Good content density can help your SEO strategy

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I recently embarked on an experiment with keyword density. We all know content is king but well written, properly optimised content is the main prize. There has to be a balance between consumer readability and search engine friendliness.

Good content is essential for websites. Good content is read by both users and search engines. The trick is to make sure you please both user and search engine.

I feel content density should be around two to seven percent, for a keyword, per page. This may, of course, vary from brand to brand. In all cases keyword stuffing must, however, be avoided — search engines will penalise you if you go overboard with density. Search Engine Marketing companies need to focus on this aspect because it can change a business.

To avoid being classified as spamming I suggest the following:

  • A density no more than 7 percent
  • Avoid repeating a keyword in its entire phrase only: For example the phrase “car hire south africa“, might be broken up as “car hire is cheap in South Africa”. Such a technique will make the content more natural. This is not to say that the primary phrase should be taken out entirely. A good mix of the two is essential.
  • Make sure your title and description tag clearly matches your content. A useful SEO tool for testing density is called Foxy SEO. You can get it from Firefox add-ons menu.
  • A sample of Google searches will reveal that there is proof in this pudding; content that is density friendly will replace descriptions that don’t match the meta elements and content.

    You need to make sure that your meta data (keywords) matches your content. Why? Well, Google and other search engines love relevance; the more relevant your websites information is, the higher it ranks.

    A great example of this is a website which was developed by a design company. The site looks great and the client was originally happy with the design. Because of the repeated information on the page, however, Google has become confused as to what exactly this website is offering.

    For someone going directly to the site, it’s clear that this is car-hire website targeting the Namibian market. When searching for competitive Namibian keywords, however, the client lags. A major reason for this is the fact that the highest keyword density on this page is for non car hire related words.

    Below, the client ranks no 1 for the keyword “aircon Namibia” in Google.com

    Why would a company which has nothing to do with the retail of air conditioning units come top in such a search? Well, as you can see in the below image, the client has repeated information about aircon as a feature on the cars it has for hire. In fact, you can search “audio Namibia” or “power steering Namibia”, and the results will show similarly high rankings.

    In this specific case the, client lost out on serious business. The page looked like a car hire page in the eyes of the user, but not to search engine bots.

    The designers of the site should have turned these car hire information tables into images with alt tags, with car hire relevant tags. Or they could have used Ajax to eliminate this duplicated content.

    Density can make a huge difference to any seo strategy. Poor density can also destroy a strategy. It’s important that design houses work closely with SEO companies to avoid these types of mistakes. Once again, it points to the necessity of collaboration within online marketing, and vividly illustrates how SEO is becoming more and more specialised.

    Image: powderjane.com

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