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Are [Locations] Keywords?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 GregBrass

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 02:48 PM

Hi All,

 

With the landscape of SEO changing as much as it has I have a question that nobody seems to be able to answer. Not even the forum that starts with an "M" and ends with a "Z". The software company I use can't even provide an answer.

As a prelude, I'm not referring to "Local SEO", as that is a different beast in itself, nor am I talking about a National campaign.

With that said, it seems to me my question would be regarding a regional campaign of say a metropolitan area like Dallas/Fort Worth Texas. With that long introduction here is the question: Do the names of the town(s) have to be actual keywords in the body of the text for effective SERP results. If the town names 'do' have to be keywords the copy would read unnatural because you can't naturally name the town or several town names in the text without it reading unnatural. It would be near impossible to have a few towns mentioned about 2% each without reading odd. See my point?

Towns can be added to title tags, description tags (which don't hold much weight) and in a couple H tags understandably. Beyond that, remains the question.

I have looked online to find how to do local (not local mapping), regional, and national campaigns, but I just can't find the answer. Any help from you guys would be appreciated. Or, if you have a link to share that I haven't been able to find-that would be great. Thanks in advance for any insight.

Greg



#2 chrishirst

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 07:18 PM

A 'key' word or phrase is anything that may prompt a Search user or a user on any page that may have a link to one of your pages on it to click through to a page on your website.

 

If having the location in the text or the advert will give a more persuasive message to the user, then yes, you should use it.


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#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 09:31 AM

To a search engine, it's a keyword if someone is searching for it.

 

As for mentioning town names in body copy, like New York City or Des Moines, Iowa, there are any number of ways that they can be naturally included.  The mere mention of a town name itself is easily integrated into all sorts of paragraphs of text.  You don't need to worry about that.

 

What you need to worry about is how to write a naturally useful, helpful, and informative paragraph or page of text.


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#4 GregBrass

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 02:17 PM

Thanks chrishirst and Michael,

Good insight. Currently I have location in the header/footer/H1/ and a couple times sprinkled in the body of the text. The pages in question are about 2k words each, so I'm wondering also about "location density" being to low. If location is a keyword it seems in such a large page I would have to add it more.

What I did fail to mention is when I do any ranking search for a query with and without the town(s) mention I get different results. I'm sure partially due to Hummingbird.

Example: Let's say Google thinks I'm in Fort Worth and I look for Widgets, it gives a result in the SERPS. But if I type (like a user would search) "widgets fort worth", I get different placement in the results. So, it seems to me if I want to rank for "widgets fort worth" the town Fort Worth would have to be a keyword with enough density? See my conundrum? I guess that is part 'b' of my dilemma. And if "widgets fort worth" was a keyword if I had it too low in density I couldn't rank for that town.

To add fuel to the fire let's use a pizza restaurant as an example if one is actually IN Fort Worth. This time however, they will be traveling just 30 minutes away to a small town outside of Fort Worth (lets say Azle) and they will order a pizza (best food in the world after all). At that point "Pizza Azle" or "Pizza in Azle TX" seems it would have to be a "keyphrase" to be found in the SERPS.

In Google's own Geo-targeting they only allow for a) Dallas b)Fort Worth c) Dallas/Fort Worth in their keyword planner. So, anything outside of their own parameters seems to indicate the town needs to be a keyword.

To take it a step further: in the scenarios [above] to get an accurate ranking of keywords tracking one would have to monitor a key-phrase with the town as a keyword....leading to the same problem. Is the town a true "keyword" or not? In the case of someone from out of town it would have to be. I try and use Bruce Clays competitor analysis tool (it's free) on his website. That way my PC doesn't favor any results due to any previous searches. I am using an "out of town" server in a sense. Just as in this conversation it isn't possible to use his tool unless I type the town as a keyword. Did I just muddy the water? I know there is no majic bullet, but I just can't find a consistant pattern.

