How to use keywords for SEO?

Keywords are, simply put, the SEO fuel. All the efforts put in to fine-tune your website for top rankings on Search Engines will not pay-off if the targeted keyword is not right. The key here is to use most relevant and important keywords in different parts of the website. Instead of using all keywords at once, it is advisable to use the keywords in several portions on your website. Higher relevance is given to certain areas of the HTML documents by various search engines.
Choosing the right keyword is the first and the most critical step of any SEO Campaign. Image courtesy

Choosing the right keyword is the first and the most critical step of any SEO Campaign. Image courtesy

Following are the Best Practices for how to use your keywords-
  1. In <title> tag – Search results always shows the title tag as your page title. The Title must be short and precise, say 6-12 words. The Keyword can be anywhere in the tag but preferably near the beginning. star-ratings-52
  2. In anchor text – Anchor text with keyword focus from external links is an important factor. Inbound links are considered positive not only for the site but for the keyword as well. star-ratings-51
  3. In headings – The Keywords placed on the heading in H1 is an important factor but the page should have actual text relevant to the keyword. Try to keep the heading precise (7-10 words). star-ratings-53
  4. It is good to have the keyword as the first word of the heading. star-ratings-53
  5. In Domain Name – Domain names incorporating vital keywords is a very important factor. star-ratings-53
  6. In URL – Helps a lot to rank well but keyword should be in the other parts of the document. It should not be over optimized else you might be penalized. star-ratings-4
  7. Density – It is a measure to check the relevance of the web content. Keep less than 10% keyword density. Upto 7-8% for targeted 2-3 keywords and 1-2% for minor or secondary keywords on a
  8. In the beginning of the document – It is a good practice to have the keyword in first 25-50 words of the document. Be it a table or a paragraph, try to keep it in the beginning of the document. star-ratings-3
  9. In Alt Tags – Label images on your page with <alt>/<title> tag filled with some keywords as spiders do read these tags. star-ratings-3
  10. In other Headlines – It is a good practice to have the keywords in other headlines (h2 – h6).star-ratings-2
  11. In Meta Tags – Yahoo and Bing still rely on them, Google does not. Having these tags properly filled will not harm, so just do it. star-ratings-2
  12. Proximity – It is the closeness between the 2 or more keywords. The closer the keywords the more likely it is to rank
  13. It is best to have the keywords one after the other i.e. with no words in between them.
    Eg : “discount perfume” is better than “discount on perfume”.star-ratings-1
  14. In Image names – Eg : Perfume.jpg – Good to have keywords in images
  15. Secondary Keywords – Targeting and optimizing secondary keywords can be beneficial as they might have a lot less competition than the most popular keywords. Eg: discount Calvin Klien perfumes will have a lot less hits and a better targeted
  16. Synonyms – Using synonyms on web pages is good as Search Engines have algorithms to take in to consideration synonyms for Keyword match and ranking especially for sites in English but it is not taken into account for many other languages. For instance, in the perfume site, “fragrance” is a synonym, Include synonyms on the page but do not rush to optimize every synonym. star-ratings-1
Worst Practices:
  1. Misspellings – Spelling mistakes do not make a good impression. If you know your target keywords have popular misspellings, you might want to optimize them and they can get you more traffic.  But it’s better if you do not misspell. However,  if you want popular misspellings, do them in Meta Tags. negative-star-rating-2
  2. Dilution – Excessive unrelated keyword optimization will affect performance of all keywords. Yes! even the major ones will be lost. negative-star-rating-4
  3. Stuffing – Keyword density of more than 10% is keyword stuffing and puts you at risk by to get banned by Search Engines.negative-star-rating-5

Thus, a well deployed Keyword helps in bringing qualified traffic to your site leading to higher sales, by being focused and targeting specific search terms.  We hope you like our posts. Do not forget to subscribe to our feed in order to stay updated with our stories & news in SEO World.

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  1. Rasik Jain says:

    Hi Varun,

    Excellent information on placing the keywords strategy. Do you also have any strategy for finding the right keywords for the given topic.

    Example: If I want to write any article about mobile phone, then what will be the top keywords to get the maximum hits or maximum revenue CPC etc.


  2. Its really a very useful information.

    Thanks Varun

  3. Varun Bihani says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Finding the right keyword is altogether a different strategy and a topic of research.
    May be I will write something on it in future.

