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In the past many “black-hat techniques” and spammers took huge advantage when it came to using keywords.
It did used to be possible for a website to gain rank within the search engines by overusing keywords.
The thing was, hiding keywords in hidden text, stuffing a page full of keywords related to what a site wanted to rank for, used to have an effect and could rank a site relatively easy.
The results, well, where far from an accurate array of what the searcher was genuinely looking for.
This sparked a huge movement by Google, predominately in 2012 when the landscape of search as we knew it would change for good!
By good I mean not just forever, but for the better!
This had huge impact on the way many SEO’s, DIY SEO’s and internet spammers websites fared within the search engines.
Google over the years has introduced many “filters” or rather Algorithms also known as Updates. Designed to improve search results and deliver a more accurate list related to the keyword or keywords the searcher had entered.
Getting back to the main shake up when it comes to keyword stuffing and black-hat methods that began to drown Google’s search results for.
In 2012 we saw two main Updates introduced by Google.
1. Panda Update
These updates where designed to each conduct very vital and necessary task of filtering websites which had essentially cheated their way to the top of the search results.
Needless to say, the search engine shake-up Google had delivered was for many, a welcomed change.
Google rewarded sites that consisted of a user friendly design and structure, valuable, unique and relevant content – not keyword stuffed. Those sites maintained their rankings and in some cases even gained rankings.
Thanks to the spammers overusing keywords and causing the carnage Google began to filter out, the effect keywords have on a websites rankings have been greatly reduced.
That’s not to say keywords have no effect, they most certainly still do and are by no means entirely disregarded.
Nowadays, the aim of using keywords is to let Google know what a websites page is about, and also indicate which keyword (Search term) you want that specific page to be included in the search results.
What won’t happen is what used to possible in days gone by,
Where you could expect to see a website rise within the search results, by simply optimising the page with specific keywords.
Now we’ve covered the what, why and when of keywords in terms of history and how things have changed.
Lets delve into the correct use of keywords when it comes to website content on-page SEO and search results.
It’s a double edge sword when it comes to using keywords on your website.
If you don’t optimise each webpage correctly, you run the risk of not ranking highly for your chosen keywords.
Same is applicable if you over optimise your websites pages with keywords, you not only risk not ranking highly – but the site is also at risk of being penalized due to over-optimization and un-natural techniques.
So how do you correctly optimize a websites content using keywords?
Let’s start at the top, and work our way down the structure of a web page and where you can effectively use keywords.
The URL of a website also known as the website’s domain or website address.
For example; www.yourwebsite.com/use-keywords-here/
Using your keywords as part of the page URL is beneficial as it helps signal to the Google what the page is about.
The only page within a websites structure you cant do this with is the home page.
Page titles are another necessary place to add your keywords, adding them correctly is whats important.
Page titles are seen very differently by search engines, than they are by users. When a search engine crawls a webpage they see page titles as code displayed like this;
When writing page titles it’s important to write for both the search engines and the users, take this example of instance;
Winter Motorbike Safety Checks | Motorbike Safety | BikeBuzz
In the eyes of the search engines the page title would be look like;
<title>Essential Winter Motorbike Safety Checks | Winter Motorbike Safety Tips | BikeBuzz</title>
This is a good example of correctly using keywords within the title of a webpage. (Given that the site and page was related to motorbikes, with the targeted keyword being “Motorbike Safety” and the website or company in this example being BikeBuzz.)
A bad example would be;
Motorbike Safety (and nothing else)
It’s important to not just include the keyword, but to try and vary it, a companies name can also be added, but bear in mind page titles cannot be too long.
The optimal format for page titles to display in Google is between 50-60 characters long to be sure the page title will fully display within the search results.
This is an area often overlooked, correctly use of keywords whether that be shortened versions or alternative versions – can be used.
It’s strongly advisable not to use your keywords in their exact form if this is long or looks un-natural or spammy in anyway.
The H1 Tag is another element that can be keyword optimized.
Situated at top of the page, this element is used as a headline, telling visitors what the page or article is about.
Essential Winter Riding Tips and Motorbike Safety Check’s
As with the previous example text entered in H1 tags is shown differently to users than it is to search engines, search engines would see the code format which would show;
<h1>Essential Winter Riding Tips and Motorbike Safety Check’s</h1>
The search engines would know that text within the H1 tags was essentially headline text.
Website visitors would see H1 text, enlarged in a preset size, designed to add emphasis and grab their attention, shown below.
This is another area that can easily be over optimized, so it’s important to get the right balance and not look spammy.
Keep it short, simple and to the point by aiming to naturally include your targeted keyword or keywords.
This is the main area of text in a webpage or blog post.
This area was one of the most abused areas when it came to over optimization of keywords or “keyword stuffing”.
You don’t need to add your keyword or keywords in every sentence or paragraph.
You only need to add your keyword once, I’m not saying that’s all you need to do, buttheoretically that’s the only presence needed for a keyword within the body content.
That said, I’ve never just added a keyword once in the body content.
