Why is it so difficult to optimize for a keyword phrase?
The answer is in this video:
The truth is, Google are looking to wipe out ALL content from the SERPs if it has been “engineered” to rank well by optimizing the content for a specific phrase or two. When you read this type of web content, you can easily spot phrases that seem a little out of place, or forced, or repeated several times throughout the article. Using a keyword phrase 3 to 5 times every 100 words within an article is just not natural. It use to be that Google wanted these “hints” to tell it what a page was about, but today, they’ll penalize your page (and site) for doing it.
Web Content Studio was created at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009 to help webmasters create content a different way – a way that mimics natural writers.
Natural Writers Don’t Write About a Keyword Phrase, They Write About a Theme or Topic
Suppose you as webmaster identify the phrase “how does insulin work” as one to target.
The old keyword-focused method would be to get that phrase into the title, H1 header, opening paragraph etc. Reading the article, you’d know what phrase was being targeted by the webmaster because you’d see it repeated where it wasn’t actually necessary. In other words it is FORCED into the content in an attempt to get it to rank for that phrase.
Natural writers subconsciously write using a theme-focused approach. The phrase might be used in the title and H1 because it’s an actual question that someone is asking so having it as a title makes sense. However, there would be no requirement to get that phrase into the body of the article. Instead, you’d write an article that used ONLY the words and phrases that were necessary to cover the topic. The article would no doubt have words like: blood sugar, glucose, insulin, regulate, pancreas, blood, circulate, liver, muscle, beta cells, secrete, globulins, etc.
These are the theme words and phrases that would be REQUIRED in an authoritative article on the TOPIC “How does insulin work”.
See the difference?
In one method, you concentrate on one main keyword phrase (OK, you sprinkle in synonyms as well), whereas in the other, you concentrate on the topic.
When a journalist is given a brief for a new article in a magazine, do you think they are told to write around the phrase “blue widgets”? Or is it more likely they’ll be told to write an article on “how blue widgets make our lives so much easier”. See how the first one is keyword-focused, and the second one is theme (or topic) focused?
This is how you need to start thinking about content.
Google Bought the Technology for Analyzing Web Pages to Find the Topic
In a conversation I had with Michael Campbell when I was developing Web Content Studio back in 2008, he reminded me that:
“People may not remember that Google didn’t create AdSense. They bought the semantic technology from Applied Semantics back in 2003”.
You can read the press release here
Pay particular interest to this paragraph:
“Applied Semantics is a proven innovator in semantic text processing and online advertising,” said Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder and president of Technology. “This acquisition will enable Google to create new technologies that make online advertising more useful to users, publishers, and advertisers alike.”
The press release goes on to say:
“Applied Semantics’ products are based on its patented CIRCA technology, which understands, organizes, and extracts knowledge from websites and information repositories in a way that mimics human thought and enables more effective information retrieval”
So, Google certainly has access to technology that can help them understand words on a page in much the same way as a human.
But how does knowing this, help us?
Well, we need to think like a human when we develop content
Does an article written by an expert in a field repeat the same phrase at a density of 2%?
Nope. They will write using the words and phrases that the NEED TO USE in order to write the best possible article on the topic.
That is where Web Content Studio comes in
It will tell you the words and phrases that your need to use to write about a topic as if you were an authority. It does this by analyzing the top ranked page in Google for the term you are targeting and bringing back the words and phrases used on those pages. After all, if Google is ranking them well, it must think they are authority pieces, no?
Think about your site from the perspective of a visitor
If you think about the content you write on your site, do you come across as someone who knows the topic you are writing about? Would someone actually learn anything by reading your article, or is it published on your site just to try to get an Adsense click? If someone started reading your article, would they want to read the whole thing, or would they think that the article was total fluff, and click the back button?
If Google’s technology can mimic human behavior, then your content must be written for humans.
How does Web Content Studio Help you Write better Content?
Suppose you have identified the following phrase as having good potential – copper kitchen sinks – and you want to write an article on it.
What words would be expected in a good quality article on copper kitchen sinks?
Well 5 or more of the top ranking pages in Google include the following 25 words:
copper, sink, sinks, model, kitchen, bath, hammered, bathroom, Mexican, design, finish, custom, craft, hand, round, tile, finishes, bowl, drains, small, style, apron, farmhouse, double, bar.
Looking at that list, don’t you think you’d need to use most of those words?
Let’s look a little closer at Google’s Results Pages as there is something that many people miss. We’ll use the phrase “How does insulin work” as an example:
Google says there are 3,310,000 competing pages for this term. Note that #3 on Google (at the time of writing, you can check the SERPs here for the current position – just look for my bloodsugardiabetic.com website – it’s a site I built live in front of some students during one of my courses). That page of mine was written on 10th November 2008, as I was testing my theories and creating Web Content Studio. If you read that page, you won’t find the phrase stuffed in there. I also haven’t done any modifications to that content or obtained backlinks for it since that date. After Panda, after Penguin, that page is still ranked #3.
