One of the most basic, yet highly effective things you need to consider when doing blog optimization is using keywords to indicate search engine spiders what your posts are about. The more relevant to the page’s content, the better the search engine ranking.
Keyword optimization is part of on-page SEO, which means that it is a part of the optimization you’ll make on your blog’s code.
What you should know right from the start is that keywords can give your blog posts a boost in rankings or get your blog out of the first and most important search results. It all comes down to how well you’re using them and how relevant they are to your content.
Rules of keyword optimization
Since you’re reading this, I have no doubt that you understand how important well-researched keywords are and that you’re willing to make better use of them. These are some of the most important things you need to consider:
Things to do
- Consider using keywords relevant to your article;
- If the keywords are somehow related to each other, that’s a plus (for example: internet marketing, online marketing, search engine marketing);
- Use different keywords for different blog posts. In most cases, search engines will return two results from you blog at most, so having five or six posts optimized for the same set of keywords would be a waste of content;
- Write your article first, but with the right keywords in mind, not the other way around;
- Use your most important keyword(s) in the title tag. If you’re using a SEO plugin, you can set a different page title than that of your blog post;
- Use those keywords in the META description too;
- Use the keywords in the title of your blog post and preferably in the first phrase or paragraph of your article;
- Edit the post slug (permalink) so that it contains the most important keyword and also try to keep it as short as possible;
- Place the keyword(s) a few more times (don’t overdo it) throughout the article in a humanly natural order and context;
- If there are other older relevant posts on your blog, try to create backlinks from them using the selected keywords as anchor text (same goes for external incoming links).
Things to avoid
- Don’t target too many keywords. Use as many keywords as you feel that are relevant to your content which means they are present on the page and have value to a visitor. A list of 50 keywords means that most probably at least 40 of them are almost totally irrelevant;
- Don’t use irrelevant keywords. If your post is about NASA’s recent trip to Mars, I don’t know how Demi Moore or Vi*gra would fit in the picture;
- Using text formatting on some keywords in your content is OK. Bolding everything out is not;
- Avoid duplicating keywords in your META tags;
- Placing a list of comma separated keywords in your title tag and META description is a big NO. Write something natural and appealing to humans;
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t fill your blog post with keywords only to increase the keyword density. It is unnatural, provides a negative user experience and will probably get you penalized by search engines.
Some say that keywords don’t really matter when it comes to search engine rankings, and since everyone is entitled to an opinion, I will disagree with that. Same people say that their blogs or websites rank high even if they neglected keyword optimization. That is true, but I’d like to see how well they perform when they’ll be competing with a well optimized blog or website when similar factors are on the table, like: almost same age (possibly younger), number of indexed pages, number of backlinks etc.
Keyword optimization is part of a much bigger and complex process. Acting blind in front of it is like sticking your head in the sand, hoping that if you don’t see anyone, nobody will see you.
Next week, we’ll talk about choosing relevant keywords and discuss a few keyword suggestion tools.