SEO Copywriting: Using Keywords Appropriately In Your Website

Man's finger pointing towards a search bar
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April 30, 2021
Sofia Yahyaoui

It’s common knowledge that keywords are essential to any website copy. They constitute the terms that users type in the search bar to find answers to their questions or find products and services tailored to their needs. So, when writing, we need to ensure that these keywords and their variations are incorporated into the relevant pages of our site. Failing to do so will result in missing out on the precious targeted and quality traffic you're after.

Keyword stuffing was once, a relatively successful SEO strategy, but we highly recommend leaving this tactic in the early 2000s where it belongs. . However, today it's a terrible thing to do! Including a keyword into your copy too often can cause the piece of content to be removed from SERPs altogether.

There’s no outsmarting Google, whose Crawlers can recognize the practice and are penalising it. Remember that successful SEO takes into account both parties: real readers and AI, and as technology evolves, algorithms focus on providing the best experience for users.

So, flooding a copy with the same words is spammy, unnatural and boring. But, how to know if your content falls into that category? Well, best practice suggests sticking to the ‘less than 2%’ rule when it comes to keyword density. In other words, the number of times the term appears in the content divided by the total number of words should aim to not exceed 2%. No formula is a match for simple human instinct though, because context, relevance and great writing are way more important than keywords.  

To get the most out of keywords the phrases you’re targeting, you need original content that satisfies a searcher query. Getting help from a professional SEO copywriter will ensure you get the balance just right and produce highly optimised content that drives organic traffic, entertains and informs the reader.  

Google gives guidance on creating quality content around specific terms and mentions that websites should “focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context".

Keyword Research

The first step is to identify your keywords. There are plenty of tools that allow you to discover search volumes behind search terms with reasonable accuracy. Google’s Keyword Planner tool is a great, freeway to determine your target keywords. You can still access it without a Google ads account, although the data will be a little less precise. Paid tools like SEMrush offer a very comprehensive platform to tap into. You can find many free tools for this purpose like Wordtracker, Google Trends, Keyword Tool Dominator or AnswerThe Public,  although some of them may have a daily search limit.

A good starting point is thinking about terms related to your industry, your business and products/services, but remember that usually the higher the search volume, the tougher the competition! One way to overcome this is to target search terms with less volume as they tend to generate results faster with the right approach. Targeting various keywords with smaller volume can sometimes be a more fruitful strategy. What matters the most here is that doing your research will help drive results.

Different Keyword Types

You can tap into many keyword types, keeping in mind that the more specific, the better. This is especially the case for pages deeper within the site architecture, like product pages.

1.   Short-tail/Core/Primary/Head Terms. These are the main keyword that you wish to target. They are generally shorter. For example, boots, holidays, laptop, indoor plants.

2.  Long-tail keywords . They complement the primary keyword and describe it, for example, cheap laptop or Air France flights or holidays in France, red yoga pants.

3. Modifiers. These refer to terms that are essentially the same but are slightly tweaked. (cheap, cheapest, cheaper)

4. Synonyms. Generally, users tend to vary their search query. So, to stay relevant, we must include variations.

5. Singular/Plural. Search queries will include both plural and singular terms (indoor plant vs indoor plants).

Google and other search engines can understand text pretty well. It knows that eat, eating and eats are essentially the same thing by using ‘keyword stemming’ and this allows us to diversify our choice of words.

It is important to note that you should stay away from focusing on the same keywords or keywords groups to avoid what is known as ‘keyword cannibalisation’. This happens when pages on the same site start competing against each other, leaving crawlers uncertain about which page should rank. If a website had many pages that strongly focused on ‘content marketing services’, the said site might lose some visibility as keyword cannibalisation would occur. Hence, why it’s key to have a structure in which you specify which pages target what keywords.

Where Should You Include Keywords

Now that you know which keywords to use for each particular page, it’s time to add them into your copy. It’s considered best practice to use short-tail keywords for the home page and top-level pages, in other words, the head terms, plus modifiers and qualifiers.

As you delve deeper into your site, getting to your products/services pages, you’ll want to add those long-tail keywords which reflect a user-specific search intent, for example, ‘black long dress’ if you have a clothing business.  

When writing, aim to include as many variations of the head term as long as it makes sense, using synonyms and singular/plural forms of a word. Adding variety will help your content from falling into the keyword stuffing category which, as mentioned earlier, is detrimental to visibility, ranking and revenue. The key takeaway is that your text sounds natural, and following these steps is a good starting point to crafting great,  and targeted content.

Key SEO Copywriting Takeaways

Making use of keywords is the basis of SEO copywriting, nonetheless, you need to engage in the process of writing with traffic and conversion in mind. Stay away from the outdated and penalised keyword stuffing practice. Have a structure of what page targets which keyword(s) to avoid cannibalisation and traffic loss.

One main benefit of using relevant terms is that it allows you to target specific users’ intent, increasing your CTR as a result for that keyword. A higher click-through rate, in turn, will improve authority for those terms helping you rank higher. Virtuous circle!

Because content is king and is THE response to search queries, make sure to put those best practice tips into play to drive conversions. If you’d like to chat about SEO copywriting and Onsite Technical SEO, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

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