Today I'm learning about using keywords and how I've successfully (and unsuccessfully) used them on older blog posts, again with the help of Moz. But first a little background...
Keyword stuffing (putting a lot of “keywords into text, URLs, meta tags, and links”) is ineffective and won't serve you well. Moz uses the example of putting “Eiffel Tower” as a keyword in a page about dog breeding in hope of getting traffic from the people searching for “Eiffel Tower.” But because of your lack of relevancy of the topic, your page on dog breeding is very unlikely to show up.
Another way I thought about this (in order to get it to stick better in my memory) was if you were writing a piece about canning peaches and added “Caitlyn Jenner” as a keyword because her celebrity has put her in the forefront of the news, despite her having no known relation to canning or peaches. Keywords are really only going to help you if they accurately represent your content and what people are searching for.
Here's where we should be using keywords:
- Near the top of the page
- 2-3 variated times in body of text
- Alt attribute of an image
- Meta description tag
To better understand what this would look like, I decided to check my keyword usage on one of my favorite blog posts,“When You’re Not the Cinderella of Twitter.” A little backstory first: I wrote this post around the time the new Cinderella movie was receiving a lot of press attention. I also happen to be a little bit obsessed with Lilly James and Disney Princesses so I was quick to jump in on the hype. At the same time, I was having a mild success using Twitter and was finding ways to increase my following, mainly by increasing the amount of content I posted on my blog. By writing this post, I was hoping to hit both the new Cinderella movie enthusiasts and people who were having trouble growing their Twitter following, so my keywords were “Cinderella” and “Twitter.” Here’s how my command of keyword usage fared at the time.
Cinderella of Twitter Blog Post Keyword Audit
- Title: Obviously the title is kind of a no-brainer for including keywords and I passed this test no problem
- Near the top of the page: “Cinderella” appears in the first paragraph of the post, but “Twitter” doesn’t make its first appearance until the second paragraph, following a large image. Not ideal.
- 2-3 variated times in body of text: I use “Twitter” 4 times in the body of the text and “Cinderella” a whopping zero. Whoops.
- URL: www.sarahmichellewalsh.com/blog/2015/02/not-cinderella-twitter.htm. Both keywords are in there. Success!
- Alt attribute of an image: I remember around this time I was researching what to do with alt attributes and luckily I added “not the Cinderella of twitter” to get some keywords in there.
- Meta description: As Moz explains, these tags don’t affect your keyword ranking, but they help searchers figure out what your page is offering and make them more likely to visit your page. This post originally appeared on my blog when it was still in a Blogger format so I did a little research on where I would include a meta description on my SquareSpace website (because lo and behold, I had no meta description!) and discovered from some forum inquiry that SquareSpace doesn't really utilize this function as it would have in my old Blogger format.
If this audit proves anything, it's that I still have a lot to learn about SEO, but thankfully I've been applying some of the principles for longer than I realized. I hope you'll continue reading my journey toward mastering SEO. I've got a week left to study!