When it comes to creating content for your website or articles for building links back, it can be difficult to create something which is well optimized with your target keywords but which also looks smooth and natural to your human readers. Optimized, keyword-rich content often sounds mechanical and even grammatically incorrect, especially when it comes to optimizing for long-tail keywords. This might have a positive impact on your ranking for those keywords, but at the same time, it can hurt your conversion rate and credibility. In this article, we’ll be looking at some simple and practical approaches to solving this problem.

The Question of Keyword Density

There are numerous opinions as to what a good keyword density is, ranging from one percent use of the primary keyword all the way up to three or four percent. So who is right and how do you apply this in your SEO content writing? A good guideline (according to Google and Yahoo) is to keep your primary keywords at a solid one percent and to use your secondary keywords about one to three times each 100 words.

For example, if your primary keyword is “aggressive dog training” and your secondary keywords are “stop dog aggression,” “aggressive dog behavior,” and “dominant dog behavior,” you would use “aggressive dog training” once every 100 words and all of your secondary keywords at least once every 200 words. This will keep your content from being littered with excessive keywords and help it to flow naturally.

Placement of Keywords

The placement of your keywords is also very important when it comes to creating well-optimized content that will gain favorable attention from readers as well. For example, your primary keyword should occur as soon as possible within the first sentence and again at the end of the first paragraph. This is a signal to your readers that the content they are reading will be relevant to the specific keyword which they probably used to find your content.

In addition, create a paragraph length of approximately 100 words and use your primary keyword once within each paragraph. Finally, include an occurrence of your keyword within the last sentence of your content. This gives you enough occurrences to optimize your content for the search engines while keeping the keyword occurrences spread out enough to keep them from sounding too deliberate.

Dealing With Awkward Sounding Keywords

In some cases, the actual keywords you're optimizing for will have built-in awkwardness which makes it impossible to keep up your keyword density up AND to be grammatically correct. For example, the long tail keyword “Graphic design San Diego,” might be a very good keyword for a company in San Diego that specializes in graphic design because of its relevancy, search volume, and specificity. However, the phrase itself would sound very awkward to a human reader if it was used within the context of an actual article or within the company home page copy.

This is where you can use “stop words” within the long tail keyword in order to make it sound more readable. Stop words are words that the search engines filter out in order to speed up search results. For example, the words: all, also, am, in, again, after an, and many other stop words can be used in the middle of your keyword phrase without compromising the integrity of the phrase itself when it comes to your keyword density. So if your primary keyword was “Graphic design San Diego,” and you wanted to make it sound smoother, you could include the stop word “in” and thus make the phrase read: “Graphic Design in San Diego.”

Since the word “in” is filtered out by the search engines, this approach won't have a negative impact on your efforts to optimize your content for the keyword “Graphic design San Diego.” Punctuation can also be used to make long-tail keywords sound more natural without inhibiting your optimization strategy. For example, if you are optimizing for the keyword “Graphic design San Diego,” you could create a sentence that reads:

“If you are looking for a great solution for Graphic design, San Diego has many companies to choose from. However, if you want to work with someone who understands the principles of marketing and branding…”

Use of “Google Synonyms” in Your Content

“Google synonyms” are words that Google considers to be either equal or VERY closely related to a primary keyword. For example, the words “management” and “leadership” are considered to be closely related because of the fact that many people who search for one keyword search for the other. You can find out this information by typing the tilde character (~) into the search bar, followed by the keywords for which you want to generate synonyms for. For example, by typing in the search term “~leadership” you will find that the word “management” and the word “leadership” are both highlighted in bold within the search engine results.

This is telling you that the word “management” is closely associated with the word “leadership” and that using them both within your content strategy could therefore be a powerful tool for optimizing for either keyword. So as a part of your keyword research, find a few synonyms which relate to your primary and secondary keywords and use them within your content. This will create variety as well as a healthy keyword density without having to litter your content with repetitive primary and secondary keywords.


Use these three simple guidelines the strategies when you are creating your articles and your webpage copy. These will help you to keep your keyword density up and your content relevant while also having an attractive appearance and readability to your human readers. Always remember that the job of the search engines is to deliver relevant, high-quality content to readers. Make this your number one objective as well, and you’ll be well ahead of your competition.