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how to use keywords effectively | Handmade SEO

How to Use Keywords Effectively to Improve Your Ranking

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Learning how to use keywords effectively is absolutely crucial for improving your search engine ranking.

Research shows that 95% of people don’t look past the first page. Half the clicks go to the first three search results!

If you are not on the first page of search results, you are missing out on a huge amount of organic search traffic – and a lot of revenue.

In this article, we will show you how to effectively use keywords to get your website to that coveted top spot in Google search results.


How to Use Keywords Effectively


1. Choose the right keywords

Choosing the wrong keywords can completely sabotage your SEO strategy.

If your audience is not typing your target keyword into Google, they will never find your website – no matter how good the rest of your SEO optimization might be.

Don’t just rely on your own intuition: do keyword research to find out what search terms your audience is using to find products and services similar to yours.

You can also dig into your own website analytics to see which keywords are already working for you.

In addition to using variations of your main short-tail keywords (e.g. software training), include long-tail keywords (e.g. “software training for accounting professionals”) in your content.

If you’d like to learn more about doing keyword research, here’s an in-depth article about finding profitable keywords for your website.


2. Keywords in page content

The earlier that your target keyword appears (on the page, the more likely it is that search engines will find it.

Try to include your main target keyword within the first 100 characters of your content.

Use a variation of your main keyword multiple times on the page.

Don’t overdo it, though: keyword stuffing is a major red flag for search engines, and will actually lower your website’s search engine ranking.

To avoid too much repetition, you can use synonyms of your target keyword, as Google is getting smarter about recognizing them every day.


3. Keywords in headlines and title tags

A headline is different from a title tag.

Title tags appear as headlines in Google search results.

If you have chosen to use a funny or catchy headline that does not include keywords (but looks great on your blog), you should change the title tag to something that does include your target keyword.

Keep your title tags to 55-70 characters to make sure they show up fully in search engines.


4. Keywords in meta descriptions

When a user types in a search query, they get a bunch of search results with titles and a little bit of text underneath.

That little bit of text is called a meta description. It is very important that you include your target keyword near the beginning of the meta description.


5. Keywords in H1/H2/H3 header tags

Header tags don’t just look good on a page – they can also affect your SEO.

The H1 tag (the headline tag) is considered to be the most important for SEO purposes, but try to include your target keyword in at least one H2 subheading as well.


6. Keywords in hyperlinks and anchor text

Anchor text is the clickable text of a hyperlink.

It is what search engines use to determine the content of the web page you’re linking to.

Never use generic anchor text for your hyperlinks.

For example, if you’re linking to a page talking about your coaching program, make “coaching program” is the anchor text for your link, instead of something generic like “find out more here.”


7. Keywords in image alt text

Image alt text is a word or phrase that can be inserted into your site’s code to tell search engines and site viewers about the nature and contents of that image.

In addition to including keywords in the alt text, change the filenames of your images to a variation of your target keyword.


The Golden Rule of Using Keywords Effectively

When assessing the keyword usage on your website, you want to look at two things: relevance and frequency (density).

To rank highly in search engines (and attract lots of qualified leads to your site), you need to create content that is relevant to your target audience and choose keywords that are relevant to your audience’s search queries.

Then, you need to use these keywords frequently enough to make it clear to Google that your page talks about this particular topic.

You can use a keyword density calculator to check how frequently a keyword is used in a particular piece of content.

Try to keep yours around 1.5-2% to avoid being flagged for keyword stuffing.


How Handmade SEO Can Help

Knowing how to effectively use the right keywords is essential for increasing your ranking in search results.

Does your website use the right keywords? How are you doing in terms of other SEO factors, like page speed?

Find out with the help of our free Digital Marketing Assessment.

It includes an SEO audit that will tell you exactly what’s preventing you from landing that top spot in Google search results – and how you can do better.

Did we mention it’s completely free?

Get your free Digital Marketing Assessment here.
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