How To Use Keywords Effectively in Your Content Every Time

how to use keywords effectively

Keywords are among the core factors search engines use to rank web pages. They are probably the most critical aspect of any piece of content you have on your site. They are so important that Google and others have developed specific algorithms (a form of AI) to prevent abuse. I will show you how to use keywords effectively within your content.

What is Keyword Density?

This is an important term to comprehend if you want to use keywords effectively. Keyword Density is the measure of a given keyword occurrence or frequency on a web page in relation to its total word-count. Search engines use Keyword Density to determine how important a particular keyword is on a page.

However, Keyword Density core fundamentals have not changed. The more a keyword or phrase appears within your content, the more important it is. But today there are safeguards in place to level the playing field. Hence, how you strategically use keywords within your copy has shifted.

In the past, whoever repeats the exact match phrase or keyword most would typically win the top position. So that is what people did and some used text that shared the same color with their page’s background to gain an advantage. Admittedly, I did this too with my first website. J

Readability still mattered back then because users needed to understand your content. So the tactic of hidden keyword stuffing worked. But that was then.

Sensible Webmasters had to give it up because Google started handing out manual penalties for this practice and others. Eventually, they developed algorithms to help them combat spam and practices that violated their policies. Other search engines followed suit. Now AI automatically demotes or devalues websites or web pages in violation.

Density plays a huge role in SEO and is the first step to effectively using keywords. So I feel it must be understood on a deeper level. Let us take a look at how it works.

How Keywords Are Used

The best way to show you how it all works is to look at some examples. Let us use the following keyword, “how to market your business online”. Here is what we got as the top three results on Google.

Example of how keywords are used to rank pages
Search engines typically highlight or bold key texts on the SERPs. Paying attention to these and applying some critical thinking can greatly improve how you do SEO.

From the above screenshot, you can see that “market your business online” and “promote your business online” are bolded (position 2 and 3). The system knows that both keyphrases mean the same thing as “how to market your business online” because AI understands synonyms and contextually related variants.

Now, let us have a look at keyword density for each result using the SEOquake plugin for Chrome and Firefox browsers. Install the extension, click on the icon or logo located somewhere on the right of your address bar, and select ‘Density’.

Checking Keyword Density with SEOquake Chrome extension
This plugin is so useful and best of all, it’s free!

Quick definitions before we proceed:

T – Keyword found in the title.

H1 – Keyword found in H1

D – Keyword found in the description

The plugin will display 1, 2, 3, and 4-word tables. For the purpose of this example, we will be looking at the 4-word table. However, keep in mind that single words are also important to your rankings. From the page that appears, scroll down or use the bookmark panel on the right to access data quickly.

Position 1 Data

position one keyword density

Notice the unintended situation with their navigation menu items, image alternative and, title texts. Every single text on your web page matters to your keyword density, which affects how you rank on the SERPs. A bot (AI) will read everything and take it all into account.

Position 2 Data

position 2 keyword density

Again, we can see a similar situation with ads but this web page is able to ensure that their main target keyword has more occurrences.

Position 3 Data

Position 3 keyword density

Once again, same situation here with navigational items but density for target terms is decent. However, I suspect this page would perform better if it were to decrease frequency for the first two queries.

How to Use Keywords to Help Rankings

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, Keyword Density for all sites is very close to each other with the highest being 0.86 percent. Keywords are just one out of over 200 search engine ranking factors that are used to rank pages.

Having a slightly higher Keyword Density than the competition can help your rankings. But it doesn’t guarantee that you will surpass them. This is because they may be outperforming you in other areas such as user experience/UX (involves many aspects) and backlinks. Every factor has its own weight or value and varies with search engines.

The Main Algorithm Behind Content Quality

As previously noted, gone are the days when you could just produce sub-par content, stuff keywords and get away with it. That is all thanks to Google’s “Panda” algorithm, a major update that shifted the way search worked. Also, worth noting is that Panda is a code name given to the update when it was detected and not an official name.

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Becoming a Magician: How to Do Online Marketing Moving Forward

how to do online marketing

Virtually everyone has a smartphone. Ad blockers are reducing the effects of outbound tactics. Hence, businesses must learn how to do online marketing that reaches consumers.

The question we should be asking ourselves isn’t how to do online marketing, but rather how do we survive the challenges that are currently plaguing the advertising industry. This provides the solution, your guide to marketing your business online moving forward.

What comes to mind when you think about marketing? Is it Email, TV, radio, ads in print, trade shows, maybe telemarketing? These are all outbound forms of marketing, which focuses on initiating a conversation or reaching out to consumers about a product. Inbound marketing is a little different. The goal is to reach the customer when they actually want to hear from you.

Too many consumers have learned to ignore and block outbound marketing so much, that their impact quite possibly has been halved. Nonetheless, many small business owners, in particular, are yet to grasp the reality of the situation that ‘push’ advertising models are in.

Ad-free subscription-based services are on the rise, making it harder for outbound marketing tactics to reach audiences. According to Statista, an estimated 37 percent of the world’s Internet user’s use Netflix. The streaming service has 130+ million subscribers.

The fact that Facebook is testing an ad-free version of its platform, should be a good enough message that companies need to start changing how they do marketing. YouTube already has commercial-free subscription service and more users are opting for ad free video/television instead of traditional cable TV.

Is it because people hate being marketed to? After all, they’re paying to avoid ads, so they must be.

No, I don’t believe that’s why consumers are opting for ad-free services. If no one markets to us, how are we going to find awesome products? So nope, that can’t be it because people love to buy things they want and that’s not changing anytime soon.

