Amber has spent over seven years working with digital marketing agencies as a writer, and she's learned a few awesome tips along the way.
Ten years ago, I knew very little about content writing and had no idea what SEO was. I took low paying jobs for years because companies offered to train me in SEO and other digital marketing techniques.
Through working with various marketing agencies that helped me learn and grow as both a writer and a content writer in the digital marketing sector, I've learned a plethora of information about SEO. This article will start you out with some of the basics that you need to make sure that your content gets seen by both readers and search engines.
As soon as you begin to learn about SEO, you'll instantly learn about keywords for SEO. Keywords help search engines find your website among the thousands of websites that are published every day. What exactly are keywords, and how can you use them in your content strategy?
What Are Keywords in SEO?
Keywords are the link between search engines and your content. They are the single part of search engine optimization that will help internet users find your content.
When people type search queries into the search box, major search engines like Google link to existing pages that contain those words. If your page contains those keywords, you'll be on the search engine results page, hence why these words are so important.
Types of Keywords by Length
Everyone tends to list different types of keywords. For example, there are keywords that people use because they are looking for a specific site called navigational keywords. Because of that, this should not be considered a comprehensive list of every type of keyword.
Instead, we are going to focus on the main types of keywords by the length that you will need to know in order to develop and implement a keyword strategy for SEO content. These are the most common types of keywords that you need to know.
Long-tail keywords are the longest search queries used. These often contain at least four or five words. When optimizing a website to accommodate voice search, it's important to use long-tail keywords. These keywords are often specific to a certain target audience.
In general, they are considered low competition and have a low search volume. You won't attract a large audience like you will with a list of keywords that are shorter, but you will have a higher search engine ranking for that particular search query.
For example, the keyword "how to write SEO content for e-commerce blogs" would be a long-tail keyword.
These keywords tend to have 3-4 words. They are slightly more specific than short-tail keywords but not as specific as long-tail keywords. They tend to have more competition than long-tail keywords, but can also reach a wider audience.
For example, the keyword "SEO content for beginners" is a broad search term, and not as long as the one above.
These are the most common keywords you'll find in any blog post. Because they are short, it's easy to use them more than once in a blog post, too. These keywords are only 1-2 words long. There is often more competition for them, and you'll reach a wider audience if you manage to have a higher search engine ranking for them.
For example, the keyword "SEO blog" is a short-tail keyword. This reaches a wide array of people instead of a very specific target audience like long-tail keywords do.
How to Find Keywords for SEO
When searching for keywords, you should always keep your target audience in mind. After considering your target audience, you need to think about what they will be searching for. For example, answer the question "how can I help them?" This can help you come up with a topic. You'll use that topic to come up with your keywords.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research tools can help you find relevant keywords to help you reach potential customers and your target audience. Tools that are designed to help you find keywords can simplify the keyword research process and develop an SEO strategy. Common tools like Frase and Yoast are known for helping you find keywords. Google Keyword Planner can help you stay on top of Google search trends to determine the best additional keywords to use in order to increase your organic traffic.
There are keyword research tools available for free if you're just starting out. Surfer SEO offers a plug-in for Google Chrome that is free and can help you find related keywords. You simply type in a search query, and it tells you related keywords as well as the monthly search volume.
Conducting your own keyword research is more time consuming than using an SEO tool, but it can still help you increase your organic traffic. You may wind up using the tools above to conduct your keyword research.
An easy way to find your own keywords is to look at search suggestions. Type a search query into the Google search bar. Then, scroll to the bottom of the results page. You'll see several related keyword phrases that other people have typed into the search box as well. Use these for your keywords.
To do your own research, consider what your business or website is about. Then, come up with broad ideas that are related. For example, if you own a pest control business, you can write blogs about what attracts pests, or how a clean house can have cockroaches.
Then, use that topic to find related search terms. You'll want to keep searching for keyword ideas for different but related search queries. For example, searching for pest control, how to get rid of cockroaches, etc. This will help you develop a comprehensive keyword list.
How to Choose Keywords for SEO
You'll come across quite a few target keywords in your keyword research. However, that doesn't mean that you should use them all.
Avoid keywords that are a keyword phrase that uses poor English. A keyword phrase like this will be awkward in your content. For example, instead of the phrase "setting spray breakouts" use the phrase "setting spray causing breakouts." It's hard to incorporate the phrase "setting spray breakouts" and still make your content sound smooth.
Next, you'll want to look at the competition. Low competition keywords can help you rank higher in organic search sooner because most people aren't using those keywords. However, high competition keywords can help you rank higher in the long run and reach out to a larger audience. Include a combination of both high and low competition keywords as your primary keywords.
Finally, use keywords with various lengths to increase search volume. Using a variety will help you reach out to a larger audience, and drastically increase your monthly search volume.
How to Use Keywords in Website Content
Now that you have a comprehensive list of the perfect keywords, it's time to implement your keyword strategy to help your monthly search volume increase.
First, remember keyword density. This is how many times a keyword appears in your content per the number of words that your content is. For example, if your keyword appears once per 100 words, that is a keyword density of 1%. That is a great place to start with short words. Some people have a density of 2%, but you don't want it to look like you're keyword stuffing.
So, for a blog post that is 1000 words long, include your main word ten times. Only do this with one word. Include the rest of your short words sporadically, and do not use them at more than a .5% keyword density.
What About Mid-Length Keywords?
Use mid-length words scattered throughout your content. You can use these in both your content and your headings. Do not use them as often as your main keyword or short tail keywords though. Using each keyword at a .5% density will be fine.
How to Place Long-Tail Keywords in Content
For longer keywords, only place them 1-2 times in your content. More than that will do little to increase your monthly search volume, and you'll find that your content looks keyword stuffed. Use them in headings and subheadings to increase search traffic without giving your reader a negative user experience due to keyword stuffing.
Create an SEO Title
You should always make sure that your title includes your primary keywords, or at least one. It's a common idea to use a long tail keyword as the title of an article. Then, use other keywords throughout your article to build on that first focus keyphrase.
Use Your Main Keyword at the Beginning of Your Content
Include your main keyword in the first 100 words of your content. If you can include it in the first sentence, that's even better.
Always Remember That Keywords Aren't Everything
If you're a content writer, you'll hear the mantra content is king at least once. That's because high-quality content is more important than anything. Providing readers with valuable content that can help them should always be your first priority. Keywords should then be used to help them find your content. They are a tool to help you be found, but they are not everything.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Amber Lynn