Search engine algorithms are constantly changing. It’s therefore very important for content writing that keywords - that is, the phrases you want to rank for - are used correctly. However, this can sometimes be difficult due to the changes in the way these algorithms work. We thought it would be helpful to explain how keywords can best be used, so that both the reader and the search engines find your text relevant and interesting.

If you know how to use keywords well, you will produce better content and blog posts, resulting in a higher position in search engine rankings and an increased number of visitors to your website.

 

Why Keywords Are So Important

Keywords and phrases are the main terms that visitors enter into a search engine when they’re browsing for something on the internet. Search engines like Google crawl the web and index the content of websites using their individual algorithms. One aspect of this process is the recognising of words that are frequently used, especially when they also appear in titles and subheadings. All this information is stored by search engines so that they can show relevant results based on searched keywords. Think of them as “sign posts” for search engines.

 

For website owners this means that in order to be found and to get a good position in search results, the right keywords must be used within the content of a website and in the right places to make them more prominent.

 

Stuffing, Density, Semantics - How Keyword Usage has Evolved

Keywords have always been important for achieving a good position in search engine results. However, their use has changed greatly over time. Whereas it used to be possible to fool search engines with keyword stuffing - the excessive repetition of the phrase for which you wanted to rank (sometimes disguised using a white font on a white background) - nowadays this is punished by sites such as Google with an indexing markdown. The solution for this lies in the concept of keyword density: the optimum distribution and the correct use of keywords. However, how often a keyword should appear in a text is still a controversial subject without a definitive answer.

 

Semantic factors - the meaning of words - are now playing an increasingly important role. Google is increasingly trying to understand the searcher's intent in order to make searching more efficient and intuitive. With the so-called Hummingbird update, Google made this possible. The search engine now not only recognises the individual words of the search query, but also the meaning of those words. This development also has consequences for writing texts and the choices surrounding the use of keywords.

 

Which Keywords Can be Used?

In general, one distinguishes different keywords and keyword combinations consisting of several terms. This also gives rise to the concepts of "short head keywords" and "long tail keywords".

 

-   Short head keywords usually consist of only one term or concept (eg “text” or “online marketing”) and usually constitute a general and unspecified search query. In practice this means that the keywords are very competitive within search engines, because they give a lot of search results (from many different websites).

-   Long tail keywords, on the other hand, consist of a combination of several words (for example “How to use WordPress Tags” or “WordPress Support Company in Manchester”). These keywords show that the user is more aware of the desired results, which can mean, for example, that the visitor has a more specific intention. Long tail keywords are searched much less than short head keywords, so competition for these words within search engines is less. This makes the use of these types of keywords very attractive for many websites as although volumes are low, the likely positive reaction to finding what they are looking for specifically makes a good end result more likely.

 

-   You may also hear references to declensions or flexion. This refers to keywords that are used in an adapted form. This can be the case, for example, when a language uses a lot of cases,  meaning that searches can be formulated in different ways. It is therefore important that a website is aware of the different ways in which keywords can be used in sentences and in combination with other words.

 

-   Connecting words are "insignificant" words for search engines, which are placed between the keywords. For example, in the phrase " WordPress Support Company in Manchester " search engines do not include the word "in" as a keyword.

 

How to Use Keywords?

Your goal is to ensure search engines are indexing your site so that visitors find their desired content. This means appropriate, relevant keywords should be in the right place in blog posts or main page copy. This should include:

 

-   In the header: The main keyword for your page must be mentioned in the header (h1) of the article. Not only does Google attach great value to this title, but the headline is also often the first thing the reader sees. This is especially the case with website copy; the reader often checks whether their keyword search term appears in the title and then assesses whether the article is relevant and if they will read on. People tend to scan the headings rather than read masses of intro text.

 

-   At the beginning and at the end of the text: Research has shown that adding the keyword at both the beginning and end of the end of the text is very important, because many readers only read the introduction and conclusion. That is why the most important keywords should also appear in these places. An extra tip: put the first keyword(s) in the text in bold, this gives them an extra boost.

 

-   In the subheadings: The subheadings used to divide a text should also contain the keywords. They give the reader (and Google) a good overview of the next paragraph and therefore provide a good summary.

 

-   In captions of images, the page title, meta description and the URL: Also for the search engine, but perhaps even more so for the reader, these different text elements on your page play a major role. They provide the reader with important information about the content of a page. Visitors will usually be convinced to visit a page by its page title and meta description within search engine listing results.

 

Always remember that you should write primarily for the reader, not for the search engine. Legibility is therefore paramount. If a keyword does not fit at the beginning of the title, it’s sometimes better to place it at the end.

 

How to Find the Right Keywords

To avoid monotonous text and keyword stuffing, authors should use synonyms. Even when a certain density has to be met, it’s preferable to write texts that contain variation - with similar keywords as synonyms. If you’re struggling  to find the correct synonyms, the following website can help: https://www.wordhippo.com/ In addition, Microsoft Word provides suggestions if you right-click on a word and then go to “Synonyms”.

 

Support4WordPress

We fully understand that blogging takes a lot of time for many people, who would prefer to spend it doing other important things. That is why Support4WordPress offers a package that is mainly aimed at improving your discoverability within Google and other search engines. One of the main ways we do this is by using relevant keywords as has been discussed above. Please give us a call or fill in our contact form, we would be happy to help you.

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