Keyword Use Made Simple: A Guest Post

by Cathy Miller on February 27, 2012


Love it or hate it, keyword use is an important element in online writing.

Like most things in life, too much of a good thing can make you nauseous.

You need balance.

Today, we are pleased to present a guest post from Bonnie Olswanger of Thrive Web Designs.

I first met Bonnie when I asked Thrive Web Design to create a logo for Simply stated business. I love the results.

Besides logos, the company also offers web design services. Check them out. I was glad I did.

Show Bonnie some comment love and let us know what you think about the post.


The Importance of Keywords in Online Content

by Bonnie Olswanger

One of the fastest ways to get your online content noticed by search engines is the correct use of keywords throughout your writing.

You could have one of the best blog posts ever written, but without proper use of keywords, there is a slim chance it will be found.

To start using keywords effectively in your online writing, you’ll need to know what keywords are and, most importantly, how to use them to your advantage.

Your Virtual Phone Book

Start by thinking of search engines as phone books but instead of businesses listed by categories, search engines organize results using search terms or keywords.

For example, if you are a wedding photographer serving the Seattle area, an effective keyword phrase to target is –

Seattle Wedding Photography

To think of valuable keywords for your business or blog, brainstorm words or phrases that you think your customers or readers will be using to search the internet for a business like yours.

Now that you understand what keywords are, you need to know how and when to use them in your writing.

Ladder to Success

There are five basic tips that help you climb the search engine ladder.

1. Specify Your Location

Most people type in their location when they are looking for a specific service or type of business.

Let’s use the photography example again.

  • Couples typically want a wedding photographer from their own city or area
  • They are more likely to use the search term, Seattle Wedding Photographer
  • Use your location in your keywords

Also, you reduce the competition for search engine results when competing against businesses in your own city versus nationally.

2. Use Variations of Keywords

It’s important to remember that search engine spiders are very specific.

In order to target the highest number of results for your business, try using a number of