SEO and Keywords – Petting the Panda

Not long ago webmasters determined the best way to get traffic from Google searches was to yell at Google to get their attention. Webmasters stuffed their own webpages so full of keywords that the content was painful to read. To help searchers find useful pages rather than those only designed to make money through PPC and affiliate programs, Google is always changing the way it finds and indexes content on the Internet. Panda is one of those changes that has webmasters (and SEO agencies to some extent) sweating.

Trying to determine what Google is looking for, and how they index sites is a tough chore. Many experts feel that Panda is an attempt by Google to stop sending their valued users to bad, uninformative sites. If your site has seen a significant drop in visitors, it might be because the search engine has determined it is not providing quality content.

The Continued Importance of Keywords in SEO

One of the things that Google has always looked for is keywords; however, a little goes a long way. If you are adding keywords to your content at a rate of three or four percent, traffic to your website may be down. That percentage is excessively high now.

The longer the keyword phrase is, the more obvious the attempt at keyword stuffing. Consider a four-word keyword at three percent inclusion: The whole phrase has to be included three times for every 100 words. After about two paragraphs, your visitors will be long gone.

That is another thing to consider. Google is indexing sites with ‘stickiness,’ which is good written content that keeps visitors on the page. If the visitors are likely to leave your site right away (which is called bouncing) Google will not likely send them there. Remember, the idea is to send searchers to quality, helpful sites.

To keep your site from coming up low in the search rankings, or even being banned, make sure it has high quality, useful content that is not stuffed with keywords. You may feel it is not enough, but you should consider a keyword percentage of one percent or less, particularly for longer phrases. If they fall into place naturally, that is fine; but do not force them.

Do not stuff related keywords, either. Disguising spam will not help you. You should use related keywords, but keep them at a low percentage, too. Related words can be helpful in getting the search engines to understand the content of your site, but too many will probably hurt you.

The changes that Google makes from time to time are annoying to webmasters who are trying to make money from their sites. Those changes are a blessing to searchers because they are sick of junk sites. So consider this: If you want to make money from your site, provide good, solid content. The search engines will see it and send you visitors. All it means is that you have to do what you should have been doing before now, which is educating or entertaining your visitors.

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