Integrating keywords into text doesn’t have to kill creative content. Clever, flexible use of these keywords will keep your writing natural and organic, while still visible.
IS INTEGRATING KEYWORDS STILL RELEVANT FOR IMPROVING SEO?
The “keyword stuffing” SEO tactic is long gone, where web pages were packed with keywords to the point that they didn’t make any sense. In fact, Google has introduced several algorithm updates to punish such practices because they aren’t helpful for searchers looking for solutions to their problems.
With more people leveraging voice-search technology, search terms are becoming more conversational.
Google recognized this trend and implemented its “Hummingbird” update. Released in August 2013, the new algorithm focuses on quality and relevancy to rank your content.
However, this does not mean we should stop using keywords entirely. Keyword research is still important in identifying what people are searching for.
The most important element for both content and keywords comes down to the audience. You should optimize content and integrate keywords to enhance a searcher’s experience and increase engagement.
There is no point in having optimized content that ranks well if your audience finds your content, and thus brand, boring and uninspiring. So write content for the audience first, and then incorporate SEO and keywords upon reviewing.
If you’ve stayed consistent with your topic, the keywords will have naturally written themselves in.
If you’re struggling to connect quality content and killer keywords, here are three things you can do to make sure your page ranks well, both on search engines and in the audience’s opinion.
CONNECTING CONTENT WITH KEYWORDS
1. Be Smart
Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. While it can be tempting to integrate as many keywords as possible, any web page should only focus on two or three at most, and they should only make up 1-2% of the content. You’ll still rank well on search engines, but the content will be more interesting, which will capture and engage your audience.
Placing keywords in titles and headers is good SEO strategy. You can even try combining short and long-tail keywords into the title — for instance, fuse “SEO” with “tips and tricks” for maximum impact.
2. Be Creative
If you want to write engaging content, you’ll need to think outside the box. Don’t start by generating a list of keywords; instead, start with what your audience wants to hear.
Avoid hugely competitive terms that are usually more generic, such as “bakery” and “cake”. Instead, focus on specific terms your customers might search for like “shops that sell gluten-free carrot cake,” which provides you a more specific focus. This also comes handy for doing keyword research specific to different international markets.
With less competition around these specific (or long-tail) keywords, more people will visit your site. And with more flexible content, such as a gluten-free carrot cake recipe, you can make sure your audience has plenty of reasons to stay.
3. Be Flexible
Work your keywords around your content, not your content around your keywords. If you focus on writing interesting content, which just happens to have a couple of keywords, readers are more likely to stay.
Also, you don’t have to stick to the keyword’s literal ordering. For example, if the keyword is “beach holiday Spain,” writing “thinking about a beach holiday in Spain?” will still be effective and sounds more intriguing.
SEO and content teams should collaborate quite seamlessly, knowing that by thinking creatively and prioritizing the audience’s needs, there’s no reason for keywords to kill content creativity. In fact, great SEO leverages both strategies.