So, you’re in the process of optimising your content for a given keyword but have hit the age old problem: How do you make sure your text doesn’t sound like it was written purely for SEO? As a site owner or SEO consultant this is something you’ll deal with on a day-to-day basis.
There are only so many times that you can use the same word or phrase on a page, particularly since keyword density is a fallacy that should have been erased from the SEO dictionary a long time ago. So, how do we optimise our content in a clever, measurable way? The answer – keyword semantics. It’s something that we do naturally as we write, but by thinking about in a little more detail we can make ourselves stand out to the search engines just that little bit more.
Identifying Keyword Semantics
Let’s use an example. You’re writing content for a page that’s all about bread. You’ve made sure that you’ve used your H1, H2, strong, title and alt tags properly… but it just feels like you’ve said the word ‘bread’ too many times in ‘open speak’. The answer is to use Google as your search thesaurus. First, do a search for:
and then (notice the ~)…
You’ll see that the amount of results returned are far higher in the second search. This is because Google is looking for any words that it believes to be related to the word bread. Now, try the following:
This one searches the web for all pages that Google things are related to the ‘bread’ without actually searching for the word itself. Handily, it’ll highlight the word that it used instead, and in this case you’ll probably notice a certain car manufacturer appearing. Let’s take it a step further by searching for:
~bread -bread -rolls
We’re now onto the word ‘loaf’. So we carry on:
~bread -bread -rolls -loaf
~bread -bread -rolls -loaf -recipes
~bread -bread -rolls -loaf -recipes -bakery
~bread -bread -rolls -loaf -recipes -bakery -baking
By the last search we have no results remaining. But how do we use this information?
Using Keyword Semantics
Well, we now know that Google associates the word bread with ‘rolls’, ‘loaf’, ‘recipes’, ‘bakery’, and ‘baking’, which means that it’s highly likely that if you use those words in your content as well as the word ‘bread’, the page will appear more relevant. It also gives you the chance to substitute the over-used term and, hopefully, make your content more readable (and therefore more linkable!)