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Old 04-23-2008   #1
NewKidOnTheBlock
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Tricky keyword density question!;)

I just read a text about a topic and realized that the 3 word in the first paragraph was the keyword I would have used (it wasn't in the title or header, though).

This made me ask myself (and now you!) a thought-provoking question:

If I was a search engineer at Google or elsewhere and I was into favoring 'natural sites' and thus 'natural anchor text' (and was extremely smart like the people in those positions are and had a ton of data), wouldn't I try to find out what an ABSOLUTELY natural pattern (frequency) of keyword density/keywords in the title/headers, etc. looks like and then use this pattern (frequency) as the pattern that gets the most brownie points?

This sounds like no new idea, but what I'm trying to stress is this:

If they did that, then wouldn't it actually have to hurt your rankings if you know about SEO and trying to use certain keywords, etc.? I must admit, I try to write for humans, not for machines and make it sound natural and all, but I bet the sole fact that I do know about keyword density, etc. means that I'll use a higher frequency of keyword occurences than a perfectly natural pattern would have.

So maybe it'd be best not to just clutter your page with keywords (nobody is doing this, right), but to use the keyword somewhere in the right place once and then write the whole article as if you had never never never heard of search engines existing - to have that perfectly natural pattern which gets the most brownie points (I'm thinking of it as a bell curve type of shape)?

Can anybody tell me my theory is clearly wrong, because they've frequently optimized sites by putting in a few more keywords (while still making it sound natural) without changing anything else and seen that it did boost their rankings?

Do you put the keyword in the title once (and in a header or something) and then really write the content as if no search engines existed (not just 'for users', but as if no search engines existed, AT ALL!)?

Or do you make a point of placing a couple more keywords here and there (I'm wondering if/why not the search engines would consider this a less-than-perfect pattern and subtract some brownie points)
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Old 04-23-2008   #2
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

Good points NKOTB, pretty much explains why I think "keyword density" and tools used to determine such are junk!

Let's pretend that two different pages have the exact same "keyword density" for a specific keyword term and that the keyword term is used 3 times in each page. Two equal pages right?


Now consider the following:
Page A incorporates the keyword term in the domain name, URL path and H1.

Page B incorporates the keyword term 3 times in the second sentence of the first paragraph.

Still think these pages are equals?



So much more comes into play here I know but, you're on the right track.

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Old 04-24-2008   #3
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

not all things are equal... that says it all. But use 3 keyword phrases in title, use them in the description - may not count but determines what is said... and use anchor text in inbound links and for that matter internal links... where the links come from and the trust rank as opposed to the PR is important
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Old 04-24-2008   #4
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

1. There IS a perfect keyword density - I've proved it here.

2. The problem with the definition of "natural" is the same as the old joke about sincerity:

Quote:
The key to success is sincerity; once you can fake that, you've got it made!
Naturally, spammers and SEO's alike would (and do) spend a fair amount of time trying for "natural", since in this case it effectively means "optimized".

3. Now, to be fair, "naturalness" is rewarded as an effect of most term vector analysis techniques, which is a topic I avoid discussing online for various reasons, including that it's not a topic that can be taught in a blog post or forum without getting mangled beyond recognition. I do discuss it in classroom and advanced SEM sessions, however.

I'll point out one thing that I do discuss in a classroom setting: there is no such thing as "natural" writing.

Take a look at all of my posts on this forum, which are simply written in exactly the way I talk. Now compare them to someone else's. You'll be able to tell the two apart pretty easily.

Yet neither are "artificial" in any way. One of the ironies of TVA (and a core reason why links rule over content) is that a computer is incapable of telling excellent writing from poor writing - it can only (at best) tell if a writing style is "average" or "representative" - in short, that it has no unique content or style.

Truly cutting edge content is content that is "unnatural" - it's different from everything else out there. For a search engine to reward "natural" writing is for a search engine to reward mediocrity over excellence as well as the spam it was trying to target.

The reason that links and other human decision indicators beat (and will always beat) computerized content analysis is because only a human can tell truly innovative content from crap that has been written to "look natural".

In general, the better your writer, the worse your SEO (and translations) will be.

