What Every Writer Should Know about Keywords

keywordsBefore arriving at EVG, I wrote website content, among other types of content, at a local college. I always kept the writing fundamentals in mind—know your audience, use an appropriate tone and be concise. But I didn’t think the first thing about keywords or anything related to SEO, for that matter.

Now, I’m learning more and more about the importance of SEO. You can’t just write something and hope that it’ll do well among all the content on the internet—no matter how hard you worked on it. It’s crucial for your content to adhere to SEO best practices so that it will show up better in searches.

Without further ado, here are three things to keep in mind regarding keywords:

1. Use keywords in your body text

Keywords are terms that someone could Google to find your article. For example, if you’re writing about “change management,” more than likely you will use the term naturally without thinking much about it. Just make sure you do give it some thought, however, in case you happen not to include it. Be sure not to go keyword-crazy, however: Google and other search engines penalize content that includes too much of the same word or phrase.

As with any content you write—whether it’ll find its way on the internet or to a non-digital home—remember to exhaust your topic as much as possible, while being as concise and useful as you can. And always keep an eye on your keywords when doing so.

2. Use keywords in your headline (and page title)

You might naturally use your keyword in your headline. If it doesn’t come naturally, try to do so. Using your keyword in the headline of your article increases the chances of it appearing in Google searches. If you can come up with the page title, use the keyword in it as well. If creating the page title is someone else’s job, recommend one to him or her. But don’t feel like you must match the headline and page title. Using a variation of your keyword is a good opportunity to target keywords that users might search for.

3. Use keywords in behind-the-scenes stuff

I know—most writers don’t want to fool with behind-the-scenes or back-end CMS stuff. But if you are able to add content into the CMS directly or if you can influence what goes into it, keeping your keywords in mind will help optimize your search engine ranking here too. Using your keyword in the URL of the article will make it more relevant to search engines. Feel free to use a variation of your keyword to get different keywords in. For example, you could use “managing change” or “staff management” for the keyword “change management.”

Also, when you Google something, the meta description is the content that describes the links that show up. Keywords are bolded in meta descriptions and play a huge role here. The meta description doesn’t factor into how high content ranks, but seeing those bolded keywords often determines if a searcher will click that particular link or not. Use keywords in the meta description of your article to increase the chances of your content being read.

What other SEO practices do you keep in mind? Let us know in the comments section.

Stacy Dyer Content Strategist 

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