Does Keyword Density Still Work for SEO?

The time is now to review your website's keyword density.
The time is now to review your website’s keyword density.

A lot of things have changed over the years in regards to how a website should get organic or unpaid search placement particularly on Google. One of the tactics that SEO’s are having the hardest time letting go of is keyword density.

I have to say that in my own personal experience, this used to be a very usable approach and one that really bumped a website up in the organic results – but no longer! In fact, have too heavy of a keyword density on your page and you may now actually trigger a Google penalty for keyword stuffing.

If you have not updated your website content in the last two years and you have seen your search placement drop, I would recommend that you have a careful review done of your page content. You may actually need to be proactively revising the content to remove instances of keywords that you had previously added.

We typically would strive for about a 7% keyword density on the home page of a website, but now if you mention the keyword phrases you are targeting more than three times in your content you may be getting yourself in trouble.

Here are a few important thoughts I’d like to share on this topic:

1. Don’t build keyword density in your pages at this point in time.

2. If you previously have built up keyword density, now’s the time to start removing density proactively.

3. It’s time to review the length of your pages. If you have to scroll more than once to read page content your page is too long and needs to be made more concise. The key to understand here is that mentioning a phrase three times in a page of 250 to 300 words of content is way different than mentioning a phrase three times in a page of 1,200 words. Although we are not talking keyword density per say, pages with too much content will be trying to cover too many topics and that length now may actually work against you both in not being a narrow enough focus and being too long for mobile device use.

4. So now big concerns are keyword density, page content topics, AND page length!

If you need real help on your website content, I encourage you to review our services to see how consulting with us will bring clarity to a change in approach for your website and content creation strategy.

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Negative SEO and Manual Penalties

Has Your Site Been Clubbed by Google?
Has Your Site Been Clubbed by Google?

It can happen to the very best of sites managed with white hat SEO as in this case study found on the MOZ blog; Google smacks your organic placement down and you can’t even find your business name in a search on Google.com.

Usually this type of severe penalty is reported to you on the Google Webmaster Control Panel under manual penalty.

John Mueller of Google responded to the MOZ blog writer’s question on negative SEO tactics with this response:

“…You mean like when somebody creates spam links but also links to Wikipedia? … We have seen it happen before. Sometimes we can tell but sometimes it’s a little bit harder… but [if] you get a manual penalty from it you will know about it so you can just disavow the links.”

Other SEO have stated that to remove a Google penalty you should work to manually clean up links before using the disavow link tool, but clearly Google feels otherwise.

If you have not been using shady or spammy link growth tactics and you’ve gotten a Google smackdown, make sure you review your link numbers in the Google Webmaster Control Panel and disavow those that you have not worked to grow. It may be the fastest way to get your position back.

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Improving Your Rank in Google’s Local Listings

Man's hand pointing on street map
No Kidding Google Knows Your Business Location!

Local listings on Google.com can make or break certain types of businesses, but did you know that when you drop in placement there may be some things you can do to remediate your drop.

Here’s what I recommend you look at first after your ranking has dropped:

1. Make sure you review, understand and fully embrace Google’s Places Quality Guidelines.

2. You must link to a specific address – no post office boxes.

3. Google wants a local phone number not your vanity number or a 1-800 number.

4. Select one category at the minimum from Google’s own list of categories. Even if you provide permanent makeup not tattoos, the correct category for you according to Google is tattoos. Provide other choices using the custom category option.

5. Here’s a big one: “Only businesses that make in-person contact with customers qualify for a Google Places listing.” So if you don’t ever meet your customer face to face, you will not be able to get Google+ Local placement and should not expect to rise in the rankings or placement.

6. Be aware that Google is cracking down right now on duplicate listings for Google+ Local Places; trying to weed out fictitious accounts or those that have previously gamed the system trying to get better location specific placement by using fake or bogus addresses. You can no longer use your mother-in-laws address as a store location just to get placement in that city.

With Google Local providing an excellent avenue to drive traffic to local stores, but with Google’s improved understanding of your real business location, it is getting nearly impossible to “game” the system as many were previously able to do.

 

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Google Shopping Custom Labels Explained

If you are currently running Product Listing Ads (PLA) in AdWords, be aware that there is a new campaign type that is more powerful and allows you greater control available in your AdWords control panel called Google Shopping.

PLA programs won’t be rolled over automatically, so I recommend that you create a new Google Shopping campaign and then pause your old PLA program. However before you do that, you’ll want to update your Google Merchant data feed with a new column called custom labels.

At first I though that in the custom label field you could simply add your descriptor, but this is not how it works. So, here’s my recommendation.

1. You can have five custom labels. Decide how you want to sort your products as you will be able to bid on them separately with this approach. For example in your data feed you may call all bucket pallet fork products custom label 0, all manure fork products custom label 1, and all high profit items custom label 2 and so on.

2. Set up your Google Shopping campaign. In the new Product Groups tab, select the plus next to all “all products” to create sub categories and then select your custom label number. Then bid separately based on your needs for each of your custom labels.

3. This action gives you far greater control over what is shown in Google Shopping ads and greater control over your return on investment.

Here’s a great video from Google that helps clarify just what Google Shopping is and more screen shots on custom labels.

 

You can also watch the video here http://youtu.be/ivsyPeYeyqs

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The Clarity of What You Write Matters a Lot

Matt Cutts has some great words of wisdom for bloggers and website owners in this video on how technical you should get in content and blog posts. You can watch the video at YouTube.

In a nutshell, here are the takeaways on this important topic.

1. Clarity of what you write for your website or blog really matters to Google as it will determine relevancy and what queries your content will match in the Google index.

2. If you cannot make the content easy for people to understand then you do not really understand the content yourself. Matt says this not me! This does not mean that you need to “dumb down” what you write, but content should be informative and written in a manner that attracts those that may not have the depth of experience on a topic to your site to learn more.

3. There will always be a special place for higher level content on a topic but as far as Google is concerned the broader the appeal the better your placement will be.

4. When you make your content too technical or statistical heavy you lose the understandability of your content unless your audience is particularly coming to you for higher level information. Matt Cutts says err on the side of clarity and I say, write for the high school graduate in the bulk of your writing.

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Watching Movies on Your Kindle Fire

Amazon's Kindle Fire
Amazon’s Kindle Fire

I have a Kindle Fire and use it to watch videos and TV shows that I have purchased from Amazon, but my husband likes to buy DVDs on Amazon and so these are not available for me to watch in the Kindle Cloud.

Here’s how to be able to watch the DVDs you buy on Amazon on your Kindle:

1. Go to the Kindle app store and get the free app called Flixter. Install it on your Kindle Fire.

2. When you buy the DVD from Amazon, you’ll get a coupon with the DVD package that allows you to use Digital HD Ultraviolet as your on-demand cloud storage to watch the video on any of your devices. Go to www.movieredeem.com and enter in your special unique code to add the Amazon movie or DVD to your collection. I selected as my merchant Flixter, as this is my Kindle Fire movie watching app.

3. Once you enter the code you will set up a Digital HD Ultraviolet account AND a Flixter account. Both work together to allow you access. Once your accounts are confirmed by email, you will now see your digital cloud copy of the movie you own in the “owned” section of both apps.

4. When you want to watch the video on your Kindle Fire, just open the Flixter app and stream your newly purchased video anywhere and anytime.

As you own the video online plus have a DVD copy, you can watch offline. It is really the best of all worlds!

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