All about Keyword Placement and Why Google might rank Plagiarized Content Higher

4 min read
keyword placement

A week has gone by since we shared the story on How to Use Keywords in Content and now we have an interesting follow-up question being asked by someone and answered by none other John Mueller in Google SEO Office-hours where answers questions on everything SEO. Where do you place your focus keyword in an article, especially if it is a lengthy, informative piece so that Google understands what the page and the article is all about how and how to rank it?

keyword placement

No, it can’t be just once at the bottom of the page!

Long articles, as we understand, generally do rank better but how does the focus keyword and its competitiveness and placement impacts the page’s ranking. Just how do you place it to maximize its SEO impact and get better rankings? Here’s what John Mueller had to say about it.

“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. 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 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.”

keyword placement

When in doubt, think like a visitor!

John wants you to worry less about how Google might see your page and rather focus about how a visitor might think about your page when it lands upon it. Does your page make him or her feel he or she is on the right page? Is the user able to find the answer he or she came looking for? Does the page offer many other, related valuable insights the user may not have thought about? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track. If the answer is no, you must know that is exactly how Google sees your page as well – as a user.

“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.” said Mueller.

plagiarized content ranking higher

That website stole my content and it is ranking higher. Why, Google, just why?

Let us put this straight. When it is happens, it is one of the most hurtful things a website owner can come across, right up there with losing customers and business. In a way, that is exactly how it is. Why Google would choose to rank a content-thievery higher than the original? It is a question for the ages a person asked during the hangout, wanting to know what could be the factors leading to this and what measures we can take to ensure this doesn’t happen. John, first and foremost, discussed about filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint, at least for the website owners in the United States, and then he moved on to the reasons as to why it would happen, but at the same time reassuring Google can very well tell apart the originals from the imposters.

This is what he said in detail.

“From my point of view it’s something that we can determine to a large extent. But even if we know which one is the original and which one is the copy, sometimes it makes sense to show a copy in the search results. So that’s something where it’s like it can happen.”

“And one of the situations where I have seen this happen consistently is if a website is of lower quality overall, where when our systems look at it they’re like, well we can’t really trust this website.

“But if a higher quality website were to take some of this content and publish it, we would say, well we know more about this website and actually maybe we should show this content in the search results. That’s also one of the situations that you might be running into where maybe it’s worthwhile to also invest in improving the quality of your website overall.”

“So not just that one article that apparently people like. But also the rest of your website overall.”

plagiarized content ranking higher

All right, so what is the next step?

Apart from improving the overall quality of the website, and not just the page in question, you might want to review and re-evaluate low-quality inbound and outbound links. It remains one of the most important quality issues that are often overlooked. Yes, quality content is a must, but outside of search queries, it is important to know where the traffic is coming from and going to. If all of this doesn’t work, it may be time to ask a few experts for their opinion.

John Mueller answers the above questions at the 5:15 and 11 minute mark respectively.  If you some time to spare then may be also stick around for the rest of the discussion for some other valuable insights.

Mohit Behl
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