Both newbies and experienced bloggers share a common predicament of finding the right seo keywords for blog posts. The creative part of writing often seems to be at odds with the technicalities of SEO.
It doesn’t help when some resources harp about ‘keyword density’, ‘exact match’, or ‘LSI keywords’. For most blog writers, such SEO jargon can be confusing.
Yet, if you want to rank via Google SEO, keywords must be part of your strategy. However, some writers tend to over-optimize their content and end up getting penalised instead of being rewarded by Google.
So, what’s the ‘ideal’ keyword optimisation that you should apply to your blogs?
Read on and have your questions answered in this article.
Before we explored deeper into SEO keywords for blog posts, you need to understand the differences between SEO article writing and ordinary blogging.
Both may be involved in writing hundreds of words, but they are not the same. The process that each type of writing goes through is different, and so is the result in terms of SEO ranking.
Ordinary blogging is all about putting thoughts into words. It is purely a creative activity, with no regards of SEO optimisation. Often, you can find such blogs hosted on Blogger or WordPress, where individuals pen their experience into blog articles.
These blogs were never created with commercial intent. Thus, they lack marketing strategies, call to actions, or a structured way to deliver the content.
The owner of such blogs may not be concerned about whether they are getting traffic or whether the traffic converts. For most of them, blogging is a hobby, and some treat the blog as their personal diary.
Unlike ordinary blogging, SEO article writing is done with marketing goals in mind. Articles are created with the intent for marketing and educating a specific target audience. You’ll often see SEO articles on business blogs, affiliate marketing websites and e-commerce.
The aim of SEO writing is for the articles to eventually rank on search engines like Google and generate organic traffic. Therefore, an SEO article will have a specific structure and standard of writing.
It takes more than creative writing to create an SEO-optimised article. Keyword research and optimisation play important roles to increase the chances of ranking on Google.
An SEO article is harder to create as it combines both writing, SEO optimisation and elements of marketing.
Whether you’re generating awareness with content, or attempting to turn visitors into leads, SEO writing requires a specific set of skills that a casual blogger may not possess.
If you’re content with jotting down personal experience on your site and sharing it amongst your friends on social media, you’ll do well with ordinary blogging.
There’s no need to dive into the world of SEO, particularly on how to establish SEO keywords for your blog posts.
However, if you intend to monetise your blog in one way or another, and has set your eyes on the potentially immense traffic from Google, keyword research is a must.
The same applies if you’re initiating a content strategy to generate leads through your business website. Rather than paying yearly renewal fees with nothing to show, you can create SEO-optimised articles on your website to generate search traffic.
When done correctly, the blog articles would eventually rank on Google, thanks to the well-optimised keywords.
Now, if SEO content writing is what you’re after, the following sections will be crucial.
When it comes to placing SEO keywords in blog posts, most writers assume that all of the relevant keywords need to be included.
For example, an article may target a long tail keyword of ‘how to practice yoga at home’. If you run through the topic with a keyword research tool, you may also get relevant search terms like
There’s a tendency amongst writers to include every related keyword in the article, hoping that it will make more sense for Google.
While adding dozens of keywords worked in the past, it is an outdated and often ineffective SEO technique today. Google has outgrown its limited intelligence with a series of evolutionary upgrades.
With its latest search algorithm, Google can determine the relevance of an article without solely depending on keywords. It takes in other factors to determine if a particular article matches the search phrase entered.
Even if you’re not placing an exact match of the primary keyword, you may still rank on the first page of Google.
Here’s the search result for ‘how to practice yoga at home’. Note that the top-ranking result is not targeting the keyword at all.
The long-tail keyword never appears in the article, but Google still decides it deserves the top spot.
If you click into the article, you’ll learn why.
The article is an in-depth guide of yoga practice. It is written in simple language, well-illustrated and consists of steps that can be practised by any beginners. Therefore, Google decides that it is better than the 2nd article, which is made of plain text and without illustration.
From Google’s point of view, the first article is more helpful for users compared to the second one.
Therefore, you no longer have to worry about including all of your SEO keywords in blog posts. Neither should you fret about fitting the exact keyword in the paragraph.
Instead, focus on writing the best article that will satisfy users who are searching for the keyword. Users are easily turned off by articles that are filled with keywords as they are unnatural to start with.
Write for users, and Google will reward you if the article is engaging.
We’ve proved that Google can rank articles without overly-relying on SEO keywords for blog posts. Does this mean that keywords are no longer important when writing an SEO-optimised article?
