Every Wednesday here at Modest Money I like to provide blogging tips. Yeah I know this is a finance blog, but early on most blogs have a lot of blogger traffic. So I want to help them all out.
Besides, anyone who is looking to improve their finances may be considering starting an online business.
Here are some blogging tips topics covered recently:
Last month I published a very popular blogging tips post about optimal keyword research for SEO. In that post I detailed how to use the Google AdWords keyword tool to find great keywords to target. This is the follow up post about properly using keywords on your blog.
How To Use Keywords Effectively On Your Blog
If you run a blog, it’s a given that you want more traffic. For some reason hitting the publish button on your first post just didn’t give you the flood of traffic that you were expecting. That reason is a little thing called SEO.
One of the most important components of SEO is choosing suitable keywords and properly using them on your blog. Google usually can’t figure out what your posts are most relevant for without some help.
So now that you know how to research suitable keywords (if you read my previous post), how do you actually use those keywords to influence Google and other search engines?
Using Keywords In Important Areas
A long time ago, SEO used to be just a matter of using keywords as frequently as possible. People came up with all kinds of tricks to stuff keywords everywhere they could. Search engines eventually caught on and started penalizing such strategies.
So these days it is about more subtle keyword usage. This means that you can still write for your visitors while keeping search engines happy. If it starts to read unnaturally, you’re probably overusing your target keywords.
There are several key areas where I always try to make a point of using keywords:
- Post Title – The title of a page is the most important SEO element for a page. Usually it reflects what the entire page should be about. So any keywords used in the title are given extra weight. The closer to the beginning of the title, the more important the words are assumed to be. To prevent from keywords being diluted, try to keep your title under 75 characters long.One of the other reasons it is important to use keywords in your post title is that the title will often be the link text when other people link to your post. The keywords in link text are even more important than any on-page elements.Also remember that an intriguing title will play a huge role in click-thru rates. So try to balance good keyword usage with wording that will get clicks.
- Post URL – If you include your keywords in your post title, it normally gets included in your post url too. Having keywords in your url has a similar weight to having keywords in your post title. Just like the title, you don’t want to dilute things and use too many keywords. I personally try to limit the filename portion of the URL to 4-5 keywords at the most.
Also like your post title, you will often get links to a post with the post URL as the link text. A common example is a tweet on Twitter. So it is another way you can help influence which keywords are in your backlinks.
This means that if your blog is setup with post URLs like myblog.com/?id=1234, you are at a big disadvantage. Switch your permalink URL structure. Make sure you use a plugin that automatically sets up redirects from your old URLs though.
- Page Headings – With most blog themes your post title becomes a H1 heading, which takes care of that for you. If you have a plugin such as All In One SEO Pack, you may be tempted to use different text for your main heading than what is in the page title. This kind of variation may be good for SEO, but I would still try to use your main target keyword somewhere in that heading.
It is believed that text in headings is no longer important to Google after too much abuse. That might true, but I still include it in there for any other search engines that still put weight on headings. For those search engines, using variations of your target keyword in H2 or H3 headings may be beneficial too.
Some people may use your heading text as backlink text, especially if you don’t have an automated social sharing plugin installed. That alone is enough reason to use your keywords in your headings.
- Post Images – This is especially important if you use your own unique photos. Associating strong keywords with your photos can lead to additional image search traffic.
I usually try to put my target keyword phrase in the image filename and image alt text. If image search traffic was a bigger priority to me, I would also try to put target keywords close to the image in the html code. For a finance blog though, image search traffic is very low quality traffic.
- Bold or Italic Text – This is another on-page factor that used to be much more important, but now its effectiveness is questionable. Since some other search engines may still be using it, I sometimes use this technique when optimizing a page.
You can also add colored text into this group. Certain color fonts used to significantly help rankings. I doubt it is still used by any search engines, but it might still be worth fitting in when it can be done seamlessly.
- Main Post Content – Of course you want to use your target keyword at least once in your actual post content. If your title and other elements use a certain keyword phrase and it doesn’t appear in your main content, the relevance looks faked. Search engines like to have relevance reinforced.
The old rule of thumb was to use the keyword phrase once near the beginning of the page, at least once in the middle and once towards the end. I don’t know if this is still applicable, but using it at least once or twice should be fine.
Remember that this keyword usage can turn into your post excerpt that appears in the search results. So you might want to use appealing text around the keyword phrase.
Using Keywords Part 2 Summary
Knowing where to use keywords on your blog is part of the SEO battle. Ultimately what happens off-site is more important though. In the third part of this post I will cover how you can use keywords off-site to help your SEO. Also I’ll cover some advanced strategies for using keywords to your advantage.
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When you write a post do you make a point of including a main target keyword in important areas of your post? Do you largely ignore keyword optimization?