Keywords form the basis of search marketing – they are the words or phrases that your target market would use to look for your business offering online. Once you’ve identified important keywords for your business, it’s time to work them into your online content.
In part 1 of our Google Penguin series, we discussed what the new update is and who is affected. Let’s look now at how Google Penguin affects how businesses should use keywords.
Optimizing Your Content with Keywords
Keyword optimization is the practice of using keywords within web content to associate a particular website and specific pages within it with these words or phrases. While this may seem easy enough, there are specific mistakes or misuses that can cause problems.
Keyword stuffing is one of the most common and well-known black hat SEO tactics. It essentially involves jam packing your content full of keywords with no thought or consideration to how it reads and what is being communicated. In most cases, stuffed content will read poorly and just come across as odd. Keyword stuffing is about writing for search engines, not for people.
Well no more! Google has made it very clear that it will no longer be tolerating this type of content. Keyword stuffing was specifically named in the Penguin update. As we learned in the introduction to this series, black hat tactics don’t work and Google Penguin is aggressively punishing sites that continue to use these kinds of unethical strategies. See what Google has to say about keyword stuffing here.
The Penguin update does not mean you shouldn’t focus on optimizing your content; it just means that you should be optimizing properly. Using relevant words for the topic at hand. Focusing on creating useful content. Providing a good user experience. It’s all about relevant keywords and using them sensibly.
Another problem area that could affect your search rankings is how anchor text links are used within your content.
Generally, anchor text links are used to both drive traffic and direct visitors to relevant pages, as well as give search engines like Google another clue or indication as to what the specific page is about. Using keywords in anchor text links is an important way to optimize your web content.
But it’s not a good idea to just to sprinkle your content, whether onsite or offsite, with as many anchor text links as you can. You still need to keep value and quality in mind. Do your anchor text links make sense and drive people to where they want to go? Are they helping you to provide a great user experience?
Problems can start to arise, and now especially with the Penguin update, when this tactic is used too aggressively. Using the exact same keyword or string in anchor text links too often can cause Google to throw up a red flag. While there are no specific guidelines given on this and no real consistent way these are being targeted, keeping under half of your anchor text focused on your main keyword is a good bet.
Web content and Google Penguin go hand in hand and keywords are an important part of this. In our next post, we’ll look a little more closely at content marketing in general and how it is related to Google Penguin.