• http://www.divinewrite.com divinewrite

    Thanks for the handy Q&A, Jill! Good to see someone talking sense about the number of keyword phrases you can effectively target on a single page. I’d like to add that it also depends on the number of words in each keyword phrase. The wordier your phrases, the fewer you’ll be able to target.

    Here’s a practical example.

    Let’s say you want your tennis clothing page to rank well when a customer searches for the following 4 phrases.

    • “blue tennis shorts California”
    • “green sports skirts West Coast”
    • “purple sun hats”
    • “fastest running shoes world”

    Let’s also assume 400 words per page. Now, if you try to optimize your web copy for all of these phrases, you’ll find that it becomes very difficult to read. Assuming you’re aiming for a keyword density of 3%, you’d need to include all of the words from each of the above phrases more than 10 times. That would mean approx half of the copy on your page would be keywords! Doesn’t leave much for meaningful, engaging, compelling copy…

    Even if you weren’t trying to include all the above phrases as EXACT phrases on your page (e.g. you talk about GREEN grass, GREEN eyes, inspirational SPORTS people, etc.), it’d still be pretty tough.

    Disclaimers: Yeah, yeah, I know the examples aren’t too realistic, as it’s unlikely you’d wanna target ’em at all, much less on the same page. But you get the picture! Also, I refer to keyword density only as a benchmark: just as a measure to ensure that your keywords appear more often than any other individual words or phrases on the page. Google doesn’t measure keyword density like that.

    Cheers, Glenn (@divinewrite on twitter)

  • http://www.seomanchester.org.uk SEO Manchester

    Great post Jill and oh so true.

  • http://askhaley.haleymarketing.com bradsmith14


    I just wanted to compliment you on this post. I deal with a lot of these same questions day in and day out. Your answers are short, conscise, insightful and stated in layman’s terms that make it simple for someone with no previous SEO knowledge to understand. Very well put!


  • http://www.saltwebsites.com/ fletchgqc

    Blog subdomain – was just wondering about this Jill, good to read your info but surely it does have some SEO importance since a subdomain is a separate domain? If you have a lot of links coming into your blog posts, wouldn’t that give authority to your domain as a whole and therefore vouch for having your blog as a sub-folder? Alternatively if you have heaps of outgoing links from your blog and not much coming in it might be better to have it as a subdomain. That was running through my head recently but I don’t really know the answers so please feel free to enlighten me.

  • http://www.refreshweb.com jcrasco

    Jill, true to form, hits another one out of the park. Wryly funny and spot on…thx!

    Just have to mention Glenn’s post in passing: he’s explained, in an arduous way, why percentage formulae for keyword density on a page are so much junk. Google understands related terms and evaluates your page in a very elegant way. Why do people fixate on math when the search engines are looking for content and relationships?

    I would just add that multiple long keyword phrases won’t fit in your title tag, so your page isn’t going to be “optimized” in that top-down way the spiders like.

    John (jcrasco on twitter)

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie K

    Jill – you forgot…
    How much does SEO cost?
    Do you guarantee your work?
    Do plurals matter?
    What will it take to get me to #1?

    … and there must be 100 more!

  • http://www.highrankings.com/newsletter/ Jill Whalen

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    I honestly don’t think there are very many SEO questions that can be answered any other way than “it depends.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/nevilzden Nevil Gandhi

    Nice and impressive post. I have also some query so can you please update me where you will be live next time so i can ask some query related to SEO.

  • Nila Eslit

    Thank you for these very helpful tips.  I encounter so many similar questions about SEO.  Now, I’m going to bookmark your article for easy reference.

    Search Engine Optimization