Is Your Wording Choices Hurting Your Articles?
I hope you have already learned by now; that keywords are the core part of every article you write. But before I say anything further on this, I want to make one thing crystal clear-
The Quality of content is always more important than keywords placement in your article
Now, that doesn’t mean that keywords are not important. But your client and your readers will prefer to read a well-written article any day than reading an article optimized for Google bots. Actually, my friend, the thing is you will have to do both- write awesome content and make your keywords fit.
But, in case you can’t achieve both, then try to not sacrifice the quality of your articles. Because that’s the most important aspect of any writing in the world (Online and offline).
Having made myself clear on this, let’s dive right into the key question here…
What is a Keyword?
Well technically speaking, every single word in your article is a keyword. In fact, many people in this industry use the term ‘Keyword’ to refer to a group of words- irrespective of what your grammar book says.
For instance, “What are the Keywords in SEO?” is a phrase, but some of your clients will call it a keyword anyway. While some will call it a key-phrase or a long-tail keyword.
Alright, the lecture is over. Let’s not get stuck on definitions- they all mean the same. In nutshell,
A keyword is a group of words that you have to rank for in the search engines.
Alright, one more thing you need to know about online writing is that the search engines ignore the basic words (like, ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’ etc.) and then use everything else you type to figure out what your article is really about.
And as you know, that computers can’t think like humans yet, so you better be careful while putting words in your article.
Let me show you,
How Google Analyses Every Word Written Online?
- It tries to figure out what the article is about, overall. To do that, it looks for the most used words in your article.
- Then, it ascertains the prominence of those keywords to decide what’s really important. According to Google, keywords written in Headlines, introduction, in quotes/bold or sub-heading are seen as extra important.
- After that, google will try to figure out the relevancy of those keywords in your article. Your keywords should be relevant and should fit (appear natural) in your article.
- Finally, Google will look at the overall readability of your content.
Let’s take an example to understand this better…
Suppose you want to write an article about
“Getting along with your parents”?
As we already know, that keywords in heading get more attention. Thus, it would a silly mistake to not use it in our heading. But we will use it in a way that it will be attractive to both… Google and readers as well.
Let’s see what I did here…
(Bad) Heading 1: How to get along with your parents?
(Better) Heading 2: 4 ways to Getting along with your parents.
(Best) Heading 3: The Secret to getting along with your parents without Feeling Suffocated.
The 3rd headline is better than the others because it checks the following points
- It has our keyword in it.
- It creates curiosity in the minds of readers. (Everybody wants to know the secrets)
- It also addresses the doubt of readers by saying “without feeling suffocate”.
Most readers will think that they have to sacrifice their rights, their opinions, and so on, to just get along with their parents. But nope, here we have a secret which can help to save your rights as well as your relationship.
The 2nd headline is better than the first one, as it is providing some definite ideas about the core message of our article. What the reader will get if he chooses to read our article.
The 1st one is a bad headline because of the following reasons.
- It’s too generic. I don’t think anyone will even care to open our article, what to speak of reading it. Unless specifically instructed by the client, I will not use this headline. (If this would be their exact long-tail keyword)
- It uses ‘Get’ instead of ‘Getting’ (Believe it or not, changing just one word will create a lot of difference in results. So be careful with that.)
Don’t wanna believe me? Just google it yourself. Type these keywords in Google:
- Getting along with Parents
- Getting along with Parent
- Get Along with Parents
- Get Along with parent.
All 4 results are different because of the absence of ‘-s’ or ‘-ing’ in the keyword. Of course, all of these will be used in some way or another in our article. But in prominent places, we will use only the target keywords.
On the same note, we also want to use our target keyword once or twice in the introduction and subheadings as well. (Once for 500 words and twice for the longer ones) And subsequently, we will use that keyword once in every 100 words.
Note: This is not a rule, but a tool. And tools of writing must be utilized with our prudence. Just know that the quality of content matters more than anything in the writing world.
Quality of Article > Keywords Placement
How to Use Keywords in your article?
Now, if you use keywords more than required, it will look like “keyword stuffing”. And Google penalizes this type of content which tries to fool the bot engines. Other than that, repeating the same words will make your article sound bland and boring.
That’s why it would be wiser to use synonyms or phrases similar to your keyword. Other than creating diversity and flow in your writing, it will also provide different ways to rank the article.
A simple practical exercise: Try to widen your vocabulary so that you can express the same thing in an articulated manner.
One more thing, before I wrap up this post. Remember earlier when I said that “Google will look at the overall readability of your content.”
Let ‘me explain what did I mean by that.
Google uses a formula to determine the readability of your article i.e. how easier it is to read and understand your content. And you don’t want to be on the wrong side of their scale. What you want is to write which can be read by an 8th-grade student. You can use the Hemingway app to determine your readability.
You don’t want to write an article which is too simple or too difficult to read.
Further Reading: How to Captivate Readers With Simple Language?
So, try to avoid using difficult words like deleterious (harmful) or remuneration (payment) and stick easier words instead.
And that, my friend, is basically everything you need to know about keywords. I will suggest to save this post and re-read it several times until you totally understand the concepts. Keywords play an important role in ranking your content. So, mastering this thing can literally make or break your online writing career
This post is part 2 my series: Introduction to Online Writing. To read part 1, go to this link: How Does Freelance Writer Grow Over Time?