How to Use Keywords in Content Writing

Table of Contents

  • Understanding Keywords
  • How to Use Keywords on Your Website
  • Where to use keywords
  • How often to use keywords
  • How to vary keyword usage

What are Keywords?

Keywords can be words, phrases, or topics that summarize or explain what your webpage is all about. In SEO, they are the ideas, questions, and terms that people key into the search boxes of search engines.

For you to succeed in search engine optimization, it’s essential that you understand what people are searching for as well as how often and why they are searching for it.

Keywords are one of the significant SEO elements and serve as the link between what searchers are looking for and the information you’re offering to address their needs.

Short Tail Keywords Vs. Long Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords or the “head” terms, usually tend to be around two words, for example, “bathing soap” or “swimming suit”, they are more desirable for the traffic since most people are likely to type in such phrases.

Long tail keywords, on the other hand, consist of three to five words and tend to be less popular. Nevertheless, because they’re more targeted to specific searches, they present less competition. “Bathing suit online” or “buy swimming suit online” are examples of long tail keywords.

Although the long tail keywords are somewhat limiting regarding the traffic you get, they have a defined intent, less competition and come at a lower cost.

Low Cost High
High Focus Low
Low competition High
Low Volume High
High Conversion Rate Low

How to Use Keywords on Websites

The effective use of keywords throughout your content will help you tell a better story, to the search engines and your visitors, and communicate the kind of searches your website is relevant for.

In your keyword optimization process, here are the three factors you should bear in mind:

  • Where to use keywords
  • How often to use keywords
  • How to vary keyword usage

Where to Use Keywords

I have listed five places where you can incorporate keywords on your site to signal search engines about the pages you want to rank for given keywords:

  1. URL

Your web address is a good place to integrate keywords since you can add them without the need of making them enticing or catchy like with the H1 tag or page title. Something like communicates what the page is all about.

Code Sample

URL Limits

So that your URL renders correctly in all browsers, ensure that they are not longer than 2,083 characters.

How URLs should appear

  1. Content

This includes your headers and sub-headers, page content and link text. Using keywords in the headers and sub-headers emphasizes the message that’s featured on the page. Always make sure to keep it concise, clear, and relevant when doing so.

Page content is the centrepiece of everything on your site. It’s where you or other people link to, and what draws traffic to your website; although you may be tempted to use your keyword throughout the content, be careful not to overdo it. Your content should be informative, and with a natural flow, so people find it easy to read through.

  1. Image Tags

You can incorporate a keyword into the HTML code that you use to add an image to your content. If you’re using several pictures on a single page, you can vary the keywords on each photo.

Alt Text Uses

  • They offer better image descriptions/context to search engine crawlers
  • Image tags get displayed in place of a picture whenever the image file can’t be loaded
  • The tags enhance accessibility.

Writing a good image tag

  • Keep it relatively short
  • Be precise when describing the image
  • Use your keywords
  • Don’t use the pictures as text
  • Avoid stuffing keywords
  • Avoid using “picture of”, “image of” and so on
  1. Meta Description

This is a small piece of information that’s seen on the search engine result page to describe the content that a page contains. Even though search engines don’t use the Meta description to rank a page, they do bold/highlight any keywords applied here, making the site appear more relevant than the rest.

Navigation link text

These texts make the links in your sidebar or top navigation bar. When applying this, you may want to be careful not to use the exact keyword form here, as it appears spammy. You can go for a variation or shortened version of it.

How Often To Use Keywords

To answer this question, we’ll start by understanding the meaning of keyword density.

Keyword density is the rate at which a keyword phrase appears to the summation of words on a webpage.

What does your keyword density percentage need to be on a page?

Well, there isn’t a hard fast rule on this, you may use your keyword two or three times and rank well, or use it six or seven times and still not rank well.

Trying to manipulate your site’s ranking in search engine search results by overloading a page with numbers or keywords (keyword stuffing) might bring you harm than good.

So how do you go about it?

SEO experts advice on using one keyword or its variation for 200 words in content.

At the very least, make sure you use a keyword on your page title; you can change the words order, make it part of a phrase or even add a divider or two to target more keywords or make it more professional. This won’t hinder you from ranking first for that keyword.

Better yet, use the keyword or its variation in two of these three places

  • H1 Tag
  • URL
  • Body Content

And at least two of these four positions

  • Image Tag
  • Site navigation link text
  • In-content link text
  • Meta description

Doing this, then the keyword or its variations will appear in at least four of the seven keyword placement positions, and will send a clear message to search engines what keywords to rank that webpage for.

You are at liberty to use up all the seven options, just be sure to include multiple variations, so you don’t end up using the exact keyword target in all the slots.

Have a look at these examples

Do this

Target keyword: Freelance SEO writer

Page Title: SEO | Freelance Writer |copywriting & business blogging services


Body Content: I’m a freelance SEO writer and can generate superior content for your website to help you rank higher, get more leads and convert them to buying clients.

In-Content Link Text: Freelance SEO services

Image Tag: Olivia-Kibaba-Freelance-SEO-Writer

Do this

Target Keyword: Writing Services

Page Title: Get Quality Writing Services at


H1 Tag: Online writing solutions

Site Navigation Link Text: Writing services

Image Tag: High-quality-and-affordable-writing-services

 Don’t Do This

Target Keyword: Content Marketing Company

Page Title: Content Marketing Company and Content Marketing Companies


Body Content: We are a content marketing company. If you’re looking for a content marketing company, you can talk to us.

In-Content Link Tex: Content Marketing Company

Image: Content-Marketing-Company

How to Vary the Use of Keywords in content

Targeting multiple keywords on a single webpage is possible. However, they should be closely related. It’s always advisable to have one keyword for each page and integrate variations of the same keyword throughout the content.

Variations typically feature the primary keyword, but with extensions like (service, review, online, name of place and more) or written in plural (-ies and -s)

It’s okay to target keywords whose differences lie in the word order, plurality, or include minor words like a, in, on, an, to or on the same webpage as multiple main keywords target since search engines recognize those variants as being almost the same.


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