How to use keywords

How to use keywords

You need to know how to correctly use keywords in your content so that your content has a better chance of being found, indexed, and ranked by search engines.

I will provide you with a basic guide on how to correctly and safely use keywords in any type of SEO content that you write/post. While there are many opinions on how to use keywords for SEO, I want to provide you with a quick, step-by-step guide.

What is the search engine's indexing process?

Our search engine indexes any word in any field (title, keywords, summary, content for a knowledge base article) in its root form based on the English stemmer (other languages are not currently supported).

Consequently, if we index "cookies" or someone searches for "cookies", the stemmer will reduce it to something like "cook." Stop words, such as the, is, and at, are not indexed.

What is the fieldwork of the keywords?

The keywords field is indexed like any other field. Therefore, if your search term appears in the keyword field, that article will receive a certain number of points for matching in this field. At the top of the search results list will be displayed the article that has received the highest number of points across all indexed fields.

A maximum number of points can be stored in the keywords field (as well as in all other content fields). It is critical to note that not every match wins the full number of points. Search algorithms take into account the total number of words in the field to determine how many points the match is worth. If, for example, the content field has a total of 10 points, and you have 10 words in this field, and one matches, then you will receive 1 point.

Now, if you look at the same field and we have only 2 words and 1 of those words is a match, you would receive 5 total points. This is an oversimplification of the entire process, however, the principle is correct. Each match will be worth less the more words you have in a field.

In other words, if you add 10 keywords to an article that originally contained only one, those keywords will be negatively impacted in the search engine results.

What is the purpose of the keywords field?

The keywords field should be used as a last resort to achieve the appropriate search ranking for an article. Our Content Tuning process involves manipulating the words in an article based on the keywords our customers use. In this way, our users can find what they are looking for by ranking the article higher in search results.

This field is a very powerful search booster, but should only be utilized as a last resort. These steps should be followed if your article is receiving poor search rankings (article visits are only available for English KB):

  • Is the title of your article accurate in describing the circumstances under which this article might be helpful?

  • Are the words in your search summary representative of the words a user would use to describe what he is looking for?

  • The body of the article should be written in the language of the user. If there are different ways to explain the issue, try to use both. Keep the article concise to increase its effectiveness.

  • In case you have tried all of the other Content Tuning steps outlined above, but are still receiving poor results, you may want to try adding a keyword. The keyword should be the most relevant word your end user would use to describe the issue. Do not simply list each possible way to describe the article topic in the keywords field. Your match will be worth fewer points in the search engines if you do that.

What is the impact of keywords on search engine optimization?

We'll briefly explain what SEO is so that there are no misunderstandings. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and small businesses need to get visible in organic search results. It is expected that the higher your page ranks for a given keyword, the more traffic you will receive for searches associated with that keyword.

SEO relies heavily on keywords, so if you do not use keywords intentionally, your website will not appear on search engine results pages. Through organic search traffic, your business will be able to generate more leads and conversions. Organic search traffic is the lifeblood of search engine optimization.

Googlebot crawls and indexes all web pages to provide users with the most relevant results.

How Many Keywords Should You Use On A Page?

When talking about how many keywords to focus on a page, the answer depends a lot on the keywords you are wanting to use. In terms of how they are related and whether they help to advance the message of the content, it should not be too difficult to come up with a list of 5-10 keywords to focus on. Nevertheless, it does not mean you should concentrate on all 10 keywords at the same time.

First, let's discuss the rules of keyword hierarchy. There are three types of keywords in SEO:

1. Primary Keyword

2. Secondary Keywords

3. Additional Keywords

Ideally, only one primary keyword should be used to drive the meat of the content forward, so the title and subsequent content should reflect that. You cannot write an effective piece of content about two different topics.

A secondary keyword is a keyword that is complementary to the primary keyword, but it has just a slight variation from it. Typically, the main subject will consist of three to five main points, so selecting a handful of those secondary keywords is advisable.

Essentially, additional keywords are those that are spelt or phrased differently, yet are related, to the first two keywords. This is a catch-all net to get different variations of your main keywords in there to try and rank for one (or all) of them. Long-tail keywords are often included in this category.

Again, how many keywords are necessary for SEO?

Most of the time, it will be 3-8 keywords, based on the length of the content. This consists of 1 primary keyword, 1-3 secondary keywords and 1 or more additional keywords. By doing so, you will have a fighting chance of ranking for one of them, and later on, you can reoptimize your content by what it is currently ranking for at that point.

It is also incredibly hard to naturally incorporate that many keywords for SEO into writing and is not required. Using more than eight or so keywords may come off as spammy (assuming that you do not have either extremely long or extremely short articles).

As you write content based on a few really good keywords, related keywords will naturally and automatically appear. Doing more than this causes readability issues and stands out to both readers and Google's crawlers.

