Keywords might be one of the most misunderstood aspects of online content. Many companies don’t know how to use keywords properly in content pieces; they don’t really even know what keywords they should be targeting and now, thanks to new Google algorithm updates, companies get penalized for “keyword stuffing” and find themselves tanking in search engine rankings. If it seems complex – that’s because it is.

Content has to be written for the humans to make them care and share AND for the robots. Keywords are the single best way to optimize your content for the web and ensure the search engine “crawlers” find you. There are two things to understand about keywords:

Keyword frequency – how often your targeted keywords appear on a page.

Keyword density – the ratio depicting how often your keywords are used in relation to the rest of the words on the page.

It seems logical to think that aggressively repeating keywords throughout copy (keyword frequency) will result in increased search engine rankings. In fact, that’s the way it used to be until Google decided to penalize those insincere attempts to “cheat” good content.

A keyword density of more than 5.5% makes Google think you are “keyword stuffing.” A good guideline to follow is to target no more than two or three related keyword phrases per page of your website.

So, what’s a writer to do? Use keywords and keywords phrases thoughtfully. You can do this effectively by making sure all of your content outlets are optimized. Ideal places to use your keywords are:

  • Website landing pages and product pages
  • Distributed articles and blog posts
  • Above your site logo
  • Headlines
  • Images
  • Subheadings
  • Within links (anchor phrases)
  • Meta title

Determining your ideal keywords and keyword phrases comes down to how you want people to find you. For example, if you are a residential painting company in Ohio, you might utilize “Ohio house painters,” or “residential house painters in Ohio.” Keep these phrases in mind every time you write something for the web or for your website. Keeping your content genuine will always win-out over manufactured copy. Over time, regular and careful use of keywords.