Some things just naturally go together – like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly and TV and couch.
Unfortunately, creative content and keyword optimization is not always one of those things.
Loading up an article with keywords can feel a little robotic and restrictive. Content writers want to have a unique voice, and adhering to keyword optimization requirements can sometimes interfere with the creative process. But, if you want your online business to thrive, your writers need to know how to use keywords effectively.
In a previous post, we discussed how to optimize a blog post for SEO and bring in relevant traffic. Now, it’s time to master the integration of creative keywords.
Integrating SEO Keywords into Content
One of the most common suggestions content writers get is to “make content sound natural and engaging”. But, having a distinctive voice while trying to squeeze in a peculiar keyword is often easier said than done.
According to a study by WhaTech, cited by Neil Patel, over half of all marketers struggle with content creation. Simply stuffing your content with keywords is no longer acceptable, so content writers need to learn new creative keyword insertion techniques.
You probably already know the basics; place keywords in the following places:
- Page title tag
- Article title
- Meta description
- The first paragraph of your content
- 1-3 more times throughout the copy
- Anchor text
But, how do you incorporate them into your creative content in a natural way?
Understand User Search Intent
Jean Dion from Search Engine Journal has an interesting approach to keyword research. Keyword research, she says, is market research. It’s an opportunity to find out what your prospects want, as well as what stage of the sales funnel they are in.
If you want to write content that grabs people’s attention, make sure you understand why searchers typed in those words. What are their pain points? What solutions are they looking for? How can you help them?
Let’s take the keyword “Denver real estate market” as an example. Users searching that term are most likely interested in finding information about the housing market in Denver. They are not particularly looking to buy or to rent a home, they just want to know what the trend is. They are at the top of the sales funnel and the chances of these searchers hiring a real estate agency are low. They are not ready to make a decision, they just want to learn.
Use this information to write an engaging headline or an interesting introduction that incorporates keywords in a natural way. Write like you are talking with your prospects one-on-one and focus on teaching them.
Write Keyword-Rich Headlines and Titles
Hypnotic headlines can persuade your audience to click and read your content. But, if you want to boost your traffic, our advice is to write keyword-rich headlines.
One of the easiest ways to integrate keywords into headlines is to research and adapt viral headlines. Go to websites like Buzzfeed.com and Upworthy.com, or use tools like BuzzSumo to find viral headlines. Study them and adapt them to your own keywords and content.
But, how can you make your headlines flow naturally when your keywords sound something like “SEO agencies Colorado” or “heat recovery ventilation system”?
Easy! Google is smart enough to know what users are looking for when they type in a keyword; meaning using exact match keywords are not always necessary. So, instead of saying “TOP SEO Agencies Colorado” or “The Best Heat Recovery Ventilation System”, try saying “TOP 10 SEO Agencies: Colorado Companies You Can Trust” and “20 Thoughts Everyone Has While Shopping for a New Heat Recovery Ventilation System”.
Not only are these headlines much more engaging, but they are integrating keywords in a creative way.
Write Relevant Subheads around a Keyword
People don’t read on the web, they scan. A study by the Nielson Norman Group, cited by Buffer.com, found that people only read 28% of the words in an article. More than that, according to a study by Chartbeat, 55% of Internet users spend fewer than 15 active seconds on a page.
Smart marketers use subheads to help scanners find relevant information faster. Not to mention that Google takes them into consideration when trying to determine the most relevant search results.
A great and creative keywords insertion technique is to use LSI in your subheads. LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing means that search engines look for words and phrases that are related to the main keyword. For example, if you type in the word “penguin”, Google could think that you are referring to the aquatic flightless birds, one of Google’s updates, a kids’ club, or a publishing company. But, if you type in “penguin facts”, that context gives Google what it needs to return only the websites that are relevant to your search criteria.
Before writing your subheads, use an LSI keywords research tool to find synonyms for your main keywords. Also, write your subheads like mini-headlines, and use them to clearly describe what you are going to write about.
Keyword Frequency: Does It Still Matter?
There are a lot of marketers still obsessing over the ideal keyword density percentage. But, if you are looking for a magic number that will boost your traffic, you might be disappointed. There is, indeed, a lot of information out there regarding the ideal keyword density, but it is not very conclusive.
After Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, keyword frequency, and density are no longer as important as it used to be. Instead of stuffing your content with keywords, learn how to use them in a smart way and make sure you understand concepts like TF-IDF. TF-IDF stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” It states that content should include keyword variations and that some of those keywords should be used more frequently than others.
For example, if you write an article about “best financial advice”, in addition to the keyword “best financial advice”, you should also use keywords such as “money” and “income”, because they are related to your topic.
In this post-Hummingbird world, knowing how to use keywords in your content is paramount for the success of your business. Content that is properly optimized for SEO makes it easier for search engines to find your website. Creative keyword brainstorming helps writers create articles that grab the attention of their readers, but integrating keywords into your content in a natural way can be hard.