How to use keywords in blog posts?
Finding the right keywords is only half the battle. You must learn how to use keywords in blog posts to improve your chances of ranking on the first page of Google.
For maximum SEO benefit, use keywords naturally through out your blog posts and make them fit contextually. Place them in the title tag, headers, URL slug, and more. This gives them visibility with search engines. However, placing keywords effectively is where the challenge lies.
Here are 9 tips to effectively use keywords in your blog posts:
1. Use Keywords in the URL Slug
What is a URL Slug?
URL slug is the hyphen-separated phrase that appears at the end of a page URL.
In the below image, the slug is highlighted in the orange box.
The phrase google-tools-for-keyword-research is the primary keyword for the blog post.
How to use keywords in blog URL slug?
- By default, WordPress will append an alpha-numeric code in place of the slug. Make sure you replace it with something that people might actually type into the Google search bar.
- Search Engine Crawlers read your URL. Make it easy for them (and your readers) to understand the main topic by looking at the URL.
- Do not include more than one keyword. This will look awkward and confuse the bots.
- Keep the slug short, do not append more than one word to your primary keyword.
- You can enjoy a bit more freedom if you already have a part of the keyword in your domain name. If the domain name was liftweightsxyz.com, you would benefit from the slug – safe-way-around-heavy-weight. Google bots see the complete URL; your domain name will add to the effectiveness.
The URL slug is also shown on your Google Search listing. See the below image.
We will refer to the same image when we talk about using keywords in the title tag and meta description of your blog posts.
2. Use Keywords in Title Tag
What is a title tag?
The title is the most visible part of your SERP listing. People make the split-second decision of clicking on it or not by looking at the title tag alone.
How to use keywords in the title tag of blog posts?
- You can afford to add the primary keywords and a secondary keyword in the title tag, but you have to be crafty with it and not cross the 60 character limit. In the above image example, we add two keywords – How to write a blog post that ranks and How to write a blog post that gets traffic. It doesn’t work every time though.
- Add keywords in the first 3 or the last 3 words of the title. This makes it easy for readers to skim through.
3. Place Keywords in the Meta Description
What is a meta description?
The meta description is the slightly longer, smaller font text that you see in your SERP listing. It lets you add more information about your blog post which can influence searchers to click on it.
How to use keywords in the meta description?
You must use multiple keywords in your description as you have the space to do so. You can have up to 155 characters in this tag.
How to place keywords in the URL slug, title tag and meta description tag?
You can place the keywords using one of the many SEO plugins available on WordPress. Here’s how to do it using Yoast SEO Plugin:
Scroll down the WordPress editor screen till you reach the Yoast SEO section. There you can type in your keywords in the SEO title, Slug, and Meta description text bars. See the image below.
4. Insert Keywords in the Header Tags
What are header tags?
Header tags are big bold phrases that you often see in blog posts. They help you segment your blog posts into sub-topic and give them a clean structure. If visitors want to take a cursory glance, they will most likely read the headers to figure out if the blog post answers their query.
There are multiple header tags – H1, H2, H3… H1 is the main tag, and ideally, there should be only one H1 tag in your post. H2 is a lower-level tag that can be elaborated further using H3 tags.
The image below shows H1 and H2 tags for this blog post.
Just like your human readers, search engine bots analyze your header tags to explore the content of the post. So you must include your keywords there.
Best practices for keyword placement in the header tags
- Don’t go overboard with placing keywords in header tags. Try to fit in the main keyword and secondary keywords naturally.
- Don’t use your keywords in every header tag. Use them sparingly.
- If you use HTML anchor text for a header tag, make sure you add a keyword in the HTML Anchor too. The guidelines for adding keywords in the anchor are the same as those for the URL slug.
How to place keywords in the header tag?
- Head to your WordPress editor and select the keyword phrase you want to turn into a header. You will see a menu hover over the selected text.
- Click on the left-most icon to see a list of options. Select Advanced Heading.
- You can then select which header level you want to set.
5. Use Keywords in Image File Name and Alt-Text
Images add a unique flavor to your blog post. They break the monotony of text, make a concept easy to understand for your readers, or simply add an element of humor in some cases.
In this blog post, we have used many screenshot images to explain concepts. If you are not using images already, consider integrating them into your new and existing blog posts.
And when you do start using images, make sure you use keywords in the image name and alt-text.
What is Alt-Text?
Alt-text is the phrase of text that browsers display if your image is broken. Search Engine bots read this text to learn what the image is about. Currently, the bots can’t read the text in your images, so they rely on Alt-text.
How to use keywords in image file name and alt-text?
Let’s assume you host 10 images in a blog post. Each image offers 2 slots to insert your keywords. Here’s how you use them.
- Take liberty with the image name. You can choose to use the primary keyword and variations for most of them and append with a number. For example, if your main keyword is – how to lift weights safely, you can name your images as to how to lift safely 1, tips to lift weight safely 1, etc.
You can also consider using a mix of your primary, secondary, or even tertiary keywords. But use the primary keyword for at least 10 images.
