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Search Engine Optimization Tips for Blogs – Using Keywords

Having looked at Offsite Search Engine Optimization Techniques I’ll now turn my attention to examining some of the factors you might like to keep in mind as you develop your blog – (or Onsite techniques). There are many of these and it might take a few days to get through them all – bear with me.

Keyword Rich Content – identify a few keywords for your article that you’re hoping will get indexed highly by Google. Don’t pick too many but consider the question ‘how do I want people to find this post in Search Engines?’ What will they type into Google if they want information on the topic you’re writing. The answer to this question will give you a hint as to what words you’ll want to see repeated throughout your article a number of times.

These keywords will need to be the most common words used in your article. Use them in some or all of the following ways:

  • Keywords in post and page titles (read my post on using keywords in titles
  • Keywords in URL of page (blog herald wrote on this a while back
  • Keywords in outbound links (read this article on the pros and cons of outbound links)
  • Keywords in bold tags (try do it at least once)
  • Keywords in heading tags (there is debate over exactly how to use them but it’s generally accepted that h1 tags are important and that h2, h3, h4 etc tags also have an impact. Having said that I’ve seen some pages rank very well in search engines without using heading tags. There are many tutorials online about heading tags – here’s one.)
  • Keywords in image alt tags (here’s how)
  • Keywords in the general throughout the text of your post – but especially early on in the first few sentences
  • Keywords in meta tags (they seem to be less valuable these days but many still believe they are useful with some search engines – here’s a Guide to meta tags)

Of course you can go over the top with keywords in posts and let it destroy your content – but if it fits with what you’ve written tweak it to include the words you are targeting a couple of extra times. Most SEO experts recommend getting your keyword density up to between 5-20% – I think 20% is probably bordering on massacring your content.

One last word of warning and disclaimer (because I can just hear the comments on this post already) – don’t sacrifice your readers experience of your site just for the sake of SEO. Yes keyword density can be important in climbing the search engine rankings – but more important is that your content and design are user friendly and helpful to readers. There is nothing worse than a site that is stuffed with keywords – these sites come off as cheap, nasty and spammy – don’t fall for the temptation.

This post is part of the Search Engine Optimization Tips for Blogs Series

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I do some SEO tools programming on the side, and through a non-insignificant data set, we’ve found that optimal keyword density is closer to 3-4%. Getting over 7% starts hitting google’s spam filters, and 20% is definitely too high. Every 5th word as a keyword? That’s just ridiculous.

    Also remember that Google will filter out stop words and phrases (the, and, or, a, an, it, …). So if your density is 5% on the raw page, it may be higher once you take those words out, and start hitting spam levels.

    The better way to do it is by figuring out how dense your keyword phrase is in your document based on the number of different noun phrases. I didn’t write this one, but you can find a tool to do that analysis at the following URL: http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-density/

    Just wanted to provide some more insight.

  2. So in response to the above comment, in a blog setting, would keyword density be based on only the actual post, or on the entire page? ie, does Google understand and filter out the basic links, navigation, etc that is on ALL of the pages, or do these get worked into the keyword percentage also?

  3. Bolding the keyword(s) really does work. I just noticed with a post I wrote less than an hour ago that Google adsense already picked it up. Amazing.

  4. Darren

    On the point about using keywords in image ALT tags, these are primarily for accessibility. If you can marry a description of the image with some well-chosen keywords, that’s great.

    We shouldn’t sacrafice accessibility in the name of SEO, though.


  5. Great post Darren, I think it covered most of the key issues surrounding SEO.

    I guess the biggest danger is to concentrate too much on keywords and not enough on the content. I tend to write something to make as much sense as possible, and then revisit it, looking at where certain terms can be replaced unobtrusively with keywords that I wish to target.

    I’ve noticed since changing my site structure and the way things are labelled to clearly identify them (and the biggest change seems to be from giving each page is own unique title) that my search engine ranking has crept upwards for nearly all the keywords I’m interested in.

    Mildly tweaking and then letting the site settle, along with using google sitemaps seems to be doing the trick. You need to give the engines time to reindex and access your site, which means doing a tweak at a time and then leaving it for a few days. Theres a real temptation to begin with to really hammer the changes through – but this doesn’t allow you to see what changes are really effective.

  6. Just an observation/question:

    The keyword for this blog entry is ‘keyword’ right? It was used 17 times :)

  7. […] naturally impact the way you blog. Continue Reading this Series at – Offsite Techniques – Keywords


  8. I’m with Gerard about using keywords in image ALT tags. It sure is spamming if the keywords used are not relevant with image.

  9. […] ation – The Eternal Topic Darren follows along today with the next in his SEO Tips series “Using Keywords”. […]

  10. It didn’t seem to me that anyone was suggesting spamming the ALT tags.

  11. One of the main uses of Alt tags is for search engine optimization, but you want it to stay relevant with the picture. One of the main purposes of Alt tags is for section 508 compliancy, which is why you want the tag to be representative of the picture.

  12. Weekly Roundup

    Keyword rich content : in titles, url of page, in outbound links, in bold tags, in heading tags and in the first few sentences….  Stephen Baker writes about Google’s new patent and smarter algorithms in Advice on how to optimize your site for sear…

  13. I think your slightly wrong with what SEO’s recommend I ve never heard anyone recommend anywhere above 10% and I certainly don’t advise anyone to go anywhere near 10% either.

    I tend to advise people to stick to around 5-7% keyword density.

  14. Its all sooooo confusing. Do the keywords I chose when I registered my domain or individual post labels matter most?

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