Targeting keywords is one of SEO’s oldest tricks. When it comes to keyword research, a little goes a long way.

Yet many of us are unsure as to how we should naturally include specific terms (words and phrases) that we want our page to rank for.

With each passing day Google is becoming more and more sophisticated. Sure it can’t quite read like a human (yet) but Google can and will penalise or fail to rank websites that do not use target keywords effectively.

Include the right keywords in the right way and when Google crawls your page, hey presto – it will rank in the top 10 for its relevant terms. Well, in theory.

Even the most experienced content marketers shudder at the mention of black hat SEO, keyword difficulty or return rate – which is exactly why we have broken down all the essentials you need to know to get you using keywords like a pro.

Read More: The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing

 

How To Do Keyword Research For Content:

  • Start by identifying one focus keyword for your webpage, blog post or article. For instance for this post, it might be ‘keyword research.’
  • Check your keyword for variants which might have higher search volume and lower keyword difficulty (you can use the Moz keyword explorer to do this for free).
  • Search for related keywords to include naturally in your copy (we like to use Answer The Public together with Keywords Everywhere, Moz keyword explorer or Keyword Toolio).
  • Create a spreadsheet with all of your keywords and upload them into the Keywords Everywhere bulk uploader to check for:
    • search volume
    • keyword difficulty
    • click through rate
    • clicks
    • cost per click
    • return rate
  • These stats will give you an indication of which keywords will be most effective to use naturally in the copy, headings, alt tags and metadata, and give you the best chance at organic visibility.
  • Use your high volume, low difficulty keywords naturally in your copy. These should include company name, location, brand terms, product name etc.  and a mixture of higher volume, higher difficulty keywords and lower volume, lower difficulty keywords (that are perhaps more niche, but might give you greater return).
  • Use your single target keyword in your headings, alt tags and meta data wherever possible.

 

What Not To Do With Keywords:

  • Stuff your copy, headings, metadata or alt tags with an excessive number of keywords (visible or invisible) as Google will punish you for this.
  • Include a list of ‘focus keywords’ in your page’s CMS – many older websites use these but Google doesn’t crawl them anymore (it is too sophisticated for that…) These can actually be visible to your competitors and used by them to compete with you on terms they know you want to rank for (sneaky). However, if you have something like a Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress it is still worth setting one focus keyword, as this helps you to improve your SEO.

 

How To Measure Content Success With Keywords Analysis

Measuring content success with keywords analysis warrants a post in its own right. However, for a quick two step process:

  1. Check your site for its current Google ranking (and responsible URL) for each keyword you are targetting. Ahrefs does this nicely (for a price) whilst SEO Centro does this for free (though its platform is a little rough and ready). You can map competitors in the same way.
  2. Carry out the keyword research process (as above) before content creation, then repeat the first step after three months to see what improvement there has been. Promoting your content should help raise its organic visibility.

Read More: How to Get Your Content Noticed Online