Whilst a few blogs are written to keep a personal record of events, most have a public purpose, usually to either deliver an opinion or drive web traffic towards a website in order to sell a product or service. Whichever reason we have for blogging it is important to make sure that our blogs are picked up in search engine results (search engine optimisation or SEO). Choosing and using keywords correctly is a big element in search engine success:
What are keywords?
Keywords are the triggers that search engine spiders and algorithms look for in order to determine the importance of your webpage with regard to a certain niche topic.
When somebody enters a Google search, Google looks at previously stored indexes to pick out the relevant pages. It then uses algorithms (pieces of problem solving program code) to decide which sites are the most likely to answer the given search question.
The correct use of keywords in your blog post will help Google and other search engines to index your website for that particular topic.
How do I choose keywords for my blog post?
The easiest way to think about this is to ask yourself which search you would do to find your own page. For example if you wrote a blog post about employment trends in the UK, the words ’employment’, ‘trends’ and ‘UK’ should all be mentioned throughout the post.
It is also important to use keyword research tools to check that you are using the optimal keywords for your topic. For example you might find for your employment trends blog that the phrase ‘job trends’ is just as important as ’employment trends’. Both Yoast and Serps offer free keyword research tools but if you are already using Google Adwords we recommend their own tool.
What is the difference between long tail and short tail keywords?
Broadly speaking short tail and long tail keywords perform the same search engine function. However they need to be used in different ways depending on what type of web traffic you want to direct towards your site.
Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are three words or less long. They can answer a high volume of search questions which is great, but this volume makes it difficult to achieve high rank. For example if you used the keyword ‘camping’ in your blog post, your page would be listed by Google but the list would be so long that your page would disappear into it. In other words short tail keywords are great for generating volume but, unless you are an international company, are unlikely to get sales conversions.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are more specific and contain more than three words. If you use a long tail keyword it is going to answer a lower volume of search questions but this lack of volume means that the list of results will be shorter and you have more chance of being a first page result. To continue our example you can see that, ‘top camp sites Devon UK’ would bring up more specific results.
The great thing about long tail keywords is that they are far more likely to bring people to your page who are looking for what you have to offer, this in turn leads to a higher conversion rate (clicks that become sales).
How often should I use keywords in my blog?
There is much discussion on this topic and Google like to keep such information under their algorithmic hats. However, the key to good keyword use is to avoid stuffing. Keyword stuffing is when you use your keyword phrase so many times that it renders your blog difficult or annoying to read.
The suggested rate of keyword usage used to be 1%-2%, for a 500 word blog post this would mean using your keyword between 5 and 10 times. We would suggest writing your post first and then checking your keyword usage. Google can check semantics (the meaning of language) so making sure that your blog post is well written is actually more important than the number of times you use a keyword.
Where should I use keywords in my blog post?
To speed up its processes and save data space, search engines such as Google will look for keyword data in certain places on your web page. As far as possible, try to use your researched keywords in:
- The title of your post (H1 Tag)
- On image tags (rename your images to include your keyword)
- In internal links (if you are linking to another page on your site)
- On site navigation links
- In meta data (information that is in your page’s code but can’t be seen)
When you first start thinking about keywords things can get a bit confusing but it is important to remember that good quality writing will almost certainly already contain important keywords. Our tips above will help you to hone your writing so that it remains easy to read but also achieves great search engine results.
Do you want to be part of the gig economy and work from home as a freelance writer? Fi Darby Freelance share their tips:
Fi Darby Freelance offer a wide range of blogging, copywriting and editing services. For a friendly chat about your needs, feel free to contact us.