Keyword Density – Real?

Since 2011 I have heard lots of chatter about how keyword density is dead as an on-page seo tactic.  So today I want to talk a little about it and some ideas I have.

Of course back 20 years ago when I got started marketing online, it was all about stuffing as many keywords as you could in your meta tags.  But, as we all know today, that is dead for sure.

So, let’s dive in a little about this topic and do some research and think about things like Google, computers and machines and maybe even a little algorithm talk.

No One Knows For Sure

keyword density real or fakeOne thing we need to talk about is, no one knows what the secret really is.  I don’t care if some guy says he knows how Google works and he can show you.

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These are all just speculations and you never really know if Google looks at things differently for different niches etc.

It is very possible that an algorithm could look at different types of things for lets say, the top websites.

They could all be ranking in the top 10 for various reasons but could be positioned a certain way because of other reasons.

If you get what I am saying, it’s very possible websites could be positioned by things like keyword density.  But again, this is just speculation.

I personally have taken and played with the keyword density of clients websites, taken down the use of a keyword and have seen it move up a few positions or more.  Usually it was because the page was over optimized for a term.

Let’s see, back in March of 2012 Matt Cutts announced Google would be working on an over-optimization penalty.  But what exactly did that mean?

Let’s take a look at what Rand has to say back in 2012 also.

So as you can see over optimizing a site can mean many different things and keyword density could be one of those things.  You may also want to take a look at Cutt’s post on the Google inside search blog.

Still think keyword density isn’t a problem?  Have a look here.

So, What Do I Do?

Well, if you are not ranking for certain keywords, there are many things you need to look at.  Things like Panda, Penguin, Google Phantom, hummingbird and more.  It is very possible one of these could be the culprit.

So, what I would do is, develop a checklist of things you need to check.  For instance, did you know the FTC has many new rules a website needs to follow?  And Google does follow these.

However, if you have a client and they are not ranking, then you may want to check their keyword density and make sure they are not repeating the same keywords over and over.  You can do so here with this tool.

Let’s say their keyword is “air-conditioning repair”, you will want to check their keyword density and make sure they are not too high.  This is where keyword density comes into play.  It’s not that you want to shoot for a density of a particular keyword when you are writing a page.  You want to maybe mention the keyword in the page a time or two.

But, if your sites are not ranking, take a look at the content and check the keyword levels to make sure they are not over-optimized.  And speaking of content, make sure it’s quality.

If you have content produced for you, then you will surely need to do this because bad writing will repeat keywords over and over.  Some people not even writing for SEO will do this as their natural writing style.

So keyword density is very real, it’s just different than it used to be.  You just have to make sure you are not adding too many of your target terms in your writing.  Just think of how a machine would read things.  Also, take a look at this post on Webmaster World.  You see many webmasters talking about how Google searches produce pages sometimes without even a single keyword on the page.  This is due to algorithm changes like Hummingbird where Google now can understanding topics better and is shifting log tail search.

Always write for humans like a scholar would write.  But, go back and use a density checker to make sure you have not over optimized your post or page.

Of-course also look at the SERP results for your targeted term.  Way too often, I see people writing articles for keywords they really should not be writing articles for.  Always check and make sure your content and keywords align.  Think of how someone coming to your site would view your page coming from Google and whatever keyword they clicked.

Keep things interesting and use your own voice and writing style.  As I told you I am not the end all, be all of SEO.  There are so many good people in SEO these days.  I would encourage you to learn from all of them.

And always remember, what works today, may not work tomorrow.

Risks Involved With Linkbuilding?

Are there inherent risks involved when it comes to link building?  Yes, there are.  Some may not be noticed for years and some may be noticed quickly.  However, if you build links to your websites and or blog, you should be aware there are things that could happen down the road.

Micheal Martinez wrote a great post lately about how to assess so called white hat linkbuilding risks.  It is a great post and I highly recommend you read it, if you want to see the other side of linkbuilding and all the efforts you are making.

In his post Micheal covers many of today’s popular linkbuilding techniques and how risky each one can be.

Why Are There Risks Involved With LinkBuilding?

Well, for one, most people just care about one thing.  And that one thing is, gaming Google and worrying about search engine rankings.  But, on the other side of the coin, it makes sense why people do this.  After all the web is all about content and links.  And search engine traffic is one of the best converting sources of traffic out there.  Especially if you know what you are doing.

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But there is one thing many people forget and that is Google and other search engines are filled with smart PHD people who have nothing to do all day but think about search and web spam.  And if you think engines like Google, are not investing huge amounts of money in fighting web spam, then I’m afraid you are wrong.

