SEO Advice: Quick Tips on Keyword Placement

Keywords are the heart of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. For a small business, SEO is often the responsibility of the owner—but crafting an effective strategy can be challenging. You know that your website is supposed to contain “targeted keywords” to help potential customers find you online, but what should they be, and where should you put them?

A note on choosing SEO keywords

Unless you’re occupying a highly specific niche, chances are your small business has a lot of competition. One of the best SEO keyword strategies is to choose local keywords to optimize. Since I’m based in Cincinnati, Ohio, I use terms like “Cincinnati freelance writer” for my website SEO, to help local clients find me faster.

Combining local terms with your industry’s top keywords is a great way to rank high in search engine results. You can use the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool to research the most popular search terms associated with your small business.

SEO keyword placement strategies

Once you know your target keywords, where should you place them in your website content? A lot of small businesses make the mistake of keyword stuffing—using their keywords as many times as possible on their pages, even where they don’t make sense in context. This strategy will only get your website ignored by search engines.

The most effective placement for keywords include:

  • Metadata: Your keywords should appear at least once in the Title and Meta Description for each page of your website. You can also create a Meta Keywords tag and list relevant keywords in order from the longest to the shortest phrase. Not fluent in HTML? Don’t worry—most popular website platforms, like WordPress and Blogger, offer a way to enter metadata without coding.
  • Headings and subheadings: Search engines give more weight to text that’s coded as a heading or subheading on website pages. Including keywords in these lines can boost your SEO, and also helps make your content clearer to visitors.
  • Anchor text: Anchor text, or text that is linked to another website or a different page on your site, is also given more weight by search engines. Make sure the keywords used in your anchor text are appropriate and accurately reflect the linked content.
  • First 200 words: Search engines pay more attention to the first 200 words, or “above the fold” content, on a website page. Place your target keywords here—but make sure naturally flow with the content.

Making just a few simple changes to your website content and metadata can bring big SEO improvements. Where do your target keywords appear?

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