Keyword optimization is essentially the creation of content specific web pages that both the search engine and reader see and understand. Over the years, the style of creating these pages has
changed dramatically; mainly due to way search engine ranking formulas have evolved.
In the beginning days of the Internet, it was common to see web pages with the same keyword mentioned a multitude of times, literally all over the page. In some cases, the word was even mentioned 25 times or more. This practice of “keyword stuffing,” along with Meta tag stuffing almost always guaranteed a top place in the search results for that phrase. Over time though, the algorithms became smarter and began to penalize this practice.
A few years later, a more readable and natural style of content began to develop on the web, but still featured keyword rich pages with around a 3-4% density every one hundred words. Basically, you could launch a 300-400 word page, mention the keyword 9-13 times, code the matching Meta information—and that page would typically rank within the top of the results. Like previously, the algorithms continued to evolve and things changed again.
These days, keyword optimization within web pages is a more natural looking technique that features a much lower density (between 1.0-1.5%) and even combines 2-3 keywords on the same page. The search engines are able to better determine what these pages are about by the analysis and categorization of inbound linking from websites like directories, press release sites and social media outlets. In addition, they tend to read better as they are more naturally constructed and this tends to result in a higher visitor conversion.
What is the future for keyword optimization? Only the search engines know this, but I predict the keyword will always be mentioned on the page at least a few times, otherwise the algorithm would not know what the page is about. Be careful not to make the mistake of making the page too “keyword dense,” otherwise, you may get penalized for trying to artificially manipulate the search results.
About the Author: Rhett DeMille, the owner of PalmettoSoft, is a leading search engine optimization consultant located in the Charlotte NC and Charleston SC areas.