Every day, millions of people use search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! and many others to conduct billions upon billions of searches for all sorts of things. As an Internet marketer, you hope to focus some of that organic search traffic your way by dominating the search engine results pages in your niche. As any online marketer can attest to, dominating any niche is much easier said than done. It requires extensive keyword, market and competitor research and analysis and it takes a basic knowledge of search engine optimization. And even after all the research and all the SEO, there’s still one more thing to consider: Proper keyword placement. Keep reading to learn the basics of proper keyword placement so that you can outrank the amateurs, novices and even experts who often skip proper keyword placement and then wonder why their rankings are sufferings.
Search Engine Crawlers Or Spiders
In order to provide accurate search results to users, search engines will scan every web page it encounters. The engines use specialized bots to ‘crawl’ each web page. These bots, which Google calls spiders, want to know things like:
- What is the web page about?
- What audience is the web page intended for?
- Is the web page of optimal quality?
- Will a user receive some sort of value from this web page?
- Who is the author of this web page and what sort of reputation do they have?
- Do other authority web pages link to this web page? Are those web pages relevant to the content on this web page?
The search engines will analyze this content and will then rank the web page accordingly. The reason you use keywords is to tell those crawlers or spiders what your page is about instantly and easily. Those keywords must be placed in just the right places, however, if you hope to rank at the top of the list.
Natural Is Key
In the early days of Google, some Internet marketers discovered that they could stuff their keywords in their content and they’d easily dominate any niche. The search engines soon wised up and changed their algorithms so that SEO tactics like keyword stuffing would no longer work in dominating various search terms. These days, you have to place your keywords so that it reads naturally.
Your keyword placement should never sound as though you’re just trying to get a bunch of keywords into a sentence. These days it’s all about providing quality to website visitors. Your content should have a proper keyword density, but it should also read as though you’re not trying to place any keywords at all.
If you can write naturally while strategically placing your keywords at the same time, you’ll get some idea of what a professional web copywriter does for a living. It will take some time, but if you practice enough you should be able to get the content to flow without it sounding the least bit unnatural.
What if you get a keyword like ‘Bike Repair Cincinnati’? How are you supposed to get that to sound natural? You can use words like in, and, to, at and so on. These are called stop words and the search engines do not count them when analyzing and ranking your web page. Of course, it would help to have them together. If you have the words together with no stop words and your competitor has a stop word in between his keywords, you might get just enough juice to outrank that listing.
Get creative with it. For example, if we’re using the bike repair example, you could say, “The best Bike Repair Cincinnati has to offer.” See, no stop words. Just know that using those stop words won’t hurt you too bad, so use them whenever you need to in order to keep your content flowing.
Early On Is Better
Just like humans, search engines read from left to right. For that reason, it is always best to place your keywords near the front of your title or sentence. This makes it so that the search engines and humans won’t have to work as hard to find the proper subject matter of your:
- Article or press release
- Ad copy
- Meta data
- Web content
- Video Script
- Or Anything Else
Proper Keyword Density
For small items like PPC ads and banners and such, use your keyword once in the title and once in the body. For longer pieces like articles, PRs, sales copy and other items, you might want to shoot for around a 1-2% keyword density. Any more than that and you end up sounding like a keyword-stuffing spammer.
To figure keyword density, take the amount of times your keyword appears in the document and divide it by the total word count, then move your decimal two points to the right. For example if you have a 500 word document and your keyword appears 7 times, you have a keyword density of 7/500 = .014 = 1.4%. That is a good amount to keep things sounding natural while making sure your keywords are where they should be.
For a 4-500 word document, stick to the following format and you should have a good keyword placement that appeases search engines and humans alike. Your content will also come out sounding more natural, which is always a bonus.
For proper keyword placement, it is a good idea to place your keyword:
- 1. At least once in the title
- 2. At least once in the first paragraph
- 3. At least once as a bolded subheading and/or bullet point
- 4. At least once in the last paragraph
- 5. A couple times throughout the document
Of course, if you can get more keywords into your content while keeping things natural and organic sounding, by all means. The more keywords you have, the higher you’ll rank in the SERPs as long as your content is valuable.
Keep these tips for proper keyword placement in mind the next time you craft your next piece of web copy and you just might see your rankings jump a few notches. You might even find that changing your keyword placement around is all it takes to completely dominate the keyword terms you’re targeting. Yes, despite what you have heard, keyword placement is that important.