by Karon Thackston © 2004 http://www.copywritingcourse.com/keyword
After Google’s most recent update, those in search engine optimization (SEO) field seem to be standing at attention. As sites that have held long-standing positions in top 10 flounder and bob around in search results like a fishing cork in a pond, many are scrambling for answers about what to do next. I’ve been asked for my opinions about changes in search engine copywriting, so I thought I’d share some of my insights.
Just like SEOs whose editorials and interviews you’ve recently read, I too am expressing opinions here. Nobody knows for sure what has happened or what Google plans to do in future. However, based on what I’ve seen so far, I do have some observations to share in response to a few commonly asked questions.
“Many are saying that ‘over-optimized’ sites are being penalized. Should I reduce keyword saturation on my pages?”
The changes at Google this go ‘round have nothing to do with a penalty; it's simply an algorithm change. No penalties, no punishments, etc. Over saturation of keywords has always been bad, however, many were getting away with it pre-Florida. I have never been a fan of “shoving” keywords into your copy wherever you have an extra syllable. Keeping an acceptable level of keyword saturation is still important. Just don’t overdo it. Remember, your ultimate goal should be to write for your human visitors… not search engine spiders.
Case in point: Do a Google search for term “website design.” At time of this article, I clicked through to many of sites returned in top 10. As I read through home pages of these sites, I noticed how often they repeated keyphrase “website design.” These pages had a good level of saturation. Not too heavy, not too light.
Unless yours is one of those sites where every third word is a keyword/phrase, I would not recommend changing level of keyword saturation at this point.
“There have been reports of Google moving to a semantic-based system. Does this mean keywords will no longer be used?”
In my opinion, reports are true… Google is moving to a semantic-type system. But that doesn't mean keywords are on their way out at all. After changes are made, Google will be going beyond *just* looking for keywords on your page. They’ll want well-written copy… actual language that speaks to your site visitors. That means your copy will take on a more important role than ever before. And that’s great news!
For those of us who have been focusing on search engine copywriting that appeals to both engines and site visitors, Google’s upcoming changes should be very exciting.