I got a little off topic there. Let me get back on track. You see that Google says there are 3,310,000 competing pages? Well that really isn’t what that number means. That 3,310,000 pages is the number of pages Google knows about that are written on the topic of how insulin works. If we scroll to the end of the search results for this phrase, we get to this page:
I have added an arrow to show the very last result in the SERPs for this phrase. Highlighted in yellow, it says that Google only really found 819 pages that offered any value. The other 3,309,181 pages are not included because they are TOO SIMILAR to the 819 selected results.
That’s quite interesting, isn’t it? But where it gets more interesting is that EVERY search phrase has a similar cut off. You’ll always find that Google only really shows you 500 – 1000 pages if you scroll to the last page.
You may be thinking what’s so interesting about that?
Well, by analyzing random pages, I have found that on average, ALL of the “selected results” that are shown for a given search phrase include a high percentage of the core words found in the top 10.
Let’s look at a real example.
The search phrase Astigmatism returns around 5.5 million pages:
However, scrolling to the last page of results, Google only seems to rate 898 pages:
All of the top 10 pages that rank for the term “astigmatism” have the following words within their content:
Astigmatism, contact, causes, vision, cornea, right, eye
That should not really be a surprise, but what if I told you that the following words appeared on at least 9 of the top 10 results for the search phrase Astigmatism:
Refractive, treatment, distance, special, surgery, person, health, lenses, light, focus, care, test
Also, the following words appear on 8 of the top 10 pages:
Information, sightedness, corneal, provide, glasses, retina, point, order, shape, cause, link, near, part, term, ear
.. And at least 7 of the top 10 pages had these words:
Procedure, corrected, problems, medical, correct, degree, treat, ratio, exam
Compiling this into a list, 7 or more of the top 10 pages include the following 40+ words:
astigmatism, eye, ear, cornea, vision, lenses, correct, focus, contact, cause, shape, light, sightedness, ratio, treat, refractive, glasses, test, term, distance, health, surgery, treatment, information, part, provide, retina, corrected, person, degree, order, point, care, exam, near, causes, corneal, link, medical, procedure, right, special, problems
That is 43 theme words found on at least 7 of the top 10 pages.
Could it be as simple as thinking that quality content includes a core set of theme words & phrases? I think so, and I’ll show you why I think that.
Google only rates 898 articles for the phrase astigmatism. 5.5 million other pages on this topic are not deemed worthy of showing you, therefore Google thinks that there are only 898 quality pages.
Let’s look at an analysis of random groups of pages taken from those 898.
Here is how I selected the URLs for the test:
Top 10 – In the test I picked 9 of the top 10 results for this test, excluding position #2 because it was a second listing from the site in top slot.
Around the 100 position – I selected URLs in position 101 – 110 inclusive
Around the 200 position – I selected URLs 201 – 210 excluding 203 which was a PDF file.
Around the 300 position – I selected URLs 301 – 310 excluding 309 which was a PDF file.
Around the 400 position – I selected URLs 401 – 410 excluding 409 which was a second entry from the domain in position 408.
Here is a summary of the results:
|Google Position of pages||Average number of the original 43 theme words that were used||% of theme words used|
|1 – 10||36.6||85%|
|101 – 110||24.7||57.4%|
|201 – 210||21.7||50.4%|
|301 – 310||21||48.8%|
|401 – 410||25||58.1%|
Do you notice that even those ranking around the 400 mark all have around 50% of the 43 theme phrases. I have checked this on many search terms, and even those at the very bottom of the ranked pages include around 50% of the core theme words.
The reason they have a good number of theme words in them, is because they are good quality articles.
Do you think this is an isolated example I have chosen to try to sell you my software?
Well here are some other examples:
Search term: Diabetic alert dogs
For this search phrase, there were less theme phrases to choose from. In fact, Web Content Studio only brought back 20 theme words which were found on 6 or more of the top 10 pages.
Here is the summary table for that phrase. I have just included the % theme words found.
|Position In Google||% chosen theme words used|
Here is another example:
Search Term: high blood pressure
For this example Web Content Studio recommended 38 theme words. These 38 theme words were found on 8 of the top 10 pages in Google that ranked for the term high blood pressure.
Here is the table of results based on those 38 in-demand theme words.
|Position In Google||% chosen theme words used|
In this case, the pages in the main index averaged around 60+% of the 38 theme words.
I could go on with more examples, but I think you get the idea. From the work I have done, I have seen time and time again that the pages in the main index, on average, are well themed around a core set of theme words.
This is actually what you would expect from a quality article if you think about it.
