You may have noticed that the SEO game has become a lot more difficult lately… Mostly due to the recent algorithm updates like the Penguin and, like always, due to the ever-growing competition for valuable keywords.
However, some things remain unchanged. For instance, you still need to find a way to let Google know which keywords you’re targeting.
The fact is that Google can figure this out on their own, kind of (through links, and social media interaction), but introducing some good on-page SEO can make things a lot quicker.
You have to be careful, though. Google now openly admits that they discourage all forms of active link building, and probably any other type of active SEO work as well.
So how to overcome this and not get in trouble?
SEO is always a two part process, there’s off-page SEO and on-page SEO. Here, I’m only talking about on-page SEO (about using your desired keywords properly inside your content). If you want a more general advice, you’ll have to go to one of many SEO blogs out there.
The secret to good on-page SEO is keeping everything natural, or at least making it seem like it is.
I’m sure you can agree that whenever you’re talking to a friend about a certain topic, one leading phrase will end up being used more often than others. Like for example, if you’re talking about the coffee you had in Starbucks this morning, the word Starbucks is likely to appear several times.
The story with on-page SEO keyword usage is the same. Once you’ve picked a keyword to target, you should use it inside your content (quite often). However, the key is to not sound fake or unnatural.
There are many publications on the web regarding the perfect keyword density. Some say that it’s 0.5%, some that it’s even 2%. For me, the numbers don’t matter. And there’s a really simple reason for this.
If you have a one word keyword like “iPad” then you will get away with using it dozens of times in your text. But if your keyword is “best iPad cases for less than $100” then you can probably use it just once, anything more will sound unnatural.
That’s why I prefer a totally different mechanism for determining a good keyword density.
And this mechanism is human testing. This in plain English means that you should simply read your article and determine whether it sounds natural or not.
So the short version of the above lesson is this: Use your desired keyword a lot, up to the point when it stops sounding natural.
Where to use your keywords
The first and the most obvious place is the body of your article itself. Use your keyword wherever you have the chance to do it naturally. Also, you can set it to bold or italic to give it slightly more visibility.
Additionally, utilize the following places:
This is the long field on top of the “New Post” page in WordPress. (I’m only saying this because there are a lot of fields marked as “title” inside the WordPress admin panel.)
It depends on your theme, but your post title will most likely end up being published inside the <h1> tag. This is the second most important tag on a web page from an SEO perspective.
The advice is simple here, just use your keyword as part of the title of your post. Or even make it the title on its own if possible.
Besides, acquiring the skill to craft good titles will surely pay off in your career. No matter if you’re a freelancer and get paid for writing, or doing it as a hobby.
From an SEO point of view, the SEO title (<title>) is the most important tag on a web page.
However, the default installation of WordPress doesn’t even allow you to set it manually. You can do it only through an SEO plugin, or through a quality theme with some built-in SEO possibilities.
When it comes to a quality WordPress theme, you can’t really get it for free. However, there are a lot of possibilities in the world of plugins. Two examples: WordPress SEO by Yoast, All In One SEO Pack.
When you finally get to create the SEO title for your post, make sure to include your main keyword. Or better yet, include nothing more than just the keyword (make it the title on its own).
The stories of SEO title and SEO description are very similar. You still can’t set it in WordPress if you don’t have a good theme or an SEO plugin.
A good approach for the description itself is to, again, use your keyword, but do it by mentioning it within a short sentence (under 155 characters).
For instance, if your keyword is “learn guitar chords” then you can use a description like:
Get access to my free resources that will help you to learn guitar chords in no time.
… I’m not saying that it’s the best description possible, but it does its job as an example.
Using subheadings is a very good practice in blogging, and online publishing in general. You can improve the readability of your posts greatly if you just include some subheadings every now and then.
This will break the post visually and make it easier to follow for people reading it from their computer screens (roughly 100% of your audience).
One additional benefit sitting in subheadings is that they are a perfect place to use your keywords. But this time it’s not about using your main keyword directly.
Subheadings are great for side keywords (keywords that are related to the main one). This will make your message natural and probably a lot more sensible.
For instance, if you’re writing a review of the new iPad, some specific keywords are expected to appear. Like for example: price, battery life, size, App Store, etc. If you just use “iPad review” in every subheading then it’ll look very unnatural.
Alt tags for images
Not everyone realizes that there’s something like the alt tag for every image you place on your blog. Essentially, the alt tag has one main task. If the image fails to load for whatever reason (maybe it’s been deleted from the server or something) then the alt tag gets displayed in its place.
Good alt tag usage is about treating it as a short description of what’s on the image. Additionally, you can use it for SEO by including your desired keywords into this description.
If using your main keyword doesn’t make sense in an alt tag then use a side keyword that is still relevant to the main one.
You can set this in the visual editor in WordPress without any additional plugins, so it really costs you very little effort.
That’s it for my advice on how to use keywords in a blog post properly. I welcome you to share your own insights. Do you have any questions I can help you with?
About the author: Karol K. is a freelance blogger and writer. He’s passionate about WordPress and using it as an online business tool. To find out what he’s up to and learn How to Write Online feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro.