How To SEO Your Content
Whether you need to SEO (Search Engine Optimization, I am using it as Search Engine Optimize here though) your content needs on the context and project. Every project won’t need it. But it is best to follow certain guidelines in most situations.
The idea is to write content in a manner, such that:
- It is optimized for readers.
- Readers shouldn’t even feel your content has been SEOed. They should not even get a hint that the content is optimized. It should be good authority content. Keywords should NOT stand out. And the density should be low.
- At the same time, organic and natural keywords are sprinkled here and there, throughout, but secretly hidden throughout the content.
- The keywords shouldn’t be stuffed. Nor should they be awkward or out of place.
- The keywords have to be there to add value to the quality of the content. Optimization should happen as a by-product. The keywords should be there because that is the best way to write that write-up naturally. But. Don’t over do it!
- At the same time, you can’t omit using keywords altogether.
Before you start writing, you’ll only know the primary keyword.
Don’t come up with a list of LSI keywords to force them in. That is keyword stuffing! (I’ll explain later what LSI keywords are).
You have to write naturally. And as you follow the below guidelines, good natural LSI keywords will automatically come up and you’ll produce great content!
Keyword Density Tool
If the client specifies a keyword density, follow their guidelines. Otherwise, follow ours.
Also, keyword = keyphrase = keyword
Most keywords are actually keyphrases of 2 to 4 words in length.
Types Of Keywords
There are two types of keywords:
The Primary Keyword/Keyphrase
The Primary Keyword
The primary keyphrase is the main keyword/keyphrase. The focus keyword. The content is usually built directly related to this keyword.
Has to be used in the below-mentioned places:
Once in the title
Once in the excerpt (in bold)
Once in the last 50 words of the content
In addition to the above, for longer pieces of content (400+ words):
Perhaps once in one of the sub-headings, if possible. But not in more than one sub-heading.
A couple of times in the content body, spread throughout. Based on the content length and required keyword density.
There are two types of LSI keywords:
Variants of the primary keyword
Antonyms/Synonyms of the primary keyword
Variant LSI Keywords
These are keywords where the words are very closely related to tweaked versions of the primary keyword.
If the primary keyword is – fast food chains
Good variants are – fast food chain, fast food chain’s, fast food restaurants, chains of fast food etc.
Bad variants are – fast food, food chains etc.
Basically, anything that uses words that are very similar to the primary keyword.
And I am not saying you can’t use words like the bad variants listed above. Just that don’t consider them LSI keywords. Only use them for the purpose of writing your content, if required. And don’t over do similar words!
If the primary keyword is – iPhone 6s+
Good variants are – iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6+, iPhone 5s, Apple iPhone 6 etc
Bad variants are – iPhone, Apple, Apple iPhone etc.
You have to write naturally. While writing the content, there is no bad or good LSI keyword. But when you try to check the article for good LSI keywords, the bad examples don’t count.
While you’re writing and doing your research (before you start writing), keywords should automatically start coming to your mind.
Don’t try to choose keywords in advance and try to fit them in. That is keyword stuffing. Do NOT do that!
Variants have to be used randomly, sprinkled throughout the article.
Again, be natural. The keyword density metrics are just guidelines.
As long as you’re in a reasonable range, you’re good. Don’t over do it grossly. And don’t skip it completely!
Antonym/Synonym LSI Keywords
Antonyms = Keywords indirectly or oppositely related to the industry/niche/primary keyword in question.
Synonyms = Keywords directly or indirectly related to the industry/niche/primary keyword in question.
Basically, try to avoid using any of the words from primary keyword again in these types of LSI keywords. Try to go for related words, but not the same ones.
If the primary keyword is – fast food chains
Synonym LSI keywords (good) – quick service restaurants, home delivery, takeaways, gourmet dishes, order lunch online etc.
Antonym LSI keywords (good) – in-room dining, fine dining restaurants, learn cooking at home, dieting recipes etc.
Again. You have to write naturally. While keeping the above in mind. There has to be a balance.
And the most important thing is being natural and genuine. Without making the reader feel awkward or uncomfortable.
Ideal Keyword Density
Depends on the following:
- These guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Not set in stone. They have to be followed such that ethos is maintained. Sometimes going 2x over the below density may be okay. While other times having 0.5 times the below density may not be acceptable. It is how you write. You have to write for the reader. So it doesn’t appear as if you wrote for the search engine.
- The longer the content, the less the keyword density required. Although the keywords will be used more in absolute terms in longer content, but the density will gradually come down.
- The more the words in the keyword, the lower the density needed. Single or double word keywords need to be used more often than a 4 or 5-word keyword. Obviously.
- The industry, niche and context. Smaller/Less competitive industries need a lower density.
- The writer. The most important thing is that the reader must not feel that they are reading SEOed content. They should feel important and feel what they’re reading is optimized for people like them. Not for search engines!
Assuming a 500-word piece – 0.5-1% tops.
So across 500 words, 3 to 5 times. Once in the title, once in the excerpt, once in the last 50 words, and 0-2 times in between.
Assuming a 1500 words piece – 0.3-0.6% or so.
So across 1500 words, 5 to 10 times. Same as above. But more number of times in the content body.
Assuming a 200 words piece – 1-1.5% or so
So across 200 words, 2-3 times. Once in the title. Once in the last 50 words. And maybe once in the first 50 words/excerpt/whatever.
Just the first use in the excerpt will be in bold. And if used as a part of the title (compulsory) and sub-heading. No other instance will be highlighted. Neither bold, nor italics nor underline.
Assuming a 500-word piece, 2-5 different keywords, used exactly once each. Preferably spread out.
Try to use in 1-2 sub-headings if you can. And the remaining times in the body. But. No force. No compulsion. High quality, nicely reading and engaging content is more important than using in the wrong places.
Assuming a 1500-word piece, 5-10 different keywords, used exactly once each.
Assuming a 200-word piece, 1-2 different keywords, used exactly once each.
No highlighting. No bold/italics.
Assuming a 500-word piece, 4-6 different keywords, used exactly once each. Preferably spread out.
Try to use in 1-2 sub-headings if you can. Again. Being natural and engaging is what counts the most.
Assuming a 1500-word piece, 8 to 12 different keywords, used once each.
Assuming a 200-word piece, 2-3 different keywords, used once each.
No highlighting. No bold/italics.
- You don’t have to count the usage of every keyword. That is ridiculous. As long as these guidelines are embedded in your DNA, you should be okay! Don’t keyword stuff. Be natural and write for your reader. And ensure the keywords are there, somewhere. And you’ll be okay! 🙂
- Ideally, don’t use single word keywords. The best keywords are 2-4 words in length. One word keywords are too generic and difficult to rank. 5+ word keywords are usually difficult to use without breaking the grammar. Again, everything is relative. Focus on quality and being natural.
- All 3 types of keywords have to be mentioned at the bottom of the article, with the respective headings.
- The basic thing is – don’t try to fit them in. They need to be there naturally. And then check the content after writing it to see which ones were used. Tweak here or there if required to add a few in. But don’t keyword stuff the content.
- 1% keyword density = 1 time per 100 words. So 1.5% of 350 words is approximately 5 times or so.
SEO is important.
But grammar, correct English and good sentence structure is more important.
Grammar comes first. Not SEO.
You may edit/omit a keyword or two here and there if required for correct grammar.
However, you can’t ignore SEO. There has to be a balance. CONTENT IS KING!
All the very best, Take Care!