How to Use Keywords in Content

SEO Guide Step 6

Using SEO Keywords

You will not rank for words you do not use! Your page is not about what you do not write about!

Keywords In Content: if you don’t establish clear subject relevance by writing compelling content about and using SEO keywords your pages won’t rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). You cannot be worthy of ranking if you do not demonstrate that your content is about what people are searching for.

How do search engines know what your keywords are?

As search engine spiders crawl around a website, they look for naturally repeated words, phrases, synonyms, and related words. Using advanced topic-modeling algorithms, search engines use these “key words” to determine what topics the page or site is about.

Where you use keywords in your content matters. Too few mentions of your keywords can leave the search engines wondering what you’re about; too many repetitions tell the search engines you’re a spammer.

Remember the key considerations for writing content discussed in the previous step of the SEO guide. Primarily aim to create something uniquely valuable for users, and then apply these SEO copywriting guidelines for how to use keywords in content.

SEO Copywriting Guidelines: Where to Use Keywords in Content

Basic Web Page Head and Body

Once you decide what the primary keyword(s) should be on a page, you’ll want to create content that includes the phrase naturally and evenly throughout the page.

Note: You’ll get to test your keyword distribution using our Single Page Analyzer in the next step of this guide.

Your main keyword should appear in both parts of a webpage, the head section and the body section.

SEO Copywriting Tips for the Head Section

The head section is hidden in a webpage’s HTML code. If you use WordPress, chances are you edit the head section below the body text, probably in a plugin like Yoast SEO.

Head tags are read by search engines and are critical for SEO. What you write in the head section not only tells search engines what your page is about but may also be displayed in search results. Also, keywords the user searched for appear in bold in the title and description of search results (as shown below).

People click through to your site more often if they see what they’re looking for bolded within your listing. So use your best marketing know-how and write these tags to attract clicks.

Bolded keywords in search results

On the SEO side, follow our best-practice guidelines below.

(Note: These copywriting guidelines are not “rules”; look at what the top-ranked results for your keywords do and make your page the “least imperfect” for each item.)

  • Title Tag: The title is the most important tag and usually shows up as the big blue link in SERPs. As a guideline, the length should be 6 to 12 words, not including stop words such as “a,” “of,” “and,” “for,” etc. Google cuts off titles at the column edge, so place your primary keyword near the beginning so that searchers can see it.
  • Meta Description: Search engines display the page’s meta description as the black description text if it’s applicable to the search query. Write sentences that accurately describe the page content AND motivate searchers to click. Use an appropriate keyword phrase, since words matching the search query are bolded. To be safe before Google’s cutoff, place keywords within the first 160 characters, including spaces. Don’t use any keyword more than twice.
  • Meta Keywords: Though Google has said it does not use the keywords tag for search ranking, we recommend including it as a best practice. The search engines do cache it with the page, and our research shows that they refer to it in some cases. List the page’s keyword phrases in order from longest to shortest separated by commas, and capitalize the first letter of each word. Length can be 24 to 48 words, with no single word used more than 4 times.


Listen to Matt Cutts explain why Google will sometimes replace a page’s title tag with some other text to display as the big blue title that can be clicked in search results.

This is proof of why it’s important to always use relevant keywords in your title tags.

SEO Copywriting Guidelines for the Body Section

What the head section promises, the body section must deliver.

The body section is what users read when they visit your webpage. It must give them what they expect to find.

Throughout your high-quality content, you’ll need to have your keywords and natural language about those keywords. These SEO tips tell you where to put the keywords.

  • Headings: Write a headline for your page in an H1 heading tag, an important signal as to what the page is about. It should include your main keyword and correspond to your page title tag. Optionally, you can create H2 and H3 headings sequentially if you want to break up a lot of text content on the page. Learn more about heading tags and why they are important to SEO.
  • First words: The first 200 words of body copy count most heavily for search engines and for users since most users never scroll down to see what’s “below the fold.” Be sure to use keywords there. Consider putting your main keyword in bold once in the first 200 words to make it stand out to users who may have searched for that very phrase.
  • Body text: Include keywords occasionally and evenly throughout your body copy. This should happen naturally if you stay on topic while writing. Don’t force keywords where they won’t sound natural.
  • Clarifying words: Be sure to place clarifying words near the keywords in the first 200 words and throughout your content. Clarifying words include word-stemming variations (such as write, writing, writes, writer), synonyms, and closely associated words that help clarify the keyword’s context and meaning (for example, using web, content, and copy with the keyword “writing”).
  • Images: Images and other types of rich media raise user engagement and the “stickiness” of your webpage. They also give search engines another reason to offer users your page. An image’s file name, surrounding text, and alt attribute all contribute to relevance for ranking. Search engines treat the alt attribute as anchor text if the image is linked. So always write an alt attribute that is a brief description with a keyword, if possible, identifying what the image shows.
  • Links: Link to relevant pages within your own site using keyword-rich anchor text. Make your site’s internal linking useful for the visitor. You can also link out to high-quality external sites if they’re relevant to your page’s subject, but place these links after the first 200 words and not in your global navigation.

