Search engine optimization is a staple when it comes to boosting organic traffic.
Almost every website uses some kind of SEO strategy, be it focused on boosting monthly search volume or creating evergreen content, it’s an important consideration to keep in mind when you’re looking to grow your website.
But many people misunderstand how to do “good” SEO.
It’s not as simple as using a tool to find keywords and then stuff them into your web pages.
Keyword optimization is a concept that not everyone understands, so we’ve put together this article to help you learn practical strategies on how to use keywords.
The goal of SEO is to create content that helps your website appear on search engine results pages.
It usually involves using keyword research tools to discover popular keywords that your audience is searching for.
Then you take these keywords for SEO and add them to your web pages.
It could involve editing your meta descriptions, adding them to category pages, or even in the title tag.
When a search engine examines your website, it’ll use the keywords searched by users and then compare them to your content.
If there are a lot of matching keywords, then you’re more likely to appear on their search results page.
The SEO industry primarily focuses on helping you find relevant search terms, secondary keywords, and even searches related to your content.
It also focuses on using effective SEO tools to help you find out how many keywords you should aim for and also uses an effective keyword planner to help you choose keywords for your content.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as performing keyword research and then stuffing your content.
Search engine algorithms do a good job of combing through content to determine if it’s spam or not.
Your website doesn’t get noticed if you fill it with the same phrase.
Instead, you’re rewarded with quality content, such as an evergreen blog post that provides recurring value to your visitors.
So don’t just look at Google Trends to find your next big keyword phrase.
While search volume does indicate popularity to some degree, it’s important to be smarter when you use keywords for SEO.
Focus on a primary keyword, then look at related keywords that can be turned into long tail keywords that can be sprinkled on a title tag, meta description, or in your product descriptions.
While there are many search engines in use today, there’s no doubt that Google sets the standard in terms of search algorithms.
Many SEO strategies today are based on Google’s search engines, hence why many people use tools such as Google Search Console to find the right keywords and optimize their website performance.
In short, focus on Google and you’ll likely show up on other search engines too.
We’re going to be focusing specifically on how to perform keyword research and use them effectively in SEO.
This forms a strong foundation for your SEO strategy and will help you identify the best keywords to use, but also gives you practical ways to find keywords to improve your SEO in the future.
From editing your meta description to using an effective keyword research tool, a strong keyword strategy will help you find specific keywords and boost your Google search results performance.
Find your primary keyword by performing keyword research.
Start by identifying the most relevant keywords to your website, then keep them organized in a list so you know which ones to focus on.
Finding the best keywords for SEO often involves looking at search volume. This is one method of keyword optimization that can boost keyword usage in the correct areas.
There are many useful keyword research tools such as Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, and Ahrefs.
These are great for helping you discover main keywords and secondary keywords that you can add to your content.
It’ll also help you determine what the popular search terms are so that you have a higher chance to appear on search result pages.
Many of these tools will also provide SEO tips to help you find the right keywords.
They’ll also help you find new keyword ideas, making it easy to create content and use keywords in different ways.
Start by using a seed keyword to start the rest of your SEO keyword research.
This will help you find more keyword ideas to boost your SEO efforts.
There are two types of keywords that are worth understanding when it comes to SEO: head keywords and long tail keywords.
A head keyword is a competitive keyword that often drives monthly search volume.
It’s hard to rank for these keywords, but it can help you stay competitive with other websites.
A dead keyword is usually a general term that can be applied to many things, such as the words “computer” or “shirt”.
These are usually included in the meta description and can be considered as the primary keyword.
In contrast, long tail keywords are usually a phrase that consists of three or more words.
For example, it could be something like “budget office computer” or “small red shirt”.
These are much more specific and are generally easier to aim for because they target niches.
They’re also more relevant to what people search for. You can think of it as the same keyword but with additional words to further specify the user’s search intent.
When you use keywords, it’s important to distinguish between these two so you have an easier time aiming for your audience.
In order to use your main keyword, you’ll have to create quality content.
There are lots of different types of content that you can focus on.
The main option is to write a blog post that contains good keyword use.
This is also a great option for internal linking as well.
Another option is to work on your website copy.
This can include category pages, service pages, product descriptions, and so on.
