Opinions on how best to write for the web are abundant and ever-evolving, but the bottom line is this:
The actual words and phrases that people use in searches are still a huge part of how the search engine knows to connect you with the right people, which is always its primary goal.
This has lead to the widespread practice of “keyword stuffing” and writing for the search engine instead of the human reader as seen on this Domino’s page, which I landed on recently from the search “Domino’s Coupons.” (Yay pizza!)
Google tells us not to stuff keywords into our text, and you can see why. The text is awkward with the word “coupon” being used fourteen times, and the word “Domino’s” used twelve times in just a couple paragraphs.
However it’s worth noting that this is the page I landed on from the Google search I conducted!
How many times a word is used does matter. You do need to think about what words and phrases people are using to get to your site and incorporate them into your text.
So should you write clunky copy like in the Domino’s link for the benefit of the search engine?
You need to write high-quality copy for the human reader as the abundant keyword approach is quickly moving from “outdated though still sometimes effective” to “officially somewhat shady.”
The rule is always follow web best practices and webmaster guidelines, and be rewarded in the long run.
To paraphrase what Google sayeth:
“Use natural, readable text and drop the ridiculous number of keywords as it’s really not necessary, and is increasingly frowned upon.”
Some things in the Domino’s example are still seen as effective and good practice. For example the header text includes the words and phrases “Deals at Domino’s,” and “Coupons Online From Dominos.com.”
The words and phrases in your your text headings are understood to be more important automatically by Google if you design your web page correctly. The same goes double for the text in your links.
• Pay extra attention to the words and phrases in your headings and links.
• Social media connectedness and other more sophisticated means of page ranking, along with site speed and responsiveness to all types of devices, are steadily becoming more important.
• Doing what you can to make your site accessible to all human users, including adding quality alt-tags to your images for vision-impaired users, is if anything more important than ever.
• Keep in mind that Google maintains its dominance as Internet Overlord by providing the best quality results for any search a person enters. Be quality.
While you have to be aware of how the Internet works when writing for the web, your site will literally be seen as more authoritative overall (a good thing!) in the eyes of Google if you focus on the human reader.
My advice as always is to take an ongoing approach to investing in your web presence. You have to publish quality content regularly to be competitive online. This is more and more the case every day.
Sorry if I made you want a pizza. At least I provided a link to coupons.