With these SEO copywriting guidelines, you now know how to use keywords in the content. Next, in the SEO Guide, you’ll learn more about how to optimize your new content pages.

Related blog posts and articles:

FAQ: How do I effectively use SEO keywords to improve my content’s search engine ranking?

A well-executed keyword strategy bolsters your content’s visibility and establishes a strong connection with your target audience. The key lies in a balanced and informed approach.

Firstly, thorough keyword research forms the foundation of your SEO strategy. Begin by identifying high-ranking keywords relevant to your content’s theme. Utilize reputable keyword research tools to pinpoint phrases that strike a harmonious balance between search volume and competition. This proactive approach sets the tone for effective keyword integration.

Once you’ve compiled a list of targeted keywords, seamlessly incorporate them into your content’s structure. Craft compelling titles and headings that accurately reflect your content’s essence while incorporating primary keywords. However, avoid overstuffing—maintain a natural flow that resonates with search engines and human readers.

Strategically spreading your selected keywords throughout the body of your content is equally pivotal. Aim for a keyword density of around 1-2% to maintain a balanced, reader-friendly narrative. Synonymous variations and long-tail keywords can also lend a nuanced layer to your content, capturing a broader spectrum of search queries.

Moreover, consider the user intent behind the keywords. Modern search algorithms prioritize user satisfaction. Thus, crafting content that incorporates keywords, answers questions provides solutions, or offers valuable insights enhances user engagement and ultimately boosts your search engine ranking.

In an era of multimedia dominance, don’t overlook the SEO potential of visual content. Image alt text, captions, and video descriptions provide additional avenues for keyword integration. By optimizing these elements, you create a holistic SEO strategy that caters to diverse forms of content consumption.

Mastering the use of SEO keywords requires a delicate balance between diligent research, strategic placement, and user-centric content creation. By weaving keywords seamlessly into your content’s fabric, you enhance your search engine ranking and provide genuine value to your audience. Remember that SEO is an ongoing journey; monitor performance, adapt to trends, and refine your strategy regularly to maintain your content’s competitive edge.

Step-by-Step Procedure: How to Effectively Use SEO Keywords to Improve Search Engine Ranking

  1. Keyword Research: Use reputable keyword research tools to identify relevant and high-ranking keywords for your content.
  2. Prioritize Relevance: Choose keywords that align with your content’s theme and cater to your target audience’s search intent.
  3. Create Compelling Titles: Craft attention-grabbing titles that incorporate primary keywords while maintaining clarity and relevance.
  4. Incorporate Keywords in Headings: Use primary and secondary keywords in headings to structure your content effectively.
  5. Maintain Keyword Density: Aim for 1-2% keyword density in your content to avoid overstuffing while maintaining optimization.
  6. Utilize Synonyms and Variations: Incorporate synonymous keywords and long-tail variations to capture a wider range of search queries.
  7. Understand User Intent: Focus on providing value to users by addressing their questions and needs with keyword-integrated content.
  8. Optimize Visual Content: Include keywords in image alt text, captions, and video descriptions to enhance the SEO potential of multimedia.
  9. Monitor Performance: Regularly track your content’s search engine ranking and engagement metrics to assess keyword effectiveness.
  10. Stay Updated: Keep up with SEO trends and algorithm changes to adapt your keyword strategy accordingly.
  11. Refine and Adapt: Continuously refine your keyword strategy based on performance data and user feedback.
  12. Avoid Keyword Stuffing: Maintain a natural flow of content by avoiding excessive keyword usage that may deter readers.
  13. Diversify Content Formats: Experiment with different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, to engage diverse audiences.
  14. Long-Term Strategy: Recognize that SEO is a long-term effort, and consistent optimization yields gradual improvements.
  15. Provide Value: Prioritize user experience by delivering informative and valuable content that aligns with keyword usage.
  16. Enhance User Engagement: Encourage user interaction through comments, shares, and subscriptions to signal quality to search engines.
  17. Responsive Design: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive for a seamless user experience that influences ranking.
  18. Local SEO: Incorporate location-based keywords if applicable, especially for businesses targeting local audiences.
  19. Quality Backlinks: Foster authoritative backlinks to your content, which can significantly boost your search engine credibility.
  20. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about SEO best practices through reputable sources and courses to improve your expertise continuously.

By following this comprehensive procedure, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and strategies necessary to leverage SEO keywords effectively, ultimately improving your content’s search engine ranking and online visibility.

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