Dress to impress online! Copywriting, social media and content help from a freelance blogger, editor, proofreader and marketing expert. Looking to upgrade your online wardrobe? I'm your writer! Need Help? Contact Me Here
“We don’t bother with keyword placement or anything like that.”
That was one of the first pieces of tangible advice that I received from a full-time, professional editor, besides obvious tit bits that can just as easily be found on Google.
Even though I was new to the game, I remember thinking, why on earth not? I guess working for a national publication with its own marketing department means content creators can be less aware of the benefits of SEO. Myself, as a website owner and freelance editor and writer? I couldn’t do without it.
SEO has helped the clients that I work for gain a stronghold on the internet despite the odds. DrunkenWerewolf, for example, receives around 3000 hits every day. Of those, more than a third are referrals from search engines. Over half are from similarly SEO-dependent sources such as Google, Facebook and Hype Machine.
The main canon fire behind this SEO? Good keyword placement.
Keywords are great because money simply doesn’t come into it. Website giants can rub shoulders with bloggers in the arena, but often the necessity for smaller or more budget-controlled projects to get good at the free stuff means they’ll win the game hands down.
From a practical point of view, this means a web page can appear higher on search functions for targeted phrases, regardless of their success in fields other than SEO. DrunkenWerewolf appears high on Google when you search for “music blog uk” because we’ve worked hard to use that term across the site.
It’s not just search engines that keyword placement can influence, nor are keywords limited to web pages. Did you know that Facebook picks up on terms frequently used on its pages and counts the data towards results made using its on-site search function? That means your About section is more important than you thought!
One of the biggest reasons keyword placement has become taboo is because it’s often not done very well. How many times have you read an article where the language seems a little… off? That’s probably because someone has stuffed keywords like it’s a Christmas turkey.
The trick is to pick a suitable keyword that sounds organic in a sentence and is also hyper-focused on the content to the point that you’re unlikely to use it again. Often when it comes to music, a project name or release title is the obvious option. Job done.
..But what if you want to be even more specific? For example, DrunkenWerewolf’s news sub-editor Leander Hobbs often has to blog about tour dates. If she chooses to cover the next string of tour dates from Smashing Pumpkins, she has multiple keyword options:
- Smashing Pumpkins tour
- Smashing Pumpkins will tour
- Bristol live dates
- Tour dates
One of these options has far more SEO clout. Can you spot which? That’s right, it’s the most difficult to place: “Smashing Pumpkins tour”.
“Bristol live date” and “tour dates” are no good as they’re not specific to the post – any band can put on tour dates or play Bristol. While it may be a milestone in your career, on the internet, there’s sadly nothing special about it.
“Smashing Pumpkins will tour” is deceptive. It may seem like the easiest and most obvious choice, but actually “with” is considered a ‘stop’ word.
According to Wikipedia: In computing, stop words are words which are filtered out before or after processing of natural language data (text). … Other search engines remove some of the most common words—including lexical words, such as “want”—from a query in order to improve performance.
Basically, all you need to know is that stop words are not considered to be informative and so search engines discount them. In using a stop word in the middle of your keyword term, all you’re doing is splitting the important words up and invalidating your efforts.