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Content Synonyms Almost As Important As Main Keyword Phrase

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SEO synonyms

Content synonyms are so important to search engine optimization that they often can attract more search engine results than the main keyword phrase in an article.

Good SEO requires identifying through effective research a keyword phrase that is both commonly used by searchers and an accurate description of an article’s main subject.

Sometimes a site publisher can get wrapped up in chasing after the top position on the first page of a search engine. He or she may lose sight of the fact that people can reach the article with other related search phrases.

It’s an understandable desire to get the top position. Research shows that first position can attract up to 50 percent of the total clicks in search results. The second position may have around 15 to 20 percent, the third position less than 10 percent and so forth down the page.

Of course, a site publisher, writer or editor has other priorities to chase. Efforts to find and implement synonyms may simply get forgotten. In that case, it pays to schedule a weekly or monthly review of important content to improve the use of synonyms.

How to Identify Synonyms

Most analytics software makes it easy to identify at least some synonyms. They usually have a report showing the search terms that people use to reach an article on the site. The reports may reveal some synonym opportunities.

An article about “Caribbean weather in October” uses that term as the main keyword phrase because a certain number of people use the phrase in their searches. But “Caribbean in October” is a related and similar phrase, as well as “weather in the Caribbean in October”.

People may reach the page using the first term 100 times during a month and reach it 10 times each using the other two phrases. So far so good. But an application such as the Google Keyword Tool may show that seachers potentially use the second two phrases 50 times a month instead of 10.

That insight suggests the second two phrases are somehow under utilized on the article. Maybe they appear only once, at the bottom of the article or not at all. Either way, an opportunity may exist with improving the article’s appeal to search engines with a little experimentation. Opportunities include adding:

  1. Synonyms to subheads
  2. More frequent synonyms in body copy
  3. Synonyms in photo and graphic names, alt tags and captions

Keyword research tools also are a way for an online publisher to identify synonyms that lead to new sections of content within an existing article. That article about “Caribbean weather in October” might benefit from a new section about “western Caribbean cruises in October” because it is related and relevant content. More relevant content may lead to more visits.

Take Care With Keyword Stuffing

As always, keyword stuffing is a big risk with search engine optimization. Various online search experts believe search engines are getting more aggressive with what they think are unnatural attempts to get better rankings.

It’s another way of saying that they don’t like it when sites try to appeal more to search engines than to real people.

While using more and better synonyms is a good idea, using too many of them or using them too often is not.

It’s wise to use one or two at most in the meta description and then only a handful throughout the article. The length of the article matters, too. Three synonyms used two times apiece in a 100-word article is much more obnoxious and risky than using them that much in a 1,000-word article.

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