- HubPages Tutorials and Community
How To Find and Use Keywords: Easy SEO HubPage Writing Tips
What Are Keywords and SEO tips
These "How to Find and Use Keywords and Search Engine Optimization" tips are just the basics. Search Engine Optimization [SEO] is an extensive and technical subject that has spawned an entire industry of real experts that spend the time and money to learn SEO from the most basic to the most technical issues. But the basic meaning of SEO is doing things that make articles and content appear more relevant to what the search engines are looking for - so they get picked and presented to the searcher. In other words - to get traffic.
It has also spawned a category of "parrots" - people that take what the real experts put out, and rehash it in their own words to hawk SEO products that they are affiliates of, or to draw traffic seeking their "wisdom and secrets."
This article is not from and expert, and it is not an in-depth tutorial of all SEO techniques. It is an explanation about keywords, the basics; what they are, how to find them, and how to use them.
What are keywords to Search Engine Optimization [SEO]
Search engine basics: Search engines, like; Google, Bing, and Yahoo, are the programs that go out to the Internet to find content, (articles, programs, web sites, or any other type of data), to match whatever words someone has typed into their search box.
The words they use to tell the search engine what they are looking for then become - keywords. Words that are key to matching what the search engines find to what the searcher asked for.
Keywords are the first and most important factor in SEO. There are hundreds of other factors that effect a search engine's decision of which content to pick, and what order of importance to present it to the person doing the searching, but words, (keywords), matching the ones the searcher used are the first and most important thing they look for.
*to keep this discussion simple - we will assume keywords are the ONLY criteria a search engine uses to make its choices - which we know they are not
Searcher is looking for "marble chocolate layer cake recipes," and types those words into the search box.
The entire phrase, "marble chocolate layer cake recipes," becomes a group of keywords known as a keyword phrase, or long-tail keyword. Breaking that phrase down, the search engine would see that phrase as a group of keywords, and the more words of that group it finds in an article, or whatever type of data, the more relevant it would judge that article to be to what the searcher wants.
Like this, from most relevant to least relevant, the more keywords in the title the better match it would be.
- marble chocolate layer cake recipes
- chocolate layer cake recipes
- layer cake recipes
- cake recipes
Or any of hundreds of possible sequence combinations:
- chocolate layer marble cake recipes
- chocolate marble cake recipes
- marble layer cake recipes
- chocolate cake recipes
- cake layer recipes
- etc. etc. etc.
The point is that the search engine looks first, for the keywords in the exact order that the searcher typed them, ie. marble chocolate layer cake recipes vs. marble chocolate layer cake recipes
Then it might see the keywords in a slightly different order: marble chocolate layer cake recipes vs. chocolate marble layer cake recipes - where the phrase has all the words, but in a different order.
And so on, and so on, until one of its last choices would be a poor match - one that only had one or two of the searcher's keywords. Like this; marble chocolate layer cake recipes vs. cake recipes.
So an article titled: "Easy to Make Marble Chocolate Layer Cake Recipes" might be the first listing on page one of the search results presented to the person searching, and "10 Easy Bake Cake Recipes" might be presented as the 127th listing on page 13 of the search results.
Obviously, #1 will get the click, and #127 won't even be seen. If you want your articles to be seen and clicked on, you need to use keywords that tell search engines "Here - Look at me - I'm a #1 listing for that search, Pick me first!"
Using keywords doesn't have to mean more work, or....
Keywords are important. And you really really should make keyword selection and choice a part of your writing. But that does not mean you have to do a lot of techie stuff. Or buy keyword programs. Or alter your writing style. Or turn what you enjoy, writing, into a task. Because these keyword tips will show you how to get a boost from easy common-sense keyword techniques, without all the other stuff. Of course the more keyword effort you make the more search engine benefits you will reap, but it does not have to be an "all or nothing" deal.
The easy way to find keywords tip
There is no "holy grail" of keywords. Keywords are what a searcher types in. But there are ways for you to check your article titles to see if there might be some better words to use - and still convey what you want to say.
