There's a time and a place for everything. The place for sweat pants to be worn is at home, not at the airport; the place for cigarette butts to be thrown is an ashtray, not out your car window; and the place for the Twighlight movies to be watched is on the corner of nowhere and never again.
When dealing with your online content you have to find the right keywords and the right place for them on the page. SEO 1997 was all about throwing keywords anywhere and everywhere on the page in hopes to claim those top spots on AltaVista, WebCrawler, Excite and the six other search engines you were gunning for. (Ahhh, remember the days!)
In today's world SEO has meaning beyond getting rankings, 'cause, you know... people are gonna see that stuff. Your content has to read, not like a keyword laundry list but more like information that actually helps sell your product or services, or provide information the reader finds helpful to them.
Everybody has a job to do
Making SEO work requires the involvement of more than just a good SEO or a good copywriter. In fact, both have their role in finding and integrating keywords into the content of the page.
The SEO is largely in charge of keyword selection. It's not the copywriter's job to go out and do the in-depth keyword research or to be responsible for selecting the keywords that should be worked into the page.
Integrating the keywords into the content is the job of a good copywriter. The SEO hands off the keyword lists and the copywriter edits, tweaks, rewrites and adjusts the content so the optimized keywords have been worked into the content in a way that doesn't destroy the flow or the goals of the page.
While each have their roles, there are times when the roles can overlap a bit. Many times the keywords "selected" by the SEOs won't fit on the selected page. I always ask my copywriters to use their judgment on whether any given keyword, phrase or qualifier works on a page or not.
This is where the SEO and the copywriter need to work together. The SEO might see a way that the keyword can work that perhaps the copywriter doesn't quite get. A little working together, some give and take and the SEO and copywriter should be able to come to an agreement whether a keyword can or should be used on a particular page.
The SEO also needs to be able to have input as to where certain keywords need to be placed on the page. Unless the copywriter understands SEO they may not get that some keywords need to be in headings, some in body content and some need to be used a bit more frequently than others. But again, the copywriter should have final say as to how those keywords are used in the content to make sure it really works.
Good content cannot be rushed
The process of selecting keywords and integrating them into content is not one to be taken lightly. This isn't 1997! Give your team time to figure what the best keywords are and how to properly work those into the page. A good optimized page will take several hours for research and content writing and will go through a few edits.
When you allow the page to work its way through the development process you'll get content that is search engine optimized, brings in targeted traffic, provides your visitors the information they need and helps move them through the sales process. Each keyword will have a place and be used in its place to get the visitors in the place you want them to be because they have the information they need.
This post was inspired from The Princess Bride themed presentation I gave in early 2010 at SEMpdx's Searchfest titled Inconceivable Content: The Dread Pirate Robert's Guide to Creating Swashbuckling Content, Pillaging the Search Engines, and Commandeering a Treasure Trove of Conversions. If you enjoyed this post you also might enjoy other posts inspired from the same. Search for "inconceivable content" on this blog to find them all.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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