By Kelly Norris
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques can help push your Web site above your competitors’ when a user instigates a search using keywords specific to your product, service or information. Some search engines such as Google, however, are depending less and less on keywords and more on content, and SEO tactics are quickly changing to follow suit. Many search engines, however, still favor text that is peppered with keyword phrases.
The important thing to remember about keywords is to discern which words and phrases will be most used by people searching the Internet for what you provide, including possible misspellings, grammatical errors and other search criteria that account for simple human error. For example, if a user is looking for a copywriter or proofreader, he or she may separate the words into a keyword phrase, such as copy writer or proof reader, or even extend it into a more specific word string, such as power copywriting for the internet. The key to successful SEO is to investigate which keywords and phrases are most commonly used when people search for your product, service or information, and to use those words sparingly. If you saturate your text with keywords, search engines will actually demote your site for using abusive tactics. A good current rule of thumb is to limit your keyword use to 5% of your text, or one keyword for every 20 or so neutral words. If your copy is so littered with optimized words and phrases that it reads like a bright 6 year-old wrote it, you may encounter problems pitching yourself as a talented copywriter, editor or proofreader, so make sure your copy is clean and readable above being Web-friendly.
Stray Away from Techno-speak
Remember the period stretching from 1997 into 2000 when every stock with a dot-com attached to its name was guaranteed to make a fortune, even if it had no actual business model (or even a product)? Business, finance and computer magazines from that brief but high-flying era were thick as phonebooks with glossy ads for slick-seeming companies whose functions were cleverly hidden within verbiage so garbled with tech terms that not even a holder of a Harvard MBA could decipher it.
Of course, most of us regret the passing of stock portfolios that ensured fat 401-Ks and comfortable retirements, but there is nothing lamentable about the death of techno-speak. Nowadays few people confuse Möbius strips of junk jargon with brilliance, success or prosperity, and even fewer have the patience to wade through such nonsense on a Web site.
For example, select the pitch that better appeals to your common sense:
A leader in customer-centric applications with an eye toward scalability, synaptic e-Commerce exchanges and convergent modalities for progressive hypermarketing
A leader in effective Internet marketing since 1995
If you picked the former over the latter, you clearly have a time machine and plan to go back and invest heavily in Pets.com and then sell your stock before the 2000 Superbowl takes what little cash they had on hand.
In short, keep it simple. The best ideas are usually the easiest to understand.