Three Common Keyword Mistakes Bloggers Make (And How to Fix Them)
If there’s one thing that bloggers want, it’s more traffic.
SEO is no longer the elephant in the room when it comes to creating a blog. As more and more bloggers understand the need to target keywords related to their industry or audience, the same questions pop up time and time again:
What keywords should I be targeting? How often should I use them? What’s a “bad” keyword?
Such questions send bloggers straight to Google, where they get inevitably conflicting information and ultimately end up confused. The sheer amount of misinformation out there concerning how to optimize your site for search is staggering: this leads to bloggers making mistakes regarding keywords and SEO which actually work against their sites in the SERPs.
Keyword research and implementation doesn’t have to be rocket science. Consider the following mistakes many bloggers are making regarding their SEO strategies and how you can avoid them on your own blog.
Using Keywords Too Often
Perhaps the most obvious mistake that bloggers make is using their keywords too often within their content.
Remember, it’s not 1999 or 2009 anymore: search engines are much smarter than they used to be. While bloggers may have gotten away with keyword stuffing back in the day, Google is ready and willing to penalize any site suspected of spamming keywords in their content.
The debate over keyword density is fierce. Some SEO experts say that 3% per piece of content is the magic number while others swear by 5%. Meanwhile, there’s a camp in theiInternet marketing sphere claiming that keyword density is a useless metric. So, what’s an amateur blogger to do in the wake of such a debate?
Simply put, ask yourself the following when it comes to keywords in your content:
- Does the placement of the keyword sound natural in my content (versus shoehorned in)?
- Does the insertion of a keyword interrupt the flow or readability of my content?
- Is the keyword relevant to my blog, niche, and audience? Does it seem out of place?
If you can easily answer the aforementioned questions, chances are you’re good to go. Don’t stress too much over keyword density; instead, focus on crafting meaningful content for your readership.
Failing to Focus on the Long-Tail
Many bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by trying to tackle keywords that are far too much for them to handle. For example, the blog for a local gym in Toledo can’t hope to rank for “weight loss” or “best gym” and therefore would be wasting their time targeting such keywords by themselves.
Instead, smaller bloggers should focus on long-tail keywords. While such keywords have a lower search volume, they’re much easier for smaller blogs to target for and eventually dominate. For example, the aforementioned gym could hopefully target keywords such as “weight loss Toledo” or “cheapest gyms in Toledo” with enough relevant content and persistence.
By spending some time within Google’s Keyword Planner tool, you can get some ideas of specific long-tail keywords (fewer than ~1,000 searches, for starters) to target that are relevant to your niche.
Not Fully Integrating Keywords
The search engine power of keywords doesn’t solely lie in the body of your articles and blogs. Make sure that you’re also integrating keywords within…
- The URL of your post
- The title and meta description of your post
- The alt-tags of any images within the body of your article
- The body of your relevant social media posts (including the sharing of your own content)
- Comments on other websites or blogs
Keyword research takes a good chunk of your time and energy. Make the most of your efforts by integrating your keywords wherever they sound natural, both on-site and off.
Many bloggers obsess over keywords and how to integrate them on their sites. While keywords are critical to your SEO efforts, keep in mind that they aren’t’ the end-all be all of your site. Remember, content should drive your keywords, not the other way around. To get the best of both worlds, focus on creative ways to use keywords to target your audience and provide stellar content to your audience at the same time.