| 3 min
January 19th, 2024
As with all things in life, nuance is very important when answering this question. Obviously, keywords and keyword research are essential when it comes to planning content. But should they dictate or hamper content creation? Probably not, as long as the content is fit for the audience and serves a purpose. This is because search engines analyse a complex set of factors – not just the presence of keywords.
What is a keyword?
Going back to basics here, but what do we mean when we say keyword? The definition is simple: a keyword is a single word or phrase that a search engine user would use to find information on a particular topic.
Why are keywords considered important?
Typically, organic traffic (traffic that comes from a search engine), makes up around 50% of trackable website traffic. Every website is different and will experience different levels of organic traffic, but to have any influence over the traffic coming to a website, there needs to be some level of control over the terms that a website is ranking for.
This is where keywords come in. A website promoting campervan holidays will want to rank for terms related to its business – and ideally, those being used as search terms by potential customers. Once these keywords have been identified, content can be tailored to suit.
How should keywords be used?
As we explained earlier, keywords are vital to ensuring that your content matches the needs of your customer base. But that doesn’t mean you should be throwing these keywords into your copy. The main rules around keywords are as follows:
- Use them naturally
- Don’t keyword stuff
- Use long tail keywords
- Place keywords in optimum locations
Natural Keyword Use
This means using the phrase that suits the context. For example, take the term ‘Garden Nursery’; none of the pages in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) have this exact phrasing. They all use similar naturally placed terms, and the search engine does the work of filling in the gaps and providing relevant pages.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
If you are following the advice above, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. However, it’s important to avoid overusing a keyword and instead focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.
A long-tail keyword is a phrase that would be searched, as opposed to a single word or short group of words. For example, ‘chocolate’ is a standard keyword, but ‘how is a chocolate bar made’ is a long-tail keyword. Although these terms will drive a lower level of traffic, the users searching for these terms are more likely to engage with content if it is accurate and answers their questions.
Place Keywords in the Right Place
Keyword placement is all about making sure that a search engine and end users can determine what your page is about. 85% of pages in positions 1 -5 on Google contain the search keyword in the title tag. In general, it is worth considering placing keywords in the following locations:
- Page title
- H1 title tag
- Meta description
- Image alt tags
- H2 content headers
Remember: Keywords are not the only important factor
At the end of the day, a website is going to be visited by humans who need to read and interact with the content on the site. If this copy does not make sense, is confusing or doesn’t match what the user is expecting to find, they will have a bad browsing experience and leave the site. Whilst search engines are placing a degree of importance on user experience, creating good quality content that is engaging will always outperform poor quality keyword-driven content.
Understanding and being aware of potential keywords is important when developing a content strategy, however, do not let chasing specific rankings get in the way of developing good quality content.
Search engines like Google consider many different factors when determining rank, and keywords are only one. As Google’s John Mueller has said before, “We [Google] use over 200 factors for ranking. The nice part is that you don’t have to get them all perfect!”
If you are thinking about getting started with content marketing, why not get a SEO health check from Brave Agency? We can review your site to illustrate the areas where there is room for improvement. With a team of SEO experts, we have all everything you need for a successful content campaign. Get in touch with us today and discover how we can help your business reach new audiences.