Keywords are one of the most important parts of SEO. Knowing how to use keywords can make the difference between showing up on page 1 and not showing up at all.
“This tiny trick will instantly 5x the amount of new keywords you can rank for.”Peter Krysik
In this blog post, I will explain how to use keyword for SEO. The topics covered in this post are as follows:
- Repeating keywords is dumb
- What is keyword stuffing?
- Using keywords in your page title
- Adding keywords to your URL/slug
- Using keywords in headers
- How often should a keyword be mentioned?
- What are keyword variations?
- Should you use keywords in your meta description?
- What is anchor text?
Repeating Keywords is Dumb
You don’t have to mention the same keyword over and over. Once is enough. You will have plenty of opportunities to mention your keyword in other sections of your content.
When adding keywords to your page title, you want to keep it simple and remove all redundancies.
For example, if your keyword is:
best cat toy
You won’t get any added benefit by making your title into something like this:
Best Cat Toy – What is The Best Cat Toy? – Cat Toy Reviews
The words best, cat, and toy are mentioned several times in this title. Google will only count each word once. It’s a smart machine. It gets what you’re trying to say. You’re much better off saving that precious title space for different keywords.
A better example would be something like this:
Best Cat Toys Reviewed – Mouse, balls, motors, bells, and strings
How many keywords have been repeated in this title? None. The space we saved in our title can now be used to target the varying types of cat toys someone may be searching for.
This tiny trick will instantly 5x the amount of new keywords you can rank for.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Well, it’s not something you eat at thanksgiving. It’s when you think you can become more relevant for a keyword by mentioning it hundreds of times in your content. It’s spammy and it’s unreadable.
Cat toys are great because cat toys helps cats to learn what cat toys are. Cat toys are a favourite for kittens, too. Kittens love cat toys as much as full grown cats enjoy cat toys.Please don’t do this.
Keyword stuffing is a lazy way to do SEO and it doesn’t work. This brings us into the topic of keyword density. So.. how many times should you mention your keyword? More on this later.
Using Keywords in Your Page Title
Quite simply, if your content is based on a certain keyword, you want the title to reflect that. Think of your page title like naming a document on your computer. If you ever need to search for this document, what would you type into your search bar to find it? This is is how Google references your web page.
Your page title should be less than 65 characters, or at least contain all your most valuable keywords within the first 65 characters. Everything after that is not counted.
Practice putting together juicy titles that contain your best keywords. You can stuff lots of keywords into your page title while avoiding being spammy. It takes some creativity and experience, but it’s well worth the effort to learn how to do it properly.
Adding Keywords to Your URL/Slug
Your page URL, or slug, is the web address for where your page lives online. This is the link you use to share the content.
The text you use in your URL should also contain your primary keyword. Putting your keyword here is just as important as using it in your title.
It’s great to have your keyword in your title. By also having it in your address, you are creating a very strong signal for what this content is about. If you’ve added your keyword to both of these places, Google won’t even have to check the page to know what it’s about.
Using Keywords in Headers
This is where a lot of people fall short in their SEO. Proper use of headers is all about sorting. You must be able to break apart your content into different sections and label them accordingly.
This is done with headers.
What are headers?
Headers are a formatting tool used for sorting content. They are an HTML element that changes how text is displayed. They are called H1, H2, and H3. All the way up to H6.
The best practice for using headers is as follows:
- Your page needs to be labeled with a title. This is the topmost header. So we use one H1 header to use as the page title.
- Every category within your content should be broken up into different sections. These sections should all be labeled using H2 headers.
- If you have enough to say within a category you’ve labeled with an H2 header, consider separating your category into subcategories, sorting each subcategory with an H3 header.
The result is a piece of content that is very well sorted and easy to navigate. For users, this makes it easy to digest the content. For search engines, it takes zero effort to discover what the content is trying to convey.
When a search engine has to do less work to understand your website, it starts to like your website a little more.
Imagine a moving company arriving to a customer’s home. Before they got there, the customer packed everything into boxes and labeled every box. The job takes 45 minutes from start to finish. Had the customer done zero prep work, the job would have taken all day.How a search engine can help your website.
Doing all the packaging, labeling, and sorting for your content makes it 100x faster for a search engine to figure out your goal. Taking work away from a search engine gives you a more efficient way to spend your crawl budget (a topic that deserves its own post).
How Often Should a Keyword Be Mentioned?
How often a keyword is mentioned is referred to as keyword density. Understanding keyword density is about finding a balance between mentioning a keyword too much and not enough.
If you write 100 words, and your keyword is mentioned once, the keyword density is 1%.Keyword density, in a nutshell.
The simplest way to calculate your keyword density is to search your content for your keyword and divide it by your total word count. If you’re using an SEO plugin like RankMath, you’ll have this done for you live while writing the content.
Typically, you’d want to aim for a keyword density of at least 2%, but no more than 5-6%. Remember what I said about keyword stuffing? This is how to avoid it.
If you’re writing naturally, you will likely never have to deal with a very high keyword density. It’s more of a guideline for people who are trying to beat the system. If you found yourself in a situation where you’re facing a very high keyword density, then keyword variations are your best friend.
What Are Keyword Variations?
Keyword variations are different ways of saying the same thing. They’re not quite synonyms. They’re semantics.
You threw a ball… or you passed a ball?You’re saying the same thing!
By using semantic keywords, you double your odds of winning traffic. One on end, you’re improving you’re keyword density for your primary keyword. On the other end, you’re targeting more keywords and producing keyword density for those!
Finding keyword variations can be done with keyword research or just common sense. The more your play with keyword variations, the easier it is to produce them.
Should Keywords Be Used In Meta Descriptions?
Hell yes. Google has come out and straight up confirmed that putting keywords in your meta description won’t affect your rankings, but it does help you in other ways.
First off, people who are searching with this keyword will feel validated because you are directly addressing their concerns. If you can provide this feeling to users, they will click your page and view your content. This improves your content’s click-through rate…which is a ranking factor.
Furthermore, if you viewed the page source for your content, your keywords will show up in the meta data. This counts towards your page’s HTML keyword density. Does Google view this, you bet they do. You can see exactly what they view using Google Search Console. By viewing your content as a search engine, you will plainly see that meta data is visible.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the words used to replace a URL or link text. It allows you to produce a cleaner way to link to other pages from your content. This way, people don’t have to look at a long and ugly web address. It also helps people to understand what the context is for the content you’re linking to.
Using keywords in your anchor text is the most powerful way to improve keyword rankings. It’s an intermediate-level SEO technique that can produce fantastic results. Anchor text is used liberally when linking to other pages on your website.
When a search engine follows a link with anchor text, it uses the context you provided as a guide for what that content is about. If that content is ranking for the keywords you used, it will make a note of that and apply a better score for your content.
Anchor text is also used when building backlinks. It follows the same principals mentioned, but carries even more value because your online presence is expanded at the same time.
A word of warning: using keywords in your anchor text is great, but don’t overdo it. You can hurt your ranking if you are clearly trying to manipulate a search engine.