In the mid-1990s, the concept of the search engine was in its infancy. The use of search engines had yet to become widely adopted, and relatively few web pages were published on the Web. Early SEOs were already working to figure out how rankings were calculated, and a number of now obsolete techniques designed to manipulate search engine algorithms emerged. It was the beginning of a new era in the way we find information and how businesses market goods and services.
Where the opportunity for profit exists, someone will be looking to exploit it, and search engines are no exception. In the early days, it became clear that search engines used the text on a page to calculate rankings for keyword searches. As a result, keyword stuffing, or the practice of repeating the same keyword phrase multiple times throughout a page, became a common way of manipulating search engines to achieve top rankings.
Today, search engines are far more complex, and continually work to discount the effectiveness of such manipulative tactics and improve the quality of search results. Search engine optimization, when performed ethically, has evolved into a collection of practices aimed at improving the quality of a website such that it earns more natural search traffic, rather than an attempt to manipulate a constantly changing algorithm. As this keyword stuffing comic from www.rankedhard.com illustrates, keyword stuffing is not only blatantly easy to detect, but it results in a horrific communication style that is more likely to turn off visitors than provide any benefits. Repeating a keyword phrase multiple times throughout a page is not effective for visitors or search engines, and usually has a negative impact on the search engine visibility of a page.
Write for Humans – Not Algorithms
Knowing what keywords each page targets is important when writing website copy, but this does not mean key phrases should be repeated as many times as possible throughout the copy. Instead, content should be crafted for the benefit of site visitors and should reflect the major theme of the page on which it resides. Search engines such as Google have the ability to determine the subject of a page using known relationships between words. This means, for example, that search engines can tell that a page containing the word “restaurant” is also likely to be relevant to the words “food “ and “menu.” While littering your page with excessively repeated keywords will not help search engine visibility, incorporating a variety of related phrases and synonyms in natural language throughout your copy can benefit your SEO efforts.
Give Each Page Its Own Identity
Remember, search engines rank each web page individually, not your site as a whole, so each page that you would like visible in search engines should contain its own unique content specific to the topic of the page. For instance, each category page should inform the user what types of products can be found in that category, and each product page should include a unique product description that is informative to users.
Make No Mistake – Grammar Matters
Website copywriting is one area where it pays to be meticulous. One spelling or grammatical mistake may be enough to make visitors leave your site. If writing copy is not your forte, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional SEO copywriter to create compelling content for each important page of your site.
Text content remains an important signal to search engines in determining the subject of a page, but is not the only factor taken into account in determining relevance. The quantity and quality of inbound links and the age of the site are also key factors, and there are many more. Nonetheless, the text content of a page remains a critical relevance factor that should be carefully considered by site owners.