By Janette Speyer and Katrina McNeill
Last week we wrote about some pitfalls of keywords in SEO, which led us to this week’s blog. We thought our readers might enjoy a follow up that isn’t about what you are doing wrong, rather how you can use keywords for the greater good (i.e. improving your search ranking). Here are our favorite tips for using keywords to your advantage.
- Monitor Your Keywords: Online, things can and will change in a heartbeat. Watch the trends (try using Google Trends) because as things change, so will your keywords. If you start to see a decline in your traffic or your orders come to a standstill, it’s time to reevaluate your keywords. Check on your keywords at least once a month to help keep your traffic flowing.
- Avoid keyword stuffing: Like the name suggests, you are stuffing keywords into your content, overloading your pages with repetitive keywords in an attempt to gain visibility and a higher ranking in search results. But clever search engines penalize you if you are caught stuffing keywords. How many times should you use a keyword? Many SEO experts consider the optimum keyword density to be 1 to 3 percent.
- Actually use your keywords on your website: With the above warning about ‘stuffing’ being said, you should still be trying to put your keywords in as many places as possible on your site. Narrow your words down to a list of the 3-5 most important individual words, and then a list of the top keywords and phrases that you will use on your website. Some of the places you should use keywords are; page titles, URLs, meta data, the first two paragraphs of your content and the last paragraph.
- Use images in each post: First off, no one wants to look at a page with no visual interest. While you may be saying to yourself, “Hey! Search engines cannot see images!” No they don’t, but they do look at the image name and alt tag to determine what the image is about and this information is used in determining your search ranking.
- Increase blog traffic by putting the blog’s keywords in the blog’s permalink: One example is from our last week’s blog was titled: “Are You Keeping Search Optimization Locked with the Wrong Keywords?” So in the link we used the extension “/are-you-keeping-search-optimization-locked-with-the-wrong-keywords/.” Note that in this link we used keywords “search optimization” and “keywords” which were a few of our top keywords. It’s easy to do, when you create your page there should be a box that you can edit to determine the URL that will show for that page, just type in the keyword as part of it and when in two parts (like search-optimization) separate the word with a hyphen.
- Take advantage of AuthorRank tool: This Google tool requires a lot out of us to help gain points in your search ranking – but we can use it to our advantage! Established authors (determined by AuthorRank) can gain an edge in search because people may search for their name in conjunction with a keyword. So do all you can to establish yourself as an author with authority! How? One way is to use Google Plus, and often, to publish your blogs to your circles and communities. The more you publish in a certain category, the more you are recognized as an authority within it. Some more ways you can use AuthorRank for SEO are covered in this article “ SEO in 2013 and the Importance of AuthorRank.”
Now you have some great basic guidelines for using keywords, but as we mentioned in tip #1, things are always changing, especially with search engine rules. There are a few great online resources for staying up to date with SEO changes, be ready for the changes by monitoring resources like the SEO section Search Engine Journal or the Google Webmaster Blog. We also post many SEO trends on our social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
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