Shakespeare had lousy English. Einstein failed math.

Computers don't get poetry.

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Last edited by mcanerin : 04-24-2008 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 04-24-2008   #5
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

Computers don't get poetry but users do and if they like what you are saying they will create links back to you.

I always advise my copywriters to write as they would normally inserting keyphrases wherever possible without compromising content quality. We don't work to any strict keyword density or frequency guidelines but we do ensure consistency of titles, H1 and anchor text.
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Old 04-24-2008   #6
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

thanks for the replies everyone!

Quote:
Take a look at all of my posts on this forum, which are simply written in exactly the way I talk. Now compare them to someone else's. You'll be able to tell the two apart pretty easily.
Quote:
Truly cutting edge content is content that is "unnatural" - it's different from everything else out there. For a search engine to reward "natural" writing is for a search engine to reward mediocrity over excellence as well as the spam it was trying to target.
I think (hope) I do get your points. However, if we narrow the 'naturalness' down to keyword density and we now gathered all kinds of posts about the topic of say 'keyword density' that have been made on SEO forums (where I think people write 'naturally', because they don't care for rankings of forum posts normally), do you not think we could determine a range for a natural frequency of the keyword 'keyword density' in a certain amount of text?

I would bet everybody who writes completely natural content (like a forum post which deals with the topic) would fall in a range with lower frequency of keywords than somebody who does this:

Quote:
I always advise my copywriters to write as they would normally inserting keyphrases wherever possible without compromising content quality.
Somebody who inserts keyphrases for SEO purposes (even though trying not to comprise content quality) will have a keyword density, which doesn't fall inside the range of the keyword density of the people who write it completely naturally. - that doesn't mean a search engineer should want to ban their side or anything, just not give them the highest number of brownie points (think of a probability curve).

(hope you don't take offense Gooner151078. Comparing your approach to what I'm wondering just helps illustrate my point better (hopefully) - and I'm not even saying, it's wrong, I'm just wondering!:-))

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Old 04-26-2008   #7
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

I'm not big on "keyword density" but I think you're on the right track because I've pondered this "natural pattern" question for years.

Not to get deep here but, those "perfectly natural" patterns you mentioned do exist! They are called Fibonacci Numbers, The Golden Ratio or Phi and they are all around you.

Here are some examples:
http://www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Personal...at.html#golden
http://www.mcs.surrey.ac.uk/Personal.../fibInArt.html

Now, mcanerin mentioned pi (nice on by the way you have me there for a minute ) which as you know is important in math, engineering and computing. pi is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter or 3.14 ->.

(to me pi looks like the ever expanding web)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...q_C_over_d.svg

e is the base of natural logarithms and has the same value as the slope of the tangent line.

(to me e looks like a point in the "long tail" or maybe broad search)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hyperbola_E.svg

The "perfectly natural" pattern you mentioned NKOTB, "The Golden Ratio" is said to be the only constant that exactly relates to e and pi in several ways even though one is circular, the other linear not to mention the fact they are both irrational numbers.

I've always thought it was interesting that Google talks so much about pi and e but not the Golden Ratio when users are their focus. That said, the difference between "chaos" and the "Golden Ratio" is distance and perspective or perhaps even the amount of data you have available. Seems logical that your natural patterns in writing may not be exactly the average of all humans and therefore difficult to detect as being natural. In time perhaps Google will have enough data or artificial intelligence to identify and match what is natural to you with what is natural to others. Maybe that is why your Gmail account keeps growing, don't know...
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Old 04-26-2008   #8
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

FYI, I have found, working with professional copywriters, that if they know what the target keyword is while writing, they are much more likely to find natural ways to use it than attempting to find places to add/change KWD after the fact.

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Old 04-27-2008   #9
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

with what I've learned / read, and done myself, I've never been able to justify giving much thought to the 'KWD for engines' at all. we know all the philosophies and articles abound about this, but even if you could figure out the magic KWD for each page (you can't - it's based on tons of factors that you never see), it still just one piece of the big picture. plus, it could change value for the worst in a moment's notice.

I write in natural language with my researched keywords as if the visitor was the search engine. I target my pages and write with the keywords my visitors want to see. That seems to work pretty well for me, and I don't have to think about the technical things beau can comprehend and leverage (that stuff makes my brain bleed). If I add anything later, it's purely because I've had a chance to think about my content and messaging, and can improve the user value.

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Old 04-27-2008   #10
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcanerin View Post
FYI, I have found, working with professional copywriters, that if they know what the target keyword is while writing, they are much more likely to find natural ways to use it than attempting to find places to add/change KWD after the fact.
Good point, Ian! In other words the "Mad Libs" approach isn't always the best way to go when it comes to dynamic pages.
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Old 05-21-2008   #11
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

Hey beu,

I'm sorry for not replying to this again (I've been absent from the forums for a while and probably will be so for another 2 months because of exams, once again).

I understand that what is a natural keyword density for me might not be the same for somebody else.

However, I think that's something that is pretty much the case with everything. For example the rate at which you're building links..or the (in)frequency..it probably varies from one person to another (a college student like myself might not do any active link building during the semester and use their 4 months of semester break to do link building (or well let's call it creating new content that then attracts new links).

I think that one is true for many other factors in the search engines, that's probably what statistical analysis is for - they could be using some stuff like a probability density function and then figure out a range of what is normal at a statistical signifiance of 95% for example. Of course they won't ban a site if it lies outside that range (unless its extreme with a kw density of 90% :-)), but they might give more credit to sites which are within that range...whether its kw density or rate of creating new content/building new links, etc...that way theyd be right in 95% of searches (or at another level of statistical significance they might choose like 90 or 99% or....) and then would have a competitive advantage over other search engines who dont care about it like that (or atl east not be at a competitive disadvantage)..bottom line is it might not always be right, but if its right in most cases and they dont ban sites because of it (unless the kw density level is an obvious sign of spam) they could do it.

Of course such a range would have to be determined for different fields, keywords, etc. and I have no idea if thats too much of an effort to be effective.

But on the other hand, I think theoretical talk about that doesnt mean too much (yeah I know Im the one who started the theoretical talk about it lol) and one could easily check this by testing it on a site (or a couple of sites) and finding out whether keyword density has an impact or not at all. I guess I should do that my self some time.

On the other hand, Ive had an interesting experience the other day: I searched for a certain keyword on a forum (i ran a forum search) and found a thread in which the keyword was literally everywhere (you know theyre colored after a search on a forum ) and another thread hardly had the keyword there. Both would have been good matches, so maybe kw density is really a very bad indicator of relevance for a certain keyword

but then again, Id assume they might not be looking at keyword density of a single keyword, but at keyword density of a certain basket of related keywords on the topic (like when they show you "other terms you might want to search for" they might look at the actual keyword AND additionally at such terms they obviously consider extremely related in the first place and check a page for the keyword density).

Good night everyone ;-)

EDIT: hey beu, you said youve pondered that natural kd question for years - does that mean youve also done extensive testing, but couldnt come up with a "yes" or "no" type of answer? or have you simply been thinking about it on the side, because its a topic that comes up again and again, but thought your time would be better spent getting some links (or other stuff) instead of looking into that too much?

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Old 05-21-2008   #12
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewKidOnTheBlock View Post
EDIT: hey beu, you said youve pondered that natural kd question for years - does that mean youve also done extensive testing, but couldnt come up with a "yes" or "no" type of answer? or have you simply been thinking about it on the side, because its a topic that comes up again and again, but thought your time would be better spent getting some links (or other stuff) instead of looking into that too much?
he...he...he...

No "extensive testing" but some informal testing followed by thinking, testing, thinking, testing....

Basically, I concluded my brain needs more RAM to handle all that data and perhaps my time would be better spent creating great content! I'm not going to lie I still think about it but have no more answers than when I started, instead more questions and less time.

If you come up with something feel free to let me know!
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Old 05-22-2008   #13
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Re: Tricky keyword density question!;)

alright lol, but I think my time (or any SEO's time) will probably be better spent trying to do other stuff than trying to figure out what the perfect kw density is (especially as it might vary from one niche to another).
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