If you are tackling your own SEO content creation, you might feel like you are overwhelmed with all the bits and pieces you need to get done, just to get your content seen and favoured by the likes of Google. For newbies to the game, Search Engine Optimisation might seem a little mind-boggling. You have to think about keyword density, image alt tags, back linking, nofollow tags, on-page optimisation and much, much more. Where do you even begin?
Keyword research and optimisation is probably a good starting point. Without a list of finely tuned and targeted keywords, you will not be able to start the process of optimising your website and content for search engines.
Do Search Engines Use Keywords Anymore?
By now, you have probably realised that keywords are vitally important to the functioning of a search engine, such as Google. Search engines currently look for content that flows naturally and offers real value to consumers/browsers, which means that keyword stuffing techniques of the past will not work anymore. At the same time, not using keywords can also be detrimental to your search engine rankings. You need to find the perfect balance of natural, valuable content and keyword use.
What is Keyword Density in SEO?
You might have done a bit of online research or even spoken to a variety of expert SEO content creators and heard the term “keyword density” being thrown around. What does it mean? This is actually a percentage. The percentage is worked out according to the number of times a keyword appears in a page of content. For example, if your blog is 1000 words long and your keyword appears 100 times in the text, the density of keywords is 10%.
You will undoubtedly find a myriad of keyword calculators and recommendations online, but in simple terms, you can take the number of keywords you have used and divide that by the total number of words in the content, and then multiply that number by 100.
Example: 100 (keywords) ÷ 1000 (total words in the article) x 100 = 10 (density %)
How do Search Engines Use Keywords?
Search engines such as Google are big on content being relevant. The more relevant the content, the more likely Google is to rank your content well in a search engine result. What Google does is send Googlebots around to crawl your website and blog pages. Your website will then only rank for search terms that Google deems it most relevant for. That means if you want to rank for a term, you need to optimise your keywords and content to show Google just how relevant your content really is.
What is the Optimal Density of Keywords?
Most people create content for Google, because it is the most used search engine on a global scale. In order to impress Google and get good search engine rankings, you need to play by Google’s rules. That means ensuring that you have optimal number of keywords used in the content.
If you think that you can just mention your keyword many, many times in the content of your website or blog and get a good search engine ranking result, you are wrong. That is considered keyword stuffing and Google will actually penalise you for it. What is considered keyword stuffing? Google’s Search Console defines “keyword stuffing” as follows: “Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group or out of context (not as natural prose)”.
Google does not have a hard and fast rule about the ideal number of keywords for blogs, websites, and articles, but generally speaking, you should aim for around 1% to 3%. You need to create articles as naturally as possible. When writing content, think about having a conversation with a friend and not trying to hard sell something to a customer.
Keep the keyword in mind and it should naturally flow into the content. You also need to include a variety of semantic keywords, so that your content is not over-focused on one search term or keyword. Semantic keywords are keywords and terms that are related to your main keyword (the keyword said in different ways).
What is Keyword Optimisation?
When creating website content for the first time, many of our clients ask the question, “What is keyword optimisation?”
This one is quite simple to answer, but a little more complex for a beginner marketer to get right. Keyword optimisation will take some time and a lot of concentration. It is the process of researching, performance analysing, and selecting of keywords that are highly targeted to drive the right type of traffic from a search engine to your website or blog.
Once you have your list of targeted keywords, you need to position them correctly on your web pages, in your content and of course on your blog posts. Keywords and search terms need to be found in the URL of the content page, the H1 and H2 tags, the Meta title tag, the first few lines of the article content, the very end of the content. Keywords should also be attached to relevant images, infographics, and videos. As you can see, it is not about simply stuffing keywords into your text.
3 Tips for Keyword Research | How to Create a Keyword List
Google Search Console provides helpful advice on optimising keywords for Google. This guide can be quite useful when creating a keyword list for your content.
The first step to take is to create a broad keyword list that you can whittle down and edit until it is highly targeted to your audience. Below are a few brief tips on how to create an effective keyword list.
- Get into the head of your target customer. You have to think like them and create keywords in the language they would use.
- Get specific. If you have products that suit male customers who enjoy outdoor sports, ensure that you keywords reflect this.
- Add generalised keywords to the list that appeal to a broad customer base. This can result in referrals. A lady might not be interested in men’s shoes, but when she searches “shoes” and men’s products come up, she may share that information with a partner, father, brother, or friend.
Search Engine Ranking Factors That Keywords Play a Role in
Below is a brief list of the ways in which keywords play a role in your website search engine ranking.
- On-page keywords – these are the keywords used in the actual text content of your page.
- Page titles
- Images and videos
- Outbound links
- Page categories
- Page URL
- Anchor text and internal link anchor texts
- Linking page (the page that links to you is better if it contains relevant keywords)
- Social media posts and backlinks.
Keywords are just one of the elements that Google uses to rank a website in a search result. While it is not the single most important factor, overlooking it could be detrimental to your overall online marketing results. Pay attention to your keyword density in your content and you could see a positive difference in your search engine rankings.