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Reader Question: How Can I Use Keywords In My Articles To Please Search Engines And My Target Readers?
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Recently I asked you “What do you want to learn about Article Marketing?”, and I got a great question from Georjina.

Georjina asked:

I’d like to take my article writing up a notch, such as how to effectively use SEO and keywords when writing them.

My sticking point has been writing more often. Because search engines appear to want one thing and readers another, I get that ‘deer in the headlights’ frustration to make my articles come together.

That is an excellent question that I’m sure many other readers are wondering as well.

If you want to “take things up a notch”, how do you effectively use your keywords to grab the attention of readers and also appeal to Google?

I’ve broken it down into a 2-step process:

1) Determine the keywords for your site (i.e. what search terms are your target customers typing into Google when they are looking for a site like yours?).

To assist you in drawing up a list of such keywords for your articles, there is a perfect tool for you to use to do this at Wordtracker

Make your list extensive, including long-tail keyphrases, similar to what you would do when setting up a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign.

What’s a long-tail keyphrase?

First off, let’s go back over what a keyword is. According to Wikipedia, keywords are words with special significance that identify and classify the content on a web page.

Search engines look for keywords to help them classify what a web page is about so that when the search engine customers type a search query into Google (or whatever search engine they’re using), the list of results is totally spot on, listing the sites that have the greatest chance of satisfying the query at the top.

When you’re determining your keywords, you have to think backwards.

You need to think like someone who might be searching for a service/product/website like yours. If you could get into your potential customers’ minds, what would they be typing into the search box?

The better you can align your keywords with what you target market is typing into the search boxes, the better chance that your web pages turn up high in the results listings when people search for your keywords.

Now, usually a competitive keyword phrase is 2 words long.

If you were to look at a list of the searches your target market were typing into Google to reach sites like yours, you might see some longer phrases (3-5 words) popping up now and then– those are your “long-tail” keyphrases.

Here’s an example:

Your basic keyword phrase may be this: smoothie recipe (let’s say you have a site where you publish smoothie recipes–go with me on this! :-) )

Your long-tail keyphrase may be: smoothie recipe orange mango

Here’s another example:

Your basic keyword phrase may be this: dog collars

Your long-tail keyphrase may be: pink rhinestone dog collars

So, when I say “Make your list extensive, including long-tail keyphrases”, I’m saying make a list of possible keywords that are 2 words long and also some of your longer phrases (3-5 words).

2) Then, once you’ve pinpointed an extensive list, focus your articles on those keywords, taking each keyword term one at a time and writing an article around it.

Go through the keyword list multiple times, taking a different angle on a particular keyword each time.

What you are doing is helping people to find your articles in the listings so that they can then click through to your website. In this way, when your articles rank highly for your keyword terms, you’re driving traffic to your website even if a searcher doesn’t find your site itself.

The end result would be an extensive amount of content out there within a niche, blanket coverage of all applicable keywords, all directing readers to your site.

Now, I don’t have to tell you not to stuff your keywords in your articles, do I? :-)

Write naturally, but you can still write an article around “pink rhinestone dog collars” (or whatever your long-tail phrase is) without peppering the article with that phrase.

The density of the key phrase within the article should be around the 2% mark to give it a chance to appear in the search engines for users searching under that key phrase (and the chances of that happening is higher of course for the long-tail keywords, simply because there is less competition).

And as far as that “deer in the headlights” feeling that many folks get when trying to reconcile what search engines are looking for with what will appeal to readers, I have one bit of advise:

What search engines are looking for is not at odds with what readers are looking for.

The reality is that search engines want to please their customers–all of the rankings and such that search engines do for web pages is with the end objective of providing the searcher with a list of results that is the most helpful.

So, the search engines want to please their customers, and your potential customers use search engines to find you–this means that if you focus on pleasing your target market, you will as a side effect also please the search engines.

So, they’re not really at odds–in your articles I would focus on providing valuable content, written in a natural way (not contrived and stuffed with keywords) on the topic of your website. If you want to go above and beyond, you can write articles around your keyword phrases, including your long-tail keyphrases.

