Your Keywords Matter!
Even if you are relatively new to Internet marketing, it is very likely that you’ve already heard of keywords. They are one of the cornerstones of Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) and combined with links to your site form an incredibly important part of how it will appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (S.E.R.P.).
Keywords themselves are single words, or even short phrases, which occur in a text more often than you might expect them to occur by chance alone. In terms of S.E.O. keywords are incredibly important because they actually describe the overall theme of any piece of published content such as an article, website or blog post. The key is that they are a big part of the way the Search Engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing et al) “decide” how to categorize your website; in fact the keywords in your website’s content describe the “essence” of your website to the Search Engines. By focusing on the keywords alone, spiders and crawlers like the Googlebot can quickly pick up the ‘topic’ of the content. You can think of it as if the Googlebot were a detective and the keywords were its clues.
Properly deployed keywords should accurately reflect the theme of your entire piece of content or article and the point of using them is for that content to be found within the ocean of text that comprises the Internet.
Night and day Internet users across the globe are searching for information. How are they searching? For the most part, exactly the same way you do; they type specific words into a Search Engine (probably Google). If you haven’t thought ahead and incorporated these words into your web content, someone-else will … and then your reader is lost to someone-else’s text. Keywords are there to help them find you and your website instead.
The fact is a poorly optimized article, no matter how well written, will quickly fade into obscurity since the Search Engines will not recognize the content as easily. Through the correct use of keywords, you are, in effect, leaving those ‘obvious clues’ for the search engines to notice when looking for content similar to yours.
Using keywords in articles that are submitted for the purpose of online promotion is the best way to maximize the desired exposure of the article itself. By correctly optimizing any content you publish on the Internet your article will rank higher in the search engine rankings through the proper use of keywords.
How to correctly use keywords to optimize any content you want to be easily found
1) Learn the buzzwords. Every industry has its own jargon. If you’re well-versed in a particular subject, it’s likely that you already know the “buzzwords” and you don’t need to read up on them too much. If it’s a relatively new topic for you, do some research; read four or five different articles to get an idea of the lingo used and the most popular sub-categories of the industry. I’ll give you an example: Let’s say your article is going to be about … keyword articles. Some of your keywords might be: keyword, “keyword article“, keyword-rich, “web content,” “web article,” RSS-feed, “keyword writing.” How do I know this? Not because I did a keyword look-up but because I read lots of articles! Reading is a great way to load up on catch-phrases and terminology. You can discover the keywords you need without even trying!
2) Write the article without paying any attention to keywords. Don’t bother trying to plug keywords into an article the first time you write it. Just write it… Keep the flow going, craft your sentences without paying particular mind to word selection and be creative. It’s likely that, if you know what you’re talking about, keywords will very naturally fall into place as you write. Those sneaky keywords… they tend to just slip right in without you even knowing it happened!
3) Select your keywords. Once your first draft is written, you can concentrate on building a list of keywords to insert throughout your text. Sit down with a pen and paper (or a blank document if you prefer) and write down words that you frequently come across in the industry you’re covering. Imagine if someone were doing a search on the web for your topic. What words and phrases might they key in to the search box? Don’t forget search terms that contain two or more words. Such words work together and would be placed in quotes if someone were typing them into a search engine box. Suppose you were writing an article on email marketing. You would include terms like “drip list” and “email newsletter” to name just two.
4) Assess the popularity of your keywords. Find out how many times Internet users searched the web using specific keywords, with the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Just type in the word, fill in the Captcha and hit enter. The more global or local searches, the more popular the keyword, and the more likely you’ll want to use it in your article.
5) Select keywords that are specific rather than general. Let’s say I’m writing an article about negotiating fees with a freelance copy-writer. My goal should be to include popular words related to that particular topic, and not just the general category of copy-writing. “Freelance copy-writing rates” is a much better keyword phrase to use because that’s probably something a user would actually type in when searching for such information. “Freelance copy-writing,” on the other hand, is more general and therefore might bring up thousands of higher-ranked sites than yours. Burying your article is no way to be found… so, keep it specific if you can!
