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James Perrin

SEO Copywriting: How to Use Keywords in Your Website’s Copy

28th Oct 2011 Content Marketing 4 minutes to read

Keywords are fundamental to your website’s copy. They are the terms that people use to find your website, so you need to make sure that these words and variations of these words feature within the content on relevant pages of your site, otherwise you won’t get the targeted traffic that you’re after.

Whilst it’s all well and good simply saying that you need to include keywords in your copy, the problem is where to start, and how to implement them without affecting the quality of your on-page content. Well this is where you need to be clever and original, and at the risk of sounding self promoting, this is where utilising the skills of a talented copywriter will pay dividends.

Keyword Research

First thing’s first, define your keywords. A good place to start is the Google keyword tool in AdWords; however it should be noted that this specific platform isn’t the most accurate, although it should provide a decent guideline. Whilst it can give you a great idea of where to start, there are better programmes out there that search specialists swear by. For example the Koozai team here use Keyword Eye, Wordtracker or Wordstream, each with their own advantages and standout features.

The keywords that you want to find are those that relate to your industry, your business and the specific products and services that you sell. The most searched for keywords are usually the most competitive, so the Holy Grail is to find high ranking keywords that don’t have a great deal of competition. You’ll also be able to see what existing keywords are driving traffic to your site using Google Analytics, you may be surprised to find what the most popular ones are as they can be either slightly different or completely different to what you first thought. Therefore it pays to do your research.

Using these tools will give you a better idea of the keywords or keyphrases that people are using. I say keyphrases because people will often use variations of keywords, or even use what’s known as long tail keywords.

Types of Keywords to use

There are a variety of keywords that you can use, however the more specific the better, especially for pages deep within your site, e.g. a specific product or service that you offer.

  • Root keyword – This is the main keyword that your aiming for, e.g. flights, computers, garden tools.
  • Qualifier keywords – These are added word(s) to your root keyword. This usually revolves around an adjective (e.g. cheap), a brand (e.g. British Airways), location (e.g. Spain), in addition to application, product type, or product feature.
  • Modifiers – These are keywords that are similar but are slightly modified, e.g. cheap, cheaper, cheapest.
  • Synonyms – Usually people won’t always search for the same keyword, e.g. car insurance, motor insurance.
  • Singular/Plural – Some searches will include pluralised words as well as singular ones, e.g. garden tool, garden tools.

This process of finding variants around your root keyword is called keywords stemming, and is a very useful way to create lots of variations that can be included into your web content.

Where to use your keywords

Once you’ve established the keywords to use for each specific page, you now need to implement these within your website copy. As a general rule, for the Home page and all top level pages you need to aim for shorter keywords and keyphrases, these would be your root keywords, plus qualifiers and modifiers. As you get to deeper pages, so that’s specific products or services, then you’ll want to use more long tail keywords which are really specific to what people would be searching for, e.g. Small red Gap T-shirt.

When writing your content for each specific page, try to use as many variations as possible, so don’t forget about using synonyms as well as singular and plural keywords. The variety of keywords will help you avoid the issue of keyword stuffing which a lot of spammy sites do to rank well for specific keywords. Google and other search engines frown upon this as this is classed as ‘gaming the system’, and since Google’s panda algorithm update, there has been a huge emphasis on writing good, quality and unique copy.

The trick when writing website copy is to make the sentences and paragraphs as natural as possible. If a keyword is picked up and it doesn’t naturally fit or isn’t within context then you could have a problem. Whilst the search engines may still pick up the copy (however there are getting wise to the need of context), the copy won’t be user friendly and you’ll be jeopardising your site’s usability just to cram in a keyword.

Concluding thoughts

Using keywords is a fundamental part of any SEO Copywriting; however your copy needs to be written carefully with the aim of improving conversions. Don’t overuse keywords and make sure you target the right words for the right pages.

The main benefit of utilising relevant keywords is that you’ll be targeting specific users and as such your Click through Rate (CTR) for that specific term will dramatically increase. With a higher CTR for specific keywords, you’ll have greater authority for those words and as such you’ll start to rank higher for said keywords.

Search engines like to give credit where credit is due and if your site is driving traffic for a specific keyword, you’ll be rewarded. From here the best copy will help turn that traffic into conversions, so make sure your copy is compelling and engaging. Good luck and happy writing.

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