If you’re just starting out on your content marketing journey, the idea of keywords can be overwhelming. You know you need to use them; you understand that they make a difference to where your content ranks, but what should your keywords be? And where should you be putting them for the best results?
While the topic of keywords is a broad one, we’ve reduced it to a few simple steps designed to get your content marketing endeavour off to the best start.
What are keywords?
As defined by Semrush, keywords are ‘search terms entered on Google or other search engines that have results pages where websites are listed.’ The aim of the game with keywords is to anticipate what words or phrases your audience might be searching for on Google. You can then use these words or phrases in your content to attract the right audience to your website.
In doing so, you’re ensuring that the content you provide is relevant, valuable and engaging for the people you want to target. If you’re hitting these marks, your audience is more likely to find your website and potentially invest in what it is you’re offering.
Without the correct use of keywords, however, you run the risk of your content being swallowed up by the black hole that is the internet, never to be seen again. Keywords make your content visible, which is why it’s so important to use them correctly from the get-go.
Which keywords should I be using?
The keywords you use very much depend on your industry and who it is you’re targeting. A simple way to determine your keywords is to begin with words or phrases that link to your industry, products, or services. You can then conduct keyword research to discover content that includes these words or phrases that will be deemed relevant by your target audience.
There are thousands of keyword research tools out there, but one of our favourites is Answer the Public. You simply type in your relevant word or phrase, and you’ll be provided with hundreds of questions that your target audience have asked in relation to those words or phrases. Create content centred around these questions to ensure you’re providing content that your audience want to consume.
Where should I be putting my keywords?
Now that you’ve determined the keywords you want to use and the type of content you want to create, your focus needs to shift towards keyword placement. While keywords should be present in various places across your website, a great place to practice keyword placement is via your business blog posts.
Not only does your business blog provide additional relevant content for your target audience to consume, but it also gives search engines more opportunities to identify your keywords and make your site visible on search engine results pages (SERPs).
What isn’t advisable, however, is shoving your keywords into your blog posts left, right and centre. The key to success here is strategic keyword placement, designed to optimise your content as much as possible. Try inserting your keywords into the following places:
The headline of your post is the first thing both your target audience and search engines will look to to determine how relevant your content is to the search. If your keyword is missing from your headline, there is less chance of the search engine identifying your content as relevant, meaning it’s less likely to show up on the results page. Even if the body of your content is exactly what your target audience is looking for, leaving your keyword out of your headline could leave your content undiscovered.
The placement of your keyword within your headline is also essential when it comes to ensuring it can be picked up by both the search engine and your target audience. When results are displayed on a SERP, longer titles will be cut off. Therefore, placing your keyword at the beginning of your headline ensures it will be visible.
Headers and Body
Strategically placing your keywords in your headers and throughout the body of your text enables search engines to identify your content as being relevant, standing it in good stead for appearing on the results page.
However, when we know we need to use keywords, this tends to be at the forefront of our minds when writing, and it can mean we get a bit keyword happy. We find ourselves trying to shoehorn keywords into every header and every sentence until we couldn’t fit it in anymore if we tried. While our intentions here may be good, keyword stuffing can actually be harmful to your optimisation. If your keyword is being used too many times, in an unnatural way, search engines will deem this content to be less relevant rather than more relevant.
Instead, you should keep readability and audience engagement as your focus when writing. This will allow you to include your keywords in a natural, reader-friendly way, pleasing search engines and your audience alike.
Similarly to your headline, the URL connected to your content enables your audience and search engines to identify whether your content is relevant or not. And, the great thing about content URLs is, you can edit them to be as optimised as possible. Before you post your content, ensure your keyword has been used in your URL (preferably towards the beginning) to ensure your content will be as visible as possible.
Your meta description gives your target audience a sneak peek of what your content is about before they’ve clicked on it. While the aim of the game here is to make your meta description as engaging as possible to encourage click-throughs, it’s also a good idea to include your keyword. This will confirm to your target audience that your content is relevant to them and matches what they were searching for in the first place. It’ll also be picked up by search engines, increasing the chances of your content ranking highly on search engine results pages.
Image Alt Text
Not only are images a great way to improve SEO, but they also provide another opportunity for you to use your keywords. Image alt text is used to describe an image when an image can’t be seen. It’s important to remember that as clever as search engines are, they can’t actually see the images within your content. Therefore, without alt text, they can’t determine whether the image is relevant to the search or not.
Including your keywords in your image alt text is yet another way to help search engines determine whether or not your content is relevant to the search. The more relevant it seems to be, the higher it’ll rank on search results pages, increasing the chances of a click-through.
Optimise your Content with Keywords
Keywords are complex, and with ever-changing algorithms, it can be challenging to pin down the best way of using them for optimum results. However, placing your keywords strategically throughout your website and blog content is a great starting point. Not only will you pinpoint your content as relevant for your target audience, but you’ll also ensure that it can be found and displayed by search engines as often as possible.
If you’re still baffled by keywords (you’re definitely not alone!), using SEO tools like Yoast when uploading content to your website will give you an idea of how well your content will rank. If you’re getting a green light from SEO tools, you’re doing something right! If not, your chosen SEO tool will provide you with helpful suggestions for keyword optimisation.
Here at The Edwards Company, we use a combination of our online content writing experience and SEO tools to produce optimised content for our clients. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information – we’re looking forward to writing for you!