “Should we make this one word or two? Which gets better clicks and doesn’t look weird?”
Search Ranking: Opportunity or Pitfall?
Any time a single word can be broken into two (keyword vs. key word), you have an opportunity for ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Whenever you pay attention to your target audience’s search queries and use them to describe your product, ranking is possible. In fact, there are a lot more ranking opportunities rolling around in your site’s content than you might think.
Yet, those ranking opportunities aren’t always good, grand, and wonderful. Sometimes, they can be ranking pitfalls. If you need clarity, consider all the times you or someone else might have searched “Company, scam”.
Do you think those companies are happy they can be found under that search? Yeah – probably not.
While reading this article, keep the above in mind. You can accidentally rank for terms you don’t want to be associated with your company or product by introducing a few stray words into your content.
Bonus Tip: Quickly check the terms found in your content with Google Search Console
Verify your site and grab your GSC account. Why? Because it gives you a quick overview of important data you can use for your SEO campaigns. Among that data are the words Google thinks your site is about. Be sure to analyze these as keyword suggestions; you may find some competitive keywords you didn’t know you were already showing for and that you can overtake by creating content.
Make sure to check the results of your campaigns and content on a regular basis. The better understanding you have of how Google views your site, the more information you can use to enhance your next campaigns and, in turn, increase your returns for each campaign.
Whether monthly or semi-annually, also review for terms you may not want there. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll find some words that’ll make you do a “how’d that get in there” double take. Like it’s, which was 9th in our top 10 for a while. Go figure.
Did You Know: Traditional marketing uses key terms and phrases
Keywords aren’t new to marketing. Traditional marketing strategies use keywords as well.
Think about the latest commercials you’ve watched on television. How many times does a specific phrase with popular keywords get used? A commercial about making your own baby food, for instance, might use “fresh, organic, baby food” four or five times before the 3-minute commercial is over. Serving up fresh keywords, kids, come get ’em!
In television commercials, radio ads, direct marketing flyers, guerrilla marketing, and more, you’ll find instances of keywords and phrases. Some are in bold, some are in italics, some are just repeated, but they’re all key to the campaign.
Using Keyword Marketing to Build Campaigns for SEO and Social Media
What’s that saying… twice is a mention, three times is a keyword, and more is branding? Taking a lesson from traditional marketing, keywords and phrases are simply the words you want your market to use in identifying your product or service.
For example, let’s say you sell all things red. In fact, red has become your identifying phrase. You sell red widgets and red shoes, red shirts, socks and gadgets.
Because this is a business and your business website, red would become one of your key terms (due to brand). Widgets would also become one of your key terms, and red widgets, your key phrase.
With this in mind, you can:
- Create a site page about red widgets.
- Tweet a helpful tip about how red is a great color to get people excited about something. Use the hashtag #redwidgets.
- Write a blog about how recent studies have proven that a spot of red on a website can up conversions by 3% and offer your red widgets. Link this blog to the site page. Also link to the supporting study.
- Send a tweet out about your new blog post using the hashtag #redwidgets. Include a short, to-the-point line about the study.
- Share your blog post on Facebook with a 10% off red widget sale from your company.
- Tweet about your 10% off red widget sale for those using the hashtag #redwidgets.
- Post a video on YouTube about the psychological effects of red and the recent studies. Use a keyword- and marketing-rich title and description:
- Title – Red Widgets Increase Site Conversions by 3%, Study Shows
- Description – New psychology study shows a red widget added to a site can draw attention and increase site conversions by 3%. Using eye-tracking studies on high-conversion pages…
- Add this video to Facebook.
- Post this video on your blog.
- Send a tweet out about the video using the hashtags #redwidgets #redwidgetsvideo.
How can I possibly do all that and run my business?
Well, in reality, the steps are a little more condensed:
- Create site pages about your products.
- Decide how many blogs you’ll put out each month, write and schedule them.
- Decide how many videos you need and create them to complement your blog. Either a) upload them all at once or b) upload them according to a schedule.
- Using a social scheduling program, schedule your social posts each morning (check in once in a while to see if someone is talking to you and respond back).
- Set your social media accounts to draw from your blog feed.
But I don’t sell widgets and red isn’t my color.
That’s fine, that’s fine. This strategy has two things going for it. One, it’s merely an example – a beginning outline of how one might go about using key terms in a marketing, SEO, and social media campaign.
For example, if you sell real estate in Seattle, Seattle would replace red, and real estate would replace widgets. The terms you use depend on your keyword research.
How do I know if all of this effort is paying off?
Smart question, and it’s answered by monitoring. You have to monitor your performance metrics, whatever they are. For social, they might be how many people have liked your posts on Facebook, shared them from your site, sent them on Twitter, watched your video, etc.
For each line of marketing you use, make a notation about where you were before the campaign started. “In April, I had 15 followers on Twitter. I did X, Y, and Z, and now have 125 in May.”
Whatever metrics you’re looking at, you’re looking for growth. The biggest metric to remember is your bottom line. Is it paying off?
Fine Tuning Your Keyword Marketing with Long-tail
If you don’t target the right terms, you probably won’t rank for the ones that matter. Many people know that key terms are important, but most who optimize for themselves immediately go for the jugular with short, generic keywords. However, with short, broad keywords, you may have high search volumes, but you also most likely have higher competition. Ranking well can be a challenging task.
