The dramatic rise of content as an incredibly effective web marketing tool, combined with the phenomenal rise in social media, has changed the way SEOs and content marketers look to create keyword-based content: it is no longer enough to create any old piece of content that simply contains a keyword or two. You have to think about the reader.
So what are the dos and don’ts when it comes to keywords?
Don’t get carried away
Is a specific word or phrase getting you some decent traffic? Great! Just be careful you don’t get carried away and overuse it. Why? Because you are more likely to focus heavily on the SEO value of your work and ignore the content itself altogether.
While keywords are indeed key to your words, and your content marketing campaign as a whole, they should at the very least be on a par with content, if not relegated slightly below.
If you don’t want to get on the wrong side of Google’s powerful algorithms, you’re best off ensuring content wears the crown, pushing keywords down the priority list. Unique, relevant content is central to content marketing success. If you create relevant content you are more than likely going to be covering the right keywords within your copy at any rate.
Not only that, you are more likely to repel than attract readers with keyword-laden content, who will go off in search of something that isn’t so obviously ‘spammy’ and self-promotional.
An even spread
If you have several keywords you need to incorporate into one piece of writing, it is sometimes tempting to squeeze them all into the first paragraph (or worse, the headline) so that you can get up to the word count without worrying about how you’re going to phrase your sentences around keywords.
The first problem with this is that you shouldn’t be writing around keywords. Sometimes it can actually work out better to write a piece and then slot the keywords in afterwards, so that there is a focus on creating sharp, engaging content rather than warping content to fit in with your keywords.
Not only should keywords be integrated into the body of the text as naturally as possible, they should also be placed strategically. Like a well buttered piece of toast, you should aim for an even spread. This way, you are not bombarding your readers with hyperlinks – something they will thank you for.
Keywords sit nicely in the headline of a great piece of content as well as sub headings, which also have a good chance of getting picked up by search engines. However, if it’s not going to fit, don’t force it. A headline that doesn’t read well is hardly going to entice readers to check out the rest of the post.
Using keywords effectively is all about knowing what works and what doesn’t, so do regular research to find out how well your chosen keywords are doing.
Web analytics tools and specific keyword tools can help you to find out which keywords are performing and which are not hitting the mark.
If you are hard pushed to find the time to delve into the nitty gritty or are unsure of this new territory, a reputable content agency can be a huge help in all aspects of your campaign, from strategically incorporating keywords to creating sparkling content.
Create a strategy
Hitting the same keyword over and over again will not only lead to repetitive content, but can also be a red flag to search engines that you’re not delivering the best possible service to users.
A good content marketing strategy will work with you to develop keywords that can drive traffic, engagement and sales conversions to your website; they will also ensure that content writers will have a decent list of words and phrases to draw on.
So be sure to have a pool of both short and long-tail keywords at your disposal to keep search engines happy and your readers satisfied.