Sure, something may work for you now but, will it work in the future and more importantly, can you fix it when and if it does come around to bite you?  So, if you have one websites and all your blood sweat and tears are in it.  Think twice about who you take advice from.

Taking The Easy Route

Iv’e seen it for years.  Many people either do not know what they are doing or they just think they can get away with it.  But, either way, many people try and take the easy route when it comes to gaining rankings.  Does it work for some?  Hell Yes it does.  But again, do you know how to fix things when they go wrong?

Also, the web its littered with huge amounts of bad advice especially when it comes to linkbuiding.  And there are so many so called experts now popping up all over the place.  And many just have 6 months to a year experience when it comes to web marketing and or search engines.

Build It And They Will Come

I have seen people ask in forums over and over.  How do I make my website high in Google?  And then someone goes on to give crappy advice about build these links and Blah, Blah Blah.  So what do most people do?  Well, they build a few articles and then try and get as many links as they can.

So what about building content and trying to gain links naturally?  Well, I hear people screaming all the time, “this does not work man”! or “don’t give me that crap”!

But, lets go back to what the web is made of.  Again, that is content and links.  So, the question becomes, what drives the other?  Do links drive content?  Or does content drive links?  Interesting isn’t it, when you think about it that way?

Take for instance, the worlds biggest websites.  Mashable, Lifehack, Microsoft, Amazon and even more.  What is the biggest thing these sites all have in common?  Yes, you guessed it, it’s content.  So which drives which?  You be the Judge.

Why Build Content?

So, why do you build content.  Ok, take for instance a newspaper.  What if that newspaper had some articles and then was all mostly ads?  And, you bought a copy.  Would you buy a copy ever again?  Or what if you subscribed to a newsletter for $20 a month and you found the same thing?  Would you cancel your subscription?  I though so.

In my opinion, it’s actually content that drives links.  Your first quest should be to help people with your content.  Why?  Well lets go back to the newspaper ads example.  If all you do is sell, people tired of this easily.  They move on to something else that keeps their interest.

But, if you are an expert in any given subject, write content and as much as you can.  It doesn’t always have to be a masterpiece.  But it has to be good.  Then, you can share it on social networks, after you build some up of course and get some followers.

And having a good amount of helpful content will allow you to go far and wide in the search engines.  meaning, it will allow you to show up for more keywords, especially long-tail type keywords. But again the key is helpful content.

Can You Still Build Links?

Sure, you can still build links.  And yes, you need links.  But, start going about it in a different way.  Don’t always think about search.  Sure, keep rules and Google in mind but build links like the search engines didn’t exist, while following the rules.  But, also remember, one day your linkbuilding can come back to haunt you.  Google could change their rules tomorrow.  They have done it before and I don’t think they are going to stop.

Content in effect, will become your biggest and brightest strategy to gain links.

How to do small business seo

I am asked all the time by small business owners how to make their website better and how to get more traffic.  In this post I’m going to teach you how to do small business seo.

how to do local seoThere are many factors that are involved with local seo.  And the biggest problem I see with small business websites is they are missing the mark in many areas.

Small business owners usually have a website made with about 4 or 5 pages add it to their server and expect the traffic to come pouring in.  It really doesn’t work like this at all.

Your website may age and you might have a good keyword rich domain and someday you may get listed for your local top term.  But usually, just getting listed for one local top term is not going to bring in tons of business.  While it may bring in a decent amount, you surly could be doing better.

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Content And Keywords

This is just about the biggest thing I see most small business’s not taking advantage of.  And that is, not having enough content and not searching for enough keywords.  SEO is kind of like a lottery.

The more keywords you find and the more content you write, the more chances you have of being found for free in all the search engines.

If you only offer a few services, then try and find variations of your business.  Such as “computer repair” & “pc repair”.  Those are two very like terms but could be (notice how I say could be.) very different to Google and other engines.  More on that later.

The point is, content is what make search engines tick.  The more you have the better you will do.  But you also need to be researching keywords.  These are the words people actually type into Google to find things.

So, never give up writing for your small business website.  Always try and add useful and helpful content your potential customers can find.

There is much more to making this process work, like informational keywords, buyer keywords and more.  But for the purpose of this article, just remember to always either be blogging about the keywords you find or adding more pages.

Backlinks and Local Citations

Another huge mistake I see small business owners make is, not getting enough local citations.  What is a local citation?  A local citation is a listing on a website like yellowpages.com or even yelp.com.

