Using keywords can be confusing, but it shouldn’t be.
Sometimes as marketers we go over the top naming things, which can make them seem more complicated than they are.
Keywords are simply the words and phrases you type into Google when you’re looking for something. They can be anything.
So, why should you care about them?
If you understand what your customers are searching for, you can figure out what type of content to create (like blog posts, ebooks and videos) to capture their attention and answer their questions by providing value. You can read more about keywords here.
But we’re not perfect. Here are 5 common mistakes using keywords in your blog that you should avoid.
1. You break the “1 keyword/post rule”
While you’re trying to rank for multiple keywords, each post should focus on one.
Your goal is to optimize each post, so you have the highest chance of being found in Google for that keyword.
If you put too many keywords in a post (aka the same phrase of certain words over and over again), you won’t optimize for anything, your post will sound fake, and worst, your blog will get lost among the sea of 150,000,000 blogs that are online today.
Solution: One post, one keyword.
2. You only use exact keyword phrases
It surprises some people to learn that Google understands related words, so you don’t need to use the exact keyword phrase throughout your post. Google understands related keywords through something called LIS, or Latent Semantic Indexing.
LSI is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text. – Search Engine Journal
For example, if we’re trying to rank for “common mistakes using keywords in your blog,” we can also say things like “common mistakes using keywords in blogs” and “common mistakes people make using keywords in blogs.”
Solution: Write like a human, not a spammy robot.
3. You don’t put keywords in photos
Last year Google made a change to their algorithm that increased the number of images they return in search results.
Their goal was to deliver more relevant images on a larger scale, meaning that while your post might not rank on page 1 for a keyword, a photo you used in that post (properly optimized with a keyword) could appear in the images section on page 1.
SEOmoz wrote an interesting post on this called Is Optimizing Photos More Important Than You Think? – check it out if you’re not convinced of the importance of photos in search.
Solution: Optimize every photo.
4. You always use keywords
Does the stress of using keywords prevent you from blogging?
That used to happen to me, until I realized every post doesn’t need to focus on a keyword phrase.
While the goal of your blog is to educate readers and provide answers to questions they’re searching for, sometimes you just want to share a story about who you are (which helps builds trust) and that’s fine, especially in the early stages of your blog, when you’re establishing a habit of writing 2 posts per week.
But some of us have the opposite concern: will keywords alienate people?
If you use them right, chances are the opposite will happen – you’ll get more readers because your content is optimized so more people can find you.
Last winter I was speaking with an entrepreneur who curates a collection of vintage jewellery and she wasn’t convinced. I wrote a post about our conversation – check it out if you’re concerned that keywords will hurt your business and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Solution: Do a balance of posts, with the majority focused on a keyword.
5. You forget to do keyword research
This should be top of the list.
Because no matter how optimized your post is, if no one is searching for what you’re saying, no one will find you.
Keyword research helps you determine what your customers are searching for. There are several factors to consider, including how much traffic a phrase gets, how competitive it is to rank for (aka how many other people are trying to get found by that phrase), how relevant it is to your business and more.
The heart of keyword research is to understand what your customers are searching for, not what you do.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Vancouver, instead of writing a post focused on “real estate agents in Vancouver” you might have more luck with “Buying your first home in Vancouver” or “The best neighbourhoods for young families in Vancouver” or “new home vs fixer upper.”
p.s. If you use Spokal, this step becomes a lot easier.
Spokal simplifies the process, so instead of using several metrics to analyze what keyword to choose, we analyze them for you and create one score for each word, giving you a clear idea of which phrase you should target first. Check your keyword wizard for more details. Or start your free 14 day trial and let us know what you think.
Solution: Do your homework.
Conclusion: Mistakes Using Keywords In Your Blog
Neilson released a study that showed only 16% of us read a post word for word – most of us just scan.
While it’s important to use keywords properly, it’s equally important to format your posts in a scannable manner. Your reader should be able to extract the key message at a glance. If they can, chances are they’ll come back because you gave them value.
So, what do you think? Do you have any tricks for using keywords in your posts?