This is when it’s easy to lose focus on your marketing plan in the sea platforms used by marketers. Digital marketing tools like Google Ads can be tremendously effective when used properly. However, they are not what will determine your digital approach’s success.
Every good digital marketing strategy is built upon three core elements: Branding, Content, and SEO. No amount of paid ads will ever fully supplement the strength that can be derived from getting these core elements right. For this article, we will focus on branding and content creation since we already covered SEO in our “What Is SEO?” article.
So, if you’re frustrated with the performance of your digital marketing strategy, maybe it’s time take a closer look at the foundation.
The reason we are dedicating an article to the subtopic of Keyword Optimization is that it’s a core part of developing solid SEO for a website. Keyword Optimization is determining what keywords you should optimize for, and when and where you should use them in your copy.
For a touch up on the basics of how search engines work, check out 8-bit’s article on “What is SEO?”
What keywords should you optimize for?
Figuring out what keywords your content should focus on is the trickiest part of keyword optimization. The words you choose need to be specific to the content they’re representing while having enough search interest to drive your desired traffic. Failing to choose keywords that meet both demands will leave your content with either a high drop of rate (users did not like the content they clicked onto and left) or little to no traffic to the content at all.
Choosing keywords associated with your content is priority #1. These words will grab your user’s attention on the Google search page, channeling them into the content you’re optimizing. Proper alignment of your keywords and content drastically increases the likelihood of users engaging with it and clicking further into your website for conversion.
Optimizing for keywords according to search interest takes a bit more thought. This is because the level of search traffic you need is entirely dependent upon the goals you have for your webpage. For example, if your page is selling something you may consider optimizing for intent driven keywords such as “buy boots now” – which would have a much lower search interest. However, what that keyword lacks in search interest it may make up for in its conversion rate if indeed your content is geared towards buying boots.
The issue is Keywords with high interest will be more competitive and harder to rank well for, where keywords with low search interest will struggle to drive traffic. There is no cut and dry way to gauge how much interest you want your keywords to hold. A good guide is to keep the sales funnel in mind: Choose keywords that position your content to capture users at the most appropriate level of the funnel for your content.
Check out our article on the digital sales funnel for a more in-depth look at the specifics of writing sales-funnel-oriented content.
Placing keywords to optimize your content
How you use the keywords in your content is just as important for keyword optimization as the words you choose themselves. Simply using the keyword or phrase as many times as possible in the content will hurt how well you rank. When considering where to place keywords, quality placement supersedes quantity of keywords used. Before we continue, here are some terms you should understand:
- Keyword Density: the number of times a keyword or phrase is used in comparison to the rest of the copy. Number of keywords / total words in content = % of keyword density.
- H-Tags: Titles, headers, and subsections used to organize and divide content. The contents title would be the H1 tag, any subsections would be H2 tags. Further subdivision results in H3, H4, etc.
- Alt Text: The title and description of images in your content. Search engines use this to value images in relation to the content it’s with since they can’t see the image.
- Title Tags: The Title to the link for your content, found on a Google search.
- URL: The actual link used to bring users to your page.
- Meta Description: The description of your content, provided below the link to your page on a Google Search.
As a rule, the keyword density on an optimized page should be between 2 and 3 percent. Any less and you may not rank, any more and Google may consider your content search engine spam. Placing your keywords in valuable locations such as the first sentence of a paragraph is better than in the middle of your third or fourth paragraph. Generally, you want to use the keyword or phrase a few times in your introduction and conclusion – sprinkling it in a couple times naturally throughout the rest of your copy.
Once you have your Keyword density and H-tags squared away you should take a closer look at the technical end of your web page. It is critical for you to place the keyword you’re optimizing for in the Title Tag, URL, Meta Description, and any Alt Text for images on your page. This tells Google what your page is all about, while directly communicating with those who made the search what to expect on your page.
For great content outlining keyword placement, take a look at this article by Moz.
When you break down keyword optimization, there are two important factors. One, reflect the content on your page in the keywords you choose to represent it. Two, use your keywords in the proper places to communicate your purpose to both Google and your user. Finding the balance in creating your content for Google’s robots crawling your page, and the Humans interacting with it is key to strong keyword optimization.
Choosing the keyword or phrase to represent the rest of your copy should feel natural when it’s all said and done. Ultimately, keyword optimization is just the main point of your content prioritized across the page to tell your user and Google what its purpose is.
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