A Guide to Keywords, Part 2: When You’re Writing

hawthorn creative hospitality marketing A Guide to Keywords Part 2 When Youre Writing feature

In the first installment in our two-part guide, we covered the tools, tips, and steps to take to build the right keywords to be in line with your content marketing strategy before you begin writing. Truly, that was the heavy lifting. Here, we outline how to put that all into practice during the actual writing process.

Whereas Part 1 may have only been valuable for those who don’t know the keywords they should be using, this second installment is a good guide for anyone and everyone who needs to write posts or pages to make sure those keywords bring back results.

Where to Put Your Keywords

Your keywords – both your primary or “focus” keyword, as well as secondary and related keywords – should be found in a post or page’s most prominent locations. Here are the places where your keywords should appear, in order of importance:

  • The title or headline
  • The meta/DEK/excerpt description
  • The first paragraph of the introduction or body copy
  • In at least one H tag (also known as subheds)
  • Sprinkled naturally throughout the body copy

Don’t Focus Too Much on the Exact String of Your Keywords

Thanks to the rise of “semantic search” and Google Rankbrain, search engines no longer need keywords to appear in an exact sequence to recognize them. Those updates are a huge help in the content strategy realm as it allows for more natural, conversational posts.

Rather than trying to fit the exact phrase “best Portsmouth outdoor wedding venue for pictures” into your content, think of it like a word cloud; you can now naturally weave those terms and some synonyms that might bring searchers to that content throughout your post as they make sense. Here’s a good deeper dive into semantic search, albeit from late 2015.

Remembering Your Site-Wide Keywords

This is a tip we referenced in Part 1 of this keywords guide, as well: Tape a list of the top terms for which your website should be known next to your workstation. It’ll help always keep your site’s keywords top of mind and avoid breaking up your writing flow for each piece of content you write.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Keywords?

Absolutely. You want to use your keywords naturally and not overuse them. To combat the keyword stuffing of the past, Google now actually flags posts and sites as spam if they have a keyword density higher than five-and-a-half percent. Only write the kind of high-quality content you know your identified target audience is searching for, then create content that will be valuable to them.

Above All, Be Authentic

As we all know, back in the infancy of search engine optimization and digital content marketing, content producers and strategists could game the system by stuffing sites full of targeted keywords so their pages appeared near the top of Google, Yahoo, and others.

Search engines have gotten smarter since then and so have consumers. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. And your keywords should do the same by being reflective of the content or page you’re producing.

Be sure to check out A Guide to Keywords, Part 1: Finding the Right Keywords.

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