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Gone are the days of “keyword stuffing,” or littering your content with website keywords to artificially boost your web pages to the top of search results. Search engines today have become savvier at distinguishing true, high-quality content from websites that use all the right words without providing real value.
As Google explains, “[Avoid] inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users.” Search engine bots crawl the pages of your website to see what your blog or website is about, and then they rate them on a number of factors. One such factor is the use of keywords — particularly, using them in a way that makes sense to humans.
How do you properly use keywords without coming across as “spammy” so that your blog or business is highly ranked in search results? Here are five helpful tips to master keyword usage and support search engine optimization (SEO).
Keep the tone of your content conversational. You can still be regarded as an authority while also being accessible to your readers. Plus, your website keywords will flow more naturally throughout your copy rather than sounding forced.
Focus on using common terms rather than technical ones when you’re writing. (This ties back to writing conversationally, as well.) For example, if you have a blog about DIY home renovations, use the phrase “outdoor water faucet” rather than “sillcock.” The majority of your readers are going to be searching for those more common words and phrases.
Think like your customer and understand what they are searching for. Type your main keywords into Google and see what other phrases, called long-tail keywords, show up both in the drop-down menu and below.
For example, if you type in “outdoor water faucet” into the search bar, one of the top results is “outdoor water faucet repair.” You know now that’s a great keyword phrase to use. If you scroll to the bottom, other common search results are “how to replace outside faucet on house,” “how to fix leaking outdoor faucet,” and “exterior faucets repair.”
So, you don’t need to keep using the same exact keywords on your website for search engine bots to understand your content. In fact, if you continue to use the same website keywords repeatedly, your content will come off as awkward and spammy.
Image SEO is important if you want Google to find your page and rank it highly; plus, it also offers another opportunity for using keywords on your website. When adding media to your content, adjust the Title, Caption, Alt Text, and Description to include some of those shorter and long-tail keywords.
In the water faucet example, when you upload your image, you might use “How to replace an outside faucet on a house” for the Title; “Outdoor water faucet” for the Alt Text; and “Wonder how to fix a leaking outdoor faucet? It’s easier than you think!” for the Caption.
Perhaps the most important part of SEO is to write really great content that truly helps your readers or customers. Write blog posts that answer their pressing questions. Cultivate trust with your audience and show them that you’re an authority on water faucets — or whatever your focus is — and Google will be much more likely to rank your website high in search results.
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