Where to Use Keywords for SEO in Your Content Writing

There are certain rules and best practices for adding keywords to a website that will make your SEO efforts more effective. It’s easy to say “you need to add keywords for SEO”, but implementing them is entirely different.

The following steps should be followed when inserting keywords into your content:

1. Use Keywords in Your Meta Description

There are many ways to add keywords to your website for SEO, but this method is often overlooked. For Google to better filter your results, the keyword must be included in the meta description as it serves as a simple summary to describe your content. Using this method, you can place one or two of your most relevant keywords directly on the part of your page which is directly displayed by search engines.

As a refresher, a Meta Description is 160 characters (or 20-25 words) long. This description is what appears under the page name and URL when people search for a keyword phrase on search engines. As an example, the following Meta Description appears on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

How to Use Keywords for SEO in a Meta Description

To optimize your content for SEO and readability, you need to have the appropriate tools. If you use WordPress, you should download the Yoast SEO plugin. By using this plugin, you can optimize your content quickly for both SEO and readability, as well as enter your Meta Description and SEO Title Tag (see step #2).

As a final tip, when using SEO keywords in a meta description, ensure that the keywords are used at least once, but not more than twice. It is important to prioritize a helpful, enticing description over keyword stuffing since this is the first thing someone will read before visiting your website.

When it comes to using keywords for SEO, if you can include a secondary keyword in your meta along with one instance of your primary, you're setting yourself up for success.

2. Insert Keywords in Your SEO Title Tag

First of all, I want you to keep in mind that I am speaking about the SEO title, not your main article title. You will be optimizing that title in just a minute, but let's get some keyword information for your SEO title tag (also called a meta title tag).

This title tag is similar to the meta description in that it is the name of the page that users will see on search engine results pages (SERPs) when they search for a keyword phrase. Upon clicking on this title, the user will be directed directly to your page, as shown below.

How to Use Keywords for SEO in a Meta Title Tag

You have a limited number of characters to use when writing your SEO title tag (about 50-60), similar to meta descriptions. Due to this, you should usually limit your title tag to merely your primary keyword and your company name. In this way, you can accomplish the task in a concise, user-friendly, and SEO-friendly manner.

3. Use Keywords in Your Article Title

Since Google pairs your title header with your meta description to paint a picture of what your content is about, having a keyword in the title is very helpful, as long as it is naturally used in your content.

If your keyword phrase cannot be used naturally in the title, use a variation that still conveys the point of your article. It is better to include a little bit of your keyword phrase than nothing at all.

4. Use Keywords Within the First 200 Words

Many experts believe that Google gives more weight to the first 200 words in your content. The reason for this is that in most articles, the first 100-200 words serve as the introduction of the content. Because most readers only continue reading articles if their introductions are compelling, it stands to reason that they may also serve as ranking factors.

Where to Use Keywords in an Article Introduction

The first 200 words of a blog post are scrutinized by Google, so it is important to emphasize your primary keyword within the first sentence or paragraph, if possible, without sacrificing the quality of the post. Additionally, you should include at least one secondary keyword in the first 200 words (but not in the first sentence).

In optimizing content for keywords, you must be careful to lead Google to the keywords you want it to focus on so that it does not be confused. Remember that Google is trying to obtain an overall picture of what the article is about. The primary keyword should take up all the prominent places, followed by the secondary keyword, followed by any additional keywords. Think of it as a pyramid of keywords.

This article (and introduction) would focus on the top primary keyword, followed by secondary keywords, and then add keywords to form the entire keyword structure and strategy.

5. Use keywords naturally throughout the article

In a seemingly SEO-centered digital world, it is easy to forget that the reader comes first. You should never compromise your reader’s ability to engage, inform and enlighten with your content because of bad keyword placement. Here is one solution to help you write your keywords more naturally in your content.

Stop words should be used in awkward keyword phrases

Use stop words in your keyword writing to help them read more naturally without compromising their ranking value. These words can be added within keyword phrases to help them read more naturally.

As an example, if you were targeting the keyword phrase "plumbing Salt Lake City", you cannot insert it into your content exactly as-is without it looking like a typo or blatant keyword usage.

Try adding the stop word "in" to this phrase and you will have the phrase read "plumbing in Salt Lake City", which can be much more easily inserted into natural writing.

If you wish to add keywords to your website, you can find a list of commonly used stop words.

How Many Keywords Should You Put in Your Content?

In response to this question, I would like to state that the answer to this question completely depends on the type of keywords you have and the length of your content.

It is generally recommended that you insert your primary keyword approximately once every 100-150 words. For example, if you are writing a 1000-word article, insert your primary keyword approximately seven to ten times.

It is also important to keep in mind that you want to fairly distribute these instances of your primary keyword throughout the article. You do not want to use all 7 instances of your primary keyword in the same 200-word section or you will lose the sense of a consistent keyword theme.

