How to use keywords
And what to look out for when it comes to content and SEO
As content editors, we are familiar with various methods of search engine optimisation (SEO). We constantly use them in our daily work. However, the CORRECT use of keywords isn’t always that self-evident – and that's exactly why I would like to dedicate the subsequent article to this important topic.
What are the benefits of keywords? How are they used? And very fundamentally: What are keywords in the first place? To answer these and other questions in the best possible way, I have turned to the experts of elements for some helpful tips and advice. Together with Gerhard Steiner, Head of Web Performance Optimisation, and Nadja Frenzel, Senior Web Performance Optimiser, I got to the bottom of nine questions. And of course, I wouldn’t want to keep the results of our conversation from you ...
1. What are keywords and why do they matter?
Ultimately, keywords are nothing more than search queries. They’re what the users actively search for based on their intentions. Every query expresses a need. Your website aims to meet these needs with information, products, or services. This is also where we find an important point of intersection: By finding out the relevant search terms and using them on your website in a targeted manner, users should find their way to you. That’s why keywords and their findability in search engines are so important.
2. How do you find relevant keywords?
There are various tools to "track down" the keywords that are relevant to your content. You already have pages on a specific topic? Then you can find out the keywords, for instance, via Google Search Console (free) and Sistrix (fee based). You want to come up with new topics? In this case, the Keyword Planner is a good tool. Additional options are Google Suggest, Ubersuggest, Serplorer and many more.
3. How do content and SEO complement each other?
There is an invaluable interplay between content and SEO: both disciplines are directly linked. SEO analyses relevant topics for which there is search volume. Content uses them in a targeted manner, taking into account the search intentions and needs of various user groups. Ideally, this is an ongoing process in which the respective know-how of content and SEO experts gets bundled for optimal results.
4. Does all web copy need to be SEO content?
The simple answer is: No, and the term "SEO content" should be used with caution in this context. Content should first and foremost be written for the users. That means: Depending on what users are looking for, website owners do not necessarily have to shine with a high volume of content, but by providing the right content. Do you want to rank with a page or is it "just" hygiene content? There’s also an important distinction to be made between search engine friendly and SEO-optimised web copy.
5. What do you need to consider when using keywords?
The ideal text is easy to grasp, forms a coherent whole, and isn’t cluttered with keywords. The goal is to "nicely" package all the relevant keywords. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Place the main keyword at the beginning of the title! If necessary, secondary keywords can follow right after.
- Use keywords in headings (especially in the H1)!
- Work with synonyms of your keywords in the main body of your text!
- The focus should be on one primary keyword per page.
You want a page to rank for several important keywords? Careful! That’s when you need to ask yourself if it wouldn't make more sense to create a separate topic page for each of them – especially when it comes to highly competitive keywords.
6. How has the use of keywords changed in recent years?
More is more? Far from it! Keyword stuffing, i.e. the excessive stuffing of a text with search terms, has become a method that’s ancient history now. It used to work– but unfortunately at the expense of the readability of a text. Today, the fine but crucial difference lies in the details. Or more specifically: in differentiating the individual terms.
Structuring the texts, working with terms, creating titles and meta descriptions in accordance with search queries ... If you take all these individual aspects into account and, at the same time, keep the big picture in mind, you’re on the right track. As a side note: The keyword meta element, for example, has never been well received by search engines.
Now more than ever, the motto is: Create content for the users – not for the search engine!
7. What are the current trends?
Voice search has been on everyone's lips for quite some time. However, opinions still differ somewhat as to the extent to which there is actually a greater need for action here compared to "normal" on-page optimisation.
The Google Assistant, for example, often displays results from its own offers such as Google My Business entries and Featured Snippets. That’s why we recommend:
- Get a Google My Business entry and optimise it!
- Structure your content by using tables, bullet points, etc.!
- Use structured data!
In principle, the same applies to both spoken and written search: Either way, you need to rank at the top of Google’s search results for a certain keyword in order to be found.
8. Besides keywords … what’s part of text optimisation from a SEO standpoint?
- Come up with core questions on a certain topic: What do users want to know? Raise specific questions and provide answers to them. We have written an extensive article about W-question tools for you! The structure of the page depends on what it’s intended to accomplish. Should the content inform, inspire, or encourage a purchase?
- Expand and optimise the internal link structure: Use meaningful anchor texts and link the target page to other relevant pages!
- Structure your content: Work with lists, bullet points and subheadings to create structure and clarity. Structured content also increases the likelihood that a part of your text will be used in a featured snippet.
- Content above the fold: Place relevant content in the initial-view area!
- Monitor your keyword rankings: Perform regular analyses to see how the target page performs for the keyword you selected!
- Monitor your site’s performance by keeping an eye on relevant KPIs: Do bounce rates, average time spent on the page, exit rate, etc. match the characteristics of the page?
Speaking of KPIs: In our blog post on content KPIs, you can find out which key figures you should monitor as a content editor.
9. Can a text ever be “finished”?
Yes, a text can be "finished" at a certain point in time if you want to define it that way. But, of course, you need to follow up with performance monitoring (see question 8). Depending on the success of a page, you might have to make some readjustments. Monitoring of keyword rankings is always recommended – after all, you shouldn't rest on your laurels. Another Google update or a competitor who does a better job at using “your” keyword: Today's success might already be in danger tomorrow ...
That sounds good but you’d rather see some practical examples? In the next blog post on the topic of "How to use keywords", we will put these theoretical considerations into practice. You don't want to miss that? Subscribe to our newsletter and keep your eyes peeled!