Keywords remain a crucial element if you’re hoping to rank on Google. It’s just that you don’t want to be obsessed with keywords and end up over-optimising the article.
When you’re more focused on keyword density than the article’s quality, you may end up committing a BlackHat SEO sin; i.e. keyword-stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is a practice that goes against Google’s policy. It involves excessively placing keywords in the article to manipulate search engines.
Here’s a classic example of keyword stuffing for the term ‘yoga practice at home’.
Since Google Panda update in 2011, websites that practice keyword stuffing are heavily-penalised and lose ranking in an instant.
Keyword-stuffed articles are unnatural and unlikely to engage the readers. It’s contrary to Google’s goal of providing the best articles that match the users’ purposes.
Whether it’s a single keyword or a list of them, you’ll want to avoid injecting the keywords into the article. An article will still rank for a related keyword that does not appear in it.
Turn your attention to writing an article that answers the user’s query, and you’ll be safe from getting on the wrong side of Google.
If you want to write an article that ranks, you’ll need to start searching for keywords that are used by your targeted audience on Google.
A keyword can be a single word or consist of 4-5 words like ‘health benefits of yoga’. A short and long keyword will have a different implication on SEO, which we will explain in detail later.
But first, how do you start searching for keywords?
Here’s a simple keyword research guide.
You’ll need to put on a thinking cap and get into your reader’s shoes, figuratively. Think about what they could possibly be looking for when searching for topics in your niche.
To get those keywords flowing in, think in terms of problems, products, and questions that users may be interested in.
List out all the possible keywords in a spreadsheet.
At this point, you don’t need to worry about search volume or potential traffic yet. What you need is a huge list of keywords to start with.
For every keyword that you’ve listed down, there are a few more that may be elusive. Here’s how to expand your list of keywords.
Head over to Google and search for a particular keyword in your list. Then, scroll down to the ‘People Also Ask” section.
You’ll find relevant keywords that can be included as a secondary keyword or to start a new blog article.
But that’s not all. If you scroll to the bottom of the search result, you’ll find more related keywords that can be included in your list.
Writing an article is a laborious process. From a commercial point of view, the resources committed to an article must be justified.
However, not every keyword that you’ve discovered will bring a reasonable amount of traffic. Some may have only a handful of searches a month, and it’s questionable if you ought to write an article out of a low-traffic keyword.
Alternatively, you can use free tools like Ubersuggest to find out if it’s worth the effort. For example, the term ‘practice yoga at home’ has an estimated 480 searches per month, according to Ubersuggest.
If you’re getting less than 10 searches per month, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to build an article around the keyword.
It’s always nice to find keywords that attract large numbers of traffic. However, you may face fierce competition for such keywords.
When a keyword is dominated by established websites, it becomes harder and longer to rank for it. This is why it’s essential to evaluate the SEO difficulty of the keywords.
Again, you’ll need a keyword tool to do that.
Note that the search term ‘practice yoga at home’ has a higher keyword difficulty of 20 compared to ‘how to start yoga practice at home’, with KD of 7. It will be considerably harder to rank for the former compared to ranking for the latter, long-tail keyword.
If your website is relatively new and yet to establish an authority in the niche, it’ll be better to stick with long-tail keywords. Despite the lower search volume, it’s easier to rank, and the numbers could add up to impressive monthly search traffic.
Long-tail keywords are also beneficial in terms of providing clearer search intent. For example, it’s hard to determine what the user is looking for if the keyword is a generic ‘yoga practice’. He/she could be searching for general information, tips, books, courses or yoga-related products.
Meanwhile, a long tail keyword like ‘how to start yoga practice at home’ has a very defined search intent. There’s no doubt that the user is looking for resources that will guide him/her into practising yoga at home.
From a marketing perspective, it is easier to reach out to the users when you’re clear of what they are looking for. It helps to determine whether an article should be purely informational or has more commercial intent to suit the nature of the keyword.
It’s also wiser to go with keywords that don’t require long-form content. You can maximise your resources and target more keywords compared to writing the same number of lengthy articles.
Check out our in-depth SEO keyword research guide for more advanced strategies.
What we’ve shown is just a basic keyword strategy. With some creativeness, you can unearth many other content-worthy keywords.
Quora is a popular Q&A forum that is also a good keyword resource. Chances are, you’ll find questions on any niches on Quora.
Search for your niche in Quora and look for the answers posed by members in the community. Here’s one that relates to Yoga.
