What are the building blocks, the foundation pillars, the backbone of SEO?
They’re backlinks and Content (Keywords). Isn’t it?
Google algorithms are designed in such a way that they aim to deliver the best results for user queries and user search for keywords instead of a full query. If you want to rank your content and drive organic traffic, you need to know what can your audience search for.
What are the keywords they might use?
No need to do a lot of brainstorming, you can use Google itself to search for long tail keywords.
So here are 7 reasons why and how you need to optimize your content for your targeted keywords before publishing it.
1. Drive Targeted Traffic
There is absolutely no other way to target specific keywords and let users find you without using keywords. (Although backlinks have a minor role to play as well).
Only if your page has your keyword in it, will let Google know what the article is about and will flaunt it to users for that specific keyword.
For e.g. if you’re trying to rank for “Best Pizza Place” and if your page or website doesn’t have anything even remotely related to “Pizza Place” and instead keeps talking about unrelated topics, why will Google ever consider it a right fit for users’ who’ve searched for “Best Pizza Place”?
A real-life example is Neil Patel’s page ranking for “Online Marketing”. it’s an extremely difficult keyword with a difficulty level of 69 on KWFinder, and the page has 45 occurrences of the keyword throughout the page.
Now that clearly brings out the importance of having the primary keyword throughout the article, doesn’t it?
Bottomline, it helps you target specific search terms and users.
2. Search Volume and Traffic Difference
Smart keyword optimization includes tackling your way through the competitive keywords, finding the long tail and LSI keywords, and then sprinkling them naturally to rank for the “competitive or short tail keywords”. Here is the guide to rank for short tail keywords.
You will be surprised how a single alphabet or a word in a keyword can pose for vast differences in the search volume, competition and even the CPC (in case you’re going for Adsense ads).
Here’s an example, we’re taking two keywords:
- Best Coffee Maker
- Best Coffee Machine
They’re literally the same thing, aren’t they? To the user, they mean the same but not to Google. Here’s how their keyword analysis looks like:
As is evident from the screenshot, the first keyword has a search volume of just around 14,000/month, while the second that of nearly 50,000/month!
A lot of potential traffic is being lost right there considering how even the #1 result on Google gets only around 25-30% clicks of the search volume.
(The above screenshot is around 2.5 years old, in those days there were no featured snippets, and Google wasn’t overwhelmed with paid ads hence the actual CTR for today’s #1 result is much lower).
So without proper keyword research, you’d have targeted the first keyword, and then the traffic you’d get by even being on the first page would be insignificant, while that’s not the case with the second keyword.
3. Competition Difference
As is visible from the screenshot, the competition on the first keyword is 53, while on the second its 58. And in terms of “time required to rank”, this is a difference of “months”!
So in case you hadn’t done your keyword research, you might have made a big mistake right here! A pretty good reason to get your keyword optimization done right, isn’t it?
4. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
Keyword optimization isn’t always about simply placing your keywords better or placing better keywords, it also helps you stumble across keywords you didn’t know existed.
LSIs are keywords which are related to your primary keyword, but have a slightly different ring to them.
For example: King size mattress> Full size mattress> King size bed > Queen size mattress. They all mean the same thing, or products which are highly related to each other but they aren’t the exact same keywords.
In case your keyword analysis tool doesn’t provide you with keyword ideas (LSIs), you can find LSIs for your keyword by simply heading over to LSIGraph.com, entering your primary keyword in the search bar, and you’ll be bombarded with LSIs you can sprinkle naturally over your article right away.
This helps Google get a better idea of what your page is about, and helps you rank for more than one keyword for the same page.
5. Avoiding Google Penalties
A big use of keyword optimization is of making sure there aren’t any red flags throughout your content which might hurt your rankings in Google search results. Keyword stuffing is one of the most commonly ignored mistakes, and it’s also one of the most common reasons why sites get penalized these days. It’s not 2002 anymore when you could just stuff your content with your primary keyword a thousand times and dominate the SERPs.
So before hitting the publish button, make sure your content doesn’t have overused keywords and keyword density is between 1% to 3%.
And simply repetition of words isn’t the only factor signifying a keyword stuffed article, according to Google, any keyword without substantial data or facts/information is counted as stuffing as well. Here’s a sneak-peek into Google’s mind so as to what keyword stuffing is.
This is again an aspect where the LSIs come to your rescue, instead of using the same keywords time and again, you could simply sprinkle LSIs throughout your article, Google knows they’re related to your primary keyword and this helps you rank without raising any red flags.
6. Overall Improvisation
So considering your article isn’t keyword stuffed, consists of the most lucrative keywords in terms of search volume and competition, there still, and always is something that can be improvised.
Maybe your approach towards your readers, if you’re trying to sell a product, it helps to optimize your overall article with an approach which helps you get better conversations.
You can use Grammarly to make sure your articles are top-notch, atleast from a grammar and “quality of writing” perspective.
Interlinking is an extremely important aspect of good on-page SEO, but it’s also possible to have missed out on the same while scribbling the first draft.
So once the article is done, give it a through read,Utilize every possibility of interlinking your keywords to other articles on your blogs. To elaborate the point on just how important interlinking exactly is, here’s a page from Neil Patel (again) depicting his interlinks density:
These aren’t the only reasons why you should optimize your content for keywords before publishing your articles, but these surely are the primary ones.
Here’s how to use your targeted keywords:
- Main Keyword in first paragraph.
- Secondary keyword in atleast one heading throughout article.
- Keyword in the last paragraph.
- LSIs sprinkled throughout the piece.
It’s not always possible to make all these happen while writing your article’s first draft, so a better practice is to complete the article, and then optimize your content for all these factors once it’s complete.
NOTE: Keywords with 10-100 search volume can drive thousands of dollars in sales/affiliate commissions, so never underestimate the value of keywords with low search volume.