Frequently Asked Questions: Optimum Use of Keywords in Content Marketing

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Content without keywords is like a train without passengers. If you are trying to board on a content marketing train you need to think about keywords and how they fit into your content marketing strategy. This requires a great deal of research work, patience and time.

Webmasters and primarily content writers often come across situations where they need to weigh between keyword-optimised content and keyword-stuffed content. Which is the borderline one needs to follow in practice?  Selecting the right keyword linking pattern is also in a dilemma at times. In fact, the Google panda update has left us with so many ifs and buts, that you need to solve them only by learning and practicing.

keyword density

Unfortunately many of us end up with vague answers when it comes to using keywords in a content optimally.

In this post we will try to answer a few of them.

1.What is the difference between keyword and keyphrase?

Generally speaking, a keyword is a single word. A keyphrase consists of 2 or more words. Keyphrase can also be termed as long tail keyword. Long tail keyword is basically a compilation of words that makes a short phrase or sentence. A long tail keyword usually contains the main keyword in different forms and positions.

Example:

Keyword – Toronto Real estate

Keyphrase -

  • Toronto luxury homes for sale
  • Toronto foreclosure homes for sale
  • Toronto condominiums for sale
  • luxury homes for sale in Toronto
  • Toronto Single-family homes for sale
  • Toronto townhomes for sale

keyphrases

2. Should I use direct keywords as well as keyphrase both within a content?

You may use both, but in a ratio, say 25:75.

3. Should I use keywords in the title and subheadings?

Yes, you may use keywords in the title and subheads of content, but with intelligence and precision.

NB:

Title or H1 tag is what search engines look at to decide what the topic your page is about.

Supportive heading tags (or subheads) H2, H3, H4 that incorporate search terms and support the main title helps to build up topic authority and fulfills search engine placement goals.

4. How many times I should use keywords within a piece of content?

There is no ideal number or percentage to use a keyword on a web page. However, you may have heard people saying 2-3% keyword density with 20% to 30% variation is the ideal. The number may vary depending on the type of content you are writing. Therefore, instead of brainstorming on keyword density, concentrate on relevance, uniqueness and real value that you are providing through the content. Keyword should naturally appear in the content at a reasonable rate.

However, if you want to play safe,  an article of 500 words can have direct keywords 2 to 3 times and keyphrase 5-6 times. Keyword-stuffed content that does not have substance will only lead to higher bounce rate and no conversion. keyphrases that support your main keyword, avoid keyword over-optimisation effect and give direction to the content are worth gold.

5. Why use keyphrases or long tail keywords within a content?

  1. From site owner’s/webmaster’s point of view:

When it comes to ranking in SERPs long tail keywords/ keyphrases face little competition as compared to single keywords. The exact match keyphrases are worth gold because that is what searchers may have typed in Google.

When it comes to driving quality traffic keyphrases are more focused and specific than a single keyword. One needs to understand the psychology of a phrase.

For example, you are a property agent in Toronto looking to sell condominiums. If you use the keyword “condos”, you may end up targeting a wide range of audience who have nothing to do with buying or selling condos. More you go specific better is the output you get.  Keyphrase can only get you into that.

Here is the hierarchy of developing keyphrase based on human psychology:

  1. Condos
  2. Condos for sale
  3. Condos for sale Toronto
  4. Cheap condos for sale Toronto

Single keyword has got too much of popularity and there are a number of bogus sites that rank for single keywords, though they are not relevant and useful for visitors. Therefore, original buyers are now trying to find their products by typing long tail keywords or key phrases. Keyphrases are getting popular day by day.

More accurate keyphrase = More targeted traffic = Better conversion.

  1. From link builder’s point of view:

Google penalises websites that are building loads of keyword-based links month after month. This keyword over-optimisation leads to unnatural link building. We all know over-doing anything is treated as spam activity in SEO world. By using keyphrase it is possible to control the usage of direct keywords as anchor text and thus dilute the over-optimisation effect.

  1. From content writer’s point of view:
  • Contents with high keyword density are often rejected by quality article directory sites. Using keyphrase is a safe bet in this regard.
  • Guest bloggers are no more in a  mood to entertain such posts that are written only to optimise a keyword. They are particular about maintaining keyword density.
  • It is easy to use keyphrase than pushing a keyword into a sentence forcefully.
  • Keyphrase can be used as a subheading or as a statement as you feel the best use of it.
  • Keyphrases help you avoid awkward use of keyword in a sentence

Long-Tail KeyPhrase

 

6. How should a keyphrase look like?

Potential search term that is naturally occurring and is useful to readers. A content writer may look at it as an alternative to the main keyword. A search engine may consider it as a phrase or groups of naturally occurring texts that are relevant to the topic, title of the content and  outgoing links.

7. How will I develop keyphrase?

This is the most important brainstorming activity a content writer needs to perform.

Think in terms of keyword taxonomy. Taxonomy is like a tree-shaped structure that gets more specific as you move to end of the branches.