Hence why writing your content relevant to the page topic is essential. This then gives the scope to “naturally” be able to add your keyword throughout the text, just as you would in a conversation. If your discussing a topic, you naturally mention the topic, product, issue or service.
Writing a websites content should be based on the same principle, you would’nt repeat the same word or phrase over and over again in a conversation – so why do it when it comes to website content?
Keyword stuffing only attracts a red flag in the eyes of the search engines, which ultimately leads to a website penalty.
Not only that, consider your audience, how annoying and unprofessional it looks and reads to your website visitors. Not the impression you want to provide if you want to gain visitors that convert into returning visitors, subscriptions or sales.
The anchor text of a webpage is the text linked to another other webpage internal or external.
You may have areas in your content that mention certain things related to another page on your website, blog or 3rd parties website. When this is the case, using your keywords within this area is also beneficial, providing you vary it and don’t use the same anchor text over and over again.
Try and use variations of your keyword and naturally include it in a phrase or part of a sentence relevant to what your linking to.
Ride Safe – winter motorbike safety tips for all riders
Starting with image titles.
Naming your images using your targeted keywords – providing your images are related of course is another area keyword can be optimized throughout a webpage.
When a webpage has images inserted, the website visitor see’s the image normally – as you would expect.
For the image to display and be visible to your audience, a HTML code detailing the “image path” is necessary.
<img src=”http://bikebuzz.com/folder_name/10-motorbike-safety-checks.jpg” title=”10 Winter Motorbike Safety Checks” alt=”10 Winter Motorbike Safety Checks”>
The title and ALT text is not visible to your audience, unless for some reason the page doesn’t load or perhaps they are using a screen reader or some other kind of visual aid to help them view webpages.
Adding your keywords within image titles and the ALT tags of images is both and important and necessary step for search engine compliance and also optimal user experience.
Meta descriptions are another area that have been devalued by Google due to overuse by many internet spammers and black-hat SEO techniques.
There is some controversy on this topic, some say it makes no difference at all if you do or don’t use meta descriptions.
Others choose not to use meta descriptions as they feel it openly and easily shows competitors what keywords a website is targeting.
Whist some webmasters and SEO’s feel it’s wise to use meta descriptions to highlight keywords within the description shown as snippets of text underneath a websites listing.
Personally, I still use them and take the opinion, even though it can show your competitors what exact keywords your targeting, so can many other software and programmes online.
Using meta descriptions can help a user who is scanning the search results identify which site is most relevant to what they are looking for – by what the meta description of the site displays.
When keywords are used in meta descriptions, their shown in bold which also helps the user who is quickly scanning the search results identify a website related to what their looking for.
All in all, its safe to say Google holds no value to meta descriptions using them or not, is entirely down to preference rather than requirement.
Keyword variation is a good practice to get used to and understand.
Targeting a webpage with more than one keyword is not advisable, it can be done – however can be a fine line between sending a clear signal to what your webpage is about and creating confusion.
The best advice is stick to one keyword per page, using closely related variations of that keyword.
Keyword; Motorbike Safety
Variations; “Motorbike Safety Tips”, “Motorbike Safety and Advice”, “Motorbike Safety Winter Warnings”, “Winter Motorbike Safety”, “Essential Motorbike Safety”
The main keyword on this example is “Motorbike Safety” providing the variations consist of one or more extra words added, Google still sees the main keyword as being “Motorbike Safety”.
Other additions that can help with keyword variation are adding pluralities such as; ‘s, etc, ies.
Minor words such as; an, on, in, and to, can also be used to help mix things up.
An overall example of good keyword variation throughout a webpage would look like this;
1. Target Keyword: Motorbike Safety
2. Url: www.bikebuzz.com/motorbike-safety
3. Site Navigation Link Text: Motorbike Safety Tips
4. Page Title: Winter Motorbike Safety Checks | Motorbike Safety | BikeBuzz
5. H1 Tag: Essential Motorbike Safety Tips
6. In-Text Link (Anchor Text): The Winter Motorbike Safety 101
7. In-Text Link (Anchor Text): Motorbike Safety Tips and Advice
8. In-Text Link (Anchor Text): Winter Motorbike Tips to Ride Safe
9. Image Title (ALT Tag): Winter-Motorbike-Safety-Tips
10. Image Title (ALT Tag): Motorbike-Safety-Checks
11. Image Title (ALT Tag): Essential-Winter-Advice-For Motorbike-Safety
Meta Description: Winter motorbike safety checks all riders need to know. The winter motorbike safety tips 101 will help keep you and your motorbike safe.
When using keywords on a webpage its important to understand how to effectively use keywords.
Ideally you want focus on your main keyword, but also want to use a few variations throughout the page to help with natural keyword distribution and signal to Google what your page is about.
When using your keyword in all the areas mentioned above, don’t use the main keyword repeated in it original form – in all those places.
Just like you wouldn’t repeat the same word over an over again in a conversation, same is applicable when it comes to website content and keywords.
Mix it up and use variations to keep the page looking natural to not just Google, but also your audience.
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