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Search Engine Optimization September 17th, 2012
Before you publish that blog post or update that website copy, you need to make sure your content is SEO-ready. SEO-ready content will help – and not hurt – your PageRank. Here are the five characteristics of SEO-ready content that yours must have before being published.
The single most important characteristic of SEO-ready content is quality – high quality. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that keyword density or anything else is the most important thing to pay attention to. A good keyword density helps (more on that later), but quality is what matters most. Not only can Google recognize quality content, but quality content works because other people want to read it. And other people will link to your content on its merit alone – not because you have a good keyword density or anything else for that matter.
Readability refers to how easy your content is to read based on writing style (not font size or misspellings, for example, although those matter, too). There are actually very complex algorithms that Google uses to evaluate the readability of a page based on different scales and scientific methods (indexes and formulas that were designed way before Google). Reread your content and determine how easy it would be for the general public to understand. Do you use more technical jargon than your target audience might understand without explanation? Is your message coming across clearly?
While keyword density isn’t most important, it’s something to consider. First of all, don’t write your content with a high keyword density in mind, or it will sound unnatural. Google is on the lookout for keyword stuffing. The best practice is to count your keywords once your content is complete, and find the density by this formula: (number of times keyword is used) / (total number of words) x 100. Most SEO experts recommend a keyword density of 1-3%, although you won’t likely attract the scrutiny of Google if your keyword density is a few points higher.
If your content isn’t original, all of your SEO efforts are for naught. If you reuse content over and over again on your website, or if you “borrow” someone else’s content, your website may be penalized for duplicate content. If your material isn’t original, Google won’t see why they should suggest your site to searchers over any other site, and copying material doesn’t prove your site’s authenticity. And like quality, originality is what will get people to read and recommend your site.
If you haven’t carefully edited your content for misspellings and grammatical errors, it isn’t SEO-ready. Google will detect misspellings and grammatical errors. If you have a lot of them, Google will think your site isn’t that good. You want a website without errors, and that includes errors in your writing. Google doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but it will penalize you if your site is riddled with errors. Not only that, but people often have a difficult time reading (or wanting to read) content with errors.