If you are writing for an e-commerce site that sells shoes you may use this taxonomy –

Shoes> Men’s shoes> Boots> Boots Chelsea style> Boots Chelsea style Ankle height

Focus on these points while developing and using keyphrases:

Business goals and the type of the website you are writing for. For example, if you are writing around the keyword “cupcakes” and your business objective is to sell cupcakes by taking customers to your product section , think how  a visitor will react to the keyword you have used. Will they prefer clicking on just a link called“cupcakes”? The chances are not high.

If you develop  keyphrases around the main keyword, for example“Types of cupcake flavours  to choose” or “colourful and cream-filled chocolate cupcakes on display” that will easily register in the visitor’s mind. Positioning of keyphrase is vital in this regard.

You need to decide

  • What is that associated text (keyphrase) that induces readers to click on a link ?
  • When, how and where to place such engaging anchor texts?

Useful practices

  1. Apply keyphrases in the form of “How To Stuffs”. For example,  “how to  prepare cream-filled chocolate cupcakes yourself?” It is better to build a business or a brand by showing expertise rather than attempting to sell a product or service directly through the content.
  1. Use prepositions, relative pronouns, stop words, synonyms to form keyphrases. You can also use different forms of a word such as noun, adjective or verb to construct a keyphrase. Using the past participle form or gerund form of a sentence is also useful sometimes. The idea is breaking the keyword in two or more words and then using preposition, related phrases, additional words to maintain the flow of the sentence.

For example,

If a keyword is “Tax Fraud” we can use following key phrases or try more variation:

  • Tax related frauds
  • Tax related fraudulent activities
  • Tax evasion
  • Tax related issues
  • Tax related offence
  • Tax crime
  • Taxation problem
  • Such legal matters
  • This legal issue
  • Such crime
  •  In tax related crimes
  • Tax fraud and crime
  1. Use keyword research tools to figure out keyword variations and groupings. Google Adwords keyword tool , Wordstream keyword tool, Google insights for search, Google trends, Keyword grouper, Keyword niche finder are a few resources you may try on your own. They will make your job easier.
  1. Use Compete.com, Alexa to find out what keywords your competitors are targeting. You must not copy their effort, but you can gather ideas about potential search terms.

8. What are the different ways to use hyperlinks within a content?

It is not necessary that we need to stick to the original form of keyword for linking. It depends on how you are using it and where. You may use some long tail keywords for hyperlinking, if it makes sense. One may also use related phrases, direct client name, brand name, client URL as an anchor text. To summarise a write should not use any word that a human being finds difficult to utter or to relate. You may compromise with keyword structure/components if it is required for the content. Sometimes a whole sentence can be linked if it is meaningful.

9. Should I use the same keyword insertion approach for all of my contents?

No, there should be a variety and originality. It is up to you to decide what suits the content best.

10. Is it fine to target multiple keywords  on the same content?

Whether you know or not , every piece of content that you write contain multiple keywords. It comes naturally. When you are using one primary keyword it is good to have multiple sub-targets in mind. This will optimise the page for other sub-target keywords or related keywords.

11. How to make best use of keyword in terms of ranking?

  • Develop a unique, authoritative, resourceful page based on that keyword
  • Target the keyword in video and presentation sharings so as to maintain variety in link profile
  • Prepare a  number of long-tail keywords with variation and then use them while writing
  • Focus on evergreen keywords that will drive the right kind of traffic
  • Add real value through your content  and ask readers to comment on this
  • Promote your work through social media and Newswire services

12. How will I know more about this part of content marketing?

If you have  the patience and time to do research work, there are a number of blog posts written on these topics. You can go through them and understand the basics of keyword usage. Following SEO expert’s suggestions will help you understand the latest changes happening around. If time permits you can experiment on your own.  Take a set of keywords and watch out which sites are ranking high for them. Continue this process for a couple of months and you will understand – how Google ranks a webpage based on its content value; what is the keyword density a good site maintains; how to use keywords through a page content and all.

If you have more questions in mind related to keyword usage or content marketing that you want share with us please comment here below. We will try our level best to answer your queries.

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About 

Sanat Singha looks after Corporate Communications and Relationship Management for overseas clients at Softz Solutions. He also leads content writing and blogging team which always inspires him to do something new and productive. Prior to Softz Solutions Sanat worked with Cyber Media India Online Ltd.(CIOL) and Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd. With more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing and ad sales he continues to deliver strategic inputs wherever and whenever required.

A Master in Science from Calcutta University and a Post Graduate Diploma holder in Marketing Management from AIMA, Bangalore, Sanat grew up scaling advertising and media industry, both online and offline. He was a Semester Topper in 2006-2008 batch (IBMR, Bangalore) and was awarded with Gold Medal for his achievement.

On a personal level he is an acute blogger and a singer. You may catch him up cooking delicious dishes on weekends. Follow him on Google Plus.

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