KEYWORDS STILL MATTER FOR SEO
Stuffing keywords into the title, meta title, and throughout the body of copy used to render great SEO success. This combination of actions would undoubtedly result in you gaining a top ranking. Sadly (or not), those days are long gone. Google’s RankBrain algorithm becomes more advanced with every passing day, and as such, the need for a more targeted and refined SEO strategy is vital—especially if we want to achieve the same level of ranking success we have become accustomed too.
Not all is lost, though. Even if keywords don’t work the same way they used to, the important thing is, they DO still work. The difference is that we have to be a lot more intuitive with our use of keywords. Google still uses keywords to identify if a web page or piece of content is relevant to a search query. However, keywords on their own are not the main ranking factor, but instead feed into the ones that are. With over 200 factors to consider, correct keyword use is a fantastic place to start.
Any SEO strategy starts and ends with evaluating what it is your customers are searching for. Once we know that, we can research associated keywords and develop digital content focussed on fulfilling popular search queries.
TOOLS TO OPTIMISE KEYWORD USE
Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help us identify popular keywords, as well as keywords our competitors are using.
While SEMrush does have functions that allow you to review and optimise the keyword ranking of current content, the most powerful tool on SEMrush is their competitor analysis. It is possible to analyse the keyword strategies of rival companies. Armed with this information, you can also publish content with similar, popular keywords.
- MOZ Keyword Explorer
A simple, yet powerful tool. Type any keyword into the search bar, and MOZ will return a wealth of information: organic click-through rates, monthly search volumes, keyword suggestions—plenty to get a growing company started. The free account only allows ten searches per month, otherwise, a paid account is needed to continue your keyword dominance.
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
Consider Ahrefs a slightly more advanced version of MOZ. It can be daunting the first time you use it. One keyword search can return thousands of suggestions for you to trawl through. The benefit of Ahrefs is its paid package, which will guide content marketers to the most popular phrases or keywords.
- Google Analytics
Right under our noses, Google Analytics is a useful tool, especially in conjunction with the others we have listed. If you want to optimise pages you already rank for, Analytics can provide you with the organic traffic those pages have been receiving. Combine well-performing pages with MOZ or Ahrefs, and you can improve rankings even further.
6 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR KEYWORD USE IN 2019
With sufficient keyword research, you will have all the information you need to implement a winning SEO strategy. The challenge now is integrating those keywords into content naturally.
1: FORMATTING PAGE TITLES FOR MOBILE
Putting a keyword in the title of digital content is nothing new; however, you need to consider where the keyword is for maximum effect. Our browsing habits have changed; over 50% of Google searches now take place from a mobile device.
The screens are much smaller, and as such, the title of an article can get clipped down when Google returns search results. It is crucial that the keyword is placed towards the beginning of a title so that users can quickly identify what the content is about, even when using a mobile device.
2: REPETITION DOES MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD, BE CREATIVE
It is all too easy to try and cram keywords into every title, subheading, and meta description you can find. Google has figured this out, and doing so can actually result in penalties rather than promotions in ranking. You can still use similar or the same keywords in your title, meta title, and meta description, but you need to be more creative about their inclusion.
Meta descriptions are the most important, not from Google’s perspective, but from people searching for relevant content. Ideally, your meta description should incorporate a call-to-action as well as a selection of similar or related keywords. You have 160 characters to try and capture people’s attention.
3: WRITE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS FIRST, GOOGLE SECOND
A natural extension of tip number two. The first paragraph in digital content is where you not only need to set the scene of the article, but also where you need to establish relevant, organic sounding keywords. Read the examples below; which one do you think both Google and readers would favour? (Just a clue, NOT option A)
A. Today, we are going to explore the exciting world of SEO. SEO stands for “search engine optimisation”. Maximising SEO takes a lot of work. However, with our SEO tips, you can become an SEO expert in no time.
B. Organically growing your SEO ranking isn’t a closely guarded secret. The answer is a lot simpler and more practical than you may think. With the team at Yuqo here to help, SEO success is only a few clicks away.
Not only does option B read a lot better, but it sounds more conversational. Google is sophisticated enough to detect the tone of a piece of content. With that in mind, try to use your chosen keywords in a natural but engaging way. Your ranking will significantly benefit as a result.
4: PICTURES NEED KEYWORDS TOO
Usually, when we save a picture either as part of a project or for personal use, we do not give much thought to the file name. All too often it is easier to name a file “randomguy1” than to give it an appropriate title. Keyword inclusion in a photo title is another prime example of making the most of keyword use.
Make sure photos or pictures include keywords related to the topic, including the alt text. Alt text can be more descriptive, but just like the meta description, keywords need to be included organically.
5: MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOU
Keywords are not just for use on your native web pages. Instead, keywords should be used everywhere your business has a presence. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn all count towards a topic’s relevance. If you are posting on these platforms, use similar, related keywords when updating your followers with posts about a new article. The more areas of the internet that you have a presence, the higher Google will rate your relevance.
By digging deeper into the functions of platforms like Facebook, it is possible to post essential updates in several different groups. Doing so is another way to increase exposure dramatically. Just try to avoid copy and pasting text between groups. Ideally, you want each post to be unique, thus maximising SEO.
6: MAKE USE OF LONG-TAIL KEYWORDS
We have spoken a lot about keywords: SEO, ranking, Google—all of these words are great, but in reality, when someone searches for a topic, they don’t just type in related keywords. Instead, they may ask Google, “What is the best way to improve SEO ranking?”. When you consider that voice searches are growing rapidly thanks to devices like Alexa and Google Home, the importance of long-tail keywords becomes obvious.
Long-tail keywords highlight the importance of a conversational tone when writing content. Many companies find the process of writing original content incorporated with organic keywords to be quite difficult. Thankfully, Yuqo specialises in creating bespoke, creative content that utilises keywords in an effective yet natural manner.