Let’s Get Optimized! Want Google to Reward You? Fix Your Copy (Part 3)

In the previous installment of the SEO series, we covered why keyword research is important and how to use Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research. In this installment, we will cover Google’s best practices for crafting copy using a list of keywords  

Choose a Target Keyword

If you followed the step-by-step instructions in the last installment of the series, you should have a list of keywords. Now it is time to choose a target keyword, or the number one term from the list that you would like to target the hardest.  

In the image above, you will see the list of keywords that we developed in the previous installment of the series. All the results have average monthly searches of 5,000 except “medical billing and coding certification,” which has average  monthly searches of 50,000.  

You might be tempted to make this your target keyword. However, keywords with average monthly searches over 10,000 are more competitive than those under 10,000. It’s best to choose a target keyword with average monthly searches over 200 but under 10,000. In other words, enough people should be searching for this keyword to be worth creating a page, but not so many that you will never rank for the term. You can still use “medical billing and coding certification” in your copy, but it’s not the best option for a target keyword.  

Thus, because the course I’m offering is online and offers a certification “medical billing and coding certification online” is a better option than “medical billing and coding certification.” It’s not as competitive and it still accurately describes my content.  

The target keyword should appear in the page title, URL, and early in the copy of the page. Note: if you are updating an existing page, it is best NOT to update the URL. It’s best to include the target keyword in your page title first.  

Without researching keywords, you run the risk of using terms that no one is searching for or missing out on high-converting search terms. In this way, the keywords you use in page copy can positively or negatively affect website performance in Google Search. 

Rewording Keywords Is OK

I have now chosen “medical billing and coding certification online.” However, “online medical billing and coding certification” sounds more natural than “medical billing and coding certification online.” If rewording a keyword sounds more natural, it is fine to reword it.  

Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

For each keyword that you include in your copy, ensure the sentence “flows,” or sounds natural. This is the most crucial rule to follow when crafting copy with keywords. If it is not possible to add a keyword in a way that sounds natural, it’s fine to leave it out.  

Avoid “keyword stuffing” or placing keywords on a page as many times as possible to rank higher. Using keyword stuffing will result in Google penalizing your website and pushing it farther down in its rankings. Generally, keyword stuffing is when you have repeated a keyword in your content so many times that it no longer makes sense to the reader.  

When you are done writing your copy, read it aloud to someone else. If it sounds like you have too many instances of a keyword, you probably do.  

You can calculate keyword stuffing using this formula: divide the number of times you used your target keyword by the total number of words on the page. Multiply this number by 100 to get a percentage. For example, if my webpage has 1000 words, and I include my target keyword 15 times, that means I included my target keyword on 1.5% of the page (15/1000*100). Keyword stuffing occurs when you include a keyword on more than 4% of the page. Shoot for between 1.5-3% inclusion.  

What Are the Potential Results?

Although your page won’t magically rank for the terms you include in your copy overnight, having them in your copy in the first place is the first step to ranking for them. By creating pages around popular topics, including high-converting keywords in page copy, and following Google’s best practices for keyword inclusion, you will have taken a small but impactful step towards SEO.  

The next installment in the series will cover how different aspects of user experience affect SEO. 

If you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager.