In the process of Search Engine Marketing, far too many people
get lost while they are searching for the Wizard of Oz.
When creating web content for others, I am often blind-sided by
the twisted logic of client webmasters. The point of writing
original content for these people was to help them establish a
legitimate presence in the search engines for their targeted
Here is where the story gets odd...
A client had read somewhere that keyword density was the secret
to his search engine success, and that his keyword density should
be in the range of 12-15%.
The client interpreted this to mean that Keyword Phrase #1 should
be 12-15% density, and Keyword Phrases #2 and #3 should be 7-8%
This breaks down to a 26-31% keyword density! Literally, one out
of every three or four words will be a keyword!
If I wrote keyword-rich, keyword copy, that had the word
"keyword" in every three to four words, my keyword copy
would become keyword-laden, search engine keyword-ready,
It was difficult enough to write a 1-in-4 example above, let
alone try to create a 1-in-3 example. I tried to explain this to
the client and to suggest that we should write the content at 4%
on each of the three keyword phrases bringing the density to a
total of 12%.
I was met with resistance by the client. So, I sent a sample
using the 12/7/7 ratio, just to show the client how bad his
guidance would appear to the "human eye."
DOWN THE WINDING SPIRAL
I received this reply...
We are a little concerned on the quality and hope dropping
the density will help with this. It seems these articles
are the same generic points repeated, not really making a
With 1-in-4 keyword-to-word ratio's, what would you expect? Of
course, it doesn't really make a point. It is nearly impossible
to make sense throwing keywords in this close together.
We started again with the client changing his guidance to 10% on
#1, and 5% on #2 and #3.
Following the new guidelines, the client thought he was learning
that I did not really know how to write anything of any real
quality, and he as much as told me so!
Last time out, the client changed his guidance to 9% on #1, 5% on
#2, and 4% on keyword phrase #3.
Wow! We have managed to talk the client down from a 1-in-3 ratio
to a 1-in-5 keyword ratio!
The client quit me, BECAUSE I did not have any talent as a
ALONG THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
One exchange between this client and myself really blew my mind!
I knew the job was toast when I was told what I was told.
I had attempted to explain to the client that if we did create
content for them that was this heavily laden with keywords, then
we would be doing him a disservice. I explained that even if this
content did manage to get him a Top 10 placement in the search
engines, it would serve no value to him.
My reasoning was that if a search engine user arrived at his
website from the search engine, and they saw his content with
such keyword-heavy copy, they would not stay at his site.
Instead, they would be racing to discover the BACK button in
I suggested that this was a recipe for failure. I suggested that
Top 10 placement was meaningless, unless they could convert that
visitor into a user/buyer. I told him that any copy that carried
more than 12% total keyword density could not keep a visitor on
his website, let alone convert that visitor into a buyer!
HE told me that it really did not matter to them how the content
appeared to search engine's users! The only thing that was
important to them was that they would be able to get Top Search
Placement with their content.
MEET THE WIZARD
This client was off in his search to find a writer that could
deliver a product that met all of his criteria. I will bet that
he is still looking six months later.
This client was searching for the Wizard of Oz. He was searching
for that infamous Top 10 Placement in Google.
What this client failed to realize is that the Wizard of Oz was a
myth. It was just a man behind a machine.
Google is the machine; it is the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And, the
search engine user is the "man behind the machine."
Now, which of the two is actually going to buy what you are
selling? Which one is going to pay your bills?
Search Engine Marketing is only effective when it also helps you
to convert visitors, from the search engines, into paying