How to write keyword-rich content without spamming your own website

Posted on: May 9, 2011

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Have you read website content like this before?

“Welcome to Super Rankings™, the best SEO company in Austin…We provide Austin SEO, Austin PPC, Austin website development and Austin…”

Oh wait. Let me stop before I further spam our own website.

Should I keep mentioning the city name?

This is a common problem for websites promoting keywords specific to local markets. Appending the city name before (or after) every keyword mention is not only unnecessary and painful to read, it’s immediately recognized by search engines as “keyword-stuffing.” Not good.

Of course, businesses targeting broad (or national) keywords are not off the hook. For either, best practice is typically 1-3 keyword mentions per 100 words of text (or a 1-3% keyword density).

But, we don’t want you to get too bogged down on “keyword-density” percentages. Writing keyword-savvy content without spamming your website is actually pretty simple…

Google reads like a person, like you

The easiest way to check yourself for spamming is to simply read your text. Does it sound like a natural description of your business and services or is it a laundry list of keywords?

Think about how you would describe your business to someone in conversation. Would you verbally rapid-fire keywords, or would you offer a colorful description of what you do? Assuming you’re business is successful (and that you have friends willing to hear about it), it’s probably fair to expect the latter.

There’s no reason to write website copy specifically with search engines in mind. Write like you’re speaking to a living, breathing human being and both humans and search engines will get the message.

Jumping through hoops without catching fire

But yes, you can allude to desired keywords without blatantly listing them. Let’s say you train jungle cats for the circus and offer “tiger training services” in several Texas cities. You may write a paragraph similar to this:

“Don’t suffer the same fate as Roy. Tiger Trainers Unlimited™ has years of experience safely handling all varieties of jungle cats. We specialize in training lions and tigers and bears–oh nevermind. Our tiger training services are available in all major Texas cities. Call us today to request a jungle cat trainer in Austin, Dallas, San Antonio or Houston.”

All wild cat jokes aside, the former is an example of mentioning keywords without spamming them. From the above text, Google is able to parse many relevant keyword variations. Furthermore, important city names are mentioned in context to the keyword. Remember, if you are able to infer correct meaning from the text, so will Google.

In some cases it may be beneficial to restate or rephrase a location-specific keyword. If you’re a “longboard company in San Diego” you may want to include a couple variations of the city name / state in conjunction with the keyword.

You could for example, begin one paragraph with “San Diego, California longboard company…” and end another with “…longboard company in San Diego, CA”. Just don’t go over-board.

Don’t think, just write

Our final piece of zen advice is not to over think it. Be aware of keywords, but don’t use site content merely as a delivery mechanism for keywords. More often than not, keywords will naturally find their way onto the page because they’re the most relevant way to describe your products and services.

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