For instance: Suppose you wanted to write about marble chocolate cakes, and you have decided on a title - :Easy Chocolate Marble Cakes." Sounds ok, and that's what your article is about, but... what if you could know that just a little different wording - still the same message, would get you tons more people clicking to check out your article? Would it be worth you effort?
What if someone told you that "Easy Chocolate Marble Cakes from Scratch" would get you 10,000 more page views - could you live with that title instead of the first one you came up with? Of course you could! But how could you know?
Here's how, and it's free and easy.
- First decide on your title
- go to the Google search page - not the search bar in your browser. You will need to see the whole screen so go to the search page
- Now with the Google search page on your screen - start typing in your title. You will notice that after you have typed in a couple words, the drop-down selections will start displayiong phrases that it thinks you are typing... see the illustration below
As you type, Google shows you the most popular recent search phrases that people have typed into Google search that match what you appear to be typing.
Think about this... Google IS SHOWING you what the most popular search phrases related to your title are!
So, from the above example, Google is telling you that a lot of people are looking for "marble chocolate cake recipe from scratch" information. Now you are very smart. And you quickly realize that if you just modified your title to read: "Easy Chocolate Marble Cake Recipes from Scratch," you could get an extra ten or hundred thousand visitors - well duh! Why not? You haven't changed your intent. You haven't changed your content. You haven't had to do any extra techie work. And you have not had to change your writing style! Just knowing about those two extra words - "recipe scratch" magically gives you the chance for tons more traffic.
Now how hard was that? Just go to Google search and type in your title before you use it. Look at the suggestions that appear as you type. See what actual keywords Google tells you people are using to find content like yours. Again...duh! it's a no-brainer! For just a few minutes time, and a couple clicks, you have the opportunity to pick a title no one will ever ask for, or one people are frequently looking for. Your choice. Do you want viewers or not? Is this keyword SEO hubpages writing tip effort too much to ask? Or too complicated?
One more Google Search Keyword Tip
Another way to use the Google Search page to help you find good keywords for your topic is to just do a search, using your title to see what other people are using for a similar article - and how Google views their importance.
In this case - "Easy Chocolate Marble Cake Recipes from Scratch" is typed in.
The illustration below shows actual search results - from "best match" to "least best"
Remember - the ranking of these listings is affected by much more than just the keywords in the title. But for the purpose of getting some ideas about how others are using the keywords that you plan to use, and how it might effect the ranking - there is a lot to be seen here.
- Notice that although all the listings do not have all the keywords in their title - but look below the title, the "missing" keywords are in the summary description
- Notice that "chocolate cake recipes" are the most dominant keywords used in all the listings - but don't let that confuse you. A search for those keywords returned 48,700,000 results! You don't want to compete for viewers against that. That's why your additional keywords of "marble," "scratch," etc. narrowed your competition.
- The more keywords you use, (the longer your "long-tail" keyword is), the more accurate the search results are to both the searcher and your article. And the more chance that YOUR article will rank near the top - the choices most searchers click first.
- The point of the illustration is just to get ideas. To see how the title you are considering might rank. You might see a word, or wording, that you had not thought of.
- Even though there were many "chocolate cake recipes" listings - yours is about marble chocolate cakes, and recipes from scratch. Searchers looking for that will skip the "chocolate cake recipes" listings - even if they rank first, because they are not the "best match" to what they were searching for.
Another SEO Hubpages writing tip - just a little more work
You can get even better keyword choices, with only little more effort, and it's still free, and it still doesn't make you jump through any hoops or become an expert. Google Keywords tool! It's free!
They call it Google Adwords now. And you will have to sign-up for it, (to get the most benefit). But sign-up is free. You don't have to spend any money. And this easy-to-use keyword tool will show you EXACTLY what words people are using to find content like yours, and how many times people are searching for it.
So, you want to write about chocolate marble layer cake recipes - is it too much work, or too complicated to find out what terms people are using to find information like you want to write about?
