Last week we talked about Google’s Keyword Planner tool and how to use it to do basic keyword research for your blog posts. This week, we’d like to dive a little deeper into this topic and look at how to effectively incorporate your keyword into your blog post, as well as some additional blog SEO tips.
So I’ve picked my keyword. Now what?
If you followed the guidelines in our post last week on How to Do Keyword Research Using the Keyword Planner, you’ve hopefully found a keyword that is:
- Relevant to the content of your post
- Specific and targeted, while still having a relatively high number of monthly searches
- Not highly competitive
There’s one more important step before you dive into writing your blog post using your chosen keyword: Google it. Searching for your keyword in Google helps you to further evaluate its relevance and whether you have a good chance of ranking for it. If most of the top-ranking articles in search results come from well-known websites that would be difficult for you to outrank, it may be best to choose a different keyword.
Googling your keyword can also reveal whether people are searching for this phrase the way you thought they were. For example, we were recently researching keywords for our website and one of the keywords we looked at was “PR Food,” since we specialize in public relations services for food and restaurant brands. It had a decent number of monthly searches and a medium level of competition, but Googling this phrase revealed that most of the search results had to do with Puerto Rican food, not public relations for food companies.
Once you’ve settled on a great keyword and checked it in Google, how can you best use it within your blog post for maximum SEO effectiveness? First, let’s talk about what NOT to do.
Just Say No to Keyword Stuffing
What you don’t want to do is what’s known as “keyword stuffing,” or repeating your keyword over and over through your blog post. Google is smarter than that and will quickly penalize your site for those sorts of attempts to game the system.
Always, always, always write your content for humans first and search robots second. The keyword research is meant to help people find your content who are actually looking for the information you are writing about. If your content isn’t interesting, useful or engaging, no amount of keyword research will help you grow your web traffic.
Where to Put Your Keyword (hint: Use Yoast!)
Here are few best practices for where and how to incorporate your keyword into your post.
- In your blog post title – preferably at the beginning
- In your blog post URL
- In the first or second paragraph
- In the meta description
- 1-3 more times throughout your post (this is flexible depending on the length of your post – remember, the idea is for the keyphrase to help Google understand what your post is about, but it needs to flow naturally within your writing.)
If you have a WordPress site, using the free Yoast SEO plugin can help tremendously with making sure you include the keyword in all the right places. On each post, simply enter your keyword into the “Focus Keyword” field of the Yoast plugin box. The tool will instantly show you if your keyword is missing from any of the places listed above. You can also edit your meta description right in the plugin and see a preview of how your blog post will appear in search results.
Bonus Blog SEO Tips
In addition to following the above guidelines to incorporate your keyword into your blog post, there are some additional steps you can take to SEO your blog post.
- Include at least one image in your post – posts with visual content are more appealing and will attract more clicks when shared on social media
- Include relevant inbound and outbound links – that means links to other content on your own site, as well as links to outside content on other sites
Check out this handy Web Content Checklist from Orbit Media Studios for even more guidelines on optimizing your blog posts.
We hope this guide has been helpful for those of you who are new to SEO, or who are looking to improve the SEO of your blog posts. If you have any questions for us or tips to add, let us know in the comments.