How to Use Keywords Effectively in SEO Copywriting

One of the most often talked about aspects of Search Engine Optimization is the use of keywords. When SEO first became popular, the use of keywords in a website was relatively easy to understand. One simply mentioned targeted keywords as frequently as possible on a given page, and this supposedly “tricked” the search engines into believing that the content on that page was relevant to the search terms, thus allegedly boosting the page’s rankings.

Nowadays, though, things have changed. As mentioned in a previous Sozo article, the old practice of “keyword stuffing” has been almost completely phased out (much to some clients’ chagrin), and in its place has been established a series of keyword practices that are much less straightforward than their predecessors.

These keyword tactics are constantly evolving with the search engines they’re designed to cater to, but there are some truths that have remained constant over the years. If you’re a copywriter and you want to improve your basic SEO skills, the following keyword usage tips should be helpful:

Stay focused.

Surprisingly enough, one of the best ways to optimize your use of keywords in website copy involves no official SEO tricks at all. Rather, the secret to this tip is to simply make use of your own skills as a sharp writer by staying focused on the subject at hand.

Good writers understand the importance of keeping their writing centered around their topic. Every single sentence or idea presented in an article must directly relate and add to the main idea of the piece, whether it plays a main role or just a supporting one.

But this essential writing skill also doubles as an SEO trick. By centering your page’s content around a main idea and ensuring that all aspects of your writing relate to that idea in some way, you’ll inadvertently also be using relevant keywords in the most natural (and therefore the most effective) way possible.

As search engines evolve, the algorithms are constantly becoming smarter and better able to detect which pages are truly centered around the relevant search terms, and this means that they’re also becoming more capable of weeding out content that doesn’t truly relate to the search terms it’s trying to target. Staying focused in your writing therefore ensures that keywords are integrated naturally, as opposed to being forced into unrelated content for the sake of SEO.

Use headlines and titles to your advantage.

Your titles and headlines are more important for SEO than you might realize. Not only do they give the search engines insight into your article’s content, but they also carry more weight than the body of the article in terms of SEO.

This is partly because the title of your article determines whether or not a reader will click through to your page. It hardly matters how well-written your article is or how effectively you used your keywords; if the title of your article seems irrelevant to a user’s search terms, they simply will not click through.

To combat this, choose your titles carefully. It’s true that a catchy title will encourage readers to visit your page, but at the same time, it’s just as important for you to convince them that your page contains the answer to their query. Therefore, most SEO experts agree that – especially for new websites that don’t yet receive much traffic – it’s usually better to choose a practical title.

One of the keys to choosing the right title is to know what your readers are searching for. Search engine users want to see their search terms reflected in the title of your page, as this convinces them that your website holds the answers to their specific questions.

For example, the title of this article (“How to Use Keywords Effectively in SEO Copywriting”) should target users searching for information on SEO, using keywords, copywriting, or any combination thereof.

Finally, be sure your title is clear and succinct. Remember, Google only displays a certain number of characters from your title in the search result listings, so if your article title is too long, it will get cut off in the display. If you absolutely must use a long title, at least be sure to mention targeted keywords early on.

Make use of keyword metrics, but don’t obsess over them.

Two of the most important keyword metrics, keyword frequency and keyword density, are defined below:

Keyword frequency: the number of times a keyword appears on a given page

Keyword density: the number of times a keyword appears on a given page relative to non-keywords (the ratio of keywords to the other words on the page)

Although many SEO experts have speculations and estimates, the fact is, there is no proven figure for the optimal keyword frequency. Some estimate that one keyword every 120 words is best. Others say that keywords should be mentioned a certain number of times, regardless of the length of the article.

Whichever SEO guru’s tips on keyword frequency you choose to follow, it’s important not to forget about the importance of keyword density. While keyword frequency is often debated, most experts agree that keyword density is extremely important. If you use keywords too frequently compared to non-keywords, your page will likely be penalized by Google and/ or marked as spammy (and therefore disregarded) by readers.

A 150-word article with 30 keywords, for example, is much too keyword-dense. A 600-word article with 30 keywords, however, is not. (In fact, by some experts’ estimates, anything with less than 5.5% keywords is acceptable, so the 600-word article with 30 keywords, which has a keyword density of 5%, would actually be somewhat ideal.)

So yes, keyword metrics can be useful and even important, but some SEO copywriters place more emphasis on them than they should. Remember, as explained above, one of the best ways to ensure that your keywords are used convincingly and at a believable frequency is to simply write well-focused content. What’s most important when including keywords in your writing is to make sure they sound natural.

Keyword SEO tactics are ever-changing, but the above tips are basic enough that they’re likely to remain relevant for some time.  But the most important keyword tip to take away from this article is this: Don’t try to trick anyone with your keywords.  Your readers are smart, and the search engines they use are constantly becoming more sophisticated.  Therefore, it’s always best to use your keywords naturally and- above all- honestly.

Comments

  1. I agree with the fact that the true spirit of content is lost in the midst of seo friendly content development.Sadly great content gets lost in the crowd because of lack of seo.There ought to be a balance in order to gain commendable results.

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