“Keyword” is a popular term used in the SEO world. However, if you’re new to this world, you may be wondering what that term even means and how it applies to your blog. In this post, we're going to talk all about keywords and how you can effectively use them to rank in search results.

No time like the present—let's get to it! ?‍♀️

What are keywords?

To put it simply, keywords describe the content in your blog posts and they tell search engines what your posts are about.

If you’ve properly optimized for keywords in your blog post, your site will show up in search results when people are looking for your content. ?

Where your site ranks in the search results will depend on a few factors including your site’s quality, performance, authority, and relevance. We’re going to focus on the latter today.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that blog posts will not rank in search results if your content is not relevant to what people are searching for. Nobody's hoping or expecting to find a cookie recipe when they were actually looking for a homemade pasta recipe! ?

That's why we are going to teach you how to find and where to put relevant, quality keywords that will hopefully help your posts to rank!

How do I find effective keywords?

Before we do a deep dive into keyword research, let's briefly touch on long-tail keywords. When you think about your own search behavior, chances are you're not just entering things like “dinner” or “appetizers” into the search bar.

Instead, you're likely typing in longer phrases to help narrow down your search. Something like “easy Instant Pot beef stew recipes” or “nut-free dessert recipes.” You get the idea!

With this in consideration, it makes much more sense to target long-tail keywords instead of trying to rank for broader terms. Hooray for long-tail keywords! ?

Now that we've got that covered, how exactly do we figure out what keywords to use? ?

This is a question that many bloggers wonder about. Unfortunately, it's a little more complicated than just choosing any old keywords that you think will help your post rank. Rather, you need to spend time researching the keywords that will actually help your blog post rank.

Keyword research takes into account several factors including keyword competition (how many websites are already ranking for the keyword) and keyword volume (how many people are actually searching for the keyword each month.)

Are you writing a post about lasagna? That’s fantastic! There’s only one problem…there are thousands of other lasagna recipes on the web that are already ranking in search results. There’s some pretty strong keyword competition there, so how are you supposed to stand out among all of those recipes? That’s when keyword volume comes into play.

When it comes to keyword volume, the key is to hit that sweet spot where you know users are definitely searching for certain keywords, but your content won't get drowned out by others who are already ranking for something similar. On the other hand, you also don't want to use a keyword that barely anyone is searching for. ? This will give you a better chance of ranking among the competition!

We love using Ty Kilgore’s (from Everything Digital Marketing) baseball analogy ⚾ to help you determine which search volume you should be targeting! He breaks the target search volume down into several tiers:

  • Single A – 0-5,000
  • Double A – 5,000-15,000
  • Triple A – 15,000-35,000
  • Major Leagues – 35,000-60,000
  • All Star – 60,000-Above

To find keywords that fall within this sweet spot, we recommend getting onto Google, or your favorite SEO research tool (SEMRush or Ahrefs, just to name a few!), and typing in “lasagna” and then exploring the other keywords that come up!

Below is an example of a Google Search with the free Chrome extension Keyword Surfer installed.

Already, you can see other “lasagna” related keywords with a much lower search volume. “Traditional lasagna recipe” and “easy lasagna” would be great keywords to use in your post. Select a few of the keywords within your target search volume (keeping in mind the competition difficulty as well), and you’ll be golden! ?

Where should I place my keywords?

There are a variety of places in your blog post where you’ll want to use your keywords. The good news is that you won't need to try to remember the best placement for your keywords every time you write a post. You've got enough on your plate! ?️

First things first—we need to talk about keyword stuffing. Google has officially declared this as a no-no and for good reason!

Going back to the lasagna example, if you decide to go with “traditional lasagna recipe” as your target keyword, you don't need to insert “traditional lasagna recipe” into every single sentence. That does more harm than good and it just creates a weird reading experience. ?

Using Yoast to determine keyword placement

The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is a great guide! The plugin provides a “checklist” at the bottom of your blog post to help guide you with your keyword placements. This is useful for when you’re writing a new post or even updating old posts! ?‍?

The one thing Yoast SEO doesn’t keep track of is the keywords that you include in your recipe card. We recommend making sure you include your keyword in the title and description fields on the recipe card.

Look at you, you keyword ninja! Now you can stop guessing and start researching!

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