The primary keyword should not dominate the article more than secondary and additional keywords. For search engine optimization purposes, you should decrease the number of primary keywords you use in your content by approximately 25% for secondary keywords and another 25% for additional keywords.

This will enable you to maintain a keyword structure that is easily understood by Google's crawlers.

6. Use Keywords in the Last 200 Words

It could be argued that the conclusion (or the last 200 words) is just as important as the introduction in terms of keyword rankings because it sets the framework for the rest of the article.

Consequently, try to include your primary keyword again near the end of the article or the second-to-last paragraph, as well as a secondary keyword if you can.

In blog posts, it is generally a good practice to include a call-to-action (or CTA) in the very last paragraph, so if you can fit the keyword there, great. If not, place it in the second-to-last paragraph.

7. Use Keywords in Headings (H1s, H2s, H3s, etc)

You can break up your text using headings, a formatting feature offered by most text editors. From a purely visual standpoint, they are a must-have. Large chunks of paragraph content without an end are intimidating and are often skipped completely. By using headings to separate content, you can visually direct the reader to the most important points or those they are most interested in.

From an SEO standpoint, headings might be even more important. The HTML tags used to identify H1s, H2s, H3s, etc are also ranking signals that Google uses to determine what is the most important part of the page.

Adding keywords to headings in the content may be the most effective method of ranking for multiple keywords. The longer the content, the more headings you will have, so longer content tends to rank better than shorter content.

In headings, keywords are more clearly displayed and emphasized, helping search engines determine how relevant your content is to those keywords.

How to Add Keywords to Heading 1 (H1)

A heading 1, also known as an H1, is typically used for the main title of an article. If you use multiple H1s in your content, you are asking Google to become confused. Instead, use a single H1 with your primary keyword at the beginning of the heading.

How to Use Keywords in Heading 2 (H2)

In heading 2, you can insert the majority of your key phrases. H2 are the headings that break up the main sections of your articles and are usually used every few hundred words.

It is recommended that you utilize around 3-5 of these H2s in an article with 1000 words. You should include your primary keyword again in one of them and reserve the rest for your secondary keywords.

How to Insert Keywords into Heading 3 (H3)

It is common for heading 3 to be used to break up and list individual points in the main sections, either in the form of numbered lists or in clarifying sections to an H2 heading. It is another excellent location for an instance of the primary keyword, but it is likely to be the best place for secondary keywords and any additional keywords.

When a keyword is used as an anchor text link in your content, it implies there is a place to find further information on that word. By doing so, it emphasizes the relevance of the keyword to the content that it is linking to. So how does that apply to the article you are currently writing?

In reality, it does not. Not exactly. By using keywords as anchor text links in your articles, you can indicate to Google where the most important articles are for specific keyword phrases.

As long as you plan your content appropriately, you can use anchor text links of certain keyword phrases to enhance the authority of other "pillar" articles on your site.

An SEO tip is not to use your primary keyword (or variations of it) as anchor text when linking to another page unless you have completely given up on ranking for that keyword.

It tells Google to disregard that keyword on the page you're writing and to look for it on the page you're linking to instead. Generally, content marketers make the mistake of linking to a related topic within their article with an associated keyword to increase the authority of their article.

If you wish to rank for any specific keyword on the page you are working on, DO NOT link to other pages using that keyword as the anchor text.

9. Use Keywords in Image Alt-tags

To begin with, if you are not using images in your content writing, please do so! If you do not use some kind of visual cue to help educate, engage, and inform your readers and prospective clients, you are missing out on many opportunities. When it comes to increasing user engagement, images and content writing (and videos, for that matter) make a perfect combination.

How to Use SEO Keywords in Alt Tags

Using your keywords in an image alt-tag can help it to appear during image searches, which can lead users to your content indirectly.

As well as helping break up text and give it colour, personality and sex appeal, images can also be a great opportunity to add keywords for SEO to your website. Make the most of the blessed alt-text you are permitted to manipulate by including images in your articles.

10. Include keywords in the URL

Lastly, when it comes to adding keywords to your website, you should always try to incorporate your primary keyword into the main page URL of the article you have written. When you publish your article, your primary keyword should appear in the URL automatically if you have followed the steps above and put it in the title.

While your title may be similar to your main keyword, it does not contain it completely, you should tweak your URL to include it after the fact.

There has been some debate in the past regarding whether or not it is necessary to include your primary keyword in the page URL and whether it affects your search engine ranking.

In a study we conducted at BKA Content, analyzing around 60 posts over six months, we discovered that posts with the targeted keyword in the URL ranked for that particular keyword, whereas posts without the targeted keyword ranked for that particular keyword. For me, that is sufficient evidence to conclude that including the keyword in the URL of the page is effective.

