SEO In-Depth: Choosing & Using Your Keyword
It’s been a while since we’ve last written about SEO. But we’re back at it as a reminder to you and to us that it’s crucial we keep SEO in the back of our minds as we conduct our daily work. There are so many components of SEO, and it gets overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the concept. No worries, though. We’ll be breaking down a very important skill necessary to achieving a good SEO score–choosing and using your keyword.
Search engines look for your keywords because they’re essentially looking for a one word summary of your relevant content. What’s your page about? How relevant is it to your company, to the search engine itself, and to the individual users? Is what you’re marketing (your keyword) consistent with what the search engine’s users are looking for? Essentially, the search engine uses your keywords to help accurately connect people to your site and your content. You want as many of these connections to be made as possible because that means business for you. That’s why keywords are so important.
We’ve got that covered. Now for the tricky part–how should you choose and use your keywords? Let’s go through this step by step.
First, you need to identify valuable content. Your keyword will come from your topic, but you need to make sure your topic is relevant, consistent with your brand, and engaging.
Before the writing begins, you need a topic. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the topic related to the business in some capacity?
- Does it educate on a process or product?
- Does it allow you to link to pages on your site? What about external pages?
- What will your keyword be? Is it specific enough? Is it too broad?
- Will it be engaging? Is it original and creative?
Second, you need to zero-in on your keyword. Remember, it should come from your topic. For instance, the general topic of this blog post is SEO, but the keyword is much more specific. For this particular post, the keyword is “keyword.” Funny, right? But you get the point. If our keyword was merely just SEO, it wouldn’t be specific enough to the content; therefore, the search engine wouldn’t rank it as high, meaning less connections between our site and our visitors.
Once you have the topic, it’s time to pick the keyword. Keep this in mind:
- Don’t use the same keyword more than twice. Ideally, you want to use it only once. Why? Because you do not want to compete with yourself when these keywords are ranked.
- Check the keyword ranking in MOZ or in another keyword generator. This is just for metrics keeping, so you can see how the keywords rank before you insert them into your site.
Third, once the keyword is set, begin writing with that word in mind. The most important thing to keep in mind is your audience. You’re writing for human beings–you’re not writing for the search engine. That said, use your keyword, but use it subtly and naturally.
- Put the keyword in the title, preferably right at the beginning. This way, it’s guaranteed it’ll be in the URL.
- Put the word in the very first paragraph, near the beginning. This way, it’s very clear what the post is about.
- Use the keyword throughout the post, but use it naturally. The Yoast Plugin in WordPress will tell you if you’re using the word or phrase too many times. It depends on how many words you have, but you want your keyword density to be between 0.5% and 2.5%.
- If your post is longer, you’ll need to include subheadings, and it’s good to use your keyword in the subheading.
And that’s it! You’ve learned all about keywords. But of course, nothing is that easy. This is a skill, as mentioned above. It takes practice and patience. Refer to the mini guide above whenever you need to, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. SEO is ever-evolving, and we must all communicate openly to create solutions and exchange ideas and experiences. Happy writing!