How to Use Keywords – SEO Tip 37

Written on September 17, 2007 – 7:25 am | by Shell Harris |

SEO TipsI just returned from giving my latest SEO Presentation to a Virginia Portal/Newspaper. I spent the last week or two creating the presentation and in doing so had to put myself in the place of someone brand new to the world of SEO. Of course I do this all the time when talking to people looking for an SEO Company, but this was slightly different. This time I was having to teach someone how to do SEO and that meant going back to the basics for everything including keyword usage.

So many times, as an SEO expert, I think of much of my knowledge as general, public knowledge. For example, everyone must know what a keyword is, right? Wrong. And even if they know what a keyword is they usually don’t know how to use it to effectively to optimize their web pages. Showing how keywords could be best used was of particular interest to the group I presented to, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on my blog as well.

Here is my personal suggestions on where and how to use your keywords on your web page you want ranked for that keyword:

  • Use it at least once in your Page Title or <title> tag, twice if you can use it in another form, but don’t feel compelled to have it twice. Once is usually sufficient. Example: <title>How to Use Keywords</title>
  • Use it once in your Meta Description Tag. It can help convince users to click your search results. (See more about this at my meta description post.) Example:
    <meta name="description" content="Want to know how to best use keywords to optimize your webpage? Click here to leanr and read other SEO Tips." />
  • Use it at least once in your H1 <h1> Tag . This should be main heading or title of your web page. On this blog post the H1 title is “How to Use Keywords”. The H1 tag should different on each page, and not the web site name. Only use ONE H1 tag on any given page.
  • Use it in one of your subheads. Your subhead should be an H2 <h2> tag. H2 tags can also, and should, hold secondary keywords, but including the main keyword is effective. Most web pages would benefit from subheads from a user perspective as well as for optimization help.
  • Depending on the amount of body text on the page, you should try to include keywords within the text at least 4 times. This comes with a BIG CAVEAT though. Only do this if it makes sense and doesn’t appear spammy. Remember you are writing for human and search engines. Spammy content can ruin all the efforts you made to get the user to the page. Be sensible and read your content. If too many keywords are making it sound silly, take them out. Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • If you have images on the page, and it makes sense, you should add it to the alt <alt> tag.
  • If you have images on the page, and it makes sense, you should add your keyword to the image title. This isn’t something most people to but it is helpful, in my opinion and only takes a few seconds. So your image tags should look like this:
    <img src="image.jpg" alt="keyword phrase" title="keyword phrase" />.
  • Add your keyword to link in other pages of your site, pointing to the page you want ranked. Linking out from the page you want ranked is fine, but do not use the keyword you want that page ranked for in the anchor text.

I think this will cover your optimization efforts. Of course tweaking my suggestions is encouraged and even necessary most times, but this is as good a guideline as any to start with. After you have used your keywords don’t forget to begin link building using the same keywords. Your efforts will be rewarded.

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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  1. 13 Responses to “How to Use Keywords – SEO Tip 37”

  2. By Anonymous on Nov 29, 2007 | Reply

    I’m gald i came upon your blog here. I wasnt sure how to use keywords accordingly. I have just started blogging a coupld days ago and i just kinda wrote a whole bunch of blogs. Then I started to get a little more serious today. If you can help me a little that would be nice. Here is a link. I hope you can give me a few pointers!

  3. By Shell Harris on Dec 1, 2007 | Reply


    You didn’t include a link in your post.

  4. By mackie on Jan 15, 2008 | Reply

    that would be a great help in choosing the right keywords targeted for a site..having right keywords of choice will is one way of inpage optimization that will help in acquiring the potential visitors..really nice post

  5. By Daphne on Jan 17, 2008 | Reply

    this is definitely a great source of information in terms of choosing and using the right keywords for a website. Getting your right keywords on the first process of the on-page optimization could lead your site into success in ranking thru major SE’s.

  6. By DNL on Jan 18, 2008 | Reply

    Is a good idea to add a keyword also in the URL ..not sure how important it is in the ranking algorithm, but is bolded when matching the search.
    That means Google believe is useful and relevant for the search-as it bolds the keywords in title and page content. And second it can increase CTR for that listing.
    Also is important how someone uses keywords in the Title-which is the most important on page factor in my opinion.
    Thanks for the tips.

  7. By Haden on Mar 17, 2008 | Reply

    Nice to read this summary. Really it is a great post. SEO is a growing field now a days.

  8. By Javier on Apr 17, 2008 | Reply

    So, I’ve been reading your blog for a few weeks now, as I just started getting into this SEO stuff with my new business starting shortly – The Dojo of Karate. Extremely helpful stuff to say the least, but I must say the toughest thing I’m learning so far (i know there’s more!) is finding the appropriate keywords and THEN adding them to your website, but not making it seem “fake” by adding all sorts of useless/spam like keywords. It’s like I’m in English class again! :-) Anyways, thanks for the tips, I’m definitely returning on a regular basis to read your other articles and blog posts.

    The Dojo of Karate

  9. By Shell Harris on Apr 17, 2008 | Reply

    Javier, Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you have been getting a lot of good advice from us. Keep visiting and keep commenting. Best of luck on your Dojo of Karate site.

  10. By SJL Web Design on Oct 7, 2008 | Reply

    Nice SEO tips all I would add is the importance of the strong tag.

  11. By LifeTransPlanet on Oct 29, 2008 | Reply

    I am not sure if we are coming up well when we are searched. We have put the keywords as the All-In-One SEO package from WordPress tells us, but we still only get about one visitor per hour during the day, and I think a lot of them are our friends. Are we doing this correctly? I don’t really understand when you say and all that. Where does that come from? Any advice?

  12. By Website Design India on Apr 25, 2009 | Reply

    i read this blog it is very nice i just start working in SEO it is very useful for SEO professional thanks for share this blog

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Apr 16, 2008: How to Make Your Keywords Work | Can Talk Tech
  3. Oct 20, 2008: How to Make Your Keywords Work « My Blog

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This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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