The Short Answer: The age old question when it comes to optimising content for search engines always falls back to one thing: keywords. Google has advanced rapidly over the last few years so that simply putting the keywords you want to rank for within the meta tags and copy on a webpage isn’t enough anymore.
In fact, this method (now regarded as “keyword stuffing”) is considered quite spammy by the powers that be at Google, and can even result in your website being hit with a penalty. Keyword threading, on the other hand, has more of a focus on including these targeted terms and phrases in a way that is natural and helpful to the reader.
So how can I make sure I’m ‘keyword threading’, not ‘keyword stuffing’?
There can be a fine line between keyword threading and keyword stuffing, and there’s not necessarily an exact science to make sure you don’t cross it. However, there are a few general guidelines you can follow that make the process a lot simpler.
Write for humans, not Google
When you’re writing copy with the hope that it will start ranking for your targeted keywords, it can be super tricky to try and get out of the mind frame that you’re writing for Google. However, thinking like this is only going to get you in trouble.
Google’s main focus is on making the experience for their users as enjoyable as possible. They want to deliver search results that answer the questions or provide the services that the searcher is looking for. To do that, they want websites that actually deliver helpful, user-friendly information.
With that in mind, write for your target audience, not your target keywords. Of course, your keywords should naturally crop up if you’re writing about that certain topic, but that’s the key difference between threading and stuffing; keywords should be used naturally throughout the content, not forcefully jammed in every sentence possible.
Select the right keywords
A big part of being able to write natural, user-friendly content falls back on the keywords you select. While it can be tempting to go for the “big money” keywords – i.e. the ones that get the most search volume – this isn’t necessarily going to benefit you if it makes no sense to mention those terms within your content.
Remember, Google wants to deliver users to websites that are relevant to their search terms. If you’re targeting keywords that have less to do with your business and more to do with gaining first page rankings, then people will be clicking away and you can bet Google will pick up on that.
So, when you’re thinking about what keywords you want to target, think about what keywords actually apply to your business. It will help you get better results, and it will help you naturally thread through keywords rather than stuff your content with them.
And if you really want to get scientific…
OK, we said there isn’t a scientific or mathematical process for making sure you are keyword threading, not stuffing. Writing is a creative process; it shouldn’t be about a stringent formula.
However, if you’re really stuck, it can be good to keep in mind that your targeted keywords shouldn’t appear more than in every second sentence. Advice has long circulated about keeping your “keyword density” (the percentage of times a keyword is mentioned vs. the length of the content on a page) to around 3-4%. While we wouldn’t say this is exactly biblical, it still serves well to keep density in mind while you’re writing.