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3.4 Size matters! In SEO...

Yeah, I mean the size of texts, titles, headings and other elements of your web pages.

Another thing that matters is keyword density: the ratio (percentage) of keywords contained within the total number of words in some text. This notion is pretty much debatable in SEO, mostly because there′ s no one and universal keyword density value to rule the SERP.

Matt Cutts (the head of webspam at Google) said: "the first time you mention a word, you know, ‘Hey, that′ s pretty interesting. It′ s about that word.′ The next time you mention that word, ‘oh, OK. It′ s still about that word.′ And once you start to mention it a whole lot, it really doesn′ t help that much more. It′ s just an incremental benefit, but it′ s really not that large."

For you, it′ s important to know the keyword density for the whole page and for its smaller parts, like title, first sentence or headings.

Check it yourself:

Serp results

In the text you see, there are 26 words, and the keyword tyres (tyre) is mentioned 6 times. Let′ s count the percentage of keywords in the whole text: 6/26*100% = 23%
Thus, the size is 26 words, and the keyword density is 23 %

You′ ll need to find out, how much text you need on your pages, and what the best keyword density for your web pages is.

Well, you may ask me, WHY it′ s so important.

I′ ll tell you: because if you use text with too small keyword density, Search Engines may not pay much attention to you. And, if you overstuff pages with keywords, the Search Engine′ s robot will come to your site, but won′ t trust you, as the page will look unnatural. In this situation, Search Engine may even penalize your website and exclude it from its index.

And, the most disappointing thing about this is: there′ s no rule for text length and keywords density. Some guys will recommend the density of 5 to 7%, others – 1 to 3. But take my word, the only thing we SEOs can say for sure is: IT DEPENDS.

One of my old clients, James, recommended my optimization service to a friend of his, Fred. For his first landing page, I chose keyword density of 0.9%. Fred looked at James′ s pages, and it was easy to see, there the density was much higher (I know it′ s 6.1%). So Fred complained that I′ m doing something wrong.

I didn′ t try to explain to him that their markets and competition differ so much, as one sells aqualungs and the other baby food. All right, Fred, I said, I won′ t charge you at all if it doesn′ t work. And you know what? After 2 months, Fred′ s sales doubled! So that′ s what I tell you again, for successful optimization, keyword density is conditional, and I′ ll show you how to find out what′ s right in your case.

Back to the #1 on–page optimization rule

Each time you decide how long your texts will be, and how many keywords you use, you should be driven by the same rule my wife uses for her "sight optimization": look fantastic and look natural at the same time.

And that′ s in fact the rule of thumb for you: make your pages LOOK GREAT YET NATURAL.

Now getting back to keyword density... You′ ll see how it will help your rankings, in just a couple of minutes. But, don′ t rush to count it right now. Just keep "keyword density" in mind, next to the Great&Natural rule. And read what comes next.

Learn on other people′ s success!

To reach an ideal, you may try 100 times, and make 99 mistakes. Or, is there a safer way? Tell me, how do we know what exactly we should do with your page, to make a leg–up on your competition? The answer′ s simple: like in real life, before you make a choice, you see what others did.

Your little angel no longer bawls his head off, when mom′ s away and you think he might pretty well be sent to a nursery and let his mom get back to work. So...you′ re looking for a nursery. First you ask your friends and co–workers, whom they trust their little ones, and how well nurses take care of the kids. Then you go to see a couple places, look at the lovely kids and meet the teams. And only after that, you take your little fellow to the best place you could find.

For SEO, it′ s the golden rule, too.

LOOK AROUND and see what′ s best.

But, unlike in real life, here′ s what a fact in SEO is:

Your competitor is your best advisor!

Yes, it′ s simple and true: your top competitors used a try and error method, being wrong many times, and they wasted a lot of money, before they found what′ s right and got their top positions in Search Engines. And now they literally can′ t wait to tell you how they did it! You can now easily look what they do best, and do it even better. Would you miss such a chance?

No more idle talk! Getting straight to the point, here′ s your next SEO step.

31 comments

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Comments page:
#1938 2011-04-09 23:41:09 chanel Tan

Bolding and the size of the text surely matters because if the human cant see it, why should the robots ;)

Answer
#1887 2011-03-16 00:10:20 David Smethie

"Your competitor is your best adviser." I like that quote. Another great article, and much thanks for this great SEO education. I wish they taught stuff like this when I was in college. I might have learned something useful :-)

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#1886 2011-03-15 17:21:59 King Pangilinan

Hi Dan Richmond,

Greetings...

I Started reading this great online book of yours two days ago,
Just wanna say thanks, and I also have a question.

i.e. I have my kword which is:
"limber deckings"
and wanna include this kwords too:
"limber" and "deckings"

wondering if including all of the keywords I mentioned will do anything harmful to my optimization or it is a good practice to include those kwords that will result in:

limber deckings, limber, deckings

Hoping that you can help me to make this things clear to me.

Thanks,


Kind Regards,
King Pangilinan

Answer
#1797 2011-01-17 06:49:29 Sasha Shkalikova

Nice tips Dan ;)

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#1776 2011-01-02 19:33:21 elvin xhimitiku

nice trick: Your enemy is your best adviser :)

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#1472 2010-09-02 07:30:44 Ivo Ignatov

" before you make a choice, you see what others did."

One of my principles is: The Best Things are the Simple Things!

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#1428 2010-08-20 22:38:35 E Ramage

I am beginning to see a trend here and it says everything adds up. Miss out on one or a few and all you work is in vain. As I had mentioned in a previous comment, I rank easy on the low or no traffic keywords. Usually it's a case where the post is targeted to a specific keyword but I manage to rank well for something else. I have to learn whats the right balance for my keywords in my articles.

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#1429 2010-08-20 22:38:55 E Ramage

Thanks Dan

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#1328 2010-06-22 13:23:57 Liposuction Side Effects

Agree with this. Size does matter in SEO but don't overdo it or else Google will raise a red flag.

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#1020 2010-02-19 09:33:19 Dan Richmond

@Tim Inglis

I am not getting it, what list of keywords do you mean? How did you sort keywords in the list? By KEI? By the density on the page?

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#1015 2010-02-16 19:18:25 Tim Inglis

I have a quick question...

Say I want to optimise my page for the key-phrase "web design". In my list of keywords, I have "web design" down at about number 30 in my list. However the words "web" and "design" are at 8 and 6 respectively.

How does the page rank in this case? Is it on the single words? Or on the phrase?

I hope this question isn't too confusing. :-)

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#3616 2013-01-05 15:33:45 Jose Maldonado

My question I guess is pretty much what @Tim Inglis asked on 2010-02-16. For example if I want to optimize for "computer repair Spain", can I write two phrases like these and count like the the KW has been used twice:
1) Our company does computer repair in Spain...
2) If your company needs to repair a computer in Spain...

I hope I made myself clear. Basically what I ask is if I have to use all the words in a keyphrase together (and in the same order) so the pages gets optimized.

Thanks.
Jose Maldonado

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