On-Page SEO: A Guide to Writing Search-Optimized Contents With Keywords
Are you learning SEO, already know how to find good keywords BUT want to learn how to use keywords to write Search Engine Optimized (SEO) articles in order to get lots of free traffic? In this post, you’ll discover exactly the best places to put keyword phrases in your content when blogging and how to, for improved search engine rankings and findability.
If you read the prelude posts in the “SEO Tips for Blogging Beginners Series”, and also practiced along, then you should have generated a list of related and relevant keywords to work with in this post.
What You’ll Need To Make This SEO Tutorial Work For You:
- Work along: Do not merely read through but treat this post as an exercise – work through it. I mean, practice every step as you read, do not say “I’ll try it later”. “Doing it” is the only way to know how to use keywords to write contents.
- A practice article / blog post to work with, as you read along
- A keyword list. If you missed the post on how to generate keyword lists, you can quickly use one of the methods discussed, to quickly build your keyword list AND then come back to this post to use the steps here to learn where to use those keywords in writing an article or blog post. Here’s the link to that post -in case you missed it: “How to Build Good Targeted Keyword Lists With Free Keyword Research Tools”.
Quick Checklist: 9 Main Places To Use Keywords Inside Contents For SEO Goodness
Below is a quick checklist of where you should place your keywords, however, in the next section we’ll see screen-shots and details of exactly how to place keywords inside contents each one in more detail later in this post.
Hint: You may want to save this checklist for reference whenever you’re writing a post you will optimize for increased search. That’s what I used to do, until I didn’t need to look at my checklist anymore. If you may forget the list of places to place your keywords, I highly recommend you get SEOPressor plugin which will display on your post-writing page, telling you all the places you should put keywords. I use it and find it helpful.
Now, here’s a quick checklist of the places to put keywords in articles or posts, to get them optimized for higher search rankings and more organic traffic:
- Post Title
- URL/ Permalink
- Post Description
- Article or Blog Post Body
- Article/ Post Tags
- Meta Keywords
- Image ALT TAG
- Call to Action (Last paragraph)
We’ll cover each of the above listed places below, so that you’ll better understand how to write SEO contents using keywords.
Preparing For SEO Writing: Finding Your Main Keyword
Before you start using the keyword list you generated to write a search-optimizes (SEO) content, you’ll need to have an idea of the average search volumes of each (aka keyword popularity), to determine your main keyword. Here’s how to go about that:
a.) Prune your list to the best, most relevant (10 to 15) keywords in your list. So, look at your keyword list AND remove those that are not too closely relevant;
b.) Keyword Popularity: Use Google Keyword tool (free tool) to determine the estimated search volumes of your keyword list. Select “exact” (under ‘match type’) and also select “only show ideas closely related to my search terms”.
c.) Sort the Results by the highest to lowest search volumes (or vice versa). As you can see in the image above, for the keywords I entered in to Google Keyword tool, these five have the highest search volumes: birthday gift, best birthday gift, perfect birthday gift, perfect birthday cake, best birthday gift for a friend.
d.) Spot Your Main Keyword: Make the keyword with highest search volume your primary keyword. In the example, “best birthday gift” is the most relevant of those with the highest search volumes.
e.) Pick your top 3 to 5 keywords (for a post between 300 to 500 word length). The keywords popularity will give you a clue here – pick the top 3 to 5 with highest search volumes.
EXAMPLE: Here are my top 3 keywords– most relevant, with highest search volume: best birthday gift, perfect birthday gift, best birthday gift for a friend
Are you working along? What is your own main keyword and 3/ 4 secondary keywords? Let’s hear it in the comment area.
SEO Writing: Steps For Where And How To Place Keywords Inside Your Post or Article
Now that you have identified your main keyword and top 3 to 4 secondary keywords, it’s time to learn where to place them in your content. Shall we?
1.) Search-Optimize (SEO) Your Post Title
Place your main keyword in your post title. Your title is the heading that will people will see on search results, social bookmark sites etc. Use your main keyword plus some other words (aka modifiers) to construct a meaningful headline for your content, staying within 60 – 70 characters (or 10 words length). Longer than that will be truncated in the display on the search results pages.
EXAMPLE: In our example, my main keyword is: best birthday gift. So, I’ll craft my post title around that. For example: “How to Find the Best Birthday Gift For A Friend” OR “How to Find The Best Birthday Gift” OR “How to Find the Best Birthday Gift Idea”
Now create your own title using your main keyword and share it in the comment area.
- Need help with writing better headlines? If so read this post I wrote for you titled: How to Write Magnetic Headlines With Keywords.
