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John Mueller, a senior webmaster trend analyst at Google, answered the long-existing query about the appropriate placement of focus keywords on long web pages. His answer came as a response to an inquiry by a person who aimed to understand how one can communicate to google the gist of a 20’000 word article.
Mueller answered the question in light of his understanding of how Google Analytics work. For Google to understand what a webpage is about, the right placement of keywords is essential.
Impact of Keywords on Webpage Ranking
The person who put forth this question was mainly concerned about the impact on the ranking of articles due to their extensive wording. Lengthy articles are difficult to rank, especially if they contain competitive keywords.
These articles may touch upon a variety of topics, not completely unrelated to the main topic, but important in themselves. These subtopics may be so deliberately explained that they could potentially be used for an individual article.
With this information in mind, the task of using keywords to bring more attention to long word web pages becomes a legit and relevant concern.
Highlighting Important topics through Lists
John Mueller’s advice on the matter of appropriate placement of keywords on lengthy web pages was to make a list. The list must include the major parts of a web page so that the keywords used in the list can convey to google the topics a web page covers.
Mueller did not recommend overflowing the list with keyword phrases, but only to include those that are vital in communicating the meaning of the web page.
Mueller’s Recommendation for making Lists
Mueller recommends relying on one’s own intuition to make lists. The author of the web page is most qualified to understand what the web page is conveying, thus he should put those words in the list that best get his message across. Mueller does have some recommendations for making lists, they are as follows:
“So… I would recommend that if there’s something that you want to tell us that your page is about, to make that as visible as possible.
Make up your own mind though.
So don’t just put that as a one-word mention at the bottom of your article but rather:
- use it in your titles
- use it in your headings
- use it in your subheadings
- use it in captions from images
All of these things, to make it as clear as possible for users and for Google when they go to your page that this page is about this topic.
So that’s kind of the direction I would head there. I would not worry about can Google’s get to the word number 20,000 or not.
Because if you’re talking about the word 20,000 and you’re saying this is the most important keyword for my page, then you’re already doing things wrong.”
Google Algorithm Works like a Site Visitor:
To allow regular users to better understand the workings of the Google’s Algorithm, Mueller used the analogy of a site visitor. Google’s understands what a page is about the same way a site visitor does; through clear and concise wording.
“You really need to make sure that the (kind of the) information that tells us what this page is about is as obvious as possible so that when users go there they’re like yes, I made it to the right page, I will read what this page has to tell me.”
Mueller’s analogy of a site visitor is useful and good advice as it implies making use of various web page elements to convey what a page is about. However, it is important that focus keywords match up with the images and paragraphs they describe so that the authenticity and relevancy of the web page content are not compromised.
As stated earlier, conceptualizing questions about SEO through the imagined experience of a site visitor is a useful way of coming to logical conclusions. It is not difficult to put oneself in the place of a site visitor and gauge Google’s understanding of a webpage by comparing it to that of the site visitor.