Greg



#5 Jill

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 02:31 PM

the town Fort Worth would have to be a keyword with enough density?

 

 

Keyword density hasn't been "a thing" for at least 10 years.

 

Just put the address at the bottom of the page and you'll naturally have the town/city/state, etc. That's all Google needs to know.

 

And don't use any competitor analysis tools that tell you how many times certain words are on certain pages. Those have been dumb for a good 20 years!


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#6 GregBrass

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:16 PM

 

Keyword density hasn't been "a thing" for at least 10 years.

 

Just put the address at the bottom of the page and you'll naturally have the town/city/state, etc. That's all Google needs to know.

 

And don't use any competitor analysis tools that tell you how many times certain words are on certain pages. Those have been dumb for a good 20 years!

I didn't know that Jill. I always look at competitors checking their density. And, I try to keep within their percentages. Looks like I may be wrong though. I fully understand Google uses something closely related to "LSI", but I thought density was still a factor. When I do write I always use synonymous terms for the overal subject of a given site. Maybe I should stop freaking out over being so close in density as competitors. :fool:  Although, I guess keyword 'density' does still does apply in one sense, that being, you can still keyword 'stuff'.



#7 torka

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 08:35 AM

The problem with "keyword density" is that every word on your page is a "keyword" -- that is, a word or phrase for which you could potentially be found in search. Which means keyword density on every page is automatically 100%. Makes comparisons a little tricky. :)

 

Just because you think a certain word is "important enough" to call a "keyword" doesn't necessarily mean that Google or your customers will agree with you. And vice-versa: just because you think a phrase is unimportant, that doesn't mean Google won't rank you highly for it, or that good paying customers won't use it to find you.

 

Keep in mind, you're using third-party tools to "measure" density. They are not Google. They do not know how Google's algorithm weights or calculates any factor. They don't even know for sure if Google uses "keyword density" as a factor (there's evidence they do not, at least not as "keyword density" is generally understood). These toolmakers can guess at the algorithm, but that's all it is -- a guess. And if they manage to figure out something close, by the end of the day it will be wrong again. (Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times a year, on average more than once a day, every day of the week. This is why algo-chasing SEO went out of fashion years ago.)

 

By the way, another thing to keep in mind: rankings are personalized for most searchers. Which means that what you see (or what your third party tool reports) as your "ranking" for any given search phrase doesn't necessarily match what other people are seeing in the real world. While you (and your chosen tool) might take steps to "de-personalize" the search results, keep in mind the vast majority of your customers do not. They probably don't even know their results are being personalized, much less how to avoid it. So rank-checking is a largely futile exercise, as well.

 

Bottom line: stop worrying so much about what your competitors might (or might not) be doing. The things you see them doing may not be what got their pages to rank well. In fact, their pages might be ranking well because of factors you cannot see -- in spite of the stuff you see, not because of what you see. By imitating only the part of what they're doing that you can see, you could actually end up hurting your pages.

 

Focus on making your own pages the best they can be. Write your content to appeal to your human visitors. "Keyword stuffing" is not so much a matter of exceeding some percentage of "density" as it is a subjective judgment that the content "sounds" overdone. Trust your own eyes and ears.

 

Get to know your target audience. Use the words and turns of phrase they would use to describe their pain points and your solutions -- which will naturally be the language they would use when searching for what you offer... which is what "keywords" actually are.

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


Edited by torka, 23 July 2015 - 08:42 AM.
clarity

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#8 Jill

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 08:47 AM

Maybe I should stop freaking out over being so close in density as competitors.  :fool:  Although, I guess keyword 'density' does still does apply in one sense, that being, you can still keyword 'stuff'.

 

 

Bingo!


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#9 chrishirst

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:18 PM

 

 

 

AND

 

A self promo link drop.

 

http://webmaster-tal...keyword-density


Edited by chrishirst, 23 July 2015 - 06:21 PM.





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