6) Scan your existing text for keywords. Your article draft is complete and your keywords have been selected. Now, just put them together. Scan the article copy for the first keyword. Did you find it? Great! If you know your stuff, you probably slipped the keyword into a few places without even realizing it.
7) “Find and Change.” Suppose in your article about copy-writing, you included the word “writing” several times throughout the piece. That’s no serious problem by any means, but “copy-writing” is the term of choice among marketers and advertisers. Consequently, it should be one of your keywords. Locate where you’ve used the word “writing” or “writer“, and replace with “copy-writing” or “copywriter.” Do this for each of your keywords and keyword phrases. You may have to reorder some of the sentences, but this shouldn’t be a big deal.
8) Proofread your article. Now that you’ve added keywords, the article is probably somewhat different from its original form. Do a thorough read-through for mistakes, correcting as needed. Check for spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies and repeated words. Hey, did he say “repeated words”?? Yes, even in keyword articles, a good writer should try to vary his vocabulary. I said your article should be keyword-rich, not dull and repetitive!
9) Write a keyword-rich headline. Why did I wait until the end of this article to mention the headline? Because the best headlines usually come to the writer at the end of the writing and researching process. With all this talk of keywords, you should be primed to write hard-hitting headlines!
You must always keyword article headlines! Get right to the point with a headline that uses your three or four most popular keywords at the beginning, not at the end. Allow me to critique an article. The headline: How to Negotiate Rates with a Freelance Copywriting Expert. This headline could have been better. Why? “Negotiate rates” is not a keyword term that someone might type into a search engine. “Freelance Copywriting,” however, is. The better version of this headline: “Freelance Copywriting: How to Negotiate Rates.” If the words were reordered, this headline would have been that much more powerful and achieved a higher web search ranking.
About Using Keywords the Wrong Way
When you place keywords into your content you should be careful not to overuse these words or phrases. This is referred to as ‘keyword stuffing‘ and the Search Engines will penalize you for this by their refusal to list your content in the search results. True as it may be that proper keyword placement is vital if you want to be found by the Search Engines to earn a higher search ranking, deliberate overuse can get the writer penalized disallowing your content to be shown at all in the search results.
About Keyword Density
Keyword density is a measurement or percent that reflects the use of a keyword within a piece of content. For instance, if you have a piece of content that is 300 words in length and you use a certain keyword 9 times the ‘keyword density’ is 3%.
Search engines use keyword density to score keyword use within content and generally dislike any percentages that approach or exceed 5%. In fact, as a writer, aiming for the mid-range of 3% or so should keep you in good standings while still maintaining a good search ranking.
A very handy tool you can use to measure the density of keyword usage in your content is http://www.live-keyword-analysis.com/. Just copy and paste your content into this site to check your keyword density.
Using Keywords Properly
Now that we’ve discussed the acceptable percent range for our keyword use let’s focus on the optimal placement of them within the content itself. In general, a higher concentration of keyword use at the beginning of an article as an immediate notification of their use and at the end as a closing reminder is the most effective placement for keywords.
Properly using keywords in articles can boost your search engine rankings. The higher you rank the more exposure you’ll receive making your promotional efforts all the more effective.
Ready to jump on the keyword article bandwagon?
Many companies are using keyword articles to help their exposure on the Internet. Whether you’re a netpreneur marketing a product or a writer seeking freelance work, odds are you can benefit tremendously from keyword articles.
Never written a keyword article before? Have no fear. The process isn’t much different from writing regular articles. Don’t let lack of experience stop you from profiting through keyword-rich content. Just follow these easy keyword-writing guidelines and get ready to key in some great article copy!
A Warning On Keywords!
Remember that while the optimization of your website is almost a science, you should never let the statistics of keywords get in the way of the art and quality of your content! If your content reads badly as a result of the keywords that you have added to it, then you have done the wrong thing. No one will link to content that does not read too well and this is the other half of S.E.O. You’re giving your visitors the keywords so that they can find your content to link to and it’ll be those links that pack massive S.E.O. punch.
That is why you must always write your excellent content first before you consider the keywords. Write award-winning content first, then once it’s done, go back and optimize it.