Keyword Basics for Blogging

keyword basics, business blog post keywordsIf you are writing a blog, chances are you want a lot of people to read it. But being a great writer is not enough to draw traffic. Writers need to use the most searched terms and phrases to get search engine attention. Here’s how to write blogs using relevant keywords.

Keyword basics

Keywords are words used to reveal the internal structure of an author’s reasoning. On the page, keywords offer literary clues to what the writing is about. On the web, keywords also tell robotic spiders that crawl through your site at night exactly what is on your blog page and how relevant it is to the gazillion web searches that engine receives.

There is a whole science behind keywords and their application toward search engine optimization (SEO). Keywords can be inserted into your page as Meta Tags, but the importance of Meta Tags has been diminished by search engines in the past decade in response to the unscrupulous practice of Keyword Stuffing, mostly by spammers. Search engines are hip to these “Black Hat” practices and want you make their job easier by being a “White Hat.” Yahoo!

Google offers extensive tips on its Webmaster Guidelines pages. One guideline relevant to keywords is:

  • “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don’t deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as “cloaking.”

In other words, don’t put “Free Sex” in your Meta Tags if your blog post is not about free sex. Tricks like that make the search engine gods very angry and they will smite you with lower rankings.

In addition to still inserting them into Meta Tags, (no matter what the search engines say, it couldn’t hurt), you should pepper your blog post with keywords.

Finding Keywords

Keyword Cloud

First you need to find your keywords. Google comes to the rescue with its Keywords Tool, a part of its Adwords program. Enter your search terms and your site and Google Keywords will offer suggestions on words and phrases sorted by Competition (for Adwords bids), as well as by Global and Local Monthly Searches. From the results you can create a list of standard keywords for use in any or all of your blog posts.

For my Tasting Room Confidential blog, my general keyword list includes:

wine, winery, vineyards, red wine, grapevine, grapes, wine cellar, wineries, wine tasting, wine making, wine country, tasting room…

I also have a specific keyword list to include producers, places, and wine varieties that appear according to the post:

petite verdot, chardonnay, monticello, virginia wine, white hall vineyards, barrel oak winery, jancis robinson…

And, anything you link to deserves being added to the keywords field.

Using Keywords

Once you’ve assembled your lists of general and specific keywords, and have decided which phrases to use, here are good places to insert them:

your URL, blogsite title, post title, headlines, subheadings, subtitle, post: beginning, middle and end, images (alt tags), within links (anchor phrases), as well as the Meta Description, which appears on the search results page.

Before pasting a post into WordPress, I do a Find for my keywords. That way, I can see how many times a given word or phrase is mentioned in the post.

I always try to work the words “vineyards” or “wine” into each and every title, even if it’s nestled into “winemaker” or “winery,” or combined with “tasting” or “country.”

Replacing vague words like “it”, “they”, “them”, with specific keyword terms such as “red wine”, “the winemakers”, “Virginia Winemakers”, not only bumps the keyword density, it might also improve your writing.

Gratuitous use of keywords, however, should be avoided so that your efforts don’t appear too obvious to the casual reader. I’ve heard that 2-4% is about right. In this 680-word post, I’ve managed to use “keyword” 25 times. Think the spiders will wonder what it’s about?

So the next time you’re writing a blog post, think of the keywords, and when the spiders come crawling they’ll think of you.

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