This post was originally written by Ken Shafer, past SEO Manager for Apartments.com.
Everyone’s heard of finding a keyword and trying to rank for it. Next thing someone does is put that keyword in their Title Tag, Description Tag and throughout the copy someplace like their homepage. As far as on-page keyword optimization, what else can you do? Turns out, there’s more you can do on the page to let the search engines know that your page is about a specific keyword or phrase.
Allow me introduce you to latent semantics. Latent semantics is just the technical term for using surrounding words to gain or provide meaning and context. Placing relevant and related words and phrases in close proximity to the keyword you are targeting can actually be a stronger signal to search engines than simply repeating the targeted keyword over and over again. Let’s take a look at an example of how to research and implement latent semantics.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of “search hacks” but they can come in handy. Let me show you one that helps us do a little research. The “tilde(~) search” in Google will highlight words the search engine believes are related to the word you’re searching. Let’s try searching “~apartments.” See how some words throughout the page are displayed in bold type? Google is telling us which words it believes are related to the word “apartments.” That’s a pretty powerful sneak-peek into the brains of a search engine. For example (and let’s exclude the obvious “apartments” and “apartment”)…
- Real estate
… are all displayed in bold type.
Now we can take this new keyword research we’ve just performed and apply it to our copy instead of just repeating the word “apartments” again and again. Where it makes sense, place a few of the words you’ve uncovered physically close to the word you’re targeting. One note, I do always advise that you use any and all relevant iterations of a word though. So, I would recommend using both the plural “apartments” and the singular “apartment” in this case.
Good luck and go forward with another keyword research tool in your belt!