Keywords and SEO for writers – how to destress your website

Keywords help writers sell writing

Keywords help writers sell writing

Keywords are key to the success of marketing and promotional websites but how do they help you sell your writing? Keywords can help potential readers find your site when they search Google or Bing, but keywords are not the be all and end all. Agonizing over SEO (search engine optimization) is highly overrated and not all that productive for most web masters, including you.

We read all over the Internet that keyword repetition is a magical balance – you must have enough repeats of your keywords, but heaven forbid you have one repeat too many. No one seems to know the actual mystical numbers that make a site highly visible, but don’t piss Google off so they blacklist you and your site is never seen again.

156,000,000 websites existed on Earth in January 2008. A post on cites the number of registered domains at 103,625,332. That being the case, it’s unlikely that Google. Bing or anyone else is monitoring each page of each of those sites to make sure they have some exact, arbitrary number of keywords.

In a recent project, a research guy created his own study of the effectiveness of keywords and his results were surprising, seeming to indicate a randomness of how keywords impact rank. Here’s an excerpt:

“Pages with their target keyword repeated 11-20 times or 81- 90 times rank best on the leading search engine! If there is a “cutoff” point where too many repetitions of a keyword result in much lower ranking, we didn’t find it. Pages with up to 121 repetitions of the keyword continue to rank higher than pages with 1-10 repetitions of the keyword.”

This is merely a correlation study, so it cannot be determined from this study whether the leading search engine purposefully entertains this factor or not. The actual factors used may be far distant from the factor we studied, but the end result is that this search engine does, in fact, rank pages with the above keyword counts higher than pages with other keyword counts used in the study. “

How to use keywords without driving yourself nuts

Using the right target words or keywords in the title (the title field of your source code) of your blog or web page has more weight with search engines than keywords in the body. Keyword meta tags help, as well, but are not a huge part of the search engine algorithm (the formula they use to determine your site’s relevance in a search query).

Single keywords are fairly ineffective for optimization on a website since important single words have been paid for by big corporations. Using key phrases is more effective for most web masters. Choosing the right keywords to optimize your site is about making sure you label your site with words that bring the readers you want to target.


You’re a freelance writer in Boston who specializes in writing brochures, annual reports, customer letters, and corporate histories. Naming your website “Susan Jones, expert freelance writer” means if someone searches Susan or Jones or both, or freelance or expert, they might find you on the 45th page of search results. But name the site “Boston business writing” and make sure the content includes keywords like Boston business or business writing or Boston corporate histories and you’ll be more likely to connect with business people searching for the kind of help you provide.

Promoting your business, using the keywords you’ve identified as most relevant to your business, is the best way to gain visibility. Use your keywords in your brochures, letters, business cards, and in conversation. Market yourself directly to the people you wish to work with. USe your website, and your keywords, as a piece of your overall marketing strategy and you’ll build business faster and stronger.

That was a good article – I enjoyed it. Now I have to go back and finish the rest of them.


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4 Responses to “Keywords and SEO for writers – how to destress your website”

  1. Very true, but this is a little out dated. As the unveiling of Google’s new search engine yesterday shows, which has been dubbed “Caffeine,” Google has pretty clearly de-emphasized keyword density and keyword stuffing. You make a good point about the long tail of search queries though. I have found that optimizing for very niche, specialized keywords can be a boon.

  2. Thanks, John, for the comment and for reading the article. Yes, for those who are on top of what’s happening with SEO and search engines, keywords may be losing some of their perceived import. For those who want to see Caffeine, which is a project, not a release, it’s here Writers, bloggers and small web owners are bombarded with advice revolving around the mystique of keywords. We hope to dispel some of that and your observations really helped!

  3. Good stuff. Working on the web for years I’ve seen the changes in search engine protocol. Additional point to your article would be the alt=”” tags on images. This is a great place to slip in code for the spiders to read. As for the “title” tag put a couple sentences completely fleshing out your information similar to the metadiscription. Even if your visitors are unable to read the text the spiders will be able to. In the viewable area I always include phone numbers for my clients who accept phone calls. Including a description of the service area is good as well but be specific. One last point about having good search results. Having links leading to other sites and links on other sites leading to yours raises the relevancy of your site in the rankings. Not only can you drive traffic to your site but the search engines equate these links to indicate value on your site.


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