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A Beginner’s Guide to Keywords in SEO

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Keywords in SEO: How to Optimize Your Content for Maximum Visibility

scrabble pieces with the letters S E O on a wood table

What are Keywords and Why Are They Important for SEO?

Keywords are the foundation of any successful SEO strategy, and understanding how to use them effectively is essential for any business looking to maximize its online presence. Keywords are words or phrases that users type into search engines when they are looking for something specific. By strategically using relevant keywords in your website content, you can help ensure that your website appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).


Keyword optimization involves researching and selecting the best keywords to target, as well as incorporating those keywords into your website content in a way that is natural and effective. Keyword research helps you identify what terms people are searching for related to your products or services, so you can create content that meets their needs. Additionally, keyword density measures how often a keyword appears on a page relative to other words on the same page; this helps determine if your content has enough of the right keywords to rank high in SERPs.


By understanding how to use keywords effectively and optimizing your website for people to actually find it and all of your content online.


Also, keep in mind that keywords are not just important for SEO; keywords are vital for emails to get opened, search, and social ads to capture your audience's attention and prompt them to take action.


How to Identify the Best Keywords for Your Niche & Content


Keywords are the foundation of any successful content marketing strategy. Knowing how to identify the best keywords for your niche and content can be a daunting task. But with the right tools and techniques, you can easily find the right keywords to target in your content.


First, you have to know your audience and their interests. Who they are and how they search is the foundation of finding the correct keywords.


The easiest method to master your niche and find the correct keywords is to identify your target audience.


Step 1: Complete the Customer Avatar and Know Your Customers


Use this customer avatar template to identify your ideal customer and start finding keywords.


Now that you know your customer, which keywords do they use to find your products and services, and what keywords are best?


Well, long tail keywords are showing more positive results in getting the most leads and consistent traffic to your content. Long tail keywords are one of the most effective ways to target specific audiences and generate more organic traffic.


Graphic depicting the strength of long tail keywords compared to short keywords


How To Start with Keyword Research


Keyword research is the process of finding the right keyword for your post. This step is important if you wish to grow your blog/website in a short span of time and ultimately make money. There are various ways by which you can find keywords and do keyword research. The method I show here is a straightforward process, easy to learn and master for any skill level. Best of all you can use this method without purchasing premium tools. Its the first

process I used for my first SEO clients.


Step 2: Collect Keywords from Google Search


Using keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Tool or a keyword search engine, you can easily identify popular long tail keywords related to your niche that will help you drive more qualified traffic to your website.


Collect your keywords, and pay close attention to the keywords that Google provides in “suggested search”.


Reference the total provided on the side of the screen that informs you of the search volume for the phrase in the search bar.


Next review the list of sites that appear on the first page of the search. Add the websites, businesses, and content that show up on the first page in your searches and relate to your own. These are the results from the keywords that your audience uses to find your competitors; which means you want to use the same and similar long tail keywords.


Although, if you are getting results that have nothing to do with your type products, services, or content, you can be sure that prospective customers are getting the same results. Which means? You have the wrong keywords. So, you must start again.


Doing this a few times you will find your niche keywords and search patterns.


This can be a time-consuming activity. This is why the most successful online businesses hire professional SEO agencies and specialists because this is a time-consuming process. But you cannot skip or shortcut the process because this is how to reach your potential customers on a consistent basis with even the tightest budget.


How to Use Keywords Effectively in Your Content When Writing & Optimizing


Next, you need to use those keywords as much as possible. Writing content with SEO keywords in mind is essential for any successful online business. By optimizing your content with the right keywords, you can increase your website’s visibility and reach more potential

customers.


Here are the best practices, SEO-friendly content writing tips, and ways to optimize content with keywords that have worked for my clients and the SEO specialists I have worked with. With these tips in hand, you can ensure that your website is seen by the right people and that your content stands out from the competition.


Keyword Density and Keyword Placement


Keyword density, and of course it is first because Keyword density is a complex topic.


This Wiki article will give you a fair idea of how keyword density is calculated. Depending on your target keywords, (long tail or short tail), try to maintain a general percentage of keyword density. When search engine bots crawl your page, they can determine which particular keywords a page should rank for from the keyword density.


Keyword targeting is important but stay away from “keyword stuffing”. This is the overuse of keywords on any page. It is not respected, Google and other major search engines may even downgrade your website if you use it, and it typically makes your website look unprofessional. This will ultimately be harmful to your ranking. Take a look at this example of “keyword stuffing”,


Description of the difference of keyword stuffing

It ain’t pretty to say the least


Overusing keywords alerts Google bots to the fact that you are “spamming” your post by stuffing it with unnecessary keywords. Google will think you are trying to trick the system. Google penalizes this action.


