Remember the “old days” of the library card catalog? You’d stand in front of a huge cabinet filled with small drawers. In each drawer was a white index card. If you were lucky, they were loose. If you were not, and the library was concerned about the theft of these carefully typed index cards, each card would have a hole in the bottom edge of the card into which a long pole would skewer the entire stack of index cards in each drawer.
You’d think up key words that summarized your book’s topic and then pull open drawers and flip through hundreds of white index cards. You’d find the cards with your key words and a list of numbers for the category of books that may or may not have the information you needed. Carefully, you’d write down the numbers on a piece of scratch paper with a worn out half-sized pencil with no eraser you snagged from a little cardboard box on the librarian’s desk. With charcoal smudged fingers, you’d head down the many rows of book shelves, playing match game with the numbers. You’d find the Dewey Decimal digits that matched. You’d pick up the books one by one, flick through the pages until you had three to eight books that might have the information you want. You’d gather these up, straining your back, and carry them over to a table. One by one, you check the table of contents and indexes in each of the books, looking for your topic and the information. If your search was unsuccessful, you’d head back to the card catalog for another go at the drawers and the index cards.
Today, you turn on your computer and connect to the Internet. You call up Google, Yahoo, or whatever your favorite search engine is, and type in one or more key words to search for the information you need. Within seconds, you are confronted with a list of thousands of choices. You can add some key words to narrow down your choices, or you can start opening page after page after page after page to find out if that page or site has the information you need.
Even today, key words haven’t changed. They still help you find the information you need, the only difference is that today, the process is supposed to be faster, and give you more options, and possibly more timely choices if you are looking for current and topical information.
In the simplest of terms, keywords are the words used to identify and catalog your web pages, not much different from the old card catalogs. According to Wikipedia, keywords are key words used to identify and categorize the content within a web page.
Now, let’s look at the process backwards. When the writers and publishers of books in libraries wanted to get into those index card catalogs, they would provide the libraries with key words to help classify the books. The Dewey Decimal System allowed numbers to be assigned to books which represented their “categories”. The numbers and key words were carefully typed up on the index cards and filed alphabetically with cross references by title and author, allowing the public three ways to find a book.
You, as a website author or blogger, are responsible for providing the “key words” to help categorize your web page in the database of search engines.
Incorporating Keywords Into Your Blog or Website Writing
Aware now of your responsibility as the author and publisher of your online “book”, it’s up to you to provide the key words that will help search engines categorize your post and/or article in your blog. There are several ways to do this, but let’s start with the core foundation for keywords: content.
Here is an example short post. Read it through and then find the keywords.
I want to talk about journal writing, the process of expressing yourself through an online diary. It’s called a “blog”. You can write down your thoughts, opinions, ideas, commentaries, and expert advice, sharing your words with a wide audience through your website.
The “key” to keywords is using enough of the same words and synonyms to tell the search engine “this is the topic under which to categorize this post”. This example uses journal, writing, online, diary, blog, blogging, and words, but is it enough to help categorize the information?
This example is about blogging in blogs. So the words “blogging” and “blogs” needs to appear enough to make the search engine understand that this needs to be stored under “blog”. So let’s rewrite this so it puts more emphasis on the key words that will help categorize the post.
I want to talk about blogging, the process of expressing yourself through a blog. Like an online diary or journal, a blog is a website for writing down your thoughts, opinions, ideas, commentaries, and expert advice, sharing your words with a wide audience through your blog.
With four references to blog or blogging, it’s pretty clear what this post is about.
Successful keywords in your writing does not mean using the keywords like a thick jungle for the reader to plow through:
I want to talk about blogging in blogs. Blogging blogs is a way to blog about a variety of blogging topics…
While you are working hard to fill your content with as many repetitions of your keywords as possible, you can cross a line. Search engines calculate how often a word is used alongside other words. For instance, if you use the word “welcome” in a sentence such as “You are very welcome to visit our welcome page today”, the word “welcome” would be used in two out of ten words or have a keyword density of 20%. From among 100 other words, it would have a 2% density. According to experts, your keyword density for a single word should be less than 12%, though many recommend 3-10% to be safe. Many keyword validators provide keyword density percentages to check your keyword ratio.
Here is more information to help you understand more about writing with keywords and writing on the web.
- Website Development – Keywords Help You Write Your Blog
- Website Development – Listing The Keywords Inside
- How Search Engines See, Search, and Visit Your Website
- How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog
- Secret Out – How Google Ranks Websites
Keyword – Testers and Checkers
- Word Counter
- Ranks.nl Keyword Density and Prominence
- Keyword Density Checker
- Enginemage’s Keyword Suggestions Tool (returns keyword, domain name, and meta tag suggestions)
- Search Engine World Keyword Density Analyzer
- Search Engine Optimization Tools – Similar Page Checker
- Keyword Counter
- Keyword Validators with Search Engines
- Webjectives Keyword Density Analyzer
- Webmaster Toolkit’s Web Page Analyser for Search Engine Keywords