- You need to be more careful with Alt-Text. Using a single keyword for all of them counts as keyword stuffing. Use primary keywords in 10 images and secondary keywords and related keywords in the remaining.
- Ideally, you should use keywords only when the image is related to the keyword.
How to insert keywords in the alt-text?
Open your WordPress editor and add your image. There you will see fields to enter image title and alt-text. Add your keywords in both fields.
6. Use Keywords to Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are a section of text in your blog post that Google features at the top of search rankings because it answers the search query to the tee.
Here’s an example of a featured snippet.
The section of text served as a snippet gives a paragraph answer to the query.
How to use keywords to set up featured snippets?
The idea is to write keywords in a way that when bots read it, they immediately know that a snippet worthy piece of content is coming up next. For example, if your main keyword is, how to clean your air conditioner at home, use it this way:
Here are the 5 steps to clean your air conditioner at home:
Then enlist the steps. This way you use keywords to set-up the context.
Access some more tips on how to write for featured snippets.
7. Place Keywords in Anchor Text of internal links
What is anchor text?
Anchor text is the phrase that you hyperlink. For example, in the last line of the previous section, the anchor text is – how to write for featured snippets.
By using keywords of the hyperlinked page in the anchor text, you signal the bots that the landing page has the exact information that they expect to see. This is not just a best practice of keyword placement but also of internal linking.
How to use keywords in anchor text of blog posts?
- Determine the primary keyword of the landing page.
- Write content in the host blog post to set up the context for the hyperlink.
- For example, the last line of the previous section could be written differently – Learn how to write for snippets here, Here’s how you write for featured snippets. But we wanted to hyperlink the phrase how to write for featured snippets as it’s highly relevant to the content on the landing page.
8. Plant Keywords in the Introduction
Google often ignores the meta description that you fill in and picks up a snippet of text that it finds more relevant to the search intent. And very often, it takes the snippet from the introductory paragraph.
If you insert keywords in the first line or at least the first paragraph, you do a better job at telling searchers about the value your blog post offers.
9. Use Keywords in the Conclusion
Conclusion or the summary paragraph is often a go-to place to insert keywords. You probably won’t get many snippets from here, but you can increase the keyword mention count by weaving keywords into the conclusion paragraph.
Things to consider while using keywords in blog posts
By now you know how to use keywords in blog posts, but so do your competitors. Our aim is not to get you at par with them, but to give you that extra 1% that makes all the difference.
In addition to the above 9 points, here are a few more points that will make you an expert at placing keywords in blog posts.
For a very long time, bloggers have tried to make titles enticing enough to get clicks, but starting August ‘21, Google has started to use H1 tags instead.
This tweet shows an example:
However, there’s a chance that Google is A/B testing and things could go back to what they were before.
- Your meta description will likely be ignored for many keywords
And that’s for good! Google has become better at identifying search intent and aligning the search results accordingly.
It will replace your meta description with a text snippet that aligns better with the search intent.
For example, the first image below is what we intended the meta description to be. While the second image is what Google served.
- Don’t place keywords in the excerpt
An excerpt is a piece of text that shows up on your blog home page. It gives an incentive to your home page visitors to click on the blog post link. However, if you use keywords in the excerpt, the homepage may compete with your blog page.
It’s not a big factor, so others will ignore it, and that’s where you’ll score some brownie points. It’s all about that 1%.
Keyword Placement FAQs
How many keywords should I use in blog posts?
The number of keywords you can target depends upon the word count of your blog post. Based on our experience with blog posts, here’s a concise guide you can use.
|Blog Word Count||Primary Keyword Count||Secondary Keyword Count||Related Keyword Count|
Primary Keyword – A primary keyword is the focus topic of your blog post. It’s the keyword that you explain thoroughly by attacking it from different angles. You put in every little piece of information one might need about the topic and make the blog post holistic.
You need at least 1000 words to do that.
Secondary Keyword – This keyword is strongly related to the primary keyword, but it can be covered thoroughly in fewer words. For example, if the primary keyword is: How to clean a coffee table, the secondary keyword could be How to clean a wooden coffee table.
A secondary keyword needs at least 400 words for complete coverage.
Related Keyword – A related keyword is a “passing mention” keyword that you can sprinkle in the blog post. You will find these keywords during your research. In addition, once your blog post has been live for a while, you can find related keywords in the Google Search Console tool.
These keywords either get a mention once or twice in the whole post or get an FAQ to the maximum.
Please note, there is no specific number of times you can use keywords, but the table shows a benchmark that lets us naturally use keywords.
How many times should I use a keyword in the blog post?
As a rule of thumb, your keywords should contribute to 0.5% of the total word count. This means, for a 1000 word blog post, you mention a keyword no more than 5 times. If you use the keyword more than 10 times for a 1000 word blog post, you have overdone it.
How many words should a keyword be?
Blogging is now very competitive for almost any niche you can think of. Use keywords that are at least four words long. Ideally, that’s how long a keyword should be.
But you can pick even longer keywords if you are in a highly competitive niche.
In this piece, we showed you how to use keywords in blog post effectively to drive more organic traffic to your website. We shared 9 practical tips that you can start implementing today!
Which of the 9 tips did you like the most?