SEO Copywriters: Don't Let Awkward Keywords Defeat You
Sometimes working keywords into your content is easy. They relate to your topic, fit in well, and your writing flows. Other times, incorporating keywords is difficult and can make your content sound awkward and unprofessional.
When people search for information using a search engine like Google, they often don’t use syntax that’s grammatically correct. Queries often consist of a jumble of words people think will help them quickly find the information they need. For example, customers often enter a product or service along with the name of a city. As a result, this specific combination of words is often requested as a keyword phrase.
For the purposes of this post, let’s consider the phrase “professional dog groomer new york.” When written (or spoken) it sounds awkward, but that’s how people search on the Internet. As an SEO copywriter, your job is to incorporate keywords, no matter how awkward, so webpages are ranked highly by search engines.
These tips will help you work difficult keywords into SEO-friendly content that’s also reader-friendly, and sounds professional.
Mixing Word Order and Using Different Forms of a Word
You can mix up keywords either by changing word order or by using different forms of the same word. While word order is certainly important in writing, it isn't important to a search engine and has little to do with page ranking. A search engine isn't deterred by different forms of a word either, and will display variations of your keywords in bold text. A search for “dog groomer” will show bolded results for both “groomer” and “grooming,” so you can use different forms of the same word interchangeably.
Using Keywords in Subheadings
This is an excellent way to work awkward keywords into content without disrupting flow for your reader. Since subheads are given more weight by Google’s algorithm, using keywords in subheads also gives your content an extra boost of optimization. A subhead could read: “Finding a Professional Dog Groomer in New York.”
Using Punctuation Within Keyword Phrases
Proper use of punctuation is important to make your content reader-friendly and engaging. Since Google largely ignores it, punctuation provides a useful tool for incorporating difficult keywords into your SEO content.
Modern search engines crawl through a page to identify context, and punctuation like periods or commas won't effect page ranking. For example, this sentence would make a nice transition into a new paragraph about a professional's many years of experience: “Most dog owners appreciate the value of hiring a professional dog groomer. New York has many dog groomers, but look for one with many years of experience.”
Inserting Articles and Short Words
Include Related Terms
You can insert articles like “a” and “an” or even short words like “in,” within a keyword phrase. You can write, “It’s easy to find a professional dog groomer in New York.” The word “in” is considered a filler word and is disregarded. Google’s algorithm is intelligent enough to determine the context of your writing, find the keywords, and won’t lower the page's ranking.
The relationship between words shared by similar documents is a factor in page rank. Google determines this to interpret the context of a webpage. For example, if a page contains words like “apple” combined with “keyboard” and “mouse,” Google knows the page relates to Apple the company, instead of a fruit.
You can leverage related terms to help content with awkward keywords rank higher. Writing a sentence like, “N.Y. is a good place to find a groomer for your Poodle or Afghan. Given the difference in fur types, a professional groomer can groom both breeds to look their best.” Especially if you’ve used your exact keywords and phrases elsewhere in your content, Google will rank the page highly, and combining a contextual use of keywords with their placement in subheads will increase page ranking.
Google’s algorithm changes mean content that engages readers is the new normal for SEO. When readers disengage and hit the back button of their browser, Google notices, and the page gets lower rankings. There’s always a delicate balance between keyword optimization and content that engages readers.
If you've had experience with awkward keywords and have any suggestions, please share them below, we'd enjoy hearing from you!