SEO Company | Search Engine Placement & Optimization Services

Keyword Over Optimization & Semantic Search Changes

The biggest changes in 2012 for the search engines have to do with over optimization of keywords and lack of quality relevant content for your niche.

Basically, this is the most important thing YOU can do for your websites Internet success.

You can see these topics in the news here;

1. Search Engine Land from March 16th 2012.

Old Keyword Approach:
5 years ago it was quite normal to see websites ranking at the top of Google with as much as 8%-10% keyword density for their chosen keyword. A wall of text 1000 words long would be placed at the bottom or mid page of their site with keywords repeated over and over. Most marketers have caught on but many people (and out of date SEO’s) still go overboard with keyword optimization.

The New Approach:
Matt Cutt’s (head search engineer at Google) urged web publishers to write “naturally”. Basically meaning, write for your visitors not the search engines. If you can focus on what your visitors actually need & want with your content, Google will undoubtedly find your keywords. Nevertheless, we can be more scientific then that by using Semantic Search

What is Semantic Search You Say?
Google has been working on a big project called “semantic search” for several years now. Semantic search uses LSI (latent semantic indexing) to determine what other topical info a seach user might be interested in. In summary; LSI considers documents that have many words in common to be semantically close, and ones with few words in common to be semantically distant. This simple method correlates surprisingly well with how a human being, looking at content, might classify a document collection.

Right so what does that really mean?
LSI will rate you higher for using higher level language and a variety of keywords. To rank highly you don’t need (or even want) to stuff your content with expected search terms; ideally you should use a larger set of synonyms.

So how does this affect the content you already have?
Lets say for example you want to rank for “cowboy boots”. The current mechanism would reward you for stuffing your content with that key phrase because the relevancy of your page would increase (because users searching for that term will find 15 instances of it).

LSI is going to pull your content in the opposite direction. To rank highly for “cowboy boots” you’d be better placed using suitable synonyms or relevant terms like “western boots”, “western clothing”, “western wear”, etc. You can even take it a step further and assume Google will be looking to see if you discuss “western” topics in general like horse riding, country music and Budweiser (granted this is a stretch but you get my drift). We will discuss more of these off topic terms below in the “fresh” content area.

Now, how to change your content. 5 easy tips.

  1. Be prepared for ranking fluctuation; if you are changing your content now before Google launches this update (currently March 20th 2012 this update is not live), your rankings may fluctuate. However, you will be future “proofing” yourself from any penalty being addressed down the road.
  2. Use this tool to check keyword density on your current most important landing pages (home page, landing pages (or category pages), even possibly product pages if you run an ecommerce stores. If you hired us for SEO your main keywords are in your title tags at the top of your site. These are the most important. If you are above 3% on anything, you may need adjustment. Keep in mind this tool doesn’t see keyword phrase matching, it looks at the keywords alone.
  3. When re writing your content check out this tool and search it for your main keywords; The tag cloud underneath helps you see what the other most common searches are for your keyword, be sure Google has this as well. You can also search for your keyword on Google, scroll to the very bottom of the page and see what Google says are other similar searches. Some of these topics should be covered in your copy or you may want to link to other content pieces you create on these topics (see fresh copy below for more info).
  4. Pull up the thesaurus and search for your main keywords as well; and check for synonyms you haven’t thought of.
  5. Now that you have all the necessary LSI keywords, re write your content keeping your visitors, sales copy, calls to action, and other general content writing “natural”. Just integrate in the LSI keywords as naturally as possible and no more then 1 times for every 100 keywords