Our SEO Pro Tip: When we conducted a similar content marketing study here at BKA Content, there was concern that changing a URL after the fact might impact any existing rankings we had and the page might not recover. After changing the URL after the fact (while always including a redirect from the original URL), there was always an immediate drop in tracked rankings in our keyword tracking tool, but it never affected our actual site traffic.

Our keyword tracking tools show that almost every page that had its URL adjusted rebounded within 3-4 weeks to rank for more keywords than it was originally ranked for.

Track, Refine and Use Different Keywords If Necessary

Additionally, do not forget to re-optimize your posts once the dust has settled in a few months. You can optimize your content further once you have given it about 3 months before you decide to make any real changes. You can then see what keywords your content is ranking for, and what keywords it has gained traction for, and optimize accordingly.

For SEO purposes, you should switch your primary keyword if your post is performing better for a secondary or additional keyword than the initial "primary keyword"!

You should be careful not to make drastic changes, as you could end up capsizing the entire boat. Make small changes to optimize the keywords and see if the results are positive.

4 Keyword Tactics To Avoid

In light of the discussion we just had about keyword usage for SEO, let's take a look at some of the things you should avoid.

1. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the practice of adding so many keywords to your content that it becomes difficult to read. Not only will this irritate your audience, but Google will penalize you for it.

Example 1: Located in the heart of Utah, this hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains! If you are searching for a hotel in Utah, this is the one you should choose!

Example 2: There is no doubt that this hotel in Utah offers breathtaking views of the mountains. If you are looking for a hotel to stay at in Utah, this might be the right choice for you.

The first example is difficult to read due to the abundance of keywords. This is what keyword stuffing looks like, and Google will not tolerate it. The second example sounds more natural without leaving out the keywords.

2. Exact Match Keywords

The term "exact match keyword" refers to a keyword that is the same as what a user types into the search bar. For example, if someone searches for a "blue widget," an exact match keyword would also be "blue widget."

To avoid appearing spammy to Google, you should avoid using these types of keywords excessively. Examples are provided below.

Example 1: If you are looking for a blue widget, look no further! We have a selection of blue widgets for you to choose from.

Example 2: Here you will find a wide selection of blue widgets of all sizes and brands from the best brands in the industry.

There is a clear use of exact match keywords in the first example, even sacrificing grammar. This looks spammy to Google, and you do not want to do this.

There is no need to make your content sound robotic since Google's algorithms can discern meaning even with a few missing articles and words in between. The most recent Google updates place a high value on user experience and search intent.

3. Irrelevant Keywords

Last but not least, you should avoid using irrelevant keywords. These are keywords that have nothing to do with the content on your website.

The keyword "pizza" would not be relevant if you are writing an article about SEO tips.

In addition to irritating your audience, irrelevant keywords will confuse Google. Google will think you are trying to game the system and will penalize your site accordingly.

Example 1:

Would you like to know how to rank at the top of the search engine results page (SERPs)? Take a look at our blog for more information!

Example 2: Want to know how to get your business to the front page of the search engine results pages? Take a seat, order some pizza, and read through our blog to find out!

Compared to the first example, which is straightforward and communicates what your content is about to your reader (and Google), the second example creates confusion and is off-topic.

4. Black Hat SEO

As a final point, we would like to discuss Black Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO is when people manipulate PageRank by using link schemes and other methods that are frowned upon.

Never use Black Hat SEO for your website.

Adding SEO keywords to a website should be done as naturally and appropriately as possible - and only where necessary. Google penalizes those who stuff a page with keywords.

You should avoid bad SEO behaviour if you wish to maintain a positive relationship with Google, as Google's algorithm is smart enough to detect this and it will negatively impact your search engine ranking.

It is best to be aware of how often and where you use keywords. However, if someone attempts to cheat the system, there are measures in place to prevent them from doing so.

Whenever you are unsure, ask yourself how you would search for information on the page. Use keywords throughout your content in a way that sounds natural and flows smoothly.

Conclusion: How to Use Keywords for SEO

  • Ideally, you should use three to eight keywords per article (primary, secondary, and additional).

  • Meta descriptions, meta title tags, and page URLs should contain keywords.

  • Include keywords in the title, headers, and Alt-Image tags.

  • In the first and last paragraphs, keywords should be evenly distributed throughout the text.

  • It is not advisable to use keywords that do not appear naturally in your content. Keywords should be relevant and highly applicable to your content. If the word is odd or does not make sense, use the correct version or remove it altogether.

  • The meat of your content is more important than keywords. Keyword-filled content benefits nobody, and Google will not rank your content unless it benefits someone.

The above is a summary of everything you need to know about how to use SEO keywords effectively in your writing. If you have any additional thoughts, please leave them in the comments section below.

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Shayaike Hassan by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!