We’ve heard many of the benefits that come from content marketing. However, one common question that business owners frequently ask is, “How can I get my content to rank in Google?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as you may think. There are many factors that play into Google ranking a website.
Optimizing content for keywords is one factor that shouldn’t be overlooked or underrated when it comes to ranking content. Keywords are terms or phrases that people search for on the web. They can be as simple as one word, or as complicated as an entire question. If your content contains the right keywords and answers people’s needs, Google will rank your website high.
So what are “the right” set of keywords to use in your content?
Choosing keywords may sound simple, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Here are 4 common mistakes that marketers make when choosing keywords for their content:
Common Mistake #1: Only going for keywords with the highest search volume
Some marketers will only implement the most frequently searched terms in their content. They’ll do their keyword research and look for words that have thousands of searches each month. These marketers believe that the more search volume a keyword has, the more traffic it will bring to their site.
However, keywords that tend to have a high search volume also have very high competition. When someone searches for a popular keyword, Google will pull thousands (if not millions) of results from the web. The more results a keyword has, the harder it will be to rank for it. Ask yourself this: is it easier to compete with 300,000 or 300 pages?
The solution? When looking at a high-volume keyword, you should also look at how many results there are for that specific keyword. If the results aren’t an extremely high number, that could be a good keyword to go for. However, if there are a lot of results, it might not be the best option. The best strategy is to use a variety of both high and low volume keywords to rank for. Implementing a variety of different keywords will give your content its best shot at ranking. Although low volume keywords aren’t as popular, they are easier to rank for. If your page ranks first for a lower volume keyword, you’ll drive more people to your site and it’ll be easier to rank for more competitive keywords.
Common Mistake #2: Keyword stuffing website content
Years ago, the way to rank a page was to take a bunch of keywords and insert them as much as humanly possible into the content. Back then, quality wasn’t as important as keyword density. Today, there are still marketers who believe that a site will rank if they spam it with repetitive keywords over and over again. They add high amounts of keywords in blog titles, meta descriptions, and paragraph content. This practice is commonly known as “keyword stuffing.”
Unfortunately, if you “keyword stuff” your content, you’re very likely to get penalized by Google. Google’s current algorithm now takes into account the context in which you use your keywords. Google also looks at user behavior and how users interact with your site.
Although keyword optimization is still an important factor in PageRank, you need to use keywords the right way. To do this, mention keywords where they make sense in the content. Ensure your keywords flow naturally with the rest of your content and don’t seem out of place or abnormal. Try to implement a keyword every 100 words or so. You can still add keywords in the content’s title and meta description, but be careful not to repeat them over and over again.
Common Mistake #3: Not paying attention to the content
We can’t stress enough how Google is looking to rank quality content. One of the most common keyword mistakes out there is to use a keyword in a content piece without thinking about searcher intent. Many marketers look at keywords from their own interpretation and don’t consider what other people think about when they see those keywords. For example, one notebook marketer decided to rank for the keyword “buy notebook.” However, they didn’t take into account that some searchers were looking to buy notebook computers or The Notebook movie instead of writing notebooks.
When performing keyword research, look at suggested keywords and ask, “What do people mean when they search for this keyword?” If searcher intent doesn’t match what your blog or content is talking about, it’s probably not a good keyword to optimize for. Another way to check to see if a keyword is a good fit is to type it into Google Search and analyze the first three page results. If you feel like you can create a piece of content that can compete with the top ranking pages, then that keyword is a great option.
Common Mistake #4: Choosing too many keywords to rank for
Some marketers have a philosophy of “the more keywords I try to rank for, the better.” For each page of content they create, they try to implement 10-20 different keywords. Typically, a number of things happen when someone tries to rank for too many keywords:
- The person creating the piece of content gets overwhelmed and is more concerned about the keyword usage than the actual quality of the content.
- The content piece doesn’t flow and jumps around to a bunch of different subjects to try to cover all the different keywords and subjects.
- The page ends up not ranking for any of the keywords.
- The marketer gets frustrated because the content didn’t perform well.
Instead of focusing on the quantity of keywords, focus on the quality. Choose one to two high-volume, low-competition keywords to focus on. Create your content addressing those keywords and mention them as much as you can while still sounding natural. Then, if there are opportunities, look to add additional keywords to the content. Choosing fewer keywords will help you create a more focused article that will answer searcher’s questions and needs.
Don’t make these same common keyword usage mistakes. As you correctly implement the right keywords into your content, you will see better traffic, engagement, and results. In conclusion, remember that ranking a piece of content always takes time. After you optimize keywords into your content, it might take a while for Google to crawl and recognize your page as a reliable source. But with patience, practice, and hard work, you’ll eventually see ranking results.