In this post, I will talk about keywords and how to use them on a website properly. This is a difficult subject for almost all bloggers, but I want to share with you a few tips to improve your chances of getting first or second page rankings.
Hopefully, after you read this article some of the pieces will come together, and you will be in a position where you can take low-hanging keywords and turn them into high-quality content which in turn will rank better in search engines.
A Lesson On Keywords & Why I Don’t Emphasise On Them
Keywords are basically what tells the search engines what, “you” the surfer, are looking for. Traditionally, when Google was still a clunky, slow and relatively simple algorithm, this was very easy to manipulate with fake backlinks, keyword stuffing and a variety of other shameful black hat SEO techniques.
Now, in 2016 however, this is no longer the case. Now, due to personal information collected on you and the development of highly advanced software updates, Google and Bing are now able to much more accurately “know” what you are looking for. Add in the fact that the search algorithms now are much more able to identify the difference between modern terminologies, imagery, slang words, metaphors and much, MUCH more – it has become more about content and how a high-quality article complements the keywords.
Add in the bonus that search engines are much more adapted to spotting spam and low-quality websites now, the focus on keywords have shifted somewhat. Having said that, they do still matter of course but let me explain…
I Don’t Emphasise On Them
Generally speaking; I DO NOT focus on keywords. This is because if you focus too much on keywords, you lose track of what you goal is. Your goal should be to provide quality content and to engage your audience.
When people put too much emphasis on keywords and “where to place them” and “is my keyword density high enough??” they make the web site tough to read and, even quite often, their website loses a lot of faith because it becomes too obvious they are trying too hard.
Google is looking for websites which have a high readership who engage and appreciate the valued content on your website. You should focus on building your website out in a natural way and let all keywords flow onto your pages organically.
I just wanted to cover this because it is vital that you don’t try and force keywords on every page and posts because you will suffer in the long run. Every word you write is a NATURAL keyword which is indexed and processed by the search engines. If you write organic, engaging and powerful articles, then the rest will happen with time.
So, Where Do I Use Keywords?
I place my keywords;
- In the title and then ONCE in the opening paragraph. That is the only time I put them anywhere within the article with intent and purpose. From then on in I do not think about it again and I quite simply focus on one thing, and one thing only – writing good content.
- Image Alt Tag – I also place a variation of the keywords in the alt tag and the title of the image I use.
- Meta description – I leave the meta description to my All-In-ONE SEO plug-in. This no longer has any bearing on rankings as it is just the text that people see in search results under your title. However, you can edit it if you feel you can create something more catchy and pleasant to the reader.
- Navigational/Content text links – I do use these but never as an exact match of keywords. This will be seen as spam by search engines. I use variants and relevant related words to link with text links.
- H1/2 Tag – This is the title which is usually automatically placed as at the top of the blog post by your default theme.
I start off with an idea, and once I have developed it, I think about where to place my keyword phrase and it is the same every time. There is no secret behind it. It is simple.
From then on I write the content as I believe the reader would want it with plenty of useful information and honest advice. I see it like this;
Whichever keyword you are using for your article it will be the topic and idea of the whole article so, any content you write will naturally fit the context of the keyword. Does that make sense?
So, as long as you write a high-quality blog post which is clearly organised and well written then it will be filled with hundreds or even thousands of phrases which will organically be indexed by the search engines and drive traffic to your website.
How Will Search Engines Know Which Keywords I Want To Target?
If you run with the idea, I just explored in the previous paragraph by only placing the keyword in the first paragraph and the title. Think of that as an introduction to the search engines;
“Here I am, and this is what my article is about”
The rest of the blog post will – hopefully – be written in a natural way, and the search engines will glean the context from your content and rank you accordingly.
In this day and age, Google & Bing have become extremely smart at detecting which websites have good and bad content. The days of black hat techniques and sneaky tactics to trick them into thinking you are an authority website when you are not are long gone. Sure, there are still people out there who can make a lot of money and get a lot of traffic in unsavoury ways but their days are numbered.
By using the keyword phrases on your website in a decent and organic way you are ensuring a long term, almost guaranteed traffic source to your website.
Of course, some of your articles will never be ranked but most of them will, especially as your authority grows and you spread your mark on the Internet. Many more articles will rank if you manage your post layout well and target low competition keywords which are even easier to rank for.
What Are Your Thoughts?
There are many opinions out there and a wide variety of results regarding search engines ranking. That is the tricky thing I guess because there are so many factors which enter into the equation it means it is tricky to 100% assess whether or not your decision to include keywords in your meta description or your Link text actually contributed to your results.
Please share your thoughts on the subject below.