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Web Content Mass + Keyword
Optimization + Links = SEO
Posted on January 4, 2006
By Joel Walsh
How does web
content really affect SEO? It's often said that the answer is simply that
content does not affect SEO very muchit's all about more technical issues. Yet
a website's content still plays an enormous and fairly direct role in search
Of course, the whole goal of the search engines' ranking schemes is precisely
to deliver good, relevant content to users. The mechanism for how search
engines select and reward good, relevant content is essentially just a technical
issue, though admittedly an extremely important technical issue.
But even in purely technical, mechanistic, terms, web content affects search
engine rankings three ways:
1. Web Content and Inbound Links
Inbound links are the number-one factor in getting search engine rankings.
They also yield plenty of traffic on their own. The importance of links is what
has led many people to say that content is no longer important. But those
people forget that content really does play a big role in getting links in the
2. Web Content Mass
- At the very least, good content will make potential link partners more
comfortable with linking to your site. No one wants to link to a link farm,
splog, junk site, or even just an unprofessional-looking site.
- Lots of good content gives other webmasters (and particularly bloggers) a
reason to link to your site spontaneously without being asked.
- You can allow other websites to post your content in exchange for a link
back to your site.
More web pages of content = more search engine traffic
- Adding pages to your site is like putting out extra nets to catch
- Search engines see bigger websites as more prestigious and reliable.
- The more content you have, the more reasons you give other webmasters,
particularly bloggers, to link to your site spontaneously, without being
3. Web Content Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization used to be the most important step in SEO. Now it
matters little in ranking for highly competitive keywords.
Still, keyword optimization can really help you get traffic from searches not
on competitive keywords. While you may never rank number 1 for "finance," you
may still show up tops for a search on "household finance rent federal tax
deductions" if you have that phrase somewhere in your content. Such
non-competitive searches make up a very large proportion of total web
Web Content Keyword Optimization Checklist:
There are four legs to keyword optimization:
Keyword Research and Selection
You need to identify keywords searched on by your target audience. Use tools
such as those offered by KeywordDiscovery and Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly
There are two big pitfalls to avoid:
"Negative keywords" that look relevant but are not really searched on by
your target market. For instance, "website copy" is a synonym for "website
content," but most people searching on "website copy" are looking for software
that copies an entire website to the hard drive for offline browsing.
Impossibly competitive keywords that you have no realistic chance of
ranking high for them. How do you know if a keyword is impossibly competitive?
One rough measure is to look at the PageRank of the webpages currently ranking
in the top three for that keyword. If the PageRank of those pages is much
higher than the PageRank your site will likely have in the future, you will
probably never outrank those pages.
A pay-per-click campaign with Google Adwords of Yahoo! Search Marketing will
help you to find which keywords really are searched on by your target
Keywords appear in the content the right number of times for search engines
to recognize the page as relevant, but not so often that it looks like keyword
stuffing. The longer the content, the more times the keyword should appear.
Keywords appear in just the right positions within your web pages for search
engines to recognize them as relevant. The page title, headings, and first
lines of the page are often considered the most prominent positions.
Keyword Stemming/Keyword Variation
- Using variations of the keyword will help ensure web pages appear relevant
to the next generation of more sophisticated search engine algorithms.
- In the meantime, variations of popular keywords helps your site appear for
the "non-standard" searches on variations of the keyword.
There are three main types of keyword variations:
- Word-stem variations. A stem of a word is its base. For instance, "optimize"
is the stem of "optimized." Other stem variations of "optimize"
include "optimizing", "optimizer", and "optimization". You can
also shuffle the component words of multiple-word keywords.
Variations of "website content" would be "web site content",
"web content", "content for websites", and "site content".
- Synonyms (such as "web page content", "internet content", or "writing for
the web" for "website content").
- Related terms (such as "internet", "SEO" or "web page").
For many people, the SEO side of content feels like a moot point. You need
to create content for your visitors even if no search engine spider ever
notices. But there is a case to be made that an extra page of content is good
not just for visitors but search engine spiders, too. Every website budget,
both of money and time, is finite. If you're ever choosing whether to invest in
another link to please search engines or another page of content to please your
visitors, don't forget: search engines still like content, too.
About the Author
Joel Walsh is a writer and owner of UpMarket Content, a website content
provider. Request a no-cost, no-obligation proposal for your website content: