Keywords are words or phrases that indicate what a website page or blog post is about. These terms help search engines rank your content for organic search and help those search engine users find content that is relevant to their queries.
For example, if someone searches for “wedding photographer” the SERP (search engine results page) will display links to site pages and blog posts that contain that keyphrase. The search engine crawls those websites to confirm that the content is relevant to the keyword to provide the most relevant results for the searcher.
This used to mean that content writers and bloggers would stuff their content with keywords to rank well, but this is no longer effective. The algorithms that crawl and rank keywords and content are much more sophisticated. Instead, your goal should be to write valuable, useful, relevant content, and to include keywords when they fit naturally in the flow of your content. This allows your content to rank well in relevant SERPs and provides your reader with a better experience.
However, there are a few keyword placements that are critical for your SEO success…
Title your pages for relevancy.
A website title (or a title tag) is exactly what it sounds like—it displays as the title of the page when it’s displayed on SERPs. (It also usually displays in the tab of the user’s internet browser.) When you title a page of your website, you want it to clearly indicate what that page is about, which is why it’s important to include your keyword or phrase. This helps the search engines determine if your page is relevant to the users search, and helps the user know that your page is relevant to their search when it appears on their SERP.
If a user searches for a keyword or phrase and your page appears in the search results with that keyword or phrase in the page title (and has a supporting meta description, which we will get to next), they are most likely to click on that link because they see that it is relevant to what they’re looking for.
Write clear and concise meta descriptions.
When you search for a keyword or phrase in a search engine, the SERP displays a list of page titles with a short description beneath each one. This snippet of text is the meta description. If the page or post creator customized/optimized the meta description, that text will display. If they didn’t set a custom description the SERP will typically pull the first few lines of text from the content, or it will attempt to find the most relevant sentence.
A healthy meta description is around 155-160 characters long, and clearly indicates what the page or post is about. This snippet is essentially the searcher’s preview of what your page is about, so you want it to capture their attention, pique their interest enough to click through, and be an accurate description of the content you’re providing. Including your keyword or phrase in your meta description helps to ensure that your content will rank well, it will be displayed in relevant searches, and searchers will notice your page and click through.
Place strong headings and subheadings.
Headings are essentially titles for sections of content on your site page or in your blog post. They help the reader understand the direction of your content (like chapters titles of a book), and they help search engines in the same way. Your page title lets SERPs and users know what that page is about, and your headings let them know more specifically what a section of content is about.
Not every heading or subheading needs to include a keyword, and sometimes your keyword just won’t fit naturally in your headings and subheadings. Keyword placement in headings don’t necessarily have a direct impact on your SEO, but there are indirect benefits when your post is easier and more enjoyable to read and your readers have a more satisfying experience. Try to include your keyword in at least one of your higher level headings, so a user can be immediately sure of what your content is about. If you can include your key word or phrase in subsequent headings as well, feel free to do so!
Include keywords in your content.
As we said before, keyword stuffing is no longer a useful approach and it can actually have negative effects on your SERP rank and your readers’ experience. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid including keywords altogether.
If the content you are writing is relevant to the term you’ve assigned to the page or blog post, it should naturally appear in your content… since that’s what you are writing about. Ideal keyword density is determined by the length of your content (how many words/paragraphs you have), but there is no magic set number or percentage to use. You can use tools like Yoast, which evaluate your content and suggest the optimal keyword density for each page of your site.
Optimize image alt text.
When you place a photo on your site or within a blog post, you can place alt text or alt tags for that image. This text serves several purposes:
- It helps accessibility tools describe the image to a visually impaired user
- It appears if the image fails to load on the user’s screen
- It provides additional data for search engines when crawling and ranking your site
- It helps image SERPs display images relevant to the search
Whether it’s an infographic, a photo that illustrates your product or service, or just an aesthetic image that compliments or emphasizes your content, setting your image alt texts and including relevant keywords can help your SERP ranks and your users experience.
Nail your keyword research and placement for SEO success.
If you’re ready to improve your search engine optimization efforts and increase your rankings and relevancy in SERPs, contact us today. Our digital marketing experts will discuss keyword research and placement for your site pages and additional site content, as well as other front and back end SEO techniques to improve your site for optimal search engine visibility and rankings.