Friday, April 3, 2009

SEO - Theme Density

I was talking to an American chap recently about SEO practices and he kept making reference to Theme Density. I tried to explain that I was completely unfamiliar with the term but he wasn’t very good at explaining what he meant. I did a bit of research and found several articles that made reference to Theme Density but I haven’t been able to figure out a) whether the practice actually works, b) whether it is a bon fide ‘legal’ strategy, and c) what the limitations are for content duplication in smaller sites.

Basic overview time for those not familiar with the term, I guess. Theme Density refers to building internal linking structures throughout a network of pages and posts that develop strong semantic links (related data content), occurrences of matching keyphrases and synonyms, and thematic modifiers. Now in laymen’s terms; you write several posts all of which are interlinked to each other through multiple keyphrases, while also all being around the same general topic. Basically.

The result of all this is that within those keyphrases you will start to gain multiple search results on both broad match and exact match keywords. By making the practice habitual throughout everything you post, you start to show more page results over certain keywords. Hence Theme Density.

Seems clear and easy (to be honest I’m not sure why that guy couldn’t explain it?).

The best example I have come across is Wikipedia. Consider all the words within a wikipage that are linked to other wikipages describing that term. Now think about how many times you performed a search and Wikipedia is the top result! In the case of Wikipedia this is further reinforced as each word that links to it’s own article, features itself as the H1 on the other end, possible as the H2 and H3 too.

This however is where the average person starts to think about the number of posts necessary to do this effectively, or rather the number of existing posts to do this effectively. It’s a lot. Plus there’s no point in retrospectively linking an old post to a newer one. So the process is slow, and requires that you post a lot, linking between related posts several times for each post you make.

Unfortunately while I now (think I) understand what the process is, why it’s beneficial and how to do it, I haven’t answered any of my original three questions.

Back to the research!

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