When writing content for SEO copywriting, the very first thing you need to know before you ever open a blank Word document are which keywords the content will target. Beginning a marketing plan without keywords is like setting out on a road trip without a destination. You'll get somewhere, but it may not be where you intended! In this article, we won't talk about choosing keywords -- that's a science all of its own.
Instead, I'll focus on how to calculate the keyword density of your articles, blog posts, and web pages. I'll also cover some of the most common mistakes people make with calculating keyword density, as well as some little known SEO copywriting tips help you work in difficult keywords.
Calculating Keywords Density
Ideally, when doing SEO copywriting, your primary keyword phrase should be the most prominent phrase of its length on the page. I measure keyword saturation by calculating keyword density. When writing articles for distribution through article marketing, I strive for a keyword density of between 1.0% and 1.3%. This means that primary keyword or keyword phrase should appear about 1 time per every 100 words. With web content, I typically shoot for a keyword density of 2.0% to 3.0% - or 2 to 3 times per every 100 words.
Using Live Keyword Analysis
There's an easier way to figure out your keyword density rather than counting your keywords by hand. A free service called 'Live Keyword Analysis' allows you to paste the body of your article into a field, type in your keywords, and instantly get a count of the density.
There are a few things you'll need to know before using this SEO copywriting too in order to get an accurate reading:
Calculating Singular Keywords
It may seem that plurals and singular terms wouldn't make that much of a difference in SEO copywriting -- but they do. Take a look at how the search results for "real estate agent" (singular) differ from "real estate agents" (plural).
Live Keyword Analysis doesn't recognize the end of a word - not knowing this could give you an inaccurate reading. For example, if you had 10 instances of the word "real estate agent" and 13 instance of the word "real estate agents" it will evaluate all 23 occurrences because it sees the singular term in the plural term.
Because of this, you'll need to subtract the singular percentage from the plural percentage:
I'm sure that the folks that created Live Keyword Analysis were trying to be helpful when they programmed the tool to ignore all two-letter keywords. But this can be really annoying when one part of your keyword phrase is a two-letter word.
For example, if your keyword phrase is "homes in California" and you enter this into live keyword analysis, you'll get a ratio of 0%. In order to get around this, simply drop the two-letter word (in) form the keyword box so that it reads "homes California."
This works well when the two-letter word was in the middle of the keyword phrase. However, oftentimes when the two-letter word is at the end of the keyword phrase, you may have to take a different approach.
If our keyword is "California DJ" we could simply remove the term "DJ" from the keyword box, but then Live Keyword Analysis will calculate the ratio of all of the instances of the term "California."
In this case, I do a 'find and replace' in Word and replace all of the terms "DJ" with some 3-letter word such as "DJX." Then I copy and paste the body of the article into Live Keyword Analysis and enter "California DJX" into the keyword box.
After calculating the density, I hit Control Z (or Undo) to undo the change.
Apostrophe's Affect Search Results
If you type the term "children's clothing" into Google you'll get different search results than if you type "childrens clothing." Though "children's clothing" is grammatically accurate, some companies and/or SEO's will want to optimize for the term without the apostrophe since many people will type the term into search engines without it. I usually try to optimize for the grammatically correct term and then add in a few within the page that are written the incorrect way. That way I am covering all of the bases.
Knowing the rules of calculating keyword density can make a big difference in your overall SEO copywriting strategies. Being able to properly account for plurals, two-letter words and punctuation means you will be better equipped to write effective content and therefore increase your page ranking.
Christine O'Kelly is co-owner of SEO Content Solutions, a leading SEO copywriting firm. The company provides SEO press releases, articles, blog content and web content to resellers and end users alike.