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How often should I use keywords in my content?

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 by Emily Mace

In the next part of my miniseries about the content on your website I thought I’d cover keywords and how these can be used in your content. One of the most common questions I get asked when advising people about using content on their website is how many times to use keywords within a body of text.

Many years ago it was a good idea to use your keywords a set percentage of times. This was called keyword density and was something which helped websites rank better. Times have since changed and search engines no longer consume content in the same way.

Remind me again why I need content?

Your content is about more than just SEO, you need it to help with all the aspects of your marketing.  Content helps you to engage with your visitors, reaching them early on in their buying cycles. First and foremost here is the customer side of things. As I’ve covered in my earlier blogs content is important for the way that your visitors see you as a brand and as a provider of products/services.

If you don’t have enough content on your website to help inform and educate buyers then you will find that your website does not perform as well as content-rich sites – some of whom may be your competitors!

So I need content, how do I use keywords?

Now you know why content is so important you will get to the question this blog will answer: how many times do I use my keywords in the content?

Well the first thing to note here is that you should not use keywords at every possibly opportunity, shoe-horning them into your content where ever you can. The reason for this is to ensure you are not over using (or spamming) your keywords in a body of text. My big test for this is to read through content before publishing – even reading it out loud can help to identify overuse of keywords.

Another great test is using the find function in your browser or in Word. Highlight how many times you have written your core keyword. If you find that a high percentage of your page is now highlighted then you’ve probably overused your keyword.

Generally if you have about 500 words on a page, four or five usages of a keyword are enough. If you have fewer than 500 words then fewer mentions are needed.

Only using keywords a few times? Can I optimise this?

Yes, you can easily optimise your new page for your target terms by making sure that you use the title tag and H1 tag on the page.

Try to include the core term you are focusing on in your H1 tag. For example, if I want to create content about Blue Widget then I might write a user guide for my site called “Choosing the right Blue Widget for your needs” This title could be used as the Title tag and H1 tag on this page, giving Google and the other search engines a good indication that your page is about Blue Widgets.

You could also create a Guides landing page which links to all your new information pages.  This page should contain a link from the page title to the guide with a summary of the content in the guide underneath.

You don’t have to overuse your core phrases on your website to ensure that both your visitors and the search engines understand that you are an expert in your field.

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About the author

Emily Mace

Emily Mace

Emily joined Vertical Leap in 2008 and is now the Senior SEO Campaign Delivery Manager. Emily previously worked in training, IT Support, Website development as well as SEO and worked for local Government departments and Tourism South East. Emily gained Google Analytics Individual Qualification in 2011, and regularly blogs on the technical aspects of SEO, sharing her expertise with our readers. Follow on Google+