SEO Guide: Using and Optimising Keywords

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Our SEO guide continues, this time we look at the various aspects of keywords that are important to search engines like Google.

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Keywords are terms that match those entered by a user when using a search engine to find particular information, such as ‘plumber’ and ‘London’. Keyword phrases refer to enter search phrases, mostly consisting of two to five words, for example ‘plumbers in west London’. Your page’s ranking will largely depend on how closely your content matches with keywords or keyword phrases.

Frequency

Using a keyword multiple times in your content is likely to improve your rating for relevance to a searched phrase or keyword. Although it is good to use a keyword often in your article, keep the frequency to a natural amount; search engines will penalise you for ‘keyword stuffing’ if they detect a word repeated too many times. Do not use a particular keyword more than six or seven times in a single metatag (or description tag), and remember to keep tags concise.

Weight

The weight of a keyword refers to its frequency in comparison to other words in the same article or page. A greater weight will increase your rating on many search engines. Note that this will depend on the length of your content; five entries of the keyword ‘Nutribullet’ in a 200 word piece will have a much greater weight than five occurrences in a 1,000 word piece. One way to help avoid weight decreasing in a longer article is to break an article down into smaller pages on paragraphs where the keyword is emphasized – this will increase its weight.

Prominence

Keyword prominence is a measure of how high up on a page a keyword appears. The earlier a keyword is found, the better, so it is good practise to use a keyword in the first paragraph and ideally in the first 20 words, as well as in the title or heading.

Proximity

The proximity of a keyword is its closeness to other keywords in a searched phrase. In a search for ‘red car’, your page will score more highly with the phrase ‘red car’ than it would for ‘red sports car’ since the keywords are in closer proximity to each other. 

Keyword placement

Placement is one of the most important factors in keyword SEO. For most search engines, title tags and description tags are a main way of rating relevance, however there are several places you can put keywords to improve your rating:

  • Title tag, < title>. See our previous article here for more information on optimising your title tags
  • Description or meta tag, <meta name="description">
  • Headline tag, <h1>
  • Within the body of your content
  • Alt tags
  • Comments tags – these are used to explain your code and are not visible in the browser
  • URL of your website
  • Link tags within the website, <a>

Finding what keywords to use

It's very well knowing where to put keywords and how to use them in your content, but this knowledge is useless if you don’t know what keywords to use. Keywords and phrases should fit naturally into your page and articles, but before writing anything, there are a few different ways you can research which ones will return the highest searches:

Firstly, think about what you would search for if you were interested in the product or topic your article is about. Asking other people for help on this is also useful.

  • What issues or problems does your product/topic address that a user would search for? For example ‘best ways to remove red wine stain’ if your article is about cleaning products.
  • Look at the search suggestions on google when you start typing in the search bar.
  • Look at your competitors’ websites to see what keywords frequently come up.
  • You can also use tools like Google Adwords to find the most common keywords.
  • Seek a professional opinion by hiring an SEO copywriter.

Finally, it is worth noting that to show on results for ‘wedding plans’, ‘wedding plan’ and ‘wedding planning’ does not require you to use all variations of the keyword ‘plan’ on your page. Google uses a tool called word stemming which recognises all forms of a word and returns them for that search query. This means you can concentrate on optimising your page for one form of the word and so long as you follow the above advice, your page should rank well.

 

  

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