Keyword Optimization Is Not Black and White

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When optimizing websites, many SEO novices make the mistake of assuming everything is absolute. However, nothing is ever absolute with SEO. We have to consider all the variables and make sound decisions, especially with keyword optimization. We must consider why every single term or word is necessary to include in a copy.

The Over-Reliance On Software

While software makes it easier to get SEO tasks done, people shouldn’t take the information provided without thinking. In other words, we don’t have to include every keyword or term that software suggests for our copy.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way and today’s search engines are more sophisticated than ever. These intelligent systems can understand the content of practically any page, providing the copy is well written.

Even without any keyword optimization, a search engine can rank a page. So it’s pretty troubling when I see people insert keywords just because some software tells them to –  that’s not what SEO is about, far from it. 

Sure, AI understanding the page content is one thing, and ranking is another. But that’s not an excuse to cram keywords into a copy for the sake of it. 

For example, I’ve seen people provide a list of keywords that include stuff like this:

  • A wide range of
  • Homes are
  • Selection of
  • We offer

In most cases, these terms do nothing for the web copy. Cramming every single keyword suggestion into a copy without much thought will most likely affect conversion potential.

There’s rarely a good reason to take a bunch of words that software provides without scrutinizing it. Software is excellent for giving us ideas, options, tracking, and analytics, but it won’t do SEO for anyone.

But My Search Competitors Have Those Terms

The whole idea of looking at competitor text and using every term on their pages isn’t wise. But it’s okay, and encouraged to use related terms, primary and secondary keywords. Anything else is often unnecessary because again, AI is smart enough to understand the content. 

Always Put Conversion Potential First

The conversion potential of a web page should always remain top of the priority list. 

That’s why SEO best practice is to write copy for the audience first and then insert keywords later. Because at the end of the day, keywords are not the be-all and end-all. If a webpage can’t convert visitors to customers or followers, why get it to rank at the top of search engines at all?

Further, even if we rank at the top through keyword over-optimization, chances are it will be short-lived, or the page will drop in a few days. That’s because of pogo-sticking. It refers to when users continuously click-through to several pages from the SERP (search engine results pages) to find a satisfying search result.

When enough users do that, the algorithm will inevitably remove unsatisfactory pages from the top of the search results.

Cramming too many keywords into a copy often ruins it, causing users to exit a page prematurely. It makes the copy odd, and that triggers alarm bells in the user’s mind.

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When consumers can tell there’s something off with the text on a page, they leave – and the experience will be memorable, but not in a good way. 

We have to consider the brand, its products, and services as we look at keyword suggestions by any software. 

The Wrap-up

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t use keywords in our copy. On the contrary, we should optimize every web page for SEO by inserting appropriate keywords. What I don’t recommend is relying on software without thinking about the terms or phrases it suggests. Instead, use a consumer-first approach to keyword optimization.