Don’t Keyword Stuff for Google — Optimize for Users Instead
SEO strategists used to follow every single move Google made. Whenever a major algorithm update was announced, we’d chase it.
For years, that was how we ensured our clients showed up at the top of a search engine results page (SERP). But today, search engine optimization (SEO) has changed. Today, SEO is not about how to appease the Google algorithm; it’s about how to answer what searchers want to know.
At one time, we SEO strategists worked on keyword placement — so much that the practice became known as “keyword stuffing.” If you are still doing this, we need to talk, because it’s not relevant anymore.
In this post, we’re sharing some useful tips on how to optimize your content for search engines in 2020.
1. Know Who You’re Writing For
The first question you should ask when writing content is “Who is this content actually for?”
If you are writing for Google, consider not writing that content. Google doesn’t need any more meaningless content in its already saturated world. You can conduct an easy search to figure this out:
I promise you there are not 15 million used cars for sale in Sioux Falls. Even if Google pulled every vehicle detail page (VDP) or search results page (SRP) on every car dealership site in the Sioux Falls area, it wouldn’t amount to 15 million vehicles.
If you were to write just for Google, would your auto content even show up?
Figure out what people need to know, and write for them — the car buyer or person needing repair work done. Because at the end of the day, you are there to serve the user, not Google.
2. Answer a Question
In today’s search results, people want instant answers.
While roughly 8% of searches are questions, many people are searching phrases such as hours of operation, what is “near me,” or phone numbers. Essentially, these are still questions they want answered, so your website should answer them!
Not sure where to start? Check out your Google Search Console to see the questions for which your website is showing up. You can look within the search results tab and then filter by a query. Filter for queries containing questions words, like:
You can then sort by clicks or by impressions and filter for things like position or click-through rate (CTR). These searches and filters can lead you to strong content to answer, as opposed to writing just to write.
3. Include Keywords
Remember how we said to not stuff keywords throughout your entire page? Keep that at the forefront of your writing — but realize you do still need to use keywords!
Marketers should write content that is easy to read and understand. Use full sentences, appropriate grammar, and relevant keywords for the topic at hand. Don’t write copy that sounds like a robot . . . even if Alexa ends up telling your user the answer. That response from voice search should sound human, not strained with the same keyword every single sentence.
Gone are the days of “keyword stuffing” (AKA placing a specific keyword throughout your copy way, way too many times). Why?
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
If you’re looking for green tennis shoes in Sioux Falls, look no further than Shoe Emporium. We have several brands of green tennis shoes in Sioux Falls and various sizes of green tennis shoes in Sioux Falls for kids, men, and women. Check out our inventory of green tennis shoes in Sioux Falls at our location or on our website.
Here’s an example of good keyword placement:
Have you been hunting for that perfect pair of green tennis shoes? Our Sioux Falls shoe store offers a large variety of tennis shoes and sneakers in all colors, including green. We know our Shoe Emporium shoppers enjoy a wide variety of tennis shoe styles, so check out our selection online, or stop in for a custom fitting for kids and adults.
Write for context. Write about shoes in a way someone would actually going to want to read when they search for that keyword.
Today, there is no optimal number of keywords or word count to use when writing for the web. Your keywords really should depend on what is relevant to your audience, and your copy should be as long as it needs to be to effectively tell someone about your product without boring them.
4. Optimize Your Current Copy
One of the biggest ways you can help your website SEO is by optimizing current pages, instead of making new content just to make it.
When search engines crawl your site, they look at your current pages to see if they’ve been updated. Updating content lets Google know you are keeping relevant content on your site and working for a better user experience.
Optimizing what you already have helps from a technical perspective, too. Google works off machine learning, so it takes data from other similar searches, learns from that user behavior, and tries to improve search results for the next person.
When Google comes across a great site that has answered the user’s question or kept them on the site for a while, it takes that as a good sign. If a user bounces from your site and immediately clicks the next search result or enters an entirely new search into the engine, Google figures your site didn’t give the best result to the searcher — and, as a result, won’t show your website as high in results the next time around.
5. Show Up on Google!
Most dealership sites we see start as turnkey sites directly from the website provider. That means the content is optimized for their location but probably doesn’t hit the right searchers in their market because it’s like dozen of other dealership websites with the same unoriginal content.
If you worry this is the case for your website, copy a section of text, and paste it in Google search. See how many other sites pull up with the same exact copy. It’s actually alarming how unoriginal automotive website copy really is unless you make your website straight from scratch!
At 9 Clouds, we work to set you apart from every other dealership website and give you a leg up on the competition. Learn more about SEO with our free SEO eBook or our other SEO blog posts.Read More Blog Posts to Improve Your SEO