You want to get listed on a good number of these.  And you want your business name, address, phone number and hours to be the same on all of them.  If you have half of your local citations saying you close at 5:00 pm and the other half saying you close at 6:00 pm, Google will lose trust in your site.

One place you can look to for local citations is Moz Local.  Moz will give you a ton of information about local search engine optimization and marketing.

And do not fall for cheap link building services.  Google can penalize your website without warning and even kick you out of their search listings.  So, do not fall for it.  Stick with local citations and you will be fine.

Technical SEO

You may want to think about hiring a local seo expert to do a audit of your website for technical issues.  Technical issues are one of the biggest problems I see many times on small business websites.  I’m not going to go into detail here but just keep it in mind.

Always Stay Out In The Open

Always include pages about your business, privacy policy and a terms of services page.  These build trust with users and Google.  If you don’t these pages, then what are you hiding?

This is just a basic list of how to do local seo.  If you want to learn more about seo then read my more in-depth seo article.  Here I go into way more detail about search engine optimization.

 

Penguin 2.0 is coming! Are you ready?

Google Updates!

Google will be releasing another update soon!

SEO’s abound are gearing up for Google release yet another update to Penguin.  Yep, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team released an announcement via twitter.  So, is your website ready to handle the new change, which Google says will be even more significant then then first?

The first Penguin update took out a ton of websites and blogs from the search results and the 2nd is aiming to do even more collateral damage with the latest Google updates.

So, why is this happening? Why so many Google updates?

Well, I believe this is happening for two reasons.  First, Google is trying to make their search results better and keep blackhat spammers to a minimum.  Google is getting better everyday at figuring out what should really be at the top of the search results.  And I believe they want authority and meaningful content.

google updates2nd, Google is also a business.  One must understand Google makes most of it’s revenue from Adwords, which is Google’s advertising system on the right side of any search results page.  It has to protect it’s advertising darling by making search results better for users.  Also, keeping webmasters on their toes forces many of them to use advertising for websites.

Google is just getting plain better at understanding what it’s users want.  You see, what Google wants is real site from real people filling up the search results.  This get’s rid of the average Joe, who hears about SEO and has a light bulb go off in their head and they start thinking they can enter all types of markets and build thousands of websites about topics they know nothing about.

I am a webmaster, how do I protect my blog or websites from updates?

Ok, you have a website or blog and you want to know who to protect it from Google updates.  First off realize no one is safe totally from these updates.  But, what you need to do is learn about link profiles first and foremost, then, proper anchor text usage and then proper on page optimization.

Link profiles.

In the older seo days, it used to be a link was a link.  Now that is not the case so much.  One good link can be worth a thousand bad links.  And Google is looking more and more and natural and un-natural link profiles.  What Google wants is trust and relevance from links.

The rate at which links are built.

They are also looking at the rate at which links are being built.  If they see a thousand links built to a website in one day and then nothing, that is a serious red flag.  Build links like you are in a marathon.  Slow and steady.

Anchor text.

The first Penguin update was all about anchor text and unnatural usage of it.  If you have a website selling black shoes and all your links are using the anchor text “black shoes”  Well, you are in trouble.  What they want to see is a more natural link profile consisting of anchor text with things like the words “click here” and other things.  Listen, people with regular blogs knowing nothing about seo do not use anchor text when linking to other sites.

Learn a little about links and link profiles.

What you need to do as a webmaster is learn about links a little.  Majestic SEO has a great page on their blog explaining about link flow metrics.  Trust is an important factor.  Once you learn about these flow metrics and where to look for and get these links, you can find better links which stand the test of time and Google updates.

Quality content.

Now, it is true, you can rank crap.  I will not debate this.  Even Becker at source wave has proven this.  But what Google can see, is how people use your content and if they like it or not.  They see this with bounce rates and if a searcher clicks right back to the search results after seeing your page.  So, quality content is what will keep you at the top also.

Learn other ways to get traffic!

One things that drives me nuts is, people are so stuck on search and SEO, they forget, is really a bad business model.  Why is it a bad business model?  Well search can be worse than the stock market, always going up and down with each and every algo change Google does.

So, what you as a webmaster or blogger need to do is learn other ways to get traffic.  Search should just be one on your list.  Sure, it’s an important one that’s true.  But there are many other ways to get readers to your blog.

I can think of two ways off of the top of my head to get readers to your blog.  One is with Facebook.  And the other is with Pod-casts.  With Facebook you build up and audience and once you get them built up, it’s like a huge mailing list.  You then release great quality content to your followers.  You can learn more about Facebook marketing here.

