Keyword optimisation is a foundational aspect of on-page SEO (search engine optimisation) that helps search engines better understand the subject matter, intent and context of a web page.
When a search engine has a clear understanding of a page, it can rank that page for the most relevant keyword search terms in the organic search results.
Definition of Keyword Optimisation
Keyword optimisation is the process of strategically selecting a keyword list and incorporating these keywords and key phrases into the content of your webpage.
The goal of keyword optimisation is to align the content of a web page with the search terms and search intent that users are likely to use when searching for information, products, or services related to a business.
The Highly Relevant Parts of a Web Page for On-Page SEO
Getting your targeted keywords into some specific parts of a webpage will positively impact your website’s SEO and ability to rank.
These are the most crucial elements of the page to include your target keywords and key phrases when conducting on-page SEO with a focus on keyword optimisation:
- Page title (SEO title tags) and meta descriptions;
- Page URL alias or slug – Example: yourdomain.com.au/page-url-alias;
- Heading 1 or H1 tag;
- Website page content (paragraphs, list items, tables etc);
- Heading tags such as the H2 – H5;
- Image alternative text – See our article on image optimisation for SEO;
- Internal link anchor text.
Including your target keyword or keyword phrase, as well as other relevant keywords in these areas can help improve the visibility and rankings of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs).
How to Conduct Keyword Optimisation for Your Website
The goal of keyword optimisation is to strike a balance between meeting the needs of search engines and providing valuable, user-friendly content that resonates with your audience.
Start with Keyword Research
Before optimising your content, you need to conduct thorough keyword research to come up with a list of relevant keywords to target.
This involves identifying the search terms, phrases and other keyword ideas your target audience will use when searching for information related to your business, services, products or content.
Don’t be intimidated! Getting started is fairly easy. Even if you only know how to do basic keyword research, it will greatly benefit your on-page optimisation work.
Use keyword research tools to find relevant keywords for your business with a balance of monthly search volume and difficulty score that can bring qualified traffic to your website.
Generally, more popular keywords will have the highest monthly search volume and be higher competition. This means that it will be more difficult (although not impossible) to attain a high ranking for these terms.
Don’t be afraid to go after long-tail keywords with lower search volumes. These low-competition keywords are generally easier to attain a high ranking for and you can quickly start attracting small chunks of highly relevant traffic.
Sometimes, long-tail keyword phrases also have a higher commercial intent when compared to broader searches. This is desirable because any traffic you attain from targeting these keywords is more likely to convert into sales for your business.
Consider question keywords – Looking at common questions people ask about your products or services is a great place to start when looking for additional keywords to target.
Primary Keyword Usage
Choose one primary keyword for each page or post. This primary keyword should accurately represent the main topic or theme of the content.
This doesn’t mean your page will only rank for a single keyword. Over time, a keyword-optimised page with high-quality, relevant content can rank for hundreds or thousands of different keywords.
It’s important to understand that long-form content may rank better in search because it gives you more keyword opportunities to include in your content and build higher relevance for your subject matter.
One of our SEO techniques is to try and include the primary keyword (or variants) in the following areas of a page:
Incorporate the primary keyword naturally within the title, preferably towards the beginning.
We usually like to make this an exact match or phrase match keyword with your primary keyword.
Include the primary keyword in the page’s URL to enhance its relevance. Again, there can be a benefit in making this an exact match.
You can find out more about optimising your URL alias or permalink slug for SEO in another post.
Craft a concise and enticing meta description that includes the primary keyword. This description appears in search results and provides a snapshot of your content.
Whilst this is not a “direct” ranking factor, a good meta description can influence click-through rate and conversion rate.
Use the primary keyword in the main heading of your content (H1 tag). This helps search engines understand the topic of the page.
Kyle Roof, a popular and successful SEO Professional often says that the H1 Heading of a page should be the same as the SEO Page Title. We’ve seen this SEO technique work well, and we’ve also seen that using a slight variation containing the primary keyword also works very well.
This is something you may want to test with some of your pages to see what works best for your website, audience and niche.
Incorporate your relevant keywords naturally within the content as well as other common HTML elements such as ordered lists, unordered lists, blockquote, link anchor text, sub-headings, bold text etc.
Avoid keyword stuffing your online content.
Best case, stuffing keywords will do nothing for your page. Worst case, you’ll be over-optimised and it will negatively impact your page’s search ranking.
Secondary Keyword Usage
Don’t forget to include secondary keywords and related terms throughout the page content.
These variations and synonyms of your primary keywords help search engines grasp the broader context of your content and improve its overall relevance.
Incorporate secondary keywords naturally within the content, subheadings (H2, H3), and other relevant areas such as paragraphs, lists, blockquote, image ALT texts etc.
