Like all trainers, I’ve tended to develop “hobby horses”, points I find myself emphasizing over and over when offering corporate blogging help. Using word tidbits is one of those “hobby horse” things for me. A good word tidbit is any particular combination of everyday words that helps readers have an “aha!” moment, where they’re able to unify things they maybe already knew, but either hadn’t really understood or hadn’t translated into action.
If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase “baker’s dozen” comes from, here’s the “skinny”:
In the 1200’s British bread makers were notorious for cheating customers by giving them very skimpy loaves. Finally King Henry III decreed that loaf “shorting” would be punished with beatings or jail sentences. To stay on the good side of that law, bakers would actually give 13 loaves to any customer ordering a dozen.
When it comes to keywords in blog posts, it seems, content writers tend to err on both sides of the “dozen”, either neglecting keyword phrases or over-stuffing. By using keywords in the title and in the first sentences of the blog post, we assure our readers that the information they’re seeing is intended for them. If we “short” keywords, we’re also not letting search engines know which topics we’re targeting.
As I caution newbies to corporate blogging, though, it’s not effective to target too many keywords. “Stuffing blog posts with keywords makes the text unnatural-sounding, which, as bloggingpro.com explains, “provides a negative user experience and will probably get you penalized by search engines.”
The Google Webmasters site has something to say about keyword use as well: "Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords. Google’s recommendation: "Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context."