Does search engine optimization really make a difference? Isn't it better just to create rich content at your web site, rather than playing around with keywords and the like?
To test what difference, if any, increasing the keyword density of a basic article has on bringing visitors to the page, I set up a little experiment in SEO.
First I created a short article on keywording. That took about an hour. I didn't think too much about the words I used, I just wrote the article. (If you would like to read the article, you will need to find it using a search engine!)
Then I duplicated the original article and made a new version. I took some time to make several SEO adjustments to the new version, including adding keywords and keyword phrases throughout the body text and in the source of the page. So for the final version, we can say:
Time to write: 1 hour
Time to optimize: 20 minutes
That seems like a good balance to me. You don't want to become obsessed with cramming keywords into your pages, but on the other hand, if you've spent some effort creating good web content, you really should do a little promotion, and proper keywording is the easiest cheapest promotion tool there is - or so they say! A 75% to 25% percent ratio of writing to optimizing seems just about right.
Well, what happened?
The following table shows the total number of times the two different web pages have been read in total:
|An Experiment in Optimizing Web Pages for Search Engines (Not Optimized)||1,621|
|An Experiment in Optimizing Web Pages for Search Engines (Optimized)||10,739|
Clearly there is an effect in favour of keywording. The page that has been optimized is receiving more visitors. However, from an economic perspective, the optimized page needs to get about 35% more visitors to make a profit over the un-optimized one. How is it doing?