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SEO Keyword Use

So you've researched which keywords you want to target, but just putting the keywords in your <title> and <h1> tags is not enough. If you stop there, you're not going to be able to cover all the bases or pull in as much search traffic as you could. When doing on-page optimization for your selected keywords, there are three things to take into consideration:

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  1. Keywords Density - How many times is your keyword mentioned on your site? If it's too much, you'll look like a spammer; if it's too little, you won't look like a relevant match and the search engines won't consider your site.
  2. Keyword Variation - Altering versions of your keywords will help you capture hidden search engine traffic.
  3. Similar Keywords - These are closely related topics to your keywords that will aide the search engines in correctly categorizing your traffic.

Keyword Density

Although some SEOs will talk about aiming for an exact proportion (e.g. the number of times your keyword appears divided by the total number of words on the page), it's a little too much work for something that will take care of itself as long as you know how to write well! Use your keyword frequently on your site, but not so much that it makes the page look weird or a sentence sound awkward. If you just use the keyword once at the top of the page and then reference the keyword as "it", for the rest of the article, you'll definitely be using it too little.

If you want some numbers, you should use your keyword at least three times on the page. This does not include keyword variations.

Keyword Variations

You may have found a couple of high traffic keywords using a keyword research tool, but those estimates often group similar keywords, alternate spellings, and plurals into a single word. Valuable traffic is hidden when using those tools. This hidden traffic lies in all the subtle variations of your keyword that someone may search for.

  • Plurals - The easiest way to optimize your site is to include the plural version of your keyword at least a couple of times on your page. Nearly every keyword can do this (instead of "free hat", try "free hats").
  • Misspellings - Although it may make your site look a little unprofessional, including a very common misspelling of your keywrod is one of the easiest ways to rank #1 for that exact spelling and get some free traffic. This is one of the fun things to experiment with after you've optimized the rest of your site.
  • Acronyms - If your keyword is an acronym like SEO, write out the words completely (Search Engine Optimization) so that you can target those people who do not know the acronym.

Similar Keywords

If you're making a page to target "big hats," consider changing up the adjective "big" to its synonyms, like "huge," "giant," "large," "humongous," or "oversized." You can also use the names of specific words that relate to "big hats," like "cowboy hat" and "sombrero." By using this tactic, you give yourself a chance to rank for those similar keywords, plus you let the search engines know more about your page and what it's about. The more a search engine knows about your page, the better off you're going to be!

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