Article by Karon Thackston
As I read her email I could literally feel my blood pressure rising. She’d heard me speak at a webinar I did for Wordtracker about ecommerce copywriting where I said keyword density hadn’t been a factor in SEO copywriting for years. The lump in my throat got bigger as Zoe (not her real name) explained why she thought the myth about keyword density simply wouldn’t die.
“Keyword density is going to remain a hot (contentious) topic. I just read an article in the “New Yorker” yesterday about the new AOL CEO: “Can Tim Armstrong save AOL?” Apparently AOL is going to put greater focus on being content providers. Here’s an excerpt from page 36:
‘The writing, too, is often designed to appeal more to search engines than to readers. In the list of “contributor resources” for Seed, the most prominent category is for “search engine optimization”–S.E.O.–the process of packing stories with words that will make them appear higher in the list of results that Google and Bing display when users search for terms related to the subject. Seed links to guidelines that instruct writers to pay attention to what is called “keyword density”: the number of times that certain phrases appear in a story as a percentage of total words in a piece. If you’re writing a story on herbal tea, you should use that phrase early and often.’
“So, while I’ve read articles by plenty of respected SEO experts who insist they’ve tested various keyword density models and it doesn’t correlate with returns, I have to say I’ve read at least as many articles like this that still bang the keyword density drum. Well you can see how the mixed messages can be frustrating.”
“Writing often designed to appeal more to search engines?” “Packing stories with words?” Arrgg! Give me a break! Talk about old school. Keyword density has not been a valid measure of SEO copywriting success in probably 8-10 years now.
Do you need to include keyphrases in your copy? Yes.