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What’s The Big Deal About Keywords?

There has been much ado about keywords. But what are they? Do you need them? If so, how much?

First, I think they’re a little bit over rated. But I can understand why. It has a lot to do with supply and demand. It has everything to do with some hyped up little song and dance.

Everyone knows what a search engine results page is. It’s the page that comes up when you perform a search on your favorite search engine. You look for your favorite topic and up pops a list of web sites that supposedly deal with that topic. Right?

Or something like that.

I write articles for a living. The other day I had a client say she wanted an article about sexy lingerie and the words “sexy lingerie” had to appear in the article with a 6% keyword density. It was only a 500 word article.

“Six percent?” I asked. “Isn’t that a bit much?”

“Nope,” she said. “I want to ensure that people looking for sexy lingerie will find me and not my competition.”

“Lady,” I said, giving her body a good looking over, “no one’s going to have any trouble finding you.”

Once I pulled my foot out of my mouth, I gave her the low down on what’s up about keywords. Bottom line: You need ’em, but not too much. That sexy little vixen didn’t want a shake; she wanted a playboy bunny malt and I didn’t have any milk.

Well, I guess you know what I’m saying. Her request was a little over the top.

But I gave her what she wanted, any way. The customer is always right, right?

Uhmm, in a word, no. Sometimes the customer is so wrong she makes wrong look right. But I held my tongue. It does strange things around sexy lingerie.

So, what’s all this business about keywords? You need to understand that searchers don’t look for keywords. They look for subjects, ideas, topics, items – you know, things. It’s like when you go shopping at the mall; you don’t go window shopping for widgets, or units of production, do you? Of course not, you have a specific thing on your mind and that’s what you want.

That’s the way it is at the search engine mall. Searchers look for things. Their things. The things that are on their minds. And tonight, I’ve got sexy lingerie on my mind. So when I go up on my favorite search engine and type in what I’m thinking at the moment, the web sites that are most like what I’m looking for (I hope) are going to be at the top. At least, that’s what all those search engine gurus tell me.

Try as I might, I can’t make a sexy lingerie out of a slippery buttercup. I mean, there are times when I get all kinds of gobbledygook when I search for something. I looked for real estate and got some guy named Dave down in Florida who runs an antique hub cap shop called “The Real Wheel” and he mentioned in his blog that he had settled his father’s estate.

So what’s the big deal about keywords? You tell me. Six percent is too much; zero percent is not enough. Isn’t there a happy medium?

Good night, ya’ll. I think my wife’s been shopping (wink, wink).

Allen Taylor is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer and copywriter. He and his wife specialize in low-cost marketing for small businesses. He edits the weekly ezine The Content Letter, sharing low-cost Internet marketing tips for small businesses. He also manages the article writing process for Article Content Provider.

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