One way to add SEO value to your written content is to include keywords. This is one of the oldest practices in all of digital marketing, yet also one of the least understood.
There have been a lot of pendulum shifts in the way marketers understand keywords; for a time, keywords were gleefully stuffed into every piece of content, and then there was a season when many wondered if keywords were on their way out.
The truth is that keywords still matter a great deal, and inserting them properly can add tremendous SEO value to your writing—yet judicious and strategic keyword use is something that requires some forethought and some discipline.
In this post, we’ll offer some basic practices for ensuring that, when you add keywords to your content, you do so effectively.
Keywords Drive Content—Not the Other Way Around
First, it’s really ideal if you use keywords as your starting point. Come up with your targeted keywords before you do any writing, and allow them to guide your approach—your topic selection, your structure, etc. This way, the keywords are worked into your content more organically.
The alternative is to write a piece of content and then add keywords after the fact. This isn’t optimal because it means the keywords will likely stick out like sore thumbs, or disrupt the flow of the writing. The goal should always be for your keyword use to be natural and seamless.
Keywords Reveal Something About Your Readers
Another important concept is keyword intent. If someone is searching for a particular keyword, it’s because he or she is seeking a certain kind of information. Think about why your buyers would be searching for a particular set of keywords, and what it says about their pain points and their ideal solutions.
This allows you to craft content where your keywords are not only present, but used in such a way to address the reader’s questions and provide a real sense of value. In other words, your keywords are in the content as answers, not just as SEO add-ons.
The Best Places to Include Keywords
Getting caught up in how many keywords is usually a dead end, but we do recommend trying to include keywords in a few strategic locations. Here are the places where keywords offer the most SEO value.
Include a keyword within the first 65 characters of your headline, if at all possible.
The body of your blog post should have keywords used naturally throughout. Remember to never force them or stuff them; just use them where they fit naturally, ensuring that the content still reads well.
A vanity URL slug, with your keyword included, is a great SEO feature.
Another great, often-overlooked place to add keywords is in your blog’s meta description.
Write Blogs with SEO Value
Keywords aren’t everything, but they can make your content more discoverable among search engine users.