Keywords, keywords, keywords. Everyone should by now know the importance of keywords and the potential increase in traffic they can bring to a website, but how much is enough and how much is just too much? How can you stop your online content looking like a knocked over bucket of keywords, yet still harness the power of a Google search?
Well, the most important thing a content writer must know is that ultimately, good SEO is about making a site as user friendly and engaging for a reader as possible. This is what the Google algorithm is after and what it is built for. Increasingly we are seeing Google becoming savvier to so called “black-hat” SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing,, where content is jammed full to bursting with keywords. Relevant or not, Google hates too many keywords.
Journalists need to be employing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practices and ‘white hat’ SEO techniques into their articles in order to maintain their audience figures. That does not mean you need to bow down at the feet of Google and follow their rules to the detriment of your writing; instead you should make the SEO work for you and your readers by making it look natural.
Headlines represent a great SEO hook, by using the online headline as a title tag, which is scanned by the Google spider to determine how relevant your content is to a particular search. In order to harness this SEO potential, online content does need to contain more keywords or searchable phrases then a traditional print headline. You need to think about what users might type in to Google when searching for more information related to the story you are writing.
The Google algorithm is also a journalist’s friend; Google’s recent updates focus on freshness and relevance to trending topics; what news is all about. Always be on the look out for trending issues and research phrases that are important to the story and article. While Twitter may be of use to source some more information, it can also be used to pick up these phrases that are underpinning comment and opinion.
Another area that you should focus your keyword eye on is the introduction to an article; more specifically, the first 150 words or so. It is here that you should be placing relevant and natural looking keywords. In online terms we call this area ‘above the fold’, which means that the text is present without the user having to scroll down a page. It is the place where the Google spider places more of its emphasis and if content rich, while not stuffed full of keywords, Google will deem it to be relevant and of good quality, and will reward you with a higher ranking in searches.