Content Relevance and Readability
While it’s important to include keywords, avoid keyword stuffing, which is the excessive use of keywords that can make your content sound unnatural and hurt its readability.
Focus on creating informative, high-quality content that addresses the needs and questions of your audience.
Search engines prioritise content that provides value to the end user and content the search engine can understand.
Keyword Density – Don’t Worry Too Much
Keyword density refers to the percentage of times a keyword appears about the total number of words in the content.
There’s no fixed rule for keyword density, but a general guideline is to keep it around 1-2%.
However, the emphasis should be on writing natural and coherent content, rather than hitting a specific keyword density.
It’s good to be aware of keyword density. However, it’s a factor that can usually be safely ignored provided you are writing effective content for humans first and search engines second.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are phrases and terms closely related to your primary keyword.
These kinds of keywords and keyword phrases are conceptually or thematically related terms that search engines use to thoroughly understand the content on a webpage.
Incorporating LSI keywords will help search engines gain a deeper understanding of the context, subject matter and depth of your content.
Use an online tool or do some brainstorming to discover relevant LSI keywords that fit naturally within your content. Our search engine optimization specialists use an SEO tool called Frase for this.
Word Variation and Synonyms
Using variations and synonyms of your primary keyword helps your content cater to different search queries while maintaining a natural flow. This approach widens your content’s reach and potential ranking opportunities.
Remember that keyword optimisation should always prioritise user intent, user experience and general readability of your page content.
Benefits of On-Page Keyword Optimisation
If you can get it right, here’s how keyword optimisation can influence your website’s SEO:
So, when you optimise a web page’s content with relevant keywords, you’re aligning it with the topics and themes that users are searching for.
This makes your content more relevant to those specific search queries.
Search engines aim to give users the most relevant results, so when your content is closely related to what users are looking for, it’s more likely to show up in search results.
Better Ranking Potential
Search engines use complex algorithms to rank web pages based on their perceived relevance and authority.
When a search engine gets a clearer picture of what your page is about and its context, it can accurately judge its quality and relevance.
This can result in higher rankings in search results for the keywords you’ve optimised.
More Visibility in the SERPS
Higher search engine rankings mean your web pages get better visibility. People are more likely to click on links that appear near the top of search results.
This increase in click-through rate (CTR) can bring more organic traffic to your website.
Keyword optimisation helps attract users who are especially keen on the topics you’re covering.
This means the traffic you get from search engines is more likely to include users who are genuinely interested in your content, products, or services.
Improved User Experience
Optimising content with relevant keywords makes for a better user experience.
When users find content that directly speaks to their search queries, they’re more likely to engage with it, spend more time on your site, and maybe even take action (like making a purchase, signing up, or getting in touch with you).
Reduced Bounce Rates or Higher Engagement Rates
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave a website after looking at just one page.
When your content matches what users are searching for, they’re more likely to stick around on your site and explore more.
A lower bounce rate (or higher engagement rate) shows search engines that your content is valuable and captivating.
Understanding the Meaning
Modern search engines aim to get the meaning of content, not just individual keywords.
By optimising keywords for their different forms (synonyms, nicknames abbreviations etc) you’re giving more context for search engines to grasp the overall meaning, tone and intention behind your content.
Well-optimised content can keep ranking well over time, bringing a consistent flow of organic traffic. This steady visibility and traffic can have lasting benefits for how your website performs.
Building Stronger Authority Signals
Always dishing out keyword-optimised, valuable content on a specific topic can establish your website as an authoritative source in that field.
Search engines are more likely to give higher rankings to authoritative websites.
3 Key Takeaways
- Keyword Optimisation Enhances Relevance: Optimising your web page’s content with relevant keywords aligns it with user searches, making it more likely to appear in search results. This boosts the relevance and quality score, increasing the chances of attracting organic traffic.
- If Search Engines Understand, You’ll See Results: When search engines understand your page’s subject matter (and users think the content is good) it can lead to higher rankings. Higher rankings mean better visibility, more clicks, and increased organic traffic. Engaging content that matches user queries increases website goals, conversions and major actions.
- Building Keyword Relevance & Authority Creates Long-Term Benefits: Consistently providing valuable, keyword-optimised content establishes your website as an authoritative source in its field. This can lead to sustained visibility, higher rankings, and a continuous stream of organic traffic, benefiting your website’s overall performance.
By helping a search engine better understand what a web page is all about through keyword optimisation, you’re giving that page a better shot at showing up for relevant searches.
This brings in the right kind of traffic, boosts user involvement, and adds to your overall SEO efforts, ultimately leading to a more successful online presence.
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