Question. I recently purchased your SEO Fitness Workbook 2015 edition, and I was reading the section on page tags. In that section, you mentioned putting the target keyword in the title tag, image alt tag, and meta description. I have one question about doing this: Wouldn’t Google consider that as over-optimization for that keyword? Please let me know your thoughts about this as well as your thoughts on what it means to over-optimize your site for a keyword. Thank you for your assistance. I’m definitely learning a lot from your book and have also realized that I have been doing SEO wrong!
“A little salt is good for the soup; too much salt ruins the soup” – Jason’s Mom
After the Penguin update, there is no easy answer to how to produce the best content for SEO. On the one hand, you definitely should follow the rules of traditional SEO: keyword in the TITLE, META Description, H1, and at least one image. However, you can’t just stop there: you need strong, SEO-friendly content that has a significant keyword density. That’s where the issue is.
So, let’s think about this systematically and identify some rules of thumb, especially for your “landing pages” – 3-5 core pages that reflect your most important keyword search queries.
So for your landing pages, the trick is to write some keyword heavy BUT NORMAL text to “support” the tags. 2-3 paragraphs should be sufficient. Do some research on related searches, and think about how people talk or write about your subject matter. You want to be “normal” in your prose and yet keyword heavy. A little salt is good for the soup; too much ruins it. Do some research in your industry: analyze the pages. How “optimized” are the winners? The trick is to be just a tad bit better than the winners; don’t overdo it, don’t underdo it.
The art of SEO writing is to follow enough of the rules to succeed, but not too many. “ART” not science.
Blog posts also should follow the rules above. The difference on a blog post is that, for SEO purposes, it usually targets a much more narrow keyword phrase (long tail). It should then link “up” to the major landing page around the target phrase. So your landing pages end up with strong keyword heavy but natural text for the foundational phrases and your blog posts have keyword-heavy but natural text for long tail searches, and they link “up” to the landing pages.
So, yes you need basic tag structure but you also need some well-written prose. Don’t over do it. Don’t underdo it. This is the “art” of SEO in the post-Panda world.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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