I’m working on content for a tourist information website. I’ve had the opportunity to read interesting things about Cape Cod, an area I’ve never seen in person, and I’m beginning to think I ought to go visit Nantucket. They have a ferry, something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced.
It’s not all fun and games, though. The site owner was given a curious little “article” and advised to use it to improve her ranking with primary keywords. The “article” has phrases like “Locals find these local places the best.” I’m confident that no one has ever, in sharing information with people coming to visit their town, used that phrase. Nor phrases like, “This article describes the best and greatest places in cape cod that are great,” another gem from the “article.” You can see why I’m putting “article” in quotes.
But the site owner had been told by someone who claimed to know that Google likes this sort of thing. People who know how search engines work recognize this as an old-school black hat strategy that can keep your site from being indexed. People who don’t already know — well, it’s like the book in the video below: easy when you know, but pretty mysterious if you don’t.
Keywords are the words and phrases people use to search for information. If we use lots of photos of spectacular Cape Cod landscapes and say, “Here where I live” instead of “Cape Cod,” we really can’t expect the search engines to guess what we’re talking about. Equally, if we say, “places to put your feet up” instead of “hotels” or “accommodations,” we can’t expect search engines to send people looking for “Cape Cod hotels” to our website. If we say, “Cape Cod” once and “the Biarritz of the New World” eight times, Google has a right to be confused.
That’s really all there is to it. You have to find out what keywords people actually use to search for you and make sure that you have keyword-rich content. But so many people present the issue of keywords as something mysterious and arcane and even magical that it’s very easy to get confused about it.