SEO Data: What Do The Numbers Mean?

The myth about keyword density

Nobody cares about keyword density.

Google doesn’t care.

Our SEO manager doesn’t care.

Google doesn’t run your content through a supercomputer and then devalue it if it includes the keyword less than N times. It’s just not true. Maybe this worked in the past, when I was in grade school, but it doesn’t work now. Just include the keywords in your text as naturally as possible. Instead of stuffing the crap out of keywords, focus on using natural, conversational language in your SEO copy.

If you have some idea of what you’re writing about, you’re probably doing this without even having to pay attention to it. That’s the beauty of conversational writing. An added bonus of writing with a conversational tone is it makes your site seem friendlier and more approachable.

Bounce rates

Bounce rate indicates the number of users who only go 1 page deep on a site.

According to this article by Ann Smarty, having a bounce rate of less than 50% is optimal. That means 50% of the traffic directed to your page stays and clicks through your site. It’s an indication that you’re satisfying your readers’ need for information.

• 60-70% is pretty typical.
• Anything over 70% is considered “poor.”

A better thing to measure is how the site overall is performing, i.e. how much money it’s making for you or your clients. There’s nothing to worry about if you’re meeting your revenue goals with a 90% bounce rate. Some sites are going to have higher bounce rates by virtue of the information they’re designed to share. If your site is heavy on words and dense with information, people will be inclined to stay for a while – time on page increases and bounce rate decreases.

If your site is designed to share snippets of information, people will treat it more like it’s grab-and-go.

Bounce rates are known to fluctuate wildly after sites are redesigned, too. Look at your bottom line before you freak out about bounce rates.

PageRank

A lot of people think it’s called PageRank because it’s the page’s rank. Not quite. It’s actually named after Google co-founder Larry Page. It’s designed to measure the overall “importance,” based on authority and relevancy, of a linked set of documents. The higher the PageRank, the more authoritative Google thinks your site is. The way you get a higher PageRank is by earning links on sites with high PageRanks themselves.

Links

The more the better, and it used to be you could get them anywhere. Comment, directory, forum spam worked great. Generic link networks worked great. In the olden days, you could smother your competition with ten tons of crap and win every time. Google got wise to that, and now you’re better off doing your link building in one of two ways.

The first involves creating content that is undeniably good and then putting it in front of an audience who will share it for you. They share it because it adds tremendous value to their lives. This is known as creating “viral” content. It’s easier said than done.

The second involves forming relationships with webmasters and bloggers who rely on you to provide them with exclusive information or content they don’t have time to write themselves. In other words, guest blogging. Popular forums for guest blogging include MyBlogGuest.com and PostJoint.com. But you can do it the old-fashioned way, too – by collecting contact information from blogs and then contacting their webmasters. It’s very slow going at first, but the relationships you form will help you tremendously as your list of contacts grows.

Instead of link building, it’s useful to think of yourself as doing digital public relations instead. Treat your bloggers the same way you would treat any other journalist, whether they make money doing it or not.

In a future post, I’ll talk about how to target bloggers who will help you help your clients without having to spend a fortune doing it.