The truth is, if you’re providing content that your target readers find valuable and is on the topic of your website, then Google and the other search engines will reward you.

Photo credit: Deer by Noël Zia Lee


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11 Responses to “Reader Question: How Can I Use Keywords In My Articles To Please Search Engines And My Target Readers?”

  1. Thank you for this valuable information. It really helped me learn the best way to write value rich content.

  2. [...] How Can I Use Keywords In My Articles To Please Search Engines And My Target Readers? [...]

  3. [...] Long tail key phrases are the longer search terms that a search would type into Google to find information on a topic in your niche. Your main keyword phrases will usually be between 1-3 words long, but your long tail key phrases can be 4, 5, or 6 words long. Your main keywords target general topics, while the long tail keywords are very specific. Because the topic is so specific, it is easy to write an article about a long tail key phrase. Since the topic is so specific, it’s also easier to rank highly for that search term. For more detailed information, please see this post. [...]

  4. [...] How Can I Use Keywords In My Articles To Please Search Engines And My Target Readers? – a 2 step process for effectively using your keywords to grab the attention of readers and also appeal to Google. Covers using long-tail keyphrases in your articles, and how you can create a blanket coverage of all applicable keywords, all directing readers to your site. [...]

  5. Thanks for making this so clear, I have been trying to write content that is valuable to my readers, it’s helpful to think that it will also be valuable in the eyes of the search engines, too. It seems obvious after reading your article, that search engines are trying to please people,too, but I had been worried that content aimed at readers would not rank in the search engines.

  6. Kaye Dennan says:

    If you find the right long tail keywords you can get up the pages quicker and also if you are doing PPC advertising you can get front page relatively easy, which also means cheaper cost most of the time (depending on the keywords).

  7. Thank you for validating how to write while keeping SEO and keyword placement included.
    I like to idea of identifying the keywords and writing content from there.

  8. Been blogging for awhile using keywords. Not sure if my niche is just too saturated. I see people using very obvious keywords on 1st page of Google for internet marketing such as”make Money Online”

    Wonder if I should start using those?

  9. Steve Shaw says:

    You might want to use a keyword research tool to see what the best keywords would be for your niche.

    Here are a few keyword research tools here.

    The most helpful ones are the ones that will tell you 1) the demand, and 2) the existing supply.

    A keyword may be very popular, but if the market is already saturated with sites that are fulfilling that demand, then you’re going to have a tougher time. I like using WordTracker for this:

    The paid version of WordTracker will give you the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) number. The higher the KEI, the more popular the keyword is, and the less competition you have. As we said earlier, it is possible that a keyword has a high search volume but that there are already bunches of websites supplying that demand. What you’re looking for are keywords (or keyword phrases) that is being searched frequently, but that don’t have many websites addressing them.

    It’s worth it to do that research yourself–I would not recommend using the same keywords you see others using without doing your own research.

  10. Jim DeSantis says:

    Great step-by-step with some depth, FINALLY! So much of this “keyword in your articles” stuff is superficial on the web.

    I might expand on BlogMoneyMania’s question, if I may.

    When you see websites in the top 10 for popular keywords, you will also see millions of competing websites they outrank. In Google Search, look at the upper right of the search results page and you will see the competing sites total.

    Those that are on page one (top 10) against millions of other sites usually have hundreds, even thousands, of quality backlinks pointing to them plus good onpage and offpage SEO that got them there. Can you compete with this? Probably not at this stage.

    The answer is – long tail keywords with low competition as a basis for your article content.

    I use MicroNicheFinder for keyword research. I look for searches of 30,000 per month or less when selecting keywords then I look at Commercial Intent, that is, how likely people are to clickthrough to what I am promoting. I go with those which, by the way, are usually about 20 long tail phrases.

    I would rather have 300 targeted viewers a month for a long tail keyword phrase than 10,000 curiosity seekers any day!

    The only exception would be if you are only interested in drawing traffic to “junk” made-for-Adsense sites to make money. In that case be prepared to build hundreds, if not thousands of such sites.

    I hope this helps.
    Jim

  11. Gorge says:

    Thanks on your great posting! I enjoyed reading it.

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