    Following these steps should help you for now :
    1. Make a list of all the relevant phrases you think people are searching
    2. Use free keyword tool like google external keyword tool, wordtracker to help you build your keyword list
    3. Look for similar phrases and compare the traffic data
    4. Also try to check how many other websites are competing for your keyword phrases.

    this analysis report should help you increase the hits


  4. Varun, good comprehensive article on strategic placement of keyphrases. Point #2, I believe that it also helps if the keyphrase in the anchor text appears in the corresponding page’s title tag. Would you agree?

    Rasik, a couple tips to add to Varun’s about developing your keyword list is to use Google’s free keyword suggestion tool, which does exactly what it says “suggests keywords that are actually being searched.”

    Then to assess the competitiveness of those keywords, go to Google, Bing or Yahoo search box and type in: allintitle:”insertkeyphrasehere” This search gives you only the sites that use the keyphrase in the title tag.

    As Varun points out (#1), the title tag is prime real estate for the engines – so you want to get it right. If there are less than 1000 sites using that keyphrase in the title tag, chances are you can get good results. Also look at the site that sits in #1 position for that keyphrase. You’ll be able to tell if it’s there because it’s well optimized or just dumb luck. Then, you’ll know what to do.

    This is a rudimentary way to do keyword research, but it can work surprisingly well!

  5. Ivan Bayross says:

    Thanks Varun.

    Very nicely put. The information was what I was looking for.


    Ivan Bayross

  6. Hruthika says:

    Very clear and to the point! Good info..

  7. Correction to my point about locating the number of sites that use a particular keyphrase in the title tag.

    The command allintitle:”keyphrase here” only works with Google.

    Sorry. My bad.


  8. James Startford @JRStratford on Twitter says:

    Your article “How to Use Keywords for SEO” is a handy guide. If someone isn’t utilizing these already or needs a refresher it’s perfect. The only one thing I’d add isn’t so much in the content of what’s written, but in the application when applying it.

    That is to be certain that your keyword (longtail) is one that brings traffic in. There are two ways that the traffic won’t show
    #1 There’s to much competition so you won’t rank for it high enough to bring in traffic anyways in the conceivable future. ie. Search Engine Optimization
    #2 There’s not enough or no traffic going to it. ie. neptune search engine optimization. 🙂 You might be number one and indeed the only one an there’s the distinct possibility that no ones ever searched for it. I know I haven’t. 🙂

    Thanks for the good blog post!

    My Two Cents!

  9. dingexx says:

    The tips are so clear and easy to understand..In addition to this tips, To make google emphasized your keyword, used this syntax to your post bold Underline Italic.. This is what I used when I do a keyword competition..:-)

  10. Stefen Arkinson says:

    Hello Varun,

    Hope you are doing fine. Your points are very good regarding SEO. Can you please tell me that how can I get a good ranking in .

    Thank you.


  11. SEO-Ed says:

    Very Informative and educative. Keep up the good work, guys.

  12. Julian says:

    Just a comment… about naming images, I noticed that is very important for Google Image Search. Take that in mind since Google Images are one of the main streams for traffic, too.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for the post.

    I agree with most of your points although I would firstly give much more weight to synonyms as no two people search alike and therefore having more breadth in copy will take advantange of this; secondly, there are a lot of SEO professionals who say that keyphrase density is almost redundant as a search rank factor.

  14. That’s a great post about keywords.

    But how important is all these keyword optimization compared to external links to your page? i understand that 1-5 or 1-10 are very important, but when do external links kick in?

  15. Brad says:

    I try to conform with the tips and have had some success however I need some intelligence concerning crawler frequency. I update periodically but if I do some sort of promo I want to know the appropriate lead time to give the SE’s time to update. Anybody???

  16. Andy says:

    Interesting comments about keywords and seo generally – particulalry around keyword stuffing and getting banned by search engines – does this still happen?

  17. Hi Varun,

    The title tag is one of the most important keys for google. Just a tip that if you use the “|” bracket to separate your key words, google loves this. I have many sites that I rank on my keywords because of this process – of course running wordpress makes it easy.

    I have many sites that are greater than 12 and still do really well.

  18. Phil Boren says:

    The relative importance of each point was good – thanks. Any thoughts on the rising popularity and/or effectiveness of long vs. short-tail keywords?

  19. I forget what I was searching now when I found but good job on the post! Good luck to you!

  20. On my site I have software pages that gets lots of image hits, but very few serp hits in comparison. I actually want more serp hits and worry that the images are taking the rank from the individual software pages. I would really like some advice on how to reverse this issue? Thanks for any suggestions

  21. black halogen floor lamp says:

    This is quite intresting, You’re a really skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking far more of your excellent post.

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