Anybody remotely familiar with the concept of search engine optimisation will have heard of terms such as “keyword density” – the method by which you calculate the effectiveness of copy in your web design in order to help give you a boost in search engine rankings based on how many times your text contains a certain word or phrase.
Many SEO practitioners still to this day will maintain that this is one of the ways in which your site can get an SEO boost. Well, they’re wrong. If, for example, you run a web design company and you decide that using the phrase “web design” 20 times inside your opening paragraph is the way to go then you’re going to fail on two counts: the search engine crawlers won’t take the blindest bit of notice and visitors to your site are going to be turned off by the masses of incoherent copy on your site. Even those who know nothing of SEO will probably take a guess that your keyword-stuffed content is all part of some marketing scam.
The key to making a good website is good content. When someone performs a search for washing machine repairs in your area – and if you’ve properly optimised your site with clear, relevant content so you appear on the first page of results – they don’t want to be hit in the face with reams of text that simply repeats keywords over and over. By all means state that repairing washing machines is what you do. Put it prominently in the page title, place it in a heading and put it in your paragraph; but don’t go mad. Your content should read like any other feature you would find on the web or in a newspaper or magazine, not like some crazed robot has malfunctioned and begun inserting random terms in your text.
Applying this simple rule will have two knock-on benefits: first of all you’re going to have a web page that the search engines’ crawlers can see is relevant to a particular search term. Secondly, and most importantly, you’re going to have a page that is a pleasure to read. Your website should be designed with potential visitors in mind – human visitors that like to read good copy, form thoughts and opinions and then make rational decisions based on what they have read. Having a web page that keeps any optimisation techniques whirring away quietly in the background while the main body of text talks about what a human wants to read is well on the way to being a success in terms of optimisation and readability.