If you aren’t using specific targeted keywords in your content, your search engine rankings could be significantly harmed. By incorporating keywords into your site copy, your chances of ranking for those key terms is far more likely.
But before we get into the strategy of utilizing keywords in your content, let’s first get on the same page about search engine optimization, or SEO.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the process of gaining traffic from free, organic search results on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Through SEO, you can increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
SEO is one of the key online marketing channels that can pay dividends over time. By optimizing your content, you’ll be signaling to search engines on how to crawl your site, helping your content get indexed and displayed within their search results. This increases traffic coming to your website, ultimately maximizing your revenue generation.
How Do Keywords Factor Into SEO?
Now that you’re understanding SEO basics, one of the best ways to optimize your content is by defining specific keywords to target on your site. To define these, think of what you want to rank for, and what you want potential customers to search to find you. It is also important to look at what search terms some of your competitors are ranking for. This way, you can optimize for keywords to try to outrank the competition.
That being said, where you put your keywords is just as important as what keywords you are using. Let’s look at some examples.
Where to Put Keywords in Your Copy
Here are some places we suggest you keep in mind when adding keywords to your site:
In your title
Google will pay particular attention to the title of your page. By putting your keywords in your title, it will significantly influence your search engine rankings.
When adding keywords to your title, you will want to avoid “click-baiting” your audience. For example, including a vague title can disguise the true meaning of the search intent, making it less appealing to viewers, as well as the search engines.
In your metadata
If you add keywords to your metadata, you are more likely to get clicks to your site because these keywords pop up in your page description. Google also reads these areas to determine which pages to display for a particular search.
Did you know the first organic position in Google has an average click-through rate of 28.5%? Because the top rankings on Google are expected to receive the most traffic, it is important to include primary keywords or keyphrases to stand out to searchers.
Throughout your body content
Google and other search engines will crawl your entire page, looking at all of the text. By adding keywords consistently within your content, these search engines will be able to pick up this keyword focus and reward you in the rankings.
Be careful not to overdo it, though; “keyword stuffing” is seen as a negative practice by Google and other entities. Instead of keyword stuffing on your page, aim to create compelling and valuable content with information that readers can utilize. Google will find this just as valuable.
In your headers
Embedding keywords into your H1, H2, and H3 headers is another way to make them prominent for both users and Google. Try different variations to ensure they don’t come off as spam.
It is also important to note that the lower the header numbers go, the less valued they are by Google. That means inserting your primary keyword as the H1 is very important because it holds the most value. From there, you can sprinkle secondary and additional keywords in the proceeding headers.
According to a Reboot study, Google determines the authority of a page based on the links embedded. If you tie a relevant link to a specific keyword phrase, it can help with your overall SEO efforts.
Within the website URL
The domain name and actual page name are influential in keyword rankings. If you have the ability to alter these aspects, try to incorporate your main keyword phrase. You will ideally want your keyword located at the beginning of the URL, but anywhere within the slug is better than nowhere at all.
Make sure the file name of your image is a keyword phrase you want to rank for. Your photo could also pop up in Google Images for that keyword phrase and lead people to your site. Another place to plug in keywords is within the alt and title tags of an image, which can be found within the code of the image itself.
Commonly Asked Questions About SEO Keywords
Want to learn more about keywords and their use in your SEO strategy? If so, we have answered some of the industry’s most common questions here:
Why is keyword research so important?
Keyword research gives you definitive insights into what your target audience is actually searching for in search engines. Because of that, it is important to conduct thorough keyword research so you are able to get in front of consumer questions and ultimately move up the search engine rankings.
Where can I discover popular keywords?
There are several tools we would recommend when looking for popular keywords. One of those tools is the MozBar Keyword Explorer tool, which provides a sleek and simple user experience, as well as the opportunity to search keywords and view their monthly search volume, organic click-through rate (or CTR), as well as their difficulty.
Are you new to keyword research and need some helpful tools to conduct thorough keyword research? Here are some additional platforms we recommend:
What is a primary keyword?
A primary keyword is going to be the #1 keyword on a page or the keyword that your page is centered on. Once you find the primary keyword for a page, it can be used as a focal point when you go to look for secondary and additional keywords that can be added to the page.
Is there a difference between a keyphrase and a keyword?
If you cannot remember the difference between the two, just look back at the word itself for a nice reminder. A keyword consists of one word, while a keyphrase consists of two or more words. Keep in mind that a keyphrase can also be known as a long-tail keyword.
Keyphrases are very important when it comes to targeting niche, long-form searches. This is due to the natural cadence of search intent, or the purpose of the search itself. On top of that, keyphrases usually have less search volume, which means there is not as much competition as opposed to broad keywords.
A good tip to keep in mind is to target keyphrases that are in the form of questions, as approximately 8% of all searches are phrased as questions.
How many keywords should I use on a page?
We would suggest that you use anywhere from two to five keyword variations depending on what you are writing. If you try to load a page with too many keywords, it could come across as spammy in the eyes of Google.
5 Best Practices for Keyword Research
Keyword research can be considered one of the most important steps of the optimization process, as it is what is ultimately going to be drawing people to your website.
Here are some quick tips and takeaways for doing your own keyword research:
- Make sure keywords match the search intent – People want to find answers to their endless queries, so keep in mind that your keywords should continue to fulfill the overall goal of why people are clicking and reading through the page. Keep it simple and to the point!
- Avoid keyword stuffing – Google views this as spammy. If you are adding keywords in places that are unnatural or excessive, you will not rank as highly as you would if keywords are naturally placed within your titles and body copy.
- Perform keyword research regularly – Just like trends, keywords and phrases are consistently changing and evolving, so it is important to stay on top of your research.
- Find terms competitors rank for – As stated above, SpyFu is a terrific resource for keeping track of your competitors’ keyword rankings. From there, you are able to utilize the information you gathered and apply it to your own copy.