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Keyword optimization played a vital role in search engine results. However, with search engines changing their algorithms, the focus has shifted to the quality, authority, and relevance of content, rather than keywords. This, however, does not mean that you should not use keywords in your content. After all, people will still key in particular words in search queries when looking for information online.

The Searchmetrics report revealed that the significance of keyword matching as a ranking factor has declined. In fact, the top 5 results had fewer keywords when compared to the rest of the search results. Note that the results still had keywords, though.

Randomly inserting keywords into your content no longer works. It could even earn you a penalty from Google. Your site may no longer show up on search results.

What does this mean for webmasters and content creators? That there is a need for balancing SEO keywords and content relevance and authority.

How to Find the SEO Right Keywords

Search intent and topicality

The first thing you need to do is basic keyword research. As you do your research, it is important to note that different keyword types represent the different potential user interest and intent levels. A good approach is to begin by identifying a specific event or brand and the conversations that are likely to surround it.

Let’s use an example here: Men’s fashion wear.

What are some of the things people could be looking for when it comes to this keyword?

  • Latest men’s fashion wear
  • Latest menswear in New York
  • Creative men’s fashion
  • Modern male fashion
  • Men’s fashion wear events in New York

There could also be specific brand terms and search terms related to fashion influencers.

Categorize these SEO keywords:

a) Brand terms – users who will use keywords that are brand specific are already somewhere lower in the sales funnel. They have already done their research. These users are highly likely to convert. These keywords will not be as numerous or have very high volumes but are very valuable to use in your content.

b) Product terms - these refer to what your product does. For our keyword here, users may be looking for menswear for specific occasions, or for a particular purpose, for instance, menswear for an office setting, or for a wedding. At this point, the users are still educating themselves about the product.

c) Substitute product terms – these terms are very similar to your product. They could, for instance, be other types of menswear that are already existing in the market. The users may be looking for alternative men’s fashion.

d) Complementary product terms – these terms are closely related to your product, for instance, men’s shoes, belts, or wallets. People looking for these items could be interested in menswear too.

e) Audience terms – these are not in any of the categories. They are based on the particular audience, for instance, influential men, with large followings who are fashion conscious are likely to go for new, creative, stylish types of menswear.

Keyword Placement for SEO

How and where you put your SEO keywords are important. You need to place them strategically in order to help you rank when users search for something. Include keywords in your titles, headlines, and areas where people are likely to see them, for instance at the beginning of a paragraph. Here are other ways you can place your keywords:

  • Grouping similar words and phrases together.

  • You can also link them via HTML, for instance via a bulleted list. This is a good way to communicate their relevance to Google’s bots.

You may want to use the keywords that you consider most important more times in your content. DO NOT overuse them, though. Three times at most is alright, depending on the content length.

The unique angle or perspective

For your content to pass the mark of "quality" or “relevance”, you need to provide value for your visitors. You can do this by giving a different perspective in your content, providing content that will be useful throughout the buyer’s journey and linking to trusted information sources.

How Do You Create Killer Titles?

You may have strived to create high-quality content and use your keywords smartly like we have discussed above. However, a killer title is necessary to get people to actually read your content. Your title is what will help people determine whether they should take their time to read and engage with your content.

This quote by David Ogilvy says it all:

5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.

It makes a lot of sense to spend a considerable amount of time crafting your title. Here is how to go about creating a killer title:

Think about what you want to create content about. In our instance, menswear. Note that this is quite a general and wide topic. You cannot, therefore, use it as the title of your content. After identifying a wide, general topic, you need to think about the specific titles you can derive from it.

Let’s try some:

  • Tips to choose the best outfit for different occasions
  • Modern menswear styles
  • Creative new men’s fashion
  • Where to buy men’s fashion online
  • The latest trends in men’s fashion

As you can see, the above topics are more specific. Let’s now make them more specific, accurate and simple. One way to do this is to specify the particular content type.

For instance, infographic, newsletter, video, a new survey, updated 2017 data, new report or July analytics. An example here is "The latest trends in men’s fashion [infographic]"

You also need to make the title more appealing.

To do this, you need to understand the language that can resonate with your audience. You can use tactics like alliteration. Here is a title by Sales Hacker that uses alliteration effectively, "The Foolproof Formula for Finding Product-Market Fit". We could come up with one too for our keyword, “The Ultimate Guide to the Macho Modern Men’s Outfits”

Keep your headlines at least 8 words long. Incorporate the keywords in your title, especially at the beginning. However, you should use natural, human-friendly language - so don’t force it.

All in All

While it may seem like SEO no longer plays an important role in search results as before, you still need it. Using the above the keyword SEO tactics will help you rank high in search results. Crafting titles is also a tactic. The above-discussed strategies come in handy when creating SEO and user-friendly titles for your content.