There are two very important reasons to look beyond the generic:
- With a smart implementation of long-tail keywords, your traffic flow may be less, but your return on investment will likely be proportionally higher. Long-tail keywords tend to prequalify visitors – or at least weed some of them out.
- Rank for enough long-tail keywords, and you won’t notice a smaller traffic flow. Since it’s (relatively) easier to rank for long-tail terms, you can aim for more of them. Ranking for more terms means more opportunities to bring search traffic to your site.
What are long-tail keywords?
Here’s an example. You have a generic term, such as bandaids. However, you’d be competing with over 27 million results. Never mind that the individual searching for “bandaids” could be looking for the history of bandaids, the future of bandaids, where to buy them, how to size them, or any number of purposes. To help narrow down the possibilities, you target the “long-tail” by adding a descriptor (history of, future of, where to buy, size chart, etc.).
In addition to long-tail key terms, you can also increase your chances of ranking by including related keywords. For example, size descriptors. By including related terms, you also help the search engines and readers better understand what your page is about.
Keyword Density Percentages (How Not to Kill Your Content)
It was down to the wire. We needed a big boost in traffic, and we needed it yesterday. Everyone waited impatiently as the boss read over the copy; the copywriter rubbed her raw fingers, staring down at the still-smoking keyboard she had ruthlessly pounded in a race against the clock.
The optimizer, bouncing on her toes, stared at the boss and chewed a fingernail down to the nub. The boss gave a quick nod. “Send it to the client.”
With a sigh of relief and the first line of approval passed, the copywriter jabbed out a quick email, attached the copy, and stabbed “SEND”. Leaning back, she gave a half-hearted grin to the optimizer, who switched to destroying another nail.
Five sweaty, painful minutes later, a reply came back.
I like the tone and the information. It’ll spread like wildfire – but what about the keyword density? I think you could fit “Georgia real estate law firm” in there at least 10 times. And don’t split it up. I want at least 8% density for the whole term. Nobody will notice.
…is the bane of existence for many an optimizer and copywriter. Somewhere, somehow, people got the idea that there is some magic number for the times a keyword should be used in a piece of copy. The idea has stuck. Oddly enough, they apparently haven’t found out what the actual number is because everybody seems to have a different percentage.
What is Keyword Density?
For those that don’t know, keyword density is a percentage value based on the number of times a key term is used vs. the number of other words in a piece of copy. The “talked about” density ranges from 2% to 5%, depending on who is talking. To give you an idea of what that looks like, consider this:
At a 5% density, a single keyword would have to show up five times in a piece of content about the length of the first two paragraphs of this article. Five. Times. Now, you might think, “Well, a single word… that’s not so bad”, but what if it’s actually a key phrase?
When the idea of keyword density became big for a while, we had clients who wanted a high keyword density percentage for terms like real estate law firm and used car deals. Trust us when we say, no matter how good the copywriter is, these words will not look natural used several times in a single piece of content.
We don’t, and never have, advocated crappy content. This includes keyword-stuffed articles. High-quality articles retain more traffic than a bunch of overly optimized pages every time.
Don’t choose SEO over user experience. Don’t be so worried about keyword density that you forget someone will read your article. Don’t use a key term again because there’s room for it. Your readers will notice, consider the copy content spam, and not stick around for more.
Never force the usage of a term. Let the words flow like music, baby, and let your readers dance to the tune. One commenter summed it up this way, “…if you’re in a situation where you could put out lower-quality content that would rank better, or have a better quality article that might not “rank” as well (due to lack of spammy keywords, etc.), you should put out the better quality article. Your audience and the Internet will thank you.”
Ranking isn’t everything. Don’t scoff, it’s really not. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you get; none of it counts unless you retain at least a portion of your visitors. That’s the idea behind organic SEO – to bring in and retain visitors. Because:
- People who come back are more likely to associate your business with a product or service
- People who read your blog on a regular basis are more likely to think of you when they need a product or service
- People who read your blog on a regular basis are more likely to trust your opinion
- People who come back are more likely to bring others to your site
Guaranteed, these same people who could become word-of-mouth cheerleaders will ignore you if you spin out spammy content. Even those who don’t recognize keyword stuffing or know anything about SEO may not know what it is, but they know bad content when they see it.
Never Forget That Quality Content Matters More Than Ever
Google ranks pages that are rich in content. However, it can’t be just any content. Page content has to be relevant to a user’s search. It also has to educate the reader and provide a quality experience. People want answers, and Google, especially, wants website owners to give people the answers they seek.
Use keyword marketing to grow your audience and relevance, but make sure not to stuff those phrases. If you write articles and blog posts about your topic and industry, key terms will naturally appear in the copy. It just happens that way. If you can’t figure out how to “fit them in,” you may need to change your article’s focus or key terms.
Because, yes, people will notice when you force keywords to fit. Keyword density is just another number. If you worry about it too much, you could kill your content and, ultimately, your traffic.
Keep your content simple, engaging, creative, and descriptive. Describe things in a way that people outside of the industry can understand. Keep in mind that people visit a website for only one reason: they want to find a solution or an answer to a question.
If you’re starting to dig into your data and need an interpreter for your keyword marketing, contact Level343. We speak over 13 languages, including Data and Search Engine. We’ll help you translate.