Learn the basics of SEO series: How to use keywords

If you didn’t read our previous article on finding keywords, check it out here. Once you’ve gone through the process and determined some keywords you want to try and rank for, then come back to this article.

Now, we’re going to be discussing just how to use those keywords. Keyword stuffing is no longer a sufficient plan, it can even penalize your site! But there are still ways to get your keyword on your site the “white-hat” way.

On-Page SEO

Here are some quick ways to get your target keyword onto your website. This will require you to go into your website, so if you’re unsure how to do that, it may be a good idea to contact your Webmaster or grab a freelance SEO consultant to get this done for you.

  • Meta Description- It’s that little description underneath the title part on the search engine. Although it’s not necessarily required for SEO optimization, it gets bolded when someone searches the term (see the screenshot).

cat-toys

  • Title Tag- You want your keyword in the SEO title tag of your page, or the main title if you utilize a CMS
  • First paragraph on page
  • 3-5 times throughout the content on the page
  • In an image’s filename and ALT text. I inserted an example below which shows how to add the ALT text in WordPress if we were ranking for “cat toys”.
  • cat toys wp.png

These are some basics you will want to have in place, in another article in our series we will go over more on-page SEO tactics.

Where to use your keywords

You’ve got your basic on-page SEO down. Now onto other spaces.

You can add keywords to:

  • Blogs
  • Social media profile
  • Guest posts
  • Emails
  • Offline

Blogs

Content creation is one of the best ways to get your keyword in front of your audience. Great content has the ability to be shared as well, helping you build links that can increase your authority in the eyes of Google.

If you’re not familiar, link building means that your site is being linked to by other sites. If someone links to this blog post, that’s a backlink for this site.

There can be good and bad backlinks though. Ones that hold the most sway are .edu and .gov domain links. If this blog was linked to on a site like USDA.gov that’s a much more powerful link than from something like billsblog.net.

Links hold different “link juice” based on the age of the site, how many backlinks they have, etc. Below are examples of what can affect the link juice you receive when someone links to your site.

What positively affects link juice:

  • Page appears high in search engine
  • Has quality content
  • Has high PageRank
  • Has relatively few outbound links
  • Has user-generated content
  • Mentioned often in social media

What negatively affects link juice:

  • “Nofollowed” the link to your site
  • Has irrelevant content
  • Page has lots of links
  • Page has paid links
  • Page isn’t indexed in search

 

The point of blogs is to be creating on-point articles that relate to whatever keyword you’re targeting and help your audience. In the case of the cat toys example, let’s say we want to target a long tail keyword like “how to buy a cat tower”. Someone searching for that may come upon our article that is a guide on just that keyword.

If your content is good enough, other people will link to it, helping provide you with beneficial backlinks. The backlinks tell Google that your site is useful to others, otherwise why would they link to it? It’s sort of like seeing tons of good Amazon reviews for a product.

Similar to this is guest posting. While the fad used to be that people would guest post short, low-quality articles to get backlinks, now the stakes are higher and you need to be writing unique, beneficial content.

While guest posting may not necessarily increase your ranking for a keyword, it will help you increase your exposure to a relevant audience.

Brian Dean of Backlinko recommends publishing long content. He coined the term “skyscraper technique” which refers to taking current content online and improving it by updating it or going more in depth.

Yes, long content (1500+ words) will take a while to write, but the impact of one great post compared to 10 ok posts is huge. The reason Brian’s site does so well is because his posts go more in depth than any others on the same subject. People go to him as the expert on SEO and backlinks.

Additional SEO blog tips

  • Use keyword in first 100 words of page
  • Create long content
  • Add images, charts, infographics, videos, etc.
  • Use Header tags (H1,H2,H3). Brian recommends at least one subheader for every 200 words
  • Don’t over-optimize anchor text (the wording used for your link)
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About MARKIT Group

MARKIT Group is a full-service traditional and digital marketing and public relations firm with an emphasis on social media, reputation management and monitoring, as well as brand management. Headquartered in Bonita Springs, Fla., with offices in New York, Pittsburgh and Charleston, S.C. www.markit-group.com.
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