If there are many followers to a question, it could mean that the question is commonly asked. Run a check with keyword tools to determine if it’s a good keyword to work with.
You can also look through the answers provided, particularly those that have scores of upvotes. It’ll give you an idea of the type of content that connects with the community.
Google trends allow you to check the popularity of a specific topic. It also provides insight into popular queries of a particular demographic.
A search for ‘yoga pants’ for the US region returns the following results:
Using Google Trends gives you more than keyword suggestions. You’ll also learn if a particular keyword is on a positive or negative trend.
You may want to reconsider your content strategy if the keyword is on a downhill trend.
It is quite likely that your competitors have already covered a good number of keywords in their blog.
You can enhance your keyword list by checking out the blog articles that your competitors have published.
Just visit one of your competitor’s websites and head over to the blog feed. Check out the topics of the blog articles, and you can pretty much deduce their primary keywords.
It is not necessary to mimic your competitor’s content strategy. Some of them may be quite authoritative and rank easily for short-tail keywords.
What this strategy does is to give you a good idea of opportunities that you can capitalise on your website.
Once you’re done choosing the right keywords, you need to start using them in articles. The question that bogs most writers is how and where should the keyword be placed in the article?
Some SEO resources would suggest that you’ll need to place them within the first 100 words of the article. Others are more adamant that the keyword needs to appear in the first sentence. You’ll also get suggestions that keywords ought to be repeated every one paragraph or two.
In no time, you’ll be submerged by the diverse opinions on keyword placements. As such opinions originate from ‘SEO experts’, it can be confusing from a writer with no SEO experience.
Thankfully, Google has convincingly answered the question, and we’ve shown above that Google is capable of determining what an article is all about without relying extensively on keywords.
Therefore, keyword placement is also not an essential factor as it was in the past. It turns out that those different opinions can all be valid as it has little influence on how Google will rank your article.
So, instead of fretting on SEO keywords in blog posts, focus on these areas when writing the article.
If you’re overly focused on getting the keywords on the article, you’ll end up sounding unnatural.
Here’s an example of an unnaturally sounding sentence that attempts to squeeze in an exact-match keyword. It’s also grammatically incorrect, which gives the impression that the article is written for search engines.
You’ll need to avoid manipulating Google with keywords at all costs. You just can’t with today’s Google’s capability. Besides, an unnaturally-sounding article is unlikely to resonate with the readers.
Instead, you ought to focus on educating the readers as best as you can in the article. Google considers only articles that offer real value in its ranking algorithm.
It sounds strange, but when you’re writing naturally, you’ll be automatically placing the keywords where they are supposed to be.
So, there’s no need to be mindful of whether you’ve inserted a particular keyword or not. You’ll get better results when you’re not thinking about the keywords.
Once you’re done with the draft, you can proofread for more opportunities where you can use the keyword without sounding weird.
Instead of sticking to the original version, you can also use variants of the keyword in the article. For example, you can use “yoga workout” instead of “yoga practice’ to prevent the article from sounding rigid and monotonous.
Using keyword variants and related terms also improve the context of the article. Indirectly, it helps Google to understand the content better.
Some writers may be tempted to increase the word count of an article, just to fit in the keywords on their list. Doing so may add fluff or worthless information that may dilute the value of the article.
For example, an article of about 800 words would suffice for the keyword “does yoga pants stretch over time”. However, if you make it a 2,000 words article and create subtopics for different brands of yoga pants, the article would deviate from its purpose.
Besides, if you are wondering about the ideal blog article length, you might be relieved to know that word count is not a ranking factor on Google. An article can be as short as 300 words and still take top spot if it’s doing an excellent job on satisfying search intent. Focus on being relevant and not covering all the keywords when you’re writing. There are ranking factors that are more important than mere article length.
As far as Google SEO is concerned, we have moved beyond getting every keyword inserted in an article. The search engine giant has fixed loopholes like keyword stuffing. In a way, blog writers will have an easier task in ranking their articles on Google.
Once you’ve figured out decent keywords that will attract traffic, all you need to do is to let your creativity flow. Of course, the content needs to revolve around the keyword and satisfactory answer the user’s query.
You no longer have to worry about keyword density or repeating a keyword now and then. Just focus on doing your job as a writer, and you'll do great.
If you need more tips in creating SEO-friendly content, or simply looking around for SEO services in Singapore, feel free to reach out to our friendly consultants in Heroes of Digital!
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