Straight Talk About Your Keywords

Building Natural Keywords
Building Natural Keywords

Keywords, keywords, keywords…. Everybody says it, but hardly anybody understands it!

Fact is in our business I STRONGLY discourage our customers from “adding” keywords to their pages. I really have a fair and just reason for this. When shop owners set out to “add” keywords to their product descriptions for example, then end up shooting themselves in the foot… Most times. How? I’m going to tell you why.

First of they end up stuffing that key phrase “green bananas” in to their content an obscene amount of times… Making truly terrible copy, a poor shopper’s experience and inevitably screwing themselves out of a ton of very effective long tails. No gripe to the shop owners at all, its very challenging to create content with is both optimized and user friendly. As human beings we tend to have a one track mind… So concentrating on both is like a interior designer telling the HVAC contractor how to plan the duct work.

There are many ways to do both more effectively… Things like usability studies and deep effective long tail keyword research will yield far better results. However, the short and narrow of it is to create usable content. Other wise you might win the battle and lose the war!

I am going to give you some nuts and bolts common sense tips for optimizing your content without “shooting yourself in the foot”. At the end of the day, no ranking metric matters if you cannot convert a sale in your online store.

Common Sense Tips for Writing SEO Copy

Remember that search engines see pages as pages… They are not necessarily ranked as a “whole” site so to speak. Keep your pages (no matter what page) targeted and on track. Optimize your content for 1 keyword phrase and it’s variations (long tails). The broader your page’s content the more difficult to rank the page…. Every page counts!

One you have chosen your key phrase to optimize for (YES that phrase, not keyword), then you will want to determine the stemmed keywords and phrases for this key phrase. For example, if we choose the key phrases “fresh green bananas” we know that using other variations like “green bananas”, “bananas”, “fresh bananas” and such will build the relevance and strength of the key phrase. When I explain this to a customer I use a pyramid to explain how the longer related key phrases (long tails) actually support and build the “bigger box” or higher volume target phrase. The image below may give a better understanding.

Keyword Pyramid
Keyword Pyramid

You will honestly be created page content to target only 1 keyword phrase. The other long tail phrases are used to built the supporting relevance for the main target. Many times there will be phrases that do not even contain the exact targeted words that will be used to support the main phrase. For example, if you are targeting “Zen Cart SEO”, you will also be using phrases like: “Zen Cart optimization”, “SEO for Zen Cart”… and other logical phrases. These phrases using only part of none of the targeted keyword are “stemmed” from the target. So in other words, these phrases are different but mean the same or similar.

Natural. If you write your text in such a way that it seems unnatural, customers will think you are dumb or irresponsible…. Not exactly the trust building response we want. Saying things like “green dog jacket are warm and best jacket for dog”. See how the singular version of keywords were used as opposed to the more natural sounding and expected plural versions? Fact is, search engines will stem most every word you use to include the plural or singular versions without any spammy stuffed intervention from you. Your job is to write intelligent, digestible and helpful text for your customers…. Thus impressing them with the ease of shopping on your website and setting forth your own authority or expert status with regard to your products and niche.

So the other piece to this puzzle is delivering your shoppers the information and encouragement they need to buy your products. This is EXACTLY why we tell our customers to write for their shoppers! You see, if we can get them to write excellent and helpful product descriptions, for example, we can then properly optimize that text to build relevance and rank. This process helps to keep the shop owner’s hands out of the “cookie jar” so to speak and gives us the insight and understanding of the product to properly stem and discover supporting keyword phrases.

Given this conflict, doing the entire thing yourself can really be a challenge….. But, there are some easy ways to help overcome that obstacle and double your efforts.

  1. Write for the shopper first… ALWAYS. Then go back and optimize the text for supporting keyword phrases with a keen mind on not destroying the meaning of anything.
  2. Have someone who knows little or nothing about your products give you an “editorial” review, then listen and act on their suggestions.
  3. Be very descriptive. Creating well rounded and very descriptive text will naturally create long tails, you may have never found otherwise…. and impress your shoppers!