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SEO Novice: How many links and keywords is too many?

Donuts

(Photo – Flickr Creative Commons: Qfamily)

You can have too much of a good thing.

One doughnut – good.  10 doughnuts – not good.  Two beers – good.  12 beers followed by inappropriate comments followed by a massive headache – not good.  And the same goes for links and keywords.  With SEO – everything is best in moderation.

Let’s start with links.  A site, page or release with excessive use of links is not good – search engines find this type of content to be manipulative and “spammy.”  The point of a site, page or release is to provide meaningful, useful and practical information for your audience – and adding a link just for the sake of adding a link will hurt your search rankings, not help.

Rule of thumb: Include no more than one link per 100 words of your release.

Quick tip: If you’re thinking about creating a meaningless, content-deprived page to link to just to squeeze an extra link or two in your release – don’t.   It’s a mischievous practice – and is an SEO no-no.

And now to keywords.  Indulgent use of keywords is called keyword stuffing.  This is bad – search engines expect the content on your site, page or release to be designed for readers, not computers.  And it’s obvious when you’re writing for search engines – like when a pet store owner uses the word “dog” 50 times in a 200-word release.  Keywords should fit neatly and appropriately into a sentence or paragraph so your release makes sense – and doesn’t sound completely ridiculous.

Rule of thumb: Include no more than five keywords in roughly 500 words of content.

Quick tip: Instead of putting keywords everywhere, put them in the right places.  The best spots: In the title, headline and a few times naturally in the body of the content.  This way, search engines will like your content – and humans will too!

Don’t over-do it.  Keep keywords and links in mind – but in the end, you just have to write naturally.

Did I miss any quick tips or rules with links and keywords? Does anyone have an idea for what SEO topic I should tackle next week?  Talk to me!

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