You’ve done the work to choose the best keyword/keyphrase for your next blog post. Now what? Where do you put it so your post has a better chance of actually showing up in search results? Because that’s the point right?! Here’s a quick overview of strategic SEO keyword placement for beginners.
BEFORE we get into the specific SEO keyword placement, let’s talk about a “must-have” tool.
If you have a WordPress website, take a moment to add and activate the free plugin “Yoast SEO” (if you’re on Squarespace, this step is not required because you have a built-in SEO tool).
Once you’ve completed that installation, you’ll notice that there’s a Yoast SEO panel on your screen when you start a new blog post. It shows tabs for SEO, Readability, Schema and Social.
We will focus on the SEO tab in this post. The goal? Turn that “face” green!
While you can go back any time to edit your previously published posts for SEO (and you might want to), it is SO much easier to START writing new posts with proper SEO keyword placement in mind. With practice, you’ll find your flow.
Here are the top 5 places to put your keyword/phrase in your blog post while writing:
- this is automatically your Heading 1, use the exact keyword/phrase, preferably at the beginning
- First paragraph/introduction
- ie. in the first two or three sentences, use the exact keyword/phrase
- used to separate content to make it more easily scannable, one Heading 2 (or Heading 3) should include the exact keyword/phrase
- it’s not necessary to use the keyword or a variation in ALL headings (you will get a notification if you’ve added too much and over-optimized)
- depending on the length of your post, include the exact keyword/phrase and/or variations of it at least once in the text
- as with headings, you will receive a notice about keyword density if you have “stuffed” your keywords by using them too much for the length of your post
- use the exact keyword/phrase and/or variations in your final paragraph
After you have written your draft, go into the Yoast SEO panel and add your keyword/phrase in these additional ways:
- First, in the box where it says “Focus keyphrase“, add the keyword/phrase that you selected for this post.
- note that each post should have a different keyword/keyphrase
- and, if, like me, you prefer to see your progress (in terms of the happy face turning green) as you write, go ahead and fill in this box before you start writing
Then, under “Google preview” you will find an example of what your post will look like in search results, plus settings for:
- this becomes part of the permalink once published, include the exact keyword/phrase
- tip: this reflects the topic but does NOT have to be the same as the title, keep it short and simplified (no numbers – in other words, if your current title is something along the lines of 5 tips for… do NOT include 5 or five in the slug because you may change the title in the future BUT you should NOT change the slug)
- Meta description
- this is what shows up as the short description of your post in search results and it should entice the person searching to click on your link to read more
Ideally, you’re on your way to turning that Yoast happy face green. On the SEO tab, scroll down to the “SEO Analysis” with the face beside it. Click on it to expand so you can see more detailed analysis results.
Here’s where you’ll notice other factors that go into successful SEO. While you don’t require everything to get the green light, you want to also consider:
- Text length
- minimum 300 words, but I like to mix it up depending on the topic (and your audience preferences)
- the main issue is to provide quality first so that, when your reader clicks on your link in search results, they find value…and ideally will want to stick around to read more (this is good to keep in mind when you’re considering what internal link to include)
- Internal link
- include a link to one of YOUR other blog posts or pages that will help your reader (is there something you wrote before that would add value or a sales page that makes sense, for example?)
- since it is still on your website, you can leave it set to open in the same tab
- Outbound link
- your outbound link can be connected to your Call to Action freebies, opt-in, or perhaps a valuable post or video on one of your social media channels
- this is NOT necessary (and you will want to be very selective), but if there is a reputable external resource that will help your reader and add value to your post, include it (think books, stats, etc. that reinforce your expertise)
- since any outbound link will take the reader OFF your site, set it to open in a NEW tab so they will still have easy access to your post (and hopefully come back to browse around your site more)
- Image alt
- if it’s possible to describe the image you include in the post using the keyword/phrase, do so (you’ll find this setting when you upload the image, or if you edit it)
Green means you’re good to go!
You may have to keep tweaking according to the analysis results to get the green happy face under the SEO tab. That’s ok. Be patient as you learn. With practice, it will begin to feel more natural to you (and take less time).
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