Any copy that you already have on your website can be optimized further by using the right keywords.
It’s important to focus on organic traffic with your target keywords.
Think about the search queries that your potential customers will use.
Consider their search intent, and use a keyword planner to discover new keyword ideas that are relevant to those queries.
It’s essential that you don’t just keyword stuff your content.
Instead, consider where your keywords are placed. Some important areas are in the title tag, headings, meta descriptions, and also meta tags.
It’s vital that you use keywords for SEO not just in your content, but for alt tags and meta tags.
For example, images should have alt text that describes what’s in the image.
This will make the image searchable and the alt text will also be seen by the search engine.
You can add keywords to these tags to make them more relevant to search queries.
Make sure you use a mix of both your main keyword and secondary keywords in these tags for maximum visibility.
Internal linking means connecting your pages with various links.
This helps your users go from one section of your website to another.
For instance, a category page could link to individual services or a contact page.
When you use keywords for linking opportunities, it’s often known as anchor text.
These are more visible than the rest of the content because they’re a hyperlink that leads to another page.
This helps them stand out, but it’s important to optimize them so that they’re visible on the page and not too long or short.
In addition to the good strategies, it’s worth mentioning some of the more questionable SEO strategies that could lead to poor performance.
In some cases, these practices could lead to you disappearing from Google’s search results pages.
In the past, keyword stuffing was one of the best ways to get on search engine results pages.
This is because search engines of the past relied solely on keywords to determine the relevancy of a page based on the user’s search query.
These days, search result algorithms are much more sophisticated and they can determine if your web page is stuffed with keywords or actually provides value.
As such, don’t just focus on SEO keywords and filling your content with them.
Perform meaningful keyword research and use a variety of long tail and head words in your content.
Whether it’s in a blog post or product description, mix your content with a variety of keywords to help you appear higher on search results.
When you link to another website or internal page, it’s vital that you don’t over-optimize your anchor texts.
Make links look natural and include a mix of different anchor texts if you link to the same page.
Avoid matching the exact keyword with your links, and use a mix of your main keyword and secondary keywords in the anchor text if possible.
Duplicate content refers to any content that uses a large portion of something that already exists on your website or on the internet as a whole.
Copying content is frowned upon and Google will detect it.
You could potentially be flagged by search engines such as Google and you’ll be blacklisted, meaning you won’t appear on the majority of search queries.
Make sure you’re creating valuable content with a mix of keywords.
Use keywords for SEO that make sense and don’t just stuff them into your content.
Mix in some secondary keywords as well to keep things interesting, and follow our SEO tips to help your page rank higher.
You should also watch out for a duplicate meta description on your pages and using the same keywords for SEO in your title tag and keyword phrases.
Try to mix these up and make good use of long tail keywords alongside your primary keyword.
Good website navigation can improve your website’s technical SEO performance, but it’s considered a black hat SEO practice if it’s low-quality.
For instance, if you have a web page that only contains links to other pages and maximizes keyword use, then it really provides no value to the user.
These are also considered doorway pages and serve no purpose other than to stuff keywords.
These pages are flagged by search engines and can result in penalties, especially if it hinders the user experience on the website.
These are some of the worst SEO practices that you could engage in.
Avoid them as best as you can and focus on better SEO tips that can boost your traffic.
Maintaining your website’s SEO performance usually involves refreshing and updating your content on a regular basis to provide better search results.
You should consider performing more keyword research to find new popular seed keywords and secondary keywords.
Check to see if there are popular new long tail keywords as well, and see if there’s a way to add new keyword phrases without compromising your content with keyword stuff.
You’ll also want to start monitoring and analyzing your keyword performance by using a keyword research tool such as Google Search Console or Google Analytics.
These tools will help you track your website’s search engine rankings and traffic alongside many other useful key performance metrics.
This data can help you make informed decisions when it comes to changing up or adding new content.
In short, they play a vital role in how you use keywords on your website.
Good keyword research and usage aren’t difficult, but it’s easy to fall into bad SEO practices that will get you flagged by Google and other reputable search engines.
Avoid keyword stuffing and be smarter about how you plan out your SEO keywords.
Mix in long tail keywords and consider the search intent of your visitors, and you’ll find it much easier to appeal to your target audience.
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