Podcasts are a little different.  You are in a sense doing a radio show.  Make sure you have interesting things to say in your shows and you will gain a loyal following.  Lean all about Podcasts from Pat Flynn.

Of course their are other ways to get traffic to a blog or websites and these include Pay per click (Google Adwords), banner ads, ezine ads, press releases and more.  But, the two I mentioned should get your started.

Well, there you have it.  A small little rant about the next Google updates and how you can learn to protect your website or blog a little.  I would suggest learning all you can about link building and building proper links.  This way you have a better chance of your website not being hit by a hot mess of Google updates.

Here is a video from Josh Bachynski who has a Phd and I consider very smart when it comes to seo to help you understand some of the updates coming out for 2013.

Putting SEO into perspective

online marketing plan

Putting SEO into perspective can be like trying to kick a cigarette addiction.  Yes, that many people are addicted to SEO.  Why?  Because, it’s free.  But you need to look at what it’s really all about.  Yes, I love SEO and still do a lot of it.  But, these days I make sure I put it into it’s proper place.  Seo, can really be like a monster and take up all of your time, especially when you are working alone.

Think about it, there is writing the content, linkbuilding, off page optimization, on page optimization and more.  So how does one really accomplish all of this and make a viable website or blog?

Putting SEO into perspective.

What you have to realize about seo is that, it’s just one part of online marketing.  Too man webmasters put all their eggs into one basket.  And that’s no good to anyone.  You may be riding high one day, making a lot of money and then Google makes some changes and your website is all they way down to the bottom of the search results.

So, what you need is a marketing plan if you have a website or blog.  Sure, you need to keep Google and other search engines in mind when marketing, because you don’t want to go against the grain and lose all your traffic from the search engines.  It is still a viable option.  You just need to start putting seo into perspective and realize their are other ways to get traffic.

So, your website or blog marketing plan should like something like the list below.

  1. SEO and creating great content.
  2. Linkbuilding.
  3. Banner ads.
  4. Pay per click
  5. Guest posting
  6. Ezine article marketing.

If you take a look at the list above you will see, most of these are in line with Google guidelines.  But they also allow you to branch out your website and get more traffic and visitors.

The two I really focus on for this blog is SEO and linkbuilding.  I do also use a few others to get more traffic.  But if you look at linkbuilding, it does take some time to accomplish the task.  But, building good links should also be about getting good relevant traffic and not just for seo purposes.

Link building is very hard and especially now with all the Google changes.  But if you put it into the proper perspective you can get a good amount of traffic from it.  Guest posting is a great way to build backlinks.  But you need to mix it up some, with other types of links.

Using other ways to get traffic.

Now, if you take a look at the list above, you will see there are other ways to get traffic.  And by all means the list is not exhaustive.  But lets take a look at a couple of other ways to get traffic to your blog.online marketing plan

1.  Banner ads.  These are a great way to get traffic to a website or blog.  But you have to know where to send the traffic and where to place your ads and for what reason.  You do not want to just blindly buy banner ads, waste a lot of money and then proclaim banner ads suck.

Make sure you have a reason to place your ads.  They reason could be as simple as sending your banner clicks to a landing page to collect emails.  Or maybe you want to send them to your home page to generate some branding for your site.  Whichever it may be, always make sure you test and track your clicks and outcome.

2.  Ezine article marketing.  This is is constantly over looked by many webmasters.  This is a great way to generate some very good relevant traffic.  And it’s quite simple to do it.  The problem is most people make it way to hard.  When marketing your articles to ezines, you want to find good relevant ones you can send your articles to.

You then build a list of ezine publishers and try to send them an article at least once a month.  What a great way to get good relevant traffic don’t you think?

If an ezine has a ton of readers, then you may want to send the publisher a quality never published article only to them.  Keep in mind each publisher may publish your article on their website or blog.  So, if you are worried about duplicate content just keep that in mind.

3.  Pay per click is another way to add extra traffic to your bottom line.  However, again, you will be paying for clicks, so make sure to know the outcome you want.  Again, with PPC, you could send your visitors to a email landing page or you could even send them to review pages or product pages.

Just make sure you are not blindly spending money and know where and why you are sending your visitors.  Always test and track.  Trust me, many people just want to get started and never know their bottom line.  Then they run out of money with nothing to show for it.

The Bottom line!

It is very important you spend time putting seo into perspective.  It is a great way to get traffic to your website but also realize there are other ways you could be pro active and start getting traffic.  You DO NOT want to put all your eggs into one basket.