Keyword density is just part of the SE equation, and the SEs are just a portion of any online marketing push… but this is the one that makes a writer crazy… As a writer, with my eye turned toward the marketing value of text (both on the web and off), the SE race is almost enough to drive me back to merely journaling in private.
Yes, content is king. Thank goodness. The writer in me glows and basks in the warmth of that fact. However, with the SEs still being basically primitive – they are easily fooled. Even sites that ARE perfectly well-written, full of valuable information and a joy to read often fall below those that stuff and spam the SEs. If you follow the current “guidelines” – and one must remember that SEO is still more “art” than “science” – you often end up with stilted sounding text that no longer flows from a textual perspective.
Writers are taught to write descriptive sentences that do NOT repeat the same words, or even variations on the same words. We know to use a thesaurus. We cringe if the same word is used in two sentences that “touch” each other. So, as you might imagine, writing for the SEs puts a serious cramp in all that. As an internet marketer AND writer, some things must be compromised and others must be completely relearned…
To achieve 3-7% keyword density in text, and yet provide enough text for the site and the site visitors, it is challenging to be satisfied with the art of that writing. The craft gets lost in the crafting.
Plainly said… it gripes my backside that so many sites stuff their keywords and are rewarded for that behavior – despite the fact that the very Search Engines that state they will bump sites for just that activity, rank them in the first three pages – while more helpful sites, those which actually answer the questions posed by searchers, better written sites, may often fall beneath them.
All the buzz is that the SEs are becoming “smarter” and I can’t wait until that actually happens. Until then, I’ll continue to optimize with acceptable methods, retain ethical standards and try to write in a way that gains SE market share without insulting the intelligence of the human visitor. But, the other portions of the online marketing equation – incoming links, articles, offsite content with links back to site content, and traditional marketing with e-focus will still occupy much of my attention.
If there were ever a place for “artificial intelligence” – it should be the search engines.