You want the search engines to find you and send you visitors. So you use keywords and keyphrases to attract those who want the information you offer. But look out! Keyphrase repetition may help you accomplish that goal by giving you better search engine placement, but it might also have a negative effect.
Remember, search engines aren’t your only concern. In fact, they’re only a secondary concern. Search engine placement is but a tool to help you reach your real goal: visitors to your blog or web pages who will stay, read, and absorb your marketing messages.
Will keyphrase repetition help you reach your real goal?
Perhaps not. Keyphrase repetition may reassure readers that they’re in the right place, but it can become a big red stop sign in your marketing messages.
Just as misspellings, wrong word choices, and misplaced modifiers can interrupt your messages, so can over use of keyphrases or keywords.
This happens when the keyphrase doesn’t flow naturally into your sentences, so it becomes a “bump in the road.” It also happens when it is simply used so many times that it overwhelms the message.
Articles afflicted with keyphrase repetition are difficult to read.
An Active Rain article I started to read recently suffered from both of the above. It also reminded me of one of my first assignments when I began writing copy for real estate brokers.
You know the old saying “The customer always knows best,” but in this case he didn’t. Since I was being paid to do as I was told, I wrote some really awful copy.
This broker was in San Francisco, and he insisted that almost every other sentence must mention his location. And it didn’t say things like “Homes in San Francisco.” No, it said “Homes in San Francisco, California.”
Ugh. It was unreadable. I definitely did not ask for permission to link to that copy as an example of my work!
Another drawback ….
If you really overdo the use of keyphrases or keywords, the search engines might look at it as keyword stuffing and penalize you.
It’s a balancing act, but fortunately we do have tools available to help keep us on track. I use Yoast to help me maintain the proper balance. I expect there are other systems that do the same. I also read Heather Lloyd-Martin’s messages for overall SEO advice.
Regardless of your keyword or keyphrase use, check to see that your marketing message flows naturally…
If you aren’t sure that it flows well, read it aloud. If you’re still not sure, have someone else read it aloud. Everything you write and send out should be easy to read, so if your mind stumbles over a sentence or it just feels “bumpy,” re-write it.
Keyphrase repetition is just one of the errors that wreck your messages.
- A misplaced modifying phrase can leave readers wondering what the heck you meant.
- Using there when you meant their, or hear when you meant here, can make them stop and re-read a sentence.
- Using a “$40 word” when a short one will do will leave some readers confused – and resentful because you made them feel ignorant.
- Grammar errors such as using “myself” as the subject in a sentence will stop the flow for some readers. For more advice on grammar errors that can wreck your messages, click here.
When errors such as these interrupt the flow from your message to your reader’s brain. you’ve probably lost them. So – go back and fix them!
What about emails and print messages?
Should you think about keywords and keyphrases when writing messages that won’t appear on line?
I think it depends on the message. If you want to make sure that your reader is clear on a specific topic, why not?
For instance: If you’re writing to a potential client and the point you want to make is that you offer personal service, then find a way to work that phrase in a few times. (How many times should depend upon the length of your message.)
Just remember to make your words flow…
Otherwise, they’ll stop reading and the entire effort will have been a waste of time.
That means: PROOFREAD! Then proofread a second and third time, just to make sure.