Keywords – The First Tool in Your SEO Tool Kit

If you want the major search engines to understand what your page is about, what is most relevant to users and how your content should be placed in the index, then you will need to do a little SEO (search engine optimization).

That being said, organic search engine placement relies on fresh, informative and engaging content that REAL people enjoy reading, link back to, comment on (Google loves discussion), share via Social Media and that builds topic authority (search engine understanding of your content).

Guessing at Keywords is Not a Smart SEO Practice

Guessing at keywords and strong tagging (bolding) words you think might be important for SEO is really not the way to go about optimizing your content nor will it help your SEO.  The only way you can truly know what keywords are actually good keywords is with the help of a keyword search tool or service.

The keyword research tool I recommend is Good Keywords, which links to Google’s keyword search tool. It will tell you how often a particular keyword is seen in Google and show you the previous month’s searches in relation to an average year search on the same keyword. It also has a powerful keyword suggestion tool, organizes and stores all your data for quick reference and the best part is that you can download it for FREE.

HitTail  is another powerful keyword search tool service I highly recommend.  HitTail costs about $20 dollars a month and produces keyword data like no other, such as:

    • See the most promising keywords you should target based on your existing traffic
    • Watch search visitors arrive in real-time
    • Unlock the competitive advantage contained in your traffic
    • Receive email alerts for new keyword suggestions
    • Analyze a stunning visual display of your long tail keywords
    • Collect data on secure (SSL) pages
    • Improve rankings and increase your organic traffic
    • Separate paid vs organic search hits
Watch this excellent video about HitTail and Long tail searches.

Keyword Phrases and Long Tail Keywords

Most users type a phrase or a question into the search engines, such as “how to grow an indoor herb garden,” “how do I get rid of the fleas on my dog?” “how to stage my home to sell quicker,” “new construction homes for sale in Greater Tampa Florida” and so forth.  Search engines are answer engines and the use of long tail keywords are best for most search queries.

“Seattle real estate” is an example of a real estate keyword phrase that a user might type into Google if they were looking for relevant pages about real estate in Seattle.  Long tail keywords are keyword phrases with three to five words in them and they narrow the search down even further.  Long tail keywords are more granular and specific than broader and more competitive search terms, also known as “low hanging fruit.”

Low Hanging Fruit Long Tails

We have Mother Nature to thank for the expression low hanging fruit. A fruit-bearing tree often contains some branches low enough for animals and humans to reach without much effort. The fruit contained on these lower branches may be not be as ripe or attractive as the fruit on higher limbs, but it is usually more abundant and easier to harvest. From this we get the popular expression “low hanging fruit”, which generally means selecting the easiest targets with the least amount of effort. (Low Hanging Fruit Definition Source: wiseGEEK.com)

Long tail keywords for the the competitive  keyword phrase “seattle real estate” might include: “seattle luxury homes for sale,” “seattle foreclosure homes for sale,” “Seattle short sales,” “seattle condominiums for sale,” “luxury homes for sale in Seattle,” “seattle townhomes for sale,” “seattle Single-family homes for sale” and so forth.  Although these long tail keywords may not get searched as often as “seattle Real Estate,” they are considered lower hanging fruit because they are easier to get and yield more targeted results.

Use Keywords in the Title H1 Tag and Supportive Heading Tags within the Text

The title or H1 tag is one of the very first things search engines look at to ascertain what the topic of your page is about. Therefore, you want your title to include the search term/phrase you are going after in your text. I recommend that you avoid using h1 tags within the body of your text as it can cause topic confusion with multiple H1 tags in the eyes of search engines. WordPress automatically assigns H1 to the title.

The use of heading 2, 3 and 4 tags,  that incorporate search terms and support the main title (H1),  help organize and break up blocks of text (big turn off to site visitors) and also help build up ‘topic authority, the goal for search engine placement,  but definitely not the end game (quality content that converts is the endgame).

Keep in mind that every theme is different and so are the h tags. For example, with the AgentPress Genesis theme, H5 is the perfect style and font size for supportive heading tags.  With the the Socialize Genesis theme (GFN site), H3 is the perfect style and font size, which looks like H5 in AgentPress. You have to play around a bit until you find the perfect supportive heading tags for your particular theme or blog.

Keyword Density and Keyword Stuffing

Keyword density is the percentage of words on a web page that match a specified set of keywords and can be used in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase.  Generally speaking, the higher the number of times a keyword (phrase or longtail) appears on a page, the higher its density, and around 5% is most effective for content optimization. To figure out text keyword density, simply count how many times the keyword (phrase) has been  used on the page, then use the following formula (you don’t have to be exact on this – use it as a ball park figure.

keyword count divided by total word count x 100 = keyword density in %

A lot of ad sites on the Internet are filled with keyword stuffed content and void of substance, considered spam in the eyes of search engines and looked upon unfavorably. If you want to avoid the spanking you will get from spamming the search engines, watch your keyword density.

Search engines have difficulty deciphering page topic with keyword stuffing and going after two many different keywords in one page.  From a usability standpoint,  keyword stuffed content also happens to be a real turn off to site visitors.  Why even bother to put forth the effort of generating traffic to your website if users leave within seconds of getting there because the content is disappointing.  Bottom line – boring ass,  keyword stuffed fodder doesn’t convert.

The utilization of “good keywords” and Long tails within quality content will help build topic authority for your target market, improve your search engine placement, generate more targeted traffic to your website and improve your over all conversion rate.

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About Victoria Stankard

Victoria Stankard has been an online SEO content writer for a variety of markets across the nation since 2006. Specializing in optimized content marketing strategies and owner of a successful organic search engine optimization company, Victoria writes for real people with "The Optimized Edge" - putting you on the map and more!

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