Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Writing website copy for Google

I keep reading on other blogs - such as Peter De Vanzo's excellent - that if you use keywords that a lot of other people are targeting heavily on their websites your site MAY get penalised for duplicate content by Google...

I also see that focusing the same keyword phrase in your:

  • Page title
  • Page header
  • Page content
  • Internal links
  • Meta descriptions

may result in Google spotting your content and finding it may be similar to other "over" optimised pages for a particular keyword. This could result in your site not ranking as highly as others, though I think a search term without much demand or competition (so giving very few results) would force Google to likely link to the most relevant document regardless of the page's keyword density and/or it's overoptimisation.

Ok, so how can one get round this?

By writing natural copy - taking care to remove the number of keyword phrases repeated in the page +
internal links and making good use of stemming in your content.

However if a page is relevant then wouldn't the keyword phrase be used more than any other phrase?

I would think so... though on the other hand if your content's keywords are too diluted across the page you'll likely not rank at all either... its all in the finesse of knowing whats about right.

Best way to figure this? Read your content aloud.

Does it sound repetitive?

My content to an extent does and certainly this applies across nearly all of the pages so I intend to make a lot of changes to the on page optimisation.

I will likely start by adjusting headings and titles to appear different to each other, check synonyms and apply suitable stemming techniques into the content. I will then monitor increases in ranking (though it's a relatively new site and potentially "sandboxed" so the results may be somewhat inaccurate for the time being.)

One of the keywords the site does show up for is:

website pitfalls

As I never optimised the page content for this keyword then this is a clue for me to look at that content and see what kind of flow/style of copywriting I used.

Having a brief look I can see that I have targeted the keyword phrase in the page title, description meta tag and header but NOT in the actual page content.

So I will adjust the copy on other pages on the same basis and see if that improves the site's ranking. I'll let you know how I get on.