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Monday, September 25, 2006

Adsense and keyword content...an addendum to the keyword density discussion...

Recently, I wrote a series of posts about the notion of optimal keyword density. In short, I maintain that there is no such thing as an optimal KD and that there is no particular need to insist upon content that utilizes designated keywords at a particular rate. You can read the whole story here, here, and here, if you'd like.

I will write content at any required keyword density to comport with client expectations, but I personally don't feel that it is a necessity and I find that those who advocate a particular density as a "magic bullet" for better SERPs are off-base.

However, that doesn't mean that there isn't at least one good reason to use content that emphasizes a particular keyword to the exclusion of other terms. Sometimes, that strategy can make a great deal of sense--particularly when one is writing with contextual advertising earnings in mind.

Although the idea of keyword-targeted text to help assist in controlling contextual advertising relevance isn't contradictory with the stance I took in my earlier arguments, it does represent a circumstance in which keeping a very close eye on word choices does make a difference, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

Let's say you have an Adsense site that is devoted to the topic of "sock monkeys." Let's also assume for a moment that "sock monkey" and its more obvious derivatives are high competition terms and that clicks can bring as much as five dollars each. You want to cash in on that potential bonanza, so you get in touch with me to write some articles about sock monkeys for your site.

Meanwhile, Puppet Productions, Inc., is working on their pay-per-click campaign over at Adwords. They have sock money patterns they'd like to sell, but are aghast at the huge cost of targeting the obvious keywords. They do some research and find a few related terms that they can capture less expensively, reasonably believing that those who use those terms will still want to buy sock monkey patterns. Among their finds is that they can buy clicks from "stocking ape patterns" for a mere five cents per click!

Well, while that is happening, I am writing content. You didn't bother giving me much in the way of direction in terms of keywords for your Adsense material, and I am now working on the 150th sock monkey article. It's title? "Stocking Ape Patterns: Choosing the Best."

It's a wonderful, well-written and information-rich article. It does use the term "sock monkey" a few times, but it uses "Stocking Ape Patterns" with an even greater frequency. You read it, like it, and put it right on the main page of your site!

When you look at what ads are being served up on your page, you'll notice the very first one there belongs to the good people at Puppet Productions.

Everything seems to be working perfectly. You are getting a nice traffic flow and your click-through rate is above expectations. But there is a problem. Those clicks are netting you no more than three cents most of the time! Where are the ultra-valuable five dollar clicks????

Well, you aren't getting them because your visitors are clicking on Puppet Productions' ad, which they bought for a nickel. You have the title of the "Stocking Ape" article bolded and in an H1 tag. You have the whole article, filled with its numerous references to "stocking ape patterns" out there for all to see. Google is reading that page and saying, "hey, this is a great place to serve up 'stocking ape patterns.'" and that is exactly what they are doing.

Those big money clicks are buried under the equally relevant cheapies.

The point to this extended hypothetical is that it does make sense, under particular circumstances, to commission content with tighter word choice controls and attention to keyword density. If you had told me to make sure the predominant keyword was "sock monkey" and to stay away from less common related synonyms like "stocking ape," those clicks would be worth a lot more...

Yes, that is a gross oversimplification of how things work. I understand that. However, there is a definite truth at its core. If you are buying content with the primary purpose of generating contextual advertising revenues, make sure your writer is talking about sock monkeys and isn't prattling on about stocking apes.

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