There are a million rumors swirling around about SEO being dead. None of them are true.

SEO is alive and kickin’, and it still matters what you put on your page… including keywords.

What Are Keywords?

Every page on your site has a central theme, right? Keywords describe to search engines what that theme is. Long-tailed keywords are the same thing, but they’re tailored for an even more specific audience. Here’s the difference:

  • Sprinkler system
  • Sprinkler system installation
  • Sprinkler system installation in Alexandria
  • Sprinkler system installation in Alexandria, Virginia

If you have a page that needs to be about sprinkler system installation in Alexandria, Virginia, you probably want to work with these four keywords. But don’t pounce on all of them at once, and don’t pepper your page with them, either.

Why Use Keywords?

When you use keywords, you’re telling search engines what your page is all about. Google has moved to semantic search; that means its crawlers read the page and gather an idea of what it’s about by exploring all of the terminology you’ve used. Terms related to sprinkler system installation might include irrigation, watering your lawn, automatic sprinklers, and things of that nature.

The new semantic search lets you skip the heavy-handed use of keywords and simply write copy that helps readers. (People used to go nuts with keywords, resulting in the most unreadable junk… chances are, if you’ve had Internet access for more than a few years, you’ve seen over-optimized pages before.)

How to Use Keywords

If you want to blog like a pro, you have to figure out how to weave your keywords into your copy. My suggestion? Use them in the title, a couple of subheads, and once or twice throughout the copy.

Don’t use them any more than that.

Now that SEO has changed to reflect what Google wants–which is a good user experience–it’s a little easier to write your own copy. (That doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from working with a pro, though… cough, cough.)