In the past, keywords were one of the most critical components of SEO. Simply using keywords with enough frequency could often propel your content to the top of the SERPs. Of course things have changed. Keyword stuffing can now get you penalized, and keywords in general don’t carry quite the same weight that they used to. However, they’re still a definite ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, so you’ll want to use best practices. Here are some specific places to include targeted keywords in every blog post.
This is a no-brainer. You’ll always want to create your URL with your targeted keywords in mind. This is one of the key areas that Google will look at to determine what your content is about. Ideally, you’ll use your keywords one time and keep your URL short and concise.
According to Backlinko, “The title tag is a webpage’s second most important piece of content (besides the content of the page) and therefore sends a strong on-page SEO signal.” Always be sure to insert your targeted keywords into your title and tweak the rest of the words so that they fit and it sounds natural. Again, it’s considered best practices to keep your title fairly short at a maximum of 60 characters.
3) Header Tags
Header tags include H1s, H2s, H3s, H4s and so on. These are the tags that break your content up into sections and make it easier for readers to scan. Never force it, but peppering in your targeted keywords into your header tags (especially an H1 tag) will give you just a bit more “SEO juice.”
4) Meta Description
Your meta description appears just beneath the title and URL of your page in search results. Besides letting search users know a bit more about what they can expect by clicking on the link, it fills Google in on the details as well. This isn’t a huge ranking signal but still has some impact. When creating your meta description, include your keywords once and aim for a max of 160 characters total.
5) First Paragraph
Your intro is a critical element of your blog post. This is where you need to immediately grab the reader’s attention and get them interested enough to read on further. Most SEO experts would agree that you should get into the habit of incorporating your targeted keywords into your first paragraph as well. This is another minor relevancy signal that will give you a slight edge.
I should also point out the key to effective on-page SEO like this is to ensure that everything reads naturally. You never want to force keywords into places that they shouldn’t be or so that they detract from the user experience. With that being said, these are all locations where including targeted keywords is beneficial. This helps Google better understand your content, which adds to the roughly 200 different ranking factors they use to determine content placement. When it’s all said and done, this can mean the difference between search engine anonymity and getting ranked on page one.
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