2.) Write an (SEO) Optimized Permalink URL
Put your main keyword in the permalink of your post. Permalinks do not need to be very long and so you can convert your post title to a permalink BUT make it shorter (4 to 7 words, for example) by removing stop words or join-words such as ‘for’, ‘and’, ‘to’, ‘with’ etc., Hint: After SEO-writing your post title, take that same title to create an “SEO’d permalink” but this time remove all stop words so that you have around 6 words or less in length AND then separate the words with “hyphen”..
What is Permalink? HOME PAGE URL + PERMALINK = Post / Page URL. If your blog URL is www.YOURBLOG.Com, permalink is the part of the URL after the .com part which blog post URLs have, such as www.YOURBLOG>COM/finding-perfect-birthday-gifts
EXAMPLE: If I have a post titled: “How to Find The Best Birthday Gift”, I could have a permalink as: “how-to-find-best-birthday-gift” (without the word “the” and by having each word separated by hyphens). Note that I could have removed the word “to” but the post title is not long so I still have a 6-word- permalink.
3) Optimize Your Post Description For Optimum Organic Search Traffic
Put your main keyword and some of your secondary keywords in your post description but no more than 160 characters else search engine results will not display the excess characters. For WordPress users, the “All In One SEO Plugin” makes it easy to write your post description and Search optimized titles as well as meta-keywords, without using HTML codes (see screenshot example below).
Your post description plays a big role on convincing your visitors and browsers to click on your links. That’s because your description is excerpts they see in the search results. And as you know each search results page displays only 10 blogs posts and so searchers tend to click only the posts with the most catchy headlines and most relevant excerpts. Therefore while you should have your keywords in the description, use that area to write a compelling piece that summarizes your post while laying out the main points to the reader.
4.) SEO Your Sub-Headings Using the Secondary Keywords
Use your keywords and some other words, to write sub-headings in your post body (see an example in image below). Sub-headings are also great at making contents easily scanable and easy on the eyes for readers, and so keyword-rich sub-headings will help the search engines better understand what you are talking about. That is, if the keywords in your post sub-headings, body and other parts are all talking about the same thing (one topic/ theme). See example of how our sample secondary keywords are used to create subheadings, in the image below:
EXAMPLE: See how I used some of the secondary keywords in the example (birthday gift sample post) to create sub-headings, in the example post.
5.) Use Your Secondary Keywords To Optimize Your Article Body (aka ‘the copy’)
Sprinkle your secondary keywords in your article/ post body. A good idea is to first write your blog post or article normally and then come back later to optimize it for SEO. Here, think of the key phrases in your keyword list as though they are synonyms for you to replace some phrases in your post. This is where you make use of your keyword list.
Steps to (SEO) optimize your article body:
- Read through your article and if you find general phrases that mean the same thing as your main keyword, replace them with one of your secondary keywords in your keyword list;
- EXAMPLE: If while I am writing on the topic of “Birthday gifts”, sometimes, I could simply say “When choosing the perfect gift to present to a friend…” BUT, thinking in keywords, I would want to replace “birthday gifts” WHERE I find “Gifts”. “Birthday gifts” is specific to my content WHILE “gifts” is a general term;
- Ensure to place the main keyword only once or twice in every 100 words OR once or twice in each paragraph (that should give you a 1% to 2% keyword density). NOTE: Over-use of keywords, in the name of SEO, is termed as Keyword Stuffing and can get you penalized by the search engines.
- Proof-read your article to ensure that your content including the keywords used, sounds natural – not awkward.
6.) Categorize Your Primary and Secondary Keywords in the “Tag” Box
Think of tags (also known as metatags) as a broad category for your keywords. You should place about 3 to 4 keywords in your tag box, Do not place too many. Think of 3 or 4 words that can describe all of the keywords in your list, as though you were categorizing them.
Now let’s take an example: using the keywords in our sample project “birthday gifts”, we could have: “gifts, birthday gifts”.
Another example: if your primary and secondary keywords were “affiliate marketing tips, affiliate marketing training, article marketing” THEN you could have tags like “internet marketing, internet marketing tips” – which are good ways to categorize affiliate marketing tips and training.
Your tags appear at the end of posts and also form” tag cloud” on blogs sidebars (as shown in the image below). You’ll find the ‘tag box’ in in your blogging dashboard when writing a post. Enter your keyword list in the tag box, one by one separated by comma. Do not put all your keywords in the tag box; only enter a few of them that are like general category phrases for the topic you’re writing on. The image illustration below is a good example of how not to do tagging BUT at least it gives you an example. Remember tags are category keywords and you should use a few – 3 or 4 is okay; do not use many.
