When youre choosing the keywords your website will target you should always bear in mind the adage less is more. Sometimes selecting the keyword that will bring you the most traffic is not always the best option, in fact if you have a new website it could be a big mistake. Also, if you optimize your website for just one keyword, not only are you narrowing your market but youre also waving a big flag to the search engines saying, Please Penalize Me. Remember, search engines dont like SEO - they dont like the idea of people manipulating the results. If you target only one keyword it will be very obvious that you are performing SEO on your website and chances are youll be penalized as a result.
If you have a new website then the chances are your website will be sandboxed for eight months for any popular keywords. So if you target your website solely for the most popular keyword then a) your website wont even appear in Googles search results (due to being sandboxed) and b) the competition for such a popular keyword will be very tough so getting a good raking will be difficult. It is always better to have some traffic as supposed to no traffic.
The key to successful keyword optimization is to optimize your pages for a relevant keyword pattern, not just a single keyphrase. So how do we decide upon these Keyword Patterns? Lets assume you want to rank highly for the terms Debt and Consolidation Loan - both of which are highly competitive terms as these keywords generate the most traffic. How would I combine these to maximize my success using a single pattern on a single page? Easy, I combine the unique patterns into one: Debt Consolidation Loans Lender.
These important pattern words should be used in my title, in my description, in my keyword phrases, and in my body text. Using a combination of this phrase in some form within the title/meta tags is good because they are the most competitive for the industry I have chosen and require prominence in my site.
So I now have the potential to rank well for a wide variety of phrases such as Debt, Debt Lender, Consolidation Loan, Consolidation Loans, Consolidation Lender, Debt Loan, Debt Loan, Debt Loans Lender.... and any other combinations of these phrases that you (or people using the search engines) can string together.
So now what we need to do is create page content and an internal linking structure that will compliment my keyword patterns. Remember, Im not targeting the phrase Debt Consolidation Loans Lender, but different variations of the words that make up this phrase, so all I need to do is create pages that are optimized to contain these words. Because Im not targeting one specific phrase there is no chance of the website appearing to be spammy. Instead, it will make my website appear to be entirely natural to the search engines without any blatant SEO taking place. To do this I must create pages that contain a mixture of these words in the Title, Meta keyword/description tags and the body of the page and also in the anchor text that I use in my internal linking. This will ensure my website is extremely well optimized for any combination of my keyword pattern. In many instances, simply having a good linking structure and well-written content will be enough to get a good ranking for some niche keywords that will bring traffic to your website.
Keyword patterning should not only take place on-page, it should also be off-page as well, primarily in the anchor text of the links that point to your website. As Ive already said, the search engines dont like SEO, they want natural results, so if they see that 90% of all anchor text is exactly the same, e.g. debt consolidation then its pretty obvious SEO is taken place.
So, just as youve done with the text on your pages, you need to vary the anchor text of your backlinks using different variations of your keyword pattern. So for example we could use these different anchor texts for our backlinks:
Debt Loans Lender
... Etc. Etc.
and wed still be targeting our initial key phrases of Debt but also our secondary patterns of lender, loans, debt lender, debt management, consolidation loans, debt loan. These are natural patterns that you would expect a website to receive from natural linking and are extremely powerful for getting better search engine results. Ideally, try to create a different, unique anchor text variation for every link you create that will point to your website.
By applying natural linking to your web pages you will avoid many of the pitfalls that websites often fall in to, such as, why am I ranked 384th when I am 1st for allinanchor?, the reason - unnatural linking, the solution: linking patterns. The reason why a particular website might rank at #1 for a variety of popular search terms is not just a fluke, its because they use keyword patterns extensively when optimizing their website.
About The Author
Martin Burrow has been an SEO professional for several years, working both as a freelance SEO consultant, and also working as a Webmaster within large blue-chip corporations. He now produces a new SEO Software package called WebLink SEO (www.weblinkseo.com)