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Using Keywords in Articles: Best Practices to Follow
However, irrespective of the plethora of SEO practices, keywords targeting remains central to effective SEO. Even though on-site SEO that focuses on generating high quality content and off-site SEO which entails building strong links to your web page are equally important in determining the best SEO practices, keywords remain a primary tool to acquire an optimized web page.
Keywords are basically words that are most commonly used by users when they are searching something on the web. They help you discover who you are targeting and what those targeted are looking for.
Keywords play a very significant role in today’s SEO. This is because search engines collect data and rank a particular website or article based on the keywords mentioned. If your web content is keyword optimized (as well as effectively covers other SEO practices), it ensures that your article appears on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) – thereby putting your article on a potential reader’s radar.
Incorporating Keywords: What Are the Best Practices?
Contrary to what is believed by many people, the use of keyword terms in order to optimize your content is not dead. Rather, it is still an integral part of effective SEO and will remain so in the future. After all, search engines do need some sort of text to assess what your article is about and if it is relevant to search queries.
Using keywords to get your content identified by search engines and in retrospect visible to the searchers is a common practice. In order to stand out from the clutter, it is important that your keywords be very strong and incorporated wisely in your articles. If your focus in only on stuffing your article with keywords, without considering the quality of the content and other such variables, then you are in for a rude awakening.
Following are some of the best practices that you should follow in order to make your article as relevant, valuable and comprehensive as possible. Rather than telling you about overusing keywords in the article, these practices focus on how you should balance keyword density and user experience when incorporating keywords in your articles.
Conduct keywords research
Before trying to find ways as to how to use keywords in your content, your first step is to do a keyword research that is compatible with SEO. Finding the keywords that can improve your ranking and visibility on the SERP is extremely important. There are numerous online tools which can help you search for the most popular keywords that searchers use for their web queries. These tools include Word Stream, Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Wordtracker and much more.
However, people are under a severe misconception when they think that doing keywords research one time is enough. Nothing can be further from the truth. In reality, keywords research is a never ending process which needs to be revisited frequently. This is because keywords tend to grow old overtime and need to be replaced with the new ones.
Here are a few things that you need to take into account when developing your keywords list:
Keywords having less than four characters are likely to give false results.
Avoid noise words like it, is, on etc. as they are not registered by many software.
Assess for yourself how and what keywords your competitors have used.
Include Keyword in the Title of the Page
Including your primary keyword at least once on the page title is highly recommended. This is because the page title holds a lot of authority. Since it is the first thing that a potential reader is likely to notice on the SERP, your keyword mentioned in the title needs to be highly relevant and genuine so that the searcher feels compelled to click on it. Further, search engines also analyze and assess the title when ranking results on their page as the title of your article signals search engines regarding what the content is about.
Use your keyword smartly in the title so that it entices and attracts readers.
Putting Keywords in URL
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the web address or link of a file on the internet. It is unique for each file. When creating a URL for your article, one of the things to include is your primary keyword. Mentioning the keywords in URL of your article helps search engines to identify your article as a relevant result to the searcher’s queries. Also, phrases from URLs are often used as anchor texts for many content based articles around the web. Thus, having a keyword phrase in your URL is vital.
Tag Keywords in Meta Descriptions
Meta Descriptions are concise descriptions that offer a preview of the article. Even though, it does not appear in the content of the article itself; it does appears on the SERP when a searcher posts a query. You should tweak its (meta description) content in order to incorporate your keywords.
Although, search engines like Google and Bing have claimed that they do not factor meta descriptions in their search engine algorithms, it still is of considerable importance. This is because if you use keywords that the searcher’s are likely to use in their search query – it appears on the SERP with keywords in the meta description being highlighted. Therefore, keywords in meta descriptions increase visibility, earning your article more and more clicks.
Use Keywords in Your Content
This is perhaps the most essential and significant part of keyword based SEO strategy. It is ultimately content itself that is assessed by the search engine algorithms in order to determine its relevance to search queries. Here are a few things you need to consider when using keywords in your articles:
Choosing the right keyword density:
Establishing an optimal keyword density to include in your article is crucial. Essentially keyword density is about how many times you should include your keyword in the article. A general criteria of keyword density is between 1% and 4%, but it depends on article to article. Just make sure that you don’t overuse your keywords. There are many tools to determine the optimal keyword density such as Live Keyword Analysis and Textalyser.
Make sure that your chosen keywords are relevant:
Relevancy is the key. If your chosen keywords are not relevant to the article you are writing about, it will not matter if you rank higher on a SERP or not because users are likely to exit your web page without reading your article completely, if they don’t find the content relevant.
Placement is more important than frequency:
While having lots of keywords in your article can improve the ranking and visibility of your article in the SERP, too many mentions can compromise on the content quality. Thus, focusing on the placement of your keywords is more important in such an instance. As mentioned in this section above, you need to place your keywords in the title, URL and meta description along with in the article itself.
Integrate keywords in the article naturally:
Plugging in keywords in the article just for the sake of it is going to make your article appear senseless, confusing and even stupid to the reader. You should, under no circumstances, compromise on the quality of your article and user experience for keyword usability.
You need to incorporate and integrate keywords naturally to make your article valuable. Creating a rough outline before writing a final draft can help you ensure that your article is smooth.
- Key positions for placing keywords in the article: Making sure that your keywords are included in certain key positions in the article is another thing that you need to consider. Make sure your article contains a keyword in the first paragraph or at least within the first ninety characters. Also, keywords should be incorporated in the last paragraph of your article.
- Use keywords as anchor text in the article: Anchor texts are simply a phrase or a text which provides a link to another relevant article. For your article, you should use your keywords as anchor text. For example: use keywords in articles here is hyperlinked to our SEO service page.
Keyword Practices: What Not to Do?
Do Not Use the Same Keywords as Your Competitors
It is important that you avoid using the same keywords as your competitors. This is because using similar keywords as your competitors will not distinguish your content. To make your content stand out, you need to get more creative. Search for synonyms for the competitor’s keywords and assess if those words will be used by the searchers.
Do Not Use One Specific Keyword
Under no circumstances should you use only one keyword phrase. Not only will it make your content look repetitive and induce boredom among readers, it may also result into penalty from search engines. Instead, try creating variations with your original keyword phrase to keep your content interesting and free of a potential risk of penalty.
Avoid ‘overstuffing’ keywords
People tend to think that stuffing as much keywords as possible in your content is going to ‘over optimize your articles. If you also believe in over optimization, then consider this a fair warning – there is no such thing as ‘over optimization’.
In fact, overloading your content with keyword phrases is only going to backfire as it compromises your content quality. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo don’t take over stuffing lightly and are more than likely going to penalize your website by possible blacklisting or lowering your overall ranking. They use advanced topic modeling algorithms which help them analyze and assess the relevance and quality of your content.
Writing a keyword optimized article is no easy task. Everyone needs to take care of search engine ranking as well as ensuring that readers find your content interesting in order to draw web traffic to your blogs and articles. With search engines getting more and more sophisticated, you need to smarten up and be aware of techniques regarding keyword usage in your articles. Ultimately, it is these keywords practices, that determine whether your article will be found by the search engine crawlers or not, and hence, read by the people.