Is it too much work to click onto a web site and type in your title to see if it's an "in demand" subject? You don't have to study techie manuals. You don't have to alter your style. All you have to do is consider if the words you want to use are so different from the words people are actually looking for.
Here's how it works. Use Google's keyword tool. Type in your title, and maybe a couple other variations. Click the search button. Now, on the left sidebar - uncheck "broad" and check "phrase" and [exact] - now Google will show you how many people have searched for the terms you listed, AND it will offer you some alternate suggestions, plus it will tell you how many searches were made for those term. How easy is that?
So you wanted to say, "clouds of white," but now you know that nobody searches for that phrase, but a million people search for "white clouds." Gee! Would "white clouds" work the same for you? Would it destroy your style, or is it just too much work? it's your choice - do you want visitors, or do you just want to write, and don't care if anyone else ever sees it?
Here's the Google Adword Tool screen:
Hubpages tips on How to use keywords
How to use the free Google keywords, (Adwords), tool is the subject for an entire hub article by itself, so hopefully at least you understand that it is a free easy to use tool you should check out.
Now, as for how to use keywords to help Google decide your article is more worthy to show a searcher than some other article.
These are not gospel facts, just assumptions from commonly accepted opinions, but here is how it appears Google values keyword placement.
- The Article title - Google looks for keywords in the title first, if they are there, then...
- The article URL web address - this tells Google if the site where the article is located is relevant to the keyword subject - it helps reinforce the value of the title keywords. You can see a more detailed explanation of this here: Easy SEO Hub Writing Tips - The Title and URL
- The article summary, AND the first 50+/- words of the article. Again, here is a more detailed article about that: Easy SEO Hub Writing Tips - The Article Summary
- The body of the article - there are a lot of different opinions on this. Some say a keyword density of 2% - 4%, ( 2 - 4 mentions per hundred words), is about right. I would vote for the lower percent. When you try to use the keywords too much, it effects the article readability - too much repetition just doesn't read naturally.
- Subtitles - Google likes subtitles, because usually subtitles indicate what is to follow - so if Google sees keywords in the subtitles, it reinforces the point of the content
- The conclusion, or end of the article - Just as Google likes to see keywords at the beginning of an article - because it indicates what the body of the article is about, it also likes to see them at the end. It indicates the wrap-up is relevant to the body.
- Comments - keywords in the comments of an article also tell Google that the article really was about the keywords topic. Here is an article that talks about SEO-friendly keyword tips for comment capsules: Easy SEO Hub Writing Tips: Use The Comments Capsule
Big Caution!!!! Don't overdo it! Don't try to use your keywords more than what would be considered natural. Overuse of keywords is known as "keyword stuffing." It's not natural, it does not read well, and it is obvious. Google's search algorithm is actually smart enough to detect keyword stuffing, and will penalize your article instead of promoting it.
How to find good keywords tips...
Again, there is no "holy grail" that has all the best keywords that people are looking for. The best keywords depend on the content. There are a few "add-on" keywords that are popular, like; How-to, Best, Review, Top 10, (or 5 or 20), - but these are just additions to your title keywords.
There are plenty of "paid" programs out there that promise to find the best keywords for you - for a price, but the easiest ways are the two mentioned here, Google search screen, and Google keywords tool.
Of course, if you do a Google search for "best keyword finders" you will find plenty of offers to sell you the "magic Bullet", the "secret weapon" that will make you rich - but it's your money, you can use the free tools mentioned here, or spend the bucks for something else - your call.
About the Author
Reporting for the Daily Constitutional, and providing articles for various online publishing sites are my primary work responsibilities, but it is the freelance editorials from the Curmudgeon's desk that provide the most satisfaction. - GAA
See more of my writings at:
*Composite image component source citations: Creative Commons images from:commons.wikimedia.org, flickr.com/creativecommons, search.creativecommons.org, http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2009/06/find-creative-commons-images-in-google.html, and personal art and graphic programs: GreenStreet Clipart, Print Shop, Art Explosion Pro Silver Edition Publishing program - *photo and image source credits: divider and separation images - http://gaanderson.hubpages.com