Last week we tackled how to install Yoast SEO. Today, you’ll learn the importance of choosing keywords and how to use keywords to increase your organic traffic.
Choosing Keywords Matters
SEO and keywords act as a system of checks and balances to make sure that we say what we promised to say. Let me explain. Suppose I write a post and I give it the title, “How to Avoid the Monster from the Black Lagoon.” But my post really isn’t about avoiding anything–not even monsters from the Black Lagoon.
On the other side of the world, some frightened child wants to know how to avoid monsters. She goes to Google and types in “How do I avoid the monster from the Black Lagoon?” Google will go through the millions of posts that have the child’s keywords in them: monster, avoid, Black Lagoon. It will put the posts that seem most likely to answer the child’s question at the top of the hit list (ok, that sounds all mobster–the top of the list of possible websites to check).
Unfortunately, my post won’t score very high on this list because I actually don’t use any of those keywords in the text of my post. Maybe my post was really about getting rid of toilet rings.
If you want search engines to find your posts, you’ll need to make sure that you coordinate your title, your keywords and what you actually write in the post to help Google help you. I know. It sounds so much more fun to say “How to Avoid the Monster from the Black Lagoon” than to say “Getting the Ring Out of Your Toilet Bowl.”Learn how to help search engines help you by coordinating your keywords. #SEO #bloggingtips Click To Tweet
Choosing a Keyword
Yoast SEO does a great job of helping you tidy up your keywords. Here’s how it works. Write your post (either in the composer or off-line and then cut and paste it to your site–I make sure to paste it in the “Text” panel, not the “Visual” panel in order to keep the basic spacing formatting).
Now, scroll down to the bottom of the post and you’ll see something like this:
This is your post-by-post dashboard for SEO. We’ll start with the focus keyword. Since this post is about ‘housekeeping hacks,’ I’ll enter that term as the focus keyword:
Don’t be mislead by the singular form of ‘keyword.’ Keyword actually means a string of words that someone might use to search for a topic. By typing in a focus keyword, a bunch of other statistics came up for the post. The next thing I want to work on is editing the snippet. I will now click on the “Edit snippet” button. This shows up:
How to Use Keywords in Your Meta Description
You can modify the SEO title and slug here. I will remove the ’31 Days’ from both of those, because those are specific to my intended audience. I will also modify my meta description (this is the line of text that theoretically should show up when you share the post–although Facebook doesn’t always use that). Make sure you use your focus keyword(s) in the snippet.This is what it looks like now:
I now have happy green bars under SEO Title and Meta description–but I still don’t have a green light on the “Keyword” tab. So, I’ll scroll down and look at what else I can do to tidy up the post.
So far, my post only has 199 words, which Yoast helpfully points out. I need to flesh it out a bit and add at least 101 more words to get to the magical 300. Some experts claim that Google rewards meaty posts (so that readers get more than a Buzz-Feed click-through experience). When I add more content to the post, I’ll want to use variations of the keyword. I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to game the system.
I can ignore the second one (because I’m linking to a post on my own site), but I CAN fix the third one. When I inserted a header that used the words ‘housekeeping’ hacks to the top of the post. By making this one simple change, I got a SEO green light from Yoast:
Now, about that readability tab. We’ll tackle that next week. Just remember that the whole point of SEO is to choose your keywords and then use them throughout your post title and body (but not in a weird way, of course).
Choosing the Right Keywords
You can even check on KWFinder.com (you can do five free searches a day) to help you choose keywords that have more than 20 and fewer than 1000 monthly searches and a Keyword Difficulty (KD) score of less than 35.
When you know how to use keywords in your posts, you’ll discover that your organic growth increases. People looking for the keywords you choose and placed strategically within your post will find your site and stick around to see what you have to say. That’s a win for everyone!
If you’d like to find more guides for improving your blog, you can check out the landing page for Granny Geek’s Guides!