Helping you Play by Google’s Rules: Part 2 – Content and Keywords

When determining the ranking of your web page, Google takes into the quality of your content. This can be the length of the content, the keywords used, the display text of links, and words used in titles and descriptions.

There are a few things and tricks to keep in mind when writing and creating content for your site to make sure it readable by your users and Google.

“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any other factor” – Google

Quality Content

Spelling, Grammar, and Wording

First things first, quality content starts with basic spelling, grammar, and wording. Misspelled words and grammatical errors are not only make it more difficult for people to read and understand you, it also negatively affects your Google ranking.

So, make sure you are spell checking your content. If you’re blogging like me, WordPress does a decent job at catching spelling errors but it doesn’t look for grammatical errors. Copying and pasting your content into a grammar check (I like GrammarCheck) is quick and easy. Or, throw it in Word. There are many options out there to help you.

How you write and the readability of your content is important as well. I know I’m not the strongest writer, never have been, but clear and easy to follow content will make it more enjoyable for your readers.

Make it Clear and Easy to Follow

Making your content clear and easy to follow can be done a number of ways. You can use headers to let your reader know what topic is covered below and give them an idea of what your web page is about. This breaks up your different topics and allows the reader to quickly find a topic they may be most interested in.

You can also use emphasis tags (bolditalicunderline) to draw attention to certain words or phrases to make sure important points come across. It also catches the attention of a reader scrolling through the page.

Keyword Use

Use a Range of Keywords

To even show up within Google’s search results, your content has to match or correlate to the keywords or keyword phrases entered by the user. This means you need to consider various ways a user may search for the material you post about.

It’s important to keep in mind you will have many different types of interested readers or visitors. Some may be knowledgeable in the field or hobby and understand jargon, others may be just learning about it and use more general terms.

For example, I love rock climbing. When I first picked it up, I wanted to learn how to improve so I searched, “learn rock climbing skills” and “how to be a better rock climber”, pretty generic right? Now I may search “how to improve on my sloper grip” or “rock climbing overhang techniques”.

Notice the difference? My first example mentions rock climbing then “learn”, “skills”, “better”. My second example uses keywords like “sloper”, “grip”, and “overhang”.

If you want to offer content to a range of users, you want to make sure you have these different types of keywords and keyword phrases on your web page so it relates to different levels of search detail. But, if you want to only speak to technical users, then stick with jargon, it is about who you are writing for and who you want to add value to.

You Can’t Trick Google

Google crawls and indexes (or searches and files) your web page and site so it can quickly bring up your content in the search results. As just mentioned, you want to make sure you have your keywords strewn about your page. You may think, “Hey! What if I put a bunch of my keywords at the bottom of my page in the background color! No one will see and Google will pick it up!”

Not going to lie, this was my exact thought (hopefully I wasn’t alone in that thought) and it was this thought and the answer that proceeds that inspired me to write this post!

Google knows about your hidden text and links. They search for them and if found, the quality of your page goes down and Google drops your ranking. You can’t trick Google. They wrote the playbook so You Have to Play By Google’s Rules.

Throwing in a bunch of random keywords throughout your web page will not work either because it will make it difficult for users to read your content (in case you missed it, quality content is THE MOST important factor in terms of your search result ranking). Unless it is relevant and flows, it can come off as annoying or sporadic and cause the reader to lose interest.

Don’t Over Do It

Using your keywords and keyword phrases throughout your web page is important because it reinforces what your topic is about, however, you don’t want to over do it. Stating a keyword too many times may flag your page as SPAM and drop your ranking.

Although Google does not officially state a cap on usage, I have seen it recommended to not have your keyword appear more than 22 times on your web page, this includes within your HTML code.

Using the Ctrl + U command to open the source code and Ctrl + F to find your keyword(s), you can easily see how many times it appears.

If you need to cut back on the usage, remove it from within your text instead of headers or titles. Look into alternative forms of the keyword in order to capture that wider range of users who may be searching for what your page covers.



For more information on Google’s SEO Guidelines, check out their SEO Starter Guide


Featured image from KeywordKeg

3 thoughts on “Helping you Play by Google’s Rules: Part 2 – Content and Keywords

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