I have included some SEO detail about keywords in my 2 part Yoast series. However, I didn’t go much into the whys or wherefores because keywords seems to be a bit of an expert field. Not only that, if you write for yourself and a small audience you care about, like many of us do, then the key word or phrase needs to fit the post, not the other way round.
I do need to earn a bit of cash from my personal blog. I would not be able to afford to carry on with it without that small income. Which is why I have an interest in topics like mobile speed, SEO and Moz ranking. These things help drive companies to me. But I expect my visitors do not want to read a post which has been written around a particular keyword that I have previously researched and decide I want to rank for. Such as for example – “Five great kinky sex tips.” Writing like that now and then is fine but having to do that most of the time – well I would find that very boring.
If you’re after a How To for writing around a previously researched keyword then pop over to Neil Patel’s place. He seems to know a lot about such things.
Choosing and Using Keywords or Phrases
Apparently key-phrases will drive more “targeted” traffic to your site than keywords. When you think about that it stands to reason; I know if I am searching google for something I write a sentence rather than one word.
So in this post I am just going to chat about the best ways to choose a key word or phrase for a post you have already written. And also what other things you could do to strengthen that choice.
When writing a post like this one I knew from the start that the word “Keywords” would be the main keyword itself. Or figure somewhere in the key phrase. But if I am creating a personal account on my blog I may not know until it is complete which word or phrase will be the focus.
Here is how I decide and then what I do.
Deciding on a Keyword
I will use an example of one of my posts, Music and Passion Over the Years. It is about past loves and the music that fueled each romance. I decided upon the key phrase Music and Passion after the post was written – but before I had decided on the final title. I felt the posts main topic was a combination of these two things. Also within my post I had already included the phrase “Music and Passion” a few times – see figure 1 – and was certain I could find a place to add it elsewhere if needed.
Even though I typed the whole phrase in the focus keyword box only the two main words are used. (See below.) Connective words, such as and are not counted.
The keyword needs to appear a certain amount of times in your post for it to useful. A keyword will need to be used slightly more than a key-phrase. (Apparently about 7 to 10 times per 1000 words.)
If you write using blocks it is easy to see where it appears in your narrative by using the Eye Yoast tool –
And the image above tells you that keywords are also needed in the title, meta description, slug (that’s you URL). And also make sure it is in some of your image alt tags/attributes.
So far so good… I covered much of how to achieve the green dots in figure 3 here…
If you have decided on a key word or phrase and have not included it enough then read through your text and perhaps add in a logical place. Include in a sub title if possible or as the caption on a meme badge or image in your post. The main words in your phrase just need to be in the same sentence – see Figure 1 above – not necessarily next to each other.
Complementary words or phrases
Once Yoast are satisfied you have chosen an appropriate keyword and included it enough times I am afraid your job isn’t over yet. You really should throw in a few keywords that are complimentary to the focus choice. If you look at figure 1 above you see Yoast has a new feature “related keywords”. Clicking on that instructs you to signup to something called SeMrush. They will provide you with similar key phrases and you can even click through for lots of other keyword info.
In my Music and Passion post I was not keen on their offerings and my post already included words like song, passionate and love. So I didn’t put any more effort into keyword selection.
I also tend to include my keyword/phrase and complimentary words as tags.
When trying to think of complementary words or phrases a good way to view this in your mind is to see the main keyword at the top of a pyramid. And the similar, secondary words as part of that topic filtering down. So, if the whole post is about music you may have song, rhythm, singer, melody, harmony – that type of thing – as the related words within your text. And under Music within the pyramid… Moving further down you could list more personal words such as emotion etc. In fact you would probably use them naturally without even thinking.
Or you could view it as a word cloud similar to the one at the top of the post.
Fiction writing Keywords
If you write fiction then it can be a little harder to include main and secondary keywords. But certainly not impossible. I wrote about it here… (If you are not yet a member you may need to signup to the club to view this. But it is free.)
This post is directed at WordPress users. In blogger the tags are know as labels. And whereas you don’t need to define your keyword in an area like figure 2 you should still make sure a word/phrase in your title appears a number of times in your text, is part of your url and is used in the alt text line for an image. You get to the alt text area by clicking on the loaded image and then the setting/change wheel.
Keywords are a bit of a minefield in blogging. If you always try and write excellent content then I think the keywords will be there naturally. Happy blogging!
Images adapted from Pixabay
8 thoughts on “The Blogable A to Z ~ K is for Keywords”
I have definitely learned some new things here, like that ‘and’ is not counted. For fiction it can indeed be a challenge to find a keyword, but it definitely is doable.
~ Marie xox
I am not particularly SEO savvy, but when I was learning how to use Toast, I was advised to *not* use the words and, or, but, not, not, etc. In post slugs or keyword phrases. I think it has to do with how search engines are set up to use those combining words as negation filters.
I’ve never written a post for the purpose of ranking for a specific keyword or phrase… I have definitely approached my writing as “today, THIS is our topic” before though. And the topic is then – usually – the resultant keyword.
Exactly – When i remember I cut the connection words out of the url – because of what you say – and there is no need for them. Yoast ignores them anyhow even when you put them as part of the focus word. At the end of the day the focus word box is just to get us to concentrate on a phrase or word and utilize it within our posts. But I am convinced that if you write engaging content the keywords follow automatically
*Yoast, not Toast
I hate Autocorrect.
I find Gboard on my phone to be the worst offender for auto-correcting with a high degree of unwelcome persistence. At times it is astounding what it offers up. You wonder how the algorithm makes such an inappropriate choice.
Yes! Context be damned.
No I did not mean scammed!
This was very interesting and informative, and tells me for sure that I have not been doing keywords right from the outset! Oh dear, must research more with your linked posts!
I. Not a blogger but I read all of you Marie was one of my first to read over 2years ago