As many know, when attempting to build better SEO factors on your website, keywords play an important role. Keyword signals help Google’s algorithms to better understand what your content on a web page or post is focused on which in turn allows your website to be better matched to audiences searching those keyword terms. It’s not as simple as filling your pages with keywords however, with keyword density, positioning and exact and partial matches playing an important role. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials you must know when wanting to better target keywords on your website.

Keyword Density

A common mistake that many website owners make when finding out about keywords is to promptly repeatedly use these terms over and over on their website – and then find negligible positive results. In the old days of SEO, these sorts of tactics actually worked, but after successive updates of algorithms has it fallen away – and in fact in a lot of cases can cause the opposite effect with a reduction in your rankings. Google has a strong intent with it’s algorithms to provide the best possible user experience for those doing searches to find information – so the system is designed to find well written, non-spammy content for the top positions. So writing “best cat blog” 100 times on a page with 1000 words is unlikely to provide a great experience for users looking up a website about cats, leaving Google to preference other websites over yours.

So what is the right amount of keyword repetition? It depends. Keep it natural, with a general rule of thumb being that 2% of your word count at maximum should mention your targeted keyword.

Keyword Cannibalisation

No, I’m not talking about a lost tribe in Papua New Guinea with interesting eating habits – we’re talking about a very real and potentially harmful mistake that many website owners make when building their websites content. Keyword cannibalisation is where more than one page on your website has keyword usage of the same term and so Google’s algorithms have difficulty in determining which page to rank for that term. This can result in either both pages being ranked poorly, or the less desired page to be ranked for the keyword. For example this was an issue for www.gianfranco.com.au – which was attempting to rank their home page for remedial massage services in the western suburbs of Adelaide. Unfortunately however, because of keyword overuse using terms related to this on an unrelated blog post, Google was instead showing a post they had written previous about basketball – making a confusing experience for potential searchers and making it less likely for them to receive follow-on phone calls and emails for new clients.

By removing those unnecessary keywords from the blog post and putting the correct keyword density on the home page, Google’s algorithms were able to redetermine the appropriate page to have visible on searches.

To ensure you’re not suffering from keyword cannibalisation, check which keywords you are ranking for and whether these are the appropriate pages you want to have listed. SEO software such as AHREFs can help you better understand what pages are visible.

Keyword Positioning

With any keyword, these can be placed in a variety of places on a page. The primary locations for these include:

  • Page Title
  • H1, H2, H3 etc titles within content
  • Image Tags and descriptions
  • General page text

All of these potential spaces can be utilised – but as above it’s important to not overdo it. As there is a variety of keywords and variations you can use, use different areas to target different keyword variations. I’ll go into keyword variations a bit further below.

As a general consensus amongst the SEO profession, it’s thought that having the primary keyword targeted within headings (H1, H2, H3 etc) provides some of the strongest SEO boosts – so finding a way to integrate this whilst still maintaining a good user experience is a good idea.

Keyword Variation

Within any topic, there is a huge variety of topics which can be targeted. Having this diversity can help reduce potential keyword overuse, whilst giving your web page a potentially larger audience from those other keyword searches. There is a SEO benefit from this too – with a clear trend showing related and semi-near match keyword use helping with rankings. For example if you were trying to rank a blog post on “dog training”, instead of using the same keyword repeatedly you could also use:

  • Puppy training
  • Dog trainer
  • Puppy school
  • Teach your dog

These terms will allow you to expand your potential search visibility across a wider variety of keywords, whilst also showing the consistent relevance of the topic on the page without having to use repetitive spammy techniques.

Do you want help to better understand whether your website is using the right balance of keywords? ClickBurst provides free audits of your existing website so you can better understand how to better improve your presence on Google. Contact us today for an audit of your website’s keyword setup.