When Flying Island asked me for a follow up article on Keywords, I had to get some clarification. You wouldn’t think that keywords is a major topic, but in the realm of blogging and SEO [Search Engine Optimization] they are a major way of being found by your audience.
As an author, you need to keep five things about keywords in mind when you start any article. These are only the beginning of keyword basics but cover the latest information you need to keep at the front of Google’s latest algorithm changes.
- Keywords are NOT meta tags. Meta tags are still used by some small search engines [which is why you should still tag your posts], but on the whole they are pretty 90’s. However, if you have Meta tags in mind, the keywords should be very similar. If you do not have prominent key words, the Search Engine assumes your meta tags are the keywords.
- Keywords ARE in the body of your piece and are seen by both the reader and the spider crawling your site. They reflect what you are discussing and should be prominent without be obtrusive. In other words, don’t make your reader have to guess about your topic. But don’t continue to beat them over the head with underlined and bold lettering either.
- All keywords need to stand out in at least three places: 1/It should be the first word in your title. 2/ It should be in the first sentence. 3/ It should be in the last sentence of your piece.
- Keywords should maximize out at 3% – 7% of your written material. If you put more than that in, Google begins to penalize your site or page. People who use more than those percentages are ‘key word stuffers’ and so their writing comes off as advertisement. Google does not give pages full of advertisements the same kind of weight as a page that is just popular due to good writing.
- Keywords cannot replace content. They are simply a tool that lets you connect with your readers and place in a search page. If your content is low quality, then your awesome choice of key words will not pull traffic to your site.
So how do you know what keywords to use as you go about blogging or doing guest posts? One of the best things to do is to make sure that you periodically use Google’s free Keywords tool. Put in your URL in the Web site search box, set locations to ‘all’, fill in the captcha, and click search.
What comes up will be the key words that your site either uses the most, or is most likely to profit from using. This is from a search engine’s point of view. Your readership may not make the same sort of connection, but your audience is less likely to expand if you fail to take the tool’s advice seriously.
For example, when I put in my site, http://allisondduncan.com, I get the keywords ‘write a blog’, ‘rss feed widget’, ‘how to become a blogger’, ‘how to be a blogger’. These keywords do apply to my site, but I do more than just write about blogging. I do reviews! I should have review keywords, right?
What you need to remember is that the content most likely to drive traffic, is the content that Google will recommend keywords for. A lot of folks come to my site for my ‘how-to’ posts and stay to read my reviews. So don’t assume your traffic won’t spread through the site. You SHOULD assume that your traffic is going to come primarily to the articles with the keywords that Google recommends.
Maybe you have always used your author blog to discuss nothing at all. Maybe you are just getting into this whole authorship thing. Maybe you feel pretty swamped with all your do’s and don’t’s. Just maybe, you’ve never considered keywords at all.
Well don’t panic. It isn’t too late to start trying to groom your new content to match all the latest recommendations. Do not waste your time going through old content and tidying or key wording it as Google frowns on that anyway.
Simply keep these recommendations in mind as you forge ahead, and watch as your traffic begins to pick up. Remember that SEO is a long tail process, just like self-publishing.
Blogging, like everything else, is a learning process but you are on the road to success.