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Keywords: How to Avoid Being Too Dense

Tyler Banfield, 01-06-2007
In the old days, stuffing your web pages full of the same keyword was a guaranteed way to boost your web site to the top of the search engines. However, in the Web 2.0 world, search engines are smarter, and the old tricks won’t get you anywhere.

If you read many blogs or forums, you have probably seen plenty of debates about keyword density.

Many people believe that Google likes a keyword density of two to three percent, while Yahoo and MSN prefer six to eight percent (some even go as high as twelve).

With all the disagreement on the subject, how are you supposed to decide what density to use?

At SoftwareProjects, we believe that when you’re writing content, keyword density shouldn’t even cross your mind. In the Web 2.0 world, content should be written for users, not search engines. Since we know that search engines are still important (because they can bring a lot of users), here are a few tips for properly handling keywords:

1) Use keywords in your meta and title tags

Make sure to use your important keywords in these tags. However, you should avoid “keyword stuffing” (cramming tons of keywords into your tags). Try to stick with one to three main keywords.

2) Use stemming and semantic linking

When you’re writing content, keep in mind that repeating the same two keywords on a page is not going to get you anywhere. Instead, use the techniques of stemming and semantic linking. Stemming means that if you do repeat a keyword, use a combination of singular, plural and -ing.

Semantic linking is a little more complicated, but once you master it, you can really improve your rankings.

Semantic linking is the technique of writing in a way that uses related, relevant keywords throughout the course of a piece of content. Before beginning an article, you can create a flowchart of related words, or use a tool to help find semantically linked words. Although it may seem challenging, if you write in a natural way, using semantic linking can be much easier than you might think.

3) Don't forget about your images

Not only should you give your image files a descriptive name with relevant keywords (family-life-insurance.jpg), you should also include a keyword rich description in the alt tag (once again, avoid keyword stuffing).

4) Use keywords as anchor text for external links

In the eyes of today’s search engines, the keywords in anchor text play a much bigger role than the keyword density of a page. In fact, through the use of external links with keyword rich anchor text, it is actually possible to rank number one for a keyword without mentioning that word a single time on a page (this is usually referred to as “Google Bombing”).
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