4.2. Utilizing SEO Best Practices – Avoiding unnatural keyword usage
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– The concept of keyword density in SEO refers to the total number of targeted keywords on the page divided by the total number of words on the page. This is usually expressed as a percentage, which is why we multiply that by 100. As you can see from the example formula here, if we have 25 targeted keywords, divided by 100 total words on the page, this is a 25 percent keyword density. Now don’t worry.
You don’t need to go ahead and total up all of the words on your page to figure out your density. These calculations are just to give a rough guideline of where you’re at. However, in modern SEO, most experts agree that it’s much more important to write natural text and worry second about density. Here’s a great example of writing naturally. On our Mix Athletics home page, we’ve got a heading that says Hit the Ground Running, and an area below that that talks about regardless of your sport or activity, they have the clothing and equipment you need.
It’s crafted naturally, how you would speak. How many times, though, have you seen something like this? Here’s the Mix Athletics homepage, with something that we call keyword stuffing. Notice now the description says, “Are you looking for cheap running shoes? “If you’re looking for cheap running shoes, “look no further. “Our cheap running shoes website is the best place.” And this goes on and on, using the keywords “cheap running shoes.” The problem with this is although it may up your keyword density, it takes away from usability on the site.
Visitors are going to read this text, and think of your site as spam. Clearly the owner is trying to stuff the text full of these specific keywords that they’re trying to rank for. Whether you realize it or not, this block of text signals to visitors the site is spammy, it’s difficult to read and comprehend. And who’s going to give their money to a site like this? Some website owners have even gone so far as to hide keywords in an identical colored background as the page, appearing invisible to users, however, search spiders will see it in the code.
This is commonly referred to as “cloaking”, and has been proven to diminish or even entirely prevent the page of your site from being included in search results. Avoid these practices at all costs. Here’s a great example of a website with cloaked text. As you can see on our Caf8 site here, I’ll scroll down a little bit to this green bar. We have an area that says, “Refuel, work, meet,” and it’s a great little description of what the cafe is about. However if I move the cursor down, you can see that it actually changes to a text highlighter, but we don’t see anything here.
And if I do highlight this block, we can see that there is text hidden within the same color. This is an example of cloaking, and it’s something that you need to be aware of will get you heavily penalized in search rankings. Do not do this. Using the keyword research tactics we used earlier, identify a few essential keywords to target and make sure to implement them naturally throughout your website. If they are truly the best words to target, the site’s content should lend itself to using them naturally, without losing readability.
Here’s a great example from the Dodo Case website. This company makes iPad and iPhone cases. You can see that there’s a block of text up in the top right that says, “Sleek black and brown leather, “moleskin, and linen cases that are protective and classically stylish.” This text on the Dodo Case website is crafted in a natural way. But if you look at it, it’s full of keywords. They have the words leather, moleskin, linen cases. Even some descriptive words like protective, and classically stylish.
The interesting thing about this is if you mouse over these, they’re actually links to pages within the site. So if we click the black and brown leather link, it actually goes to the leather selection of cases they have available. Another interesting thing about this block of text, is if we use our developer tools to inspect this area. So let’s go up to the menu on the right. Go to More Tools and select Developer Tools. I bet if we inspect this block, it’s going to be a heading tag.
So let’s select the magnifying glass, and find this block. There. As you can see, it’s actually coming up in the code as an h1 tag. So they’ve used this as their main heading on the site. This is a great example of using headings, which we talked about earlier in this course, using keywords, using internal links, and writing naturally for maximum usability and comprehension.