When it comes to SEO, opinions vary widely and it is not uncommon for heated debates to break out over proper keywording and effective SEO strategy. Whether the web copywriter is optimizing web content by looking at advertiser competition, cost per click, estimated ad position, or search volume trends, SEO can be complex and confounding.
SEO keywording is probably the number one point of contention between web copywriters and web editors. Web editors must become familiar with SEO, because without proper SEO execution the article languishes, falling into the depths of the internet where the likelihood of the content being searched upon and read is next to nothing. While proper SEO keywording certainly has its place, it is not without controversy.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a methodology employed to promote web copy by optimizing it so that the web content appears in top search engine results. The higher the search engine placement, the greater likelihood the web content will be discovered and clicked by web searchers. In turn, this produces more page views, greater visibility, and increased revenues. This is the entire point of SEO: promoting web content so it will get read by as many people as possible.
How SEO Keywording Works
SEO keywording means using individual keywords and multiple-word keyphrases to “tag” the article and define its content. A properly-executed keyword strategy will, in theory, make the web content more search friendly so that internet search engines will place the article in their top search results and get the article into the hands of more readers.
The key to using SEO keywords is to imagine what search terms the web searcher will use to find the content. For example, a person searching for auto insurance would probably type “auto insurance” into the search engine to come up with results. The person could also type “affordable auto insurance,” “find auto insurance,” or “cheap auto insurance.” Consequently, the SEO consultant should sprinkle the article with these keyphrases, being careful not to use any given keyword too many times.
It is important to note the two aspects of SEO keywording: placing keywords in the web content itself, and inserting keywords into meta content. For example, some content websites including eHow, Helium, and Suite101 require web copywriters to insert SEO keywords into a “keyword” or “tag” field while at the same time encouraging writers to properly use SEO keywords in the article body as well.
Downsides of SEO Keywording
The principal downside of SEO keywording is how the article flows and whether it appears overly spammy. When a keyword or several keywords are used too many times in the article, it can appear to search engines and readers as junk or spam. However if proper keywording isn’t employed, the web content has less of a chance of being picked up by search engines and read by web surfers. Thus, a careful balance must be struck between overall readability and search engine optimization.
Another downside to SEO keywording is the question of whether single keywords or multiple keyword phrases are more effective. While some argue that multiple keyword phrases are no doubt better at attracting search engines, others disagree, pointing out that single keywords are just as effective. Furthermore, web copywriters must make sure to use highly specific keywords and keyword phrases in order to further define content so that it won’t get lost among the millions upon millions of web pages.
SEO keywording can be very time consuming in researching effective, higher-volume, well-paying keywords that will get the web content noticed. But although SEO keywording can be quite a challenge, the baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater just yet. Those who skip the SEO keywording process altogether miss out on learning how their readers search for their web content in addition to added exposure that wouldn’t happen apart from a properly executed SEO plan of action.