When developing a new website, we’re often asked a recurring question: are similar keywords the same? For example, are ‘pastries in Kalamazoo,’ ‘Kalamazoo pastries,’ and ‘pastries Kalamazoo’ all considered the same phrase by Google? Well, as with all things related to search engine marketing, the answer isn’t perfectly clear. In recent years, it’s been stated – most often by famous WordPress plugins – that web designers shouldn’t use the same keyword on multiple pages. Often referred to as ‘keyword cannibalization,’ the theory is that you don’t want to compete with yourself. That is, you don’t want to dilute your efforts to rank for ‘Kalamazoo pastries’ across multiple pages. Instead, you should focus on creating – and ranking for – a single page that authoritatively states everything you want to say about ‘Kalamazoo pastries.’
But, seriously, are similar keywords the same?
Not really. But, more importantly, it doesn’t really matter. Google is continually refining its algorithm and seeking newer, better ways to classify page content. It doesn’t scan pages with the intent of reducing them down to a single core subject. It doesn’t care that you’ve defined ‘Kalamazoo pastries’ as the page’s meta keyword or that you’ve used it the recommended five times. Instead, it takes a broad view of the page that accounts for the context of your keywords, their relevance, and – sure – their frequency.
Realistically, whether you intend to or not, you’re going to end up repeating keywords in the course of speaking naturally about your company’s offerings. Keyword cannibalization aside, it’s virtually impossible to write a web page that only ranks for a single keyword. Rather than restricting your writing to eliminate repeat keywords, focus on being authentic. Write blogs, articles, and pages that communicate in the same way you would speak about your offerings.
So I should repeat my key phrases ad infinitum?
Well, obviously not. Keyword stuffing is a great way to sink your website’s search engine rankings. If you want to write about the same subject multiple times across multiple pages, you should instead select similar – but noticeably different – keywords. More importantly, you should craft content that doesn’t compete with itself. So, if you have a blog post about ‘The Best Kalamazoo Pastries in Town’ you shouldn’t create a post about ‘The Best Pastries in Kalamazoo.’ Instead, try ‘How We Make the Most Delicious Pastries in Kalamazoo’ or ‘5 Ways to Enjoy the Tastiest Pastries in Kalamazoo.’
Fine, are similar keywords the same if they don’t compete?
Now we’re getting somewhere! No, they absolutely aren’t. And, while you probably don’t want to specifically target the exact same keyword twice, there’s no harm in using similar keywords, as long as the content that contains them doesn’t compete with other content on your site. Aim to create compelling, authoritative content that answers your visitors’ questions. If you’re having trouble coming up with blog topics, for example, you might start by creating a list of common questions that your customers have. From there, you can create interesting – and unique! – content that you know will pique the interest of searchers.
At Creative Marketing Group, we pride ourselves on offering top-quality content marketing, search engine optimization, and website design in Kalamazoo. With decades of experience crafting memorable, keyword-focused content, we can work with you to develop an SEO strategy that ranks your website competitively on Google, Bing, and other search engines. So, if you have concerns about your ability – or availability – when it comes to quality website content, contact us today to discuss how we can help.