If you want to grow a blog without paying a fortune for advertisements, organic traffic is the way to go. However, if you want search engines to place your articles near the top of their results, you’ll need to learn how to use keywords properly.
Before we get started, let’s get something clear – there is no magic formula to obtain the best possible Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results. Every major search engine updates their algorithms constantly to ensure that people don’t abuse them. That means the best you can do is learn about SEO best practices and live by them.
In this article, I’ll provide you with a handful of quick tips to optimize your blog post keywords. They are easy to implement. With a little time, they should become second nature to you. Let’s get started!
How Many Times You Should Use Keywords in an Article
If you want an article to rank for a keyword, you need to use it throughout that piece. For example, this piece will rank well when people look for ‘blog post keywords.’ With that in mind, you’ll notice I use those words a few times throughout the article. However, I make it a point not to force keywords because that would make things sound too robotic, which is a turnoff when reading a publication.
More importantly, using a keyword more times doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll rank higher for it. These days, search engines are pretty decent when it comes to noticing websites that try to game the system. If you go overboard with your keyword usage, their algorithms will probably think you’re trying to pull a fast one and penalize you for it.
The problem is, there’s no hard and fast rule for how many times you should include keywords in each article. What works for me is just looking out for opportunities where I can use those words and it makes sense to do so. If I find myself trying to change the flow of my writing to force a keyword, then chances are it’s not a good one to begin with, so I start looking for better options.
In my experience, focusing on writing interesting articles that help your audience is far more effective than worrying about keyword usage. If your content is good and it solves a problem, people will find it.
Where to Place Your Keywords Within an Article
I know I just told you just to use keywords wherever and whenever it feels natural to do so. However, keyword placement can have an impact on SEO. For example, including your main keyword in the title can help search engines better understand what your article is about.
As you can see, I didn’t do that for this blog post because it didn’t sound right. However, I’m always on the lookout for an opportunity to add keywords to my titles for that extra boost. Subheadings are also prime real estate to include keywords in.
Aside from those, you’ll also want to use your keywords near the start of each article if at all possible. Search engines pay attention to these lines to gauge your content, so using keywords there is often a good idea.
Another great place to use keywords is in your article’s images. Whenever you add images to your posts, you should give them descriptive titles and alt text, so search engines can understand what they are, such as in the example below:
Finally, it’s important to reiterate these are only guidelines. If you feel that adding keywords somewhere specific within your articles will break their flow, then don’t. In the long run, it’s far more important for your content to sound natural than it is to try and squeeze every bit of traffic from search engines.
What to Do With Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are the short snippets of text search engines display below each result. If you don’t set meta descriptions for your content, search engines will pull that text from the start of your page. In my opinion, that’s a wasted opportunity since meta descriptions give you a chance to hook readers and make them choose your website over others:
These days, Google provides you with 300 characters of space to write the best possible descriptions you can. Not so long ago, we only had 165 characters max to play with, so you have it pretty good these days!
Ideally, your meta description should include a single instance of your keyword. What I do is try to build the entire thing around that keyword, so it doesn’t sound stilted. For example, this post’s meta description should read:
Your blog post keywords play a huge role when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so you need to know how to use them properly. In this article, I’ll teach you a few tricks to get the most out of yours and increase your organic traffic.
Aside from including your keyword, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when it comes to meta descriptions. Since you don’t have a lot of space to play with, you need to play up the benefits of reading your content. In that example, I introduced a problem, promised a solution, and played up how it can benefit you.
You need to create a delicate balance in these cases since you don’t want to oversell the content of your blog posts. Otherwise, you might anger your visitors if you don’t deliver!
When it comes to SEO, the most important thing you can do is spend time researching the best possible keywords and learn how to use them properly. If you put some effort into both of these angles, your articles should rank better, and your traffic should grow over time. It’s not an overnight process, but persistence will pay off!
There are a lot of things you can do to improve your keyword usage, but these three tips are the ones I live by for every single article:
- Only use keywords when it makes sense to do so organically.
- Try to include your keyword in the title and at least one subheading, as well as a couple of times throughout the body of each piece.
- Mention your keyword within your article’s meta description.
If you need a little extra help with any other aspects of running a blog besides keyword usage, check out our Beginner Blogging course. It has all the information you need to get started on the right foot, and we’re always publishing new content.
Do you have any questions about how to use blog post keywords correctly? Ask away in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.