7.) Keywords in Meta-Keywords
Here, you’ll enter your keyword list, one by one, separated by comma (as illustrated in the image below). If you blog with WordPress platform, you can easily add meta keywords with the use of “All In One SEO plugin”.
Again, I’m not sure how other blogging platforms allow writers to add meta keywords to posts.
8.) Main Keyword in ALT (Image) Tag
Add at least one image to your post and add an ALT tag to all your images in order to make your images easily findable (that is,search-optimized) by people who search for images.
If you use WordPress, you can easily add “Alt Tag” to your images without editing any HTML codes, as shown in the image below.
If you are using other blogging platforms, you can add an “alt tag” to your images by editing your post in HTML and having your image in this format: <img src =”yellowrose.jpg” alt=”Beautiful Yellow Rose – Birthday Gift Idea” Title=”picture of yellow rose”>
Hint: Think of an ALT tag as using your keyword to describe the image, so ensure to not use your keywords alone – add other words (modifiers) to make a rich description.
Hint: If you use WordPress, you can get the “SEO images” plugin to automatically search-optimize your images by assigning your post title as the image ALT tag. *This is a time saver and also helps where you may occasionally forget to do this image ALT tag step.
9.) SEO Your ‘Call to Action’
This is usually the last paragraph where you summarize your post and tell your readers what to do next – ensure to intelligently use your main keyword here, to make sense to both your readers and the search engines. Example: See the image below, how I used my main keyword “best birthday gifts” in the last paragraph of the sample post.
What To do With Unused Keywords?
Often, some of the keywords in your list may not be used in your post due to limiting one keyword per 100 words. Here’s what to do with those left-over keywords – use them during internal linking from other posts, build backlinks, as anchor texts in articles and guest posts you write, beside your name in comment box (blogs that allow keywords beside commenters’ names).
Use the Excess Keywords to Build Relevant backlinks with Anchor Texts: Hyper-Link Related Posts with keyword rich anchor texts – Main keyword and other keywords in Anchor texts to related posts in your blog, to other people’s blog posts/ articles (note that the page you point to gets the credit). Stay tuned to this blog as we’ll learn in details steps to build backlinks, for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Endeavor to write posts that are above 300 words length, as very short posts would not have a chance to have a fair amount of keywords in them without looking spammy. Google regards very short posts as spammy contents and usually strips them of their search rankings, hence they lose traffic. You can learn more by reading this post about How Blogs Can Avoid Google Panda Slaps.
This Plugin Helps Me Know Where To Place Keywords on Every Blog Post I Write
In the past I used to forget where to place keywords in my posts; sometimes I totally forget to do on-page SEO, all together. The plugin below was what got me into the habit.
See the On-page SEO Plugin action (below) – tells me the places in the post I have not placed keywords and it also calculates the percentage keyword density for my main keyword.
Coming Next on The Series “SEO and Keyword Research For Beginners”
By popular demand, and also to help you find all the helpful SEO posts in one place, I have compiled the other posts in this “SEO for beginners Tutorial” series in this page: The Ultimate Guide to SEO and Keyword Research for beginners.
This series on “SEO for blogging beginners” will continue in the coming weeks and some of the things we’ll be covering include:
- How to track and monitor your website’s incoming traffic
- How to track your keywords positions on search pages
- How to increase Search Engine (Google) Rankings for your keywords
- And many more
Join my V.I.P Readers notification list – It’s FREE! and I’ll email you any time I have new SEO and keyword research articles.
Next Steps For You…
There you have it – “SEO Keyword Placement: Where to Put Keywords in Articles To Improve Searchability”. Now you know how to write an SEO’d article with keywords you research.
Advice on how you should proceed with this new knowledge:
- SEO your new posts: Bookmark this post, Use the steps to write your new posts, in order to get more hands-free, autopilot traffic from the search engines
- SEO your old posts too: Take a look at your old posts one after the other, and make some improvements to optimize them for search engine traffic
- Get SEOPressor onpage SEO Plugin to help you calculate your keyword density for every post and also ensure you see what’s missing
- Watch your traffic grow: Monitor your analytics dashboard to see increased traffic from the search engines
Did you work along as you were reading? What were your final set of keywords and what challenges or feedback do you have? Let’s hear it in the comments area (down below).
Please Comment & Share: As always, thanks for your time reading and don’t forget to follow the upcoming posts:) But before you go, help me Tweet/ Facebook this post AND Comment to let me know what you took away from this post or questions or anything.
I’ll see you on the comments side (down below),
Originally posted 2011-07-18 05:09:29.