But I do think that in general, we’re all a little worn out by commercials. That’s why we install ad blockers and are willing to pay for ad-free subscription services.

In fact, if someone uses a browser like Firefox where tracking protection is enabled by default, then they’ll never see your ad unless it’s on video. Blogs that rely on ads to generate revenue are already hurting because of this.

The more ad-free subscription services grow, the more difficult it becomes to reach consumers. This means fewer product sales across the board for companies that don’t find new ways to do business. A true debacle.

Surviving The Fall Of Outbound Advertising

Ad blocking user penetration rate in the United States from 2014 to 2018.

ad blocking software usage stats
Ad blocker usage penetration in the USA according to Statista

As an inbound marketer, I have to consistently find innovative ways to meet the target customer at their terms. So I’m already used to this dance but for an outbound marketer, it’s going to be a learning curve and we’re just at the beginning stages of this disruption.

So how do you advertise to an audience that doesn’t want to view commercials? What do you do as a business owner trying to get customers?

How people gather information is an important piece of the puzzle. When people relied heavily on TV and Radio to tell them about what’s new, they were both the focus for marketing.

We mostly learn and gather information on the Internet now. From personal healthcare to entertainment to education, search engines have become the goto portal for info. And I think that’s where the solution is – it’s in mastering the art of showing up on search results, aka search engine optimization (SEO).

There are more ads on the Internet compared to previous years. Advertisers showed up in droves and companies paid them for ads. Naturally, as people moved to their mobile devices, businesses followed them there and publishers got big paydays.

But users increasingly want to return to the times when ads were much less. As evident on the above visual, they’ve turned to ad blockers in order to do so.

Leveraging Search Engines For Inbound Traffic

Today failure to implement SEO can kill a company. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why some corporations went out of business, why mall traffic is dropping and department stores are closing. It’s tough all over because many are still pretending that optimizing for search is optional.

They know something has to be done and fast. But they’ve mostly went back on what worked in the past. Pushing out messaging and in your face sales pitches.

But here’s the thing.

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Keyword Intent: Understanding Searcher Intent For SEO

keyword intent

The following scenario is all too common and in fact, it happened to me. You start your very first website, learn about SEO and target all the high volume keywords, neglecting the meaning behind a query or keyword intent.

Fortunately, you won’t have to make my mistake because you’re about to learn how to discover the meaning behind every single keyword you decide to target. In short, after this guide, you’ll become a keyword ninja!

Keyword intent is important for both PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO campaigns. For businesses that buy ads on Google, Bing or Yahoo, their ROI is dependent on how well they target the right keywords.

The same goes for you! As an SEO professional, a key skill is being able to identify the intent behind keywords. This is crucial because, without a keen understanding of keyword intent, many search marketing campaigns fail.

The Four Types of Search Queries

We’re going to discuss the two primary kinds of keyword intent shortly but first, it’s important that you understand the types of search queries.

1. Navigational

You’ve probably typed a website or brand name into a search engine before, hoping that it provides you with the correct URL. Well, navigational queries are searches performed to locate a particular website.

2. Informational

These types of searches are primarily focussed on obtaining information. Such as learning how to do a specific thing, checking to see what the weather is like for the week or getting tips on how to entertain your toddler.

3. Commercial Investigational

People use these kinds of keywords whenever they’re interested in a service or product but are still considering options. For instance, locating a drop shipper for your new eCommerce store, deciding on a blog platform, choosing an SEO service provider etc.

4. Transactional

I like to think of these as conversion-focussed queries because transactional keywords don’t always lead to direct monetary returns. Examples of transactional keywords include: signing up for a free email account, locating a local spa/hair salon, paying to renew your driver’s license, registering for a Wikipedia account etc.

So it depends on the goals of the business or site. In other words, these types of queries help you obtain website visitors that are most likely to perform the action you want such as making a purchase.

The Break Down to Two Primary Types

Keyword intent is broken down like so: High and low intent keywords.

High intent queries consist of commercial investigational and transactional words. Low intent keywords include informational and navigational terms.

High Intent Keyword Examples

Queries that contain words/terms like discount, deal, free shipping, for sale, coupon and buy, are usually high intent.

Furthermore, words such as best, top, cheap, review, comparisons and certain product categories (i.e. carpentry equipment), can also be considered as having high commercial/transactional intent.

Low Intent Keyword Examples

These are mostly informational and navigational queries. Keywords containing how to, best way to, what is, I need to or a specific website name, are normally low intent. These kinds of keywords will hardly lead to a sale but keep in mind that sometimes, they do.

Never Ignore Commercial Intent!

Exposure is great but when your traffic isn’t converting, it’s useless! A lot of people falsely believe that exposure is the solution. They treat SEO as if it’s a broadcast medium, however, it’s far from it. Sadly, this is still a common mistake that happens.

Success with SEO depends on your company/business/website being present when consumers are looking for your products, unlike broadcast mediums. This can mean targeting solely commercial investigational/transactional intent keywords or identifying some lucrative informational/navigational terms.

When you fail to consider keyword intent, you’re most likely exhausting your marketing budget because the traffic you acquire won’t convert in most cases. If you’re running a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, this means that you’re paying for clicks that aren’t yielding any returns.

If SEO is your focus and you don’t identify keyword intent, the same situation applies.

How to Get Searcher Intent Hints From Search Engines

In general, if you optimize for Google, you’ll end up optimizing for their competitors too. That being noted, there will be rare occasions when you may need to optimize for specific search engines like Bing (i.e. if search competition is lower and organic potential is justified).

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