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The Iris Content Masterclass Series: How to Use Keywords Without Over Optimizing

There are many things that you need to pay attention to when you are writing content. One of the most important considerations is the use of keywords. Keywords are words that are used by people when they want to search for a particular product or service. Search engines like Google have sophisticated algorithms that they use to calculate keywords and rank web sites for them to appear in search results.

Photograph by Natali_Mis via Bigstock

The Importance of Keywords

Keywords are very important to content because they are partly responsible for search engine rankings. The rules for search engine rankings have been evolving over the years. While keywords aren’t the only thing that is useful in ranking your content they are still quite important. Just as important is that your content be useful and readable. Gone are the days when stuffing keywords into content was considered successful. Instead, you need to create high quality valuable content that also happens to incorporate the use of keywords without making them obvious.

Yet, the use of keywords is still an essential part of online content creation. It is necessary to create a particular article or blog that focuses on a specific keyword or group of keywords. It is helpful to make a list of the keywords that you want to include in the content so you can utilize them effectively as you write the article or blog.

As a content writer you may receive a list of keywords from the client. These are the keywords that you must utilize in the content you create and you cannot deviate from them, except to include stop words when necessary. Stop words are words that are typically utilized in writing that are not considered keywords. For example, the word “in” is considered a stop word and does not impact the use of a keyword.

Understanding Keyword Density And Why It’s Not As Important As Before

Keyword density used to be an important detail on which online marketers were acutely focused. Keyword density is most simply a calculation of the number of times a keyword is used in relation to the number of total words in the copy. Stuffing keywords used to be popular as a way to help improve search rankings. That’s certainly no longer the case. In fact, almost the opposite is true.

If a particular page has a keyword density that is too large it might get flagged as being improper content or not providing high quality information. Today, most copywriting experts think that keyword density isn’t as important as the overall quality of the blog or article. Search engines are much more sophisticated and utilize extremely complex algorithms to determine the value of a page.

In the past, keyword density of 5 to 10 percent wasn’t an uncommon practice. Today, that number has significantly decreased.  Although there is no set optimal keyword density percentage it is now widely understood that keywords should range more in the one to three percent area, with three being on the extremely high side. The reason is because when the percentage of keyword density increases the quality is likely to go down. Today’s content must be written for real people to read, not for computers to analyze. Google and other search engines are now much more advanced. They are looking for content that is valuable and useful. When keywords are used too often it is a signal that the content is not of high quality.

How to Use Keywords Optimally

The best way to optimally use keywords is by ensuring that they appear in several key locations throughout the text. First, always use the keyword in the title. The keyword can be improved by adding a location if that is part of how someone would complete an online search. For example, a title might be “What are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?” You can include the location by adding it “What are Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Chicago?”

It is essential to add the keyword in the first paragraph of content. Incorporate it into a sentence without making it seem obvious that it’s a keyword. The sentence should read as a normal content sentence. Read it out loud to ensure that it sounds correct. Use the keyword only once in the first 100 words of content.

The next place to utilize the keyword is in one of the subheadings. Your content should be separated into various paragraphs that are headlined with titles. Include the keyword in a subheading inside the content. The keyword may be used as part of a long tail keyword.

Utilize Related Phrases in Online Content Creation

Keep in mind that keyword density should be around one percent. This means that in a 500 word article the keyword should appear about 5 times and no more than about 10 times. To make content more search engine friendly you can supplement keywords with related phrases. For instance, if the keyword is “doctor” you could supplement with “medical professional” or “physician” so that the keyword itself is not overused. Be careful not to overuse the related phrases or this could cause the content to be rejected by search engines.

Long tail keywords are phrases that are utilized in the same way as keywords but contain a longer phrase or group of words. Long tail keywords are often thought to be better than singular keywords in some circumstances but they can be more difficult to incorporate into content. Related phrases and long tail keywords all need to be seamless in the content you write.

Generally, search engines don’t focus on keyword density. They are most concerned with the overall quality of the content. Therefore, make sure that you don’t overuse keywords throughout the content creation. You can check it yourself or for longer pieces you can run it through on online keyword analyzer.

The best content has to be readable and provide useful information to readers. If it doesn’t make sense or has too many keywords it will be deemed useless for purposes of online search engines. Always check your content for keywords before you finalize it to ensure that the piece is of high quality and that keywords are not over-utilized.

With this Masterclass Series, our skilled team here at Iris Content will provide real, honest insight into the world of content creation.

If doing the content part of your strategy still scares you, if you would love to do it yourself but lack the know-how and think that it is an unattainable goal, we want to help you achieve this task.

Without any misconceptions, any attempt to draw you in for a sale, without any hidden agenda. We want you to learn how to do it!

We want you to succeed in an ever-growing, killer competitive market where the volatility of rules makes it difficult to get there and stay at the top. All throughout the month, we will try to teach you a few of the basics of content creation and at the end, gather it together in a fully downloadable resource. Good luck and happy reading!

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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