• How to Use Word Clouds to Improve Your SEO

You have your keyword list that you keep in the back of your mind when writing content for your website, but do you really have a good sense of how Google “sees” your website?  Word clouds can be the perfect tool to help you get a quick and intuitive understanding of how your content appears to a machine.  Although word clouds are not frequently used in the field of SEO, they can be extremely effective.

What is a Word Cloud?

If you aren’t familiar, a word cloud turns a bunch of text into a graphic that displays each word sized based on how frequently the word is used.  The greater the number of occurrences of the word in the text, the larger that word appears.  For example, a word cloud of the Wikipedia page on marketing looks like this:

marketing word cloud

From the word cloud we can see that beyond the word “marketing”, the Wikipedia page focuses on research and product.  Not only is it a quick way to see what a web page is about, but it gives you a graphical way to get a rough understanding of how Google views the content on a page.  Word clouds won’t take into account the technical elements of SEO such as backlinks, headers, and alt tags, but they do give you a better understanding of your content.

How do I Make a Word Cloud?

Thanks to a former IBM engineer named Jonathan Feinberg, you can make your own word clouds free of charge by visiting his site: http://wordle.net.  Simply copy and paste any set of text or the link to a page that has an RSS feed into wordle.net and it will instantly create a word cloud.  Once the word cloud has been generated, you can manipulate the color, font, and orientation of the words.

Why Word Clouds Help with SEO

Back to the subject of SEO, while it is important to write content that first and foremost is interesting to your target audience, a little keyword optimization is also recommended.  Word clouds are a tool that will help you to visualize that keyword optimization.

So, to wrap up this blog post, it only seems appropriate to see if I have been successful in targeting keywords that are relevant to ThriveHive.  The word cloud below shows that while the content of this article is fairly dispersed, the key message around word clouds, content, and SEO is standing out in the results:

blog post word cloud

So, the next time you finish a piece of content to be published online, create a word cloud to get a sense of what Google is going to think the article is about. If Google has it “wrong”, then it is probably worth taking some time to modify some of the wording.  It doesn’t matter how great a piece of content is if nobody ever finds it.  Give Google a fighting chance by appropriately emphasizing your key message.