Keyword Optimization with Searcher's Intent in Mind

keyphrases flat with monitor and keyboard

Keyword Optimization is one of the most complex topics of writing content (with SEO in the back of your mind).

First of all, keywords should probably be called keyphrases, because we rarely only use one word as "our keyword". 

Secondly, use a primary keyword phrase that is close to what you think your targeted audience will actually look for. Then relax, research has shown for a while that Google does not need keyword precision; quite the contrary: Placing synonyms along with your keyphrases can create valuable context for the reader, which in turn gets rewarded by Google's search algorithms.

Keyword Matching is now Topic Association

Search Algorithms have been upgraded to take their ability to interpret to the next level: What used to be "keyword matching" has now become "topic association". Even domain-level keyword connection, meaning using the same keyword all over your website, albeit used with different intents and in different contexts, seems to be on the rise.

Find your Niche

However, for all of us "small players" in the world of SEO, it is still advisable to have a clear concept as to what your article will be about and how you will present it to your audience to meet their search intentions.

As an example: "Content Strategy" would probably be a very powerful keyword that works well with this blog article, however, as you can imagine, I won't be the only one targeting this keyword. And, to make matters worse, I know that I'm not the best-known blog writer when it comes to content marketing. Hence, when people are typing "content strategy" into Google, they will likely find me on page 120 of the Google results aka never.

Basic Rules for Keyword Search

What to do? Well, like everybody else, I haven't found the holy grail of keyword identification yet, but here are a few ground rules that gets you a lot closer to it:

  • Identify a specific primary key phrase that targets your content best and add maybe a secondary, or tertiary key phrase.
  • Test these with keyword planners or simply in your search engine - do they result in content similar to yours?
  • Use the key phrase in your title.
  • Have your key phrase appear in your url. (If you have a properly set up drupal site, this will happen automatically when choosing the appropriate title.)
  • Your key phrase appears in a logical fashion throughout your well-structured content. (makes up around 1 - 3 % of your content if you're the number kind of reader). Secondary keyword phrases appear accordingly.
  • Your images on the page have an ALT title that actually describes the images and entails your keyword phrase.
  • The anchor text that is pointing to the article has the primary keywords in it.

If you're interested to learn more, here's  a very detailed guide to keyword targeting by moz.