Thursday, 7 January 2010

SEO keywords - How to place awkward terms into content

There are two types of SEO keyword.

There are easy keywords; the phrases which slip neatly into sentences and play nicely with other nouns, verbs and adjectives. These words are a delight to work with and they form the foundation for copy which is both readable and optimised for SEO.

Conversely, there are those keywords which don't get along with other words. These ugly phrases disrupt the flow of content; they are awkward to crowbar into a sentence and their presence often just confuses the reader.

For example:

To be, or not to be, — that is the SEO Manchester question: —
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of SEO Manchester troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Hamlet, optimised for the keyword 'SEO Manchester'.

Still, there are a number of ways to place these rogue keywords into copy. Here are just four methods an SEO copywriter can use in order to force a difficult phrase to cooperate.

Bunny ears

Using your keyword as a set example gives an SEO copywriter the chance to slip in a difficult phrase without disrupting the copy. It is used as an analytical example – complete with inverted commas – and, as a result, diminishes the likelihood of awkward sentences and nonsensical content.

For example:

“Many North West blogs optimise their site for the phrase 'SEO Manchester'.”

Cross the dots

Search engines don't register punctuation. When Google indexes a web page – scouring copy for relevant keywords – it skips over full stops, commas, semicolons and brackets. If a keyword or phrase doesn't fit neatly into a sentence, it can be separated by punctuation, thus retaining its SEO relevance.

For example:

“Many writers offer a range of services such as SEO. Manchester copywriters like John Smith provide...”

Top heavy

The H1 field of a website is the perfect place for a jarring phrase. This not only allows search engines to quickly establish that a page relates to a particular subject – adding SEO bonus points – but also offers an opportunity to slip in a keyword without the title sounding nonsensical. Title tags can also be written in much the same way.

For example:

SEO Manchester - An awkward keyword phrase”

It's all in the name

Difficult phrases can be reduced if the keyword and the domain name match. Using the word as a proper noun gives an SEO copywriter the opportunity to use the term without crowbarring it into content. 'About us' pages are perfect for this type of keyword use.

For example:

SEO Manchester is a blog by...”

Final thoughts

While the above methods are ideal for placing an awkward phrase, it's worth mentioning that a healthy spread of keywords is more beneficial for SEO purposes. It's better to pepper a page with relevant and related terms, rather than turning the gas up on one particular word. Remember, search engines penalise spammy content.

An SEO copywriter should write for the reader first and the search spiders second. Because a search engine has never paid the bills. Unless your name is Larry Page or Sergey Brin.


  1. Good stuff! The splitting with punctuation is one of my personal favourite tricks, although I've seen too many people just cram the words in anywhere.

  2. Yeah, nice one! Nothing brand new, but cool summary. Well done!

  3. Absolutely. And Google 'reads across' paragraphs and bullet points as well, so you can really break a keyphrase up.