Different SEO specialists have different ideas about keyword density, but your main keyword should ideally not be more than 2% of the article. I try to keep it at 2%, although most SEO specialists use up to 1.5%.


Along with the main keyword, you should also throw in some related terms, known as LSI keywords.


Search engines—especially Google—use synonyms and other related terms to figure out what your page is about. This is called latent semantic indexing. Once a search engine has a keyword in its sights, it searches the rest of your copy for context. For example, if your page’s title contains “orange,” you might be writing about fruit, or colors, or Dutch monarchs. But if search bots also find the terms “soccer,” “Netherlands” and “Jersey,” they’ll cleverly assume your page is selling shirts for fans of Holland’s national soccer team.


Using synonyms effectively can make a search engine’s job easier—which can increase your ranking.


Remember, you can target over one keyword on a blog post or a page. But I would suggest you keep it less than three because if your post is high-quality, you will also indirectly rank for related long-tail keywords.


You want to use them in your content and make sure that you use them so that your content reads well. You want to create high-quality content that your visitors will find useful and be glad they found it. Another place you may want to use your synonyms and related words are within your text links, title, URL, meta tags,


Meta titles, Meta descriptions, and Headings


Now that you have a perfect keyword to target, and you are writing a great post around it, try to also use that keyword as part of the title of the post. By default, this title will also be the title shown in search engines (i.e. the “meta title”).


You can also write a description for users to see when they look at your site in a search engine (i.e. the “meta description”). Adding in a relevant meta description will also give more insight about your page/post to search engine bots. I suggest you use your keyword in the meta description as well.



Write SEO-friendly articles by using H2 and H3 tags (your title is H1 by default in WordPress but not Wix and other site builders). However, don’t overuse heading tags, once again as keyword stuffed headings and too many heading tags can lead to a negative ranking. These days there are content optimization tools, using AI and machine learning they help you to write SEO-friendly content.


Advanced Techniques for Finding the Perfect SEO Keyword Combinations


If you want to be a SEO content writer, you must understand that the success of your content depends on the right keyword combinations. With the right combination of SEO keywords, you can make sure that your content is seen by the right people and it reaches its intended audience.


To find the perfect SEO keyword combinations, you need to use advanced techniques such as Moz Keywords Tool and Semrush Keyword Research Tool. These tools are designed to help you find relevant keywords for your content and ensure that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). These tools will also provide insights into competitor's strategies so that you can stay ahead of the game. With these advanced techniques, finding the perfect SEO keyword combinations will be easier than ever before!


The Impact of Voice Search on SEO & How to Optimize For It


With the rise of voice search, SEO strategies need to be adapted accordingly to stay ahead in the competition. Voice search optimization is becoming increasingly important for businesses to reach their target audience and drive more organic traffic.


young woman doing a voice a search in mobile device while standing outside in the sunset

Voice search optimization techniques involve optimizing content for natural language, using long-tail keywords, and creating content that is concise yet comprehensive. Content writers should also focus on creating voice search friendly content by using conversational language, answering questions directly and including shorter sentences with clear structure.


By implementing these optimization techniques, businesses can make sure that their website ranks higher in voice searches and reaches their target audience more effectively.


Start using your keywords as soon as you identify them. Here are a few last tips to get your website and content more targeted traffic:


Test all of your keywords on all types of content (Social media, blog articles, descriptions in your YouTube videos, etc)


Track all of your content with trackable links with tools like Bit.ly and Google Analytics


Be consistent; it takes about 90-days of consistently using your keywords to see the real impact (positive or negative)


Now that you know that keywords play an important role in SEO, your first task is to find 5-6 profitable keywords for your next post.


I used these tips and processes to help each of my first SEO clients. I added these as well as more advanced techniques to the first book I wrote about SEO for beginners.


So take action, write a post based on your target keyword. Heck, write a post on Medium. And use either Google Keyword Planner or any of these and use any of these premium Google keywords rank tracker sites to keep track of your keyword positions.


Keep writing, trying, learning, and refining!

 

I devote my professional life to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners reach their goals. So stay in touch by dropping a comment and connect on YouTube and Twitter!

I'm Ehren Muhammad, Founder of EMPro, Ltd

Let's connect!



EMPro, Ltd - Branding & Digital Marketing

Digital Solutions for Small Business

Chicago, IL



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