Imagine writing an article on gestational diabetes… If your article was to be informative and cover the topic, you would have to include words like:
diabetes, gestational, glucose, blood, pregnancy, baby, test, level, women, sugar, insulin, health, during, care, mellitus, diet, pregnant, exercise, body, treatment, family, symptoms, American, hypoglycemia, causes
Without these words its impossible to write a good article on the topic.
I am hoping that a penny has dropped as you have read this page.
What you have seen here is that Google is ranking well-themed, quality content in its main index. In fact, even those that are ranked at the end of the main search results are of a good quality. If your content is not well-themed, then you may have to rely on black hat techniques to get it noticed (and any rankings your do get will probably be short lived).
I have been working with themed content since 2005, and its my not so secret weapon in getting my own content ranked. My newsletter subscribers have heard me drone on about it over the years.
But wait, there is even more good news for those who theme their content…..
…..You never have to optimize content for the long-tail, every again!
Theming a page automatically “optimizes” your page for long tail phrases. Let’s look at some example from my bloodsugardiabetic.com website using screenshots from Google Analytics to show how many times a page was found in a one month period, and how many search terms the page was found for:
In the last year, it has been found for…
Let’s look at one more example from the same site:
Software Requirements: PC running XP or later (Vista, Windows 7)
Internet Explorer latest version.
So, how can Web Content Studio help you write quality, themed content?
For the last few years I have been writing my own web content using the principles of theming (often referred to as Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI). That is, I have found the most important words and phrases relevant to my article, and used them as I wrote the content.
The reason for this was simple – experts who write good quality content will automatically use relevant, niche-sensitive words and phrases as they write their authority articles. As I studied the top ranking pages in Google, I saw a pattern. For any search phrases (especially as they get more competitive), the higher ranked pages were better themed around the most relevant words and phrases.
The idea of creating themed content was not new. In fact, when Michael Campbell saw the type of stuff I was writing about in my newsletter on “themes”, he sent me a White Paper he had written back in 2000, called “Theme, Context and Topic – How to “Theme Up” your web site. The report showed that even back in 2000, when all the gurus were talking about keyword density and meta tags, search engines were far more advanced than most people realized.
Back in 2007 I started to release a few reports showing this theming in action. However, one or two critics claimed that I had hand-picked the websites to use in my reports to support my theories. Nothing could have been further from the truth, but to prove it, I release a report in July 2008 (that’s FOUR YEARS AGO”!). This “Gestational Diabetes” report provided clear evidence that well-themed content performed better in the search engines.
That was back in July 2008.
Web Content Studio is a tool I have been working on for quite some time.
When I started programming it, my idea was clear – create a single software program that had all of the tools I needed to write quality, themed content. Writing content for me is a three step process (research topic, find theme words & writing the article), so if should come as no surprise that the software has three main areas. I have recorded short videos to give you an ultra quick overview of each of the three steps. You should watch these videos in the correct order:
Step 1. Researching the article.
Step 2. Finding the best theme words to support the topic of my article.
Step 3. Write the article.
Step 4. Analyzing your articles
If you are looking to “Theme Up” your website content, Web Content Studio could be the perfect tool for you.
NOTE: I have setup a forum for Web Content Studio users to discuss the software and how to use it. I will be adding tutorials to the forum as well as be there to help answer your questions.
I bought your Web Content Studio software as soon as it came out and I have been using it ever since. I write for a living, so creating the best website content I can is very important. I had been theming my articles as best I could for a while, but WCS made it, not only easier, but a whole lot better in every way.
Anyway, one client of mine was impressed with the reports I was able to provide, and that he could see his articles were higher in themed quality than his competitors. He also had a number of very competitive keywords he wanted to rank for that I had been targeting, but having mediocre results with. Last week he sent me an email, which read in part:
Having looked at the rankings, I really feel that the new themed articles you have been writing are starting to improve rankings for some of the more difficult terms, so thanks for your hard work! We are now seeing some rankings for 6 terms that we did not previously show for.
The keywords are in the highly competitive dating niche and after properly theming the articles, we made significant progress, which continues. Perhaps it’s just coincidence that his site started ranking for those terms just after it was promoted through well themed articles, but I don’t think so.
I’m convinced and he’s convinced – theming works!
Truly, this puts all other content creation software “attempts”, in the dark ages. I had a few installation teething problems (all my fault – one very embarrassing I wont mention here). I emailed Andy and even though we have a big time difference between us, it was as if he was peering over my shoulder sorting things out in a flash. Highly recommended. WCS lets you get on with writing top-drawer content, keeps you focused on getting top quality articles onto your site while it takes care of a “100″ other background tasks. It’s like having your own outsource team constantly at your disposal..except you only pay for them once. Best part is, “Google loves my content!
This product comes with a 60 day no question asked guarantee. Try it for 60 days, and if you do not like it for any reason, ask for a refund and I’ll give it to you in full – no questions asked.
Software Requirements: PC running XP or later (Vista, Windows 7)
Internet Explorer latest version.
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