"Search engines rank individual pages, not your site as a whole," writes Nick Stamoulis at the Search Engine Optimization Journal. "This means that each page needs to be optimized for itself by choosing the keywords that most accurately reflect the content." As a result, many companies build Web pages around their target keywords.

But Stamoulis believes in reversing that process—incorporating keywords only after you've created high-quality content. Here's why:

Copy written around specific keywords often sounds disjointed or haphazard. It's important to prioritize the experience for your human visitors. You want to rank well so they find you—obviously—but you also want to make a sale. And if potential customers see keyword-laden gobbledygook, the odds of this happening become less likely. Further, as algorithms become more sophisticated, this copywriting style won't even appeal to search engines.

Individual pages might develop away from initial keyword research. If you use certain terms as a foundation for the page, you lose a degree of flexibility as your site evolves. "You may find it beneficial to add new pages while condensing or deleting others," Stamoulis notes. "Choosing your keywords first may limit your creativity and [affect] the overall flow of your site."

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