If you’re still writing blog posts with keyword density at the forefront of your efforts, you need to stop yourself right there. Are you still blogging like it’s 2005? Trying to awkwardly squeeze your list of keywords into sentences where they just don’t make sense? Search engines have known better than that for a while now.
A well written article will naturally incorporate the relevant keywords needed to rank. It should be focused enough where you can efficiently optimise the article for just one or two longtail keywords.
Quick keyword research for your article
Really you need to be placing yourself in the mindset of the user. If you were searching for the information that the article provides, what sort of queries would you be typing into Google? If you perform those searches, what websites appear first in the results? Check the websites and read the articles that have achieved first page ranking for those terms. Do they satisfy your intent of the search? If not, why? Maybe you could provide better information on the subject, or maybe these aren’t the right keywords that most people are using to find the type of information in your article. It’s important to determine the intent of the user’s search query or, even if you do rank well for your chosen keywords, you won’t be able to deliver them the information that they’re looking for and they’re just going to bounce.
Like any good detective “whodunit” story, you already have the ending: your blog post. That’s the ending. You just need to work backwards to figure out how the reader gets there. To do this, you will need to analyse the websites that are ranking for the terms that you would like your post to rank for. Ideally, if you can manage to get links to your article from these top ranking websites the better, as this will show search engines that your post is highly relevant to that top ranked post, and help rank you higher for the search terms which that post is ranking for.
Crafting your blog post
I began this post saying that you should stop blogging when keyword density was at the very forefront of your mind. This doesn’t mean that keyword density isn’t important. It’s just that the usage of it has changed over the years. Search engines have gotten smarter.
The density of your chosen keywords in your article shouldn’t be preventing you from writing creatively and concisely. There shouldn’t be a negotiation between how well the content is written and how well the content is optimised. The quality and the search engine optimisation of the content need to find a way to harmonise so that neither compromises the other.
But this is where keyword density tools come in handy. Not to check if you’ve used a particular keyword frequently enough, but how you’ve used language throughout the article in general. If you see that you have a certain couple of keywords that stick out with an unnaturally high density, ask yourself… Synonym?
Not just synonyms, but also pay attention to the surrounding content of keywords and how you are using closely related terms to add more relevance to the keywords. Google uses LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) to process online information. If you’re focusing too much on your chosen keywords to the point that you’re completely ignoring these other related terms (that search engines such as Google now expect to see in your article) then they may deem your article to not be as relevant or as high quality.
Ensure that you are internally linking to your other posts within your content, referencing your own articles and pages where relevant. By linking internally in this way, you are not only indicating to search engines that these posts are related to each other, but also you are providing your readers with a helpful additional resource to support the points you’re making within the blog. Don’t go overboard with the linking though; each link should be valuable to the reader and each link becomes less so when the reader is presented with a dozen different links. Nothing looks spammier than a blog post riddled with links.
Where else can you put your keywords?
- Your URL/permalink – You want your main keyword in the title, but it needs to be kept short and descriptive. Preferably it needs to reflect the title of the article, but stay on target
- Your images – Don’t forget to alt-tag your images within the content. Though Google is smart enough to guess the theme of the image, judging by the nearby content surrounding the image, Google still can’t read images accurately. By alt-tagging your images, you are telling Google what the image is depicting using keywords. But again, it is important not to stuff the tag with keywords that don’t read naturally. The purpose of alt-tags is so that people who do not have browsers that support or display images will be able to tell what is in the image by the short description in the tag. And it should do just that.
- Your title – Ideally the title should be a H1 and include the keyword at the beginning.
By crafting blog posts in such a way, you are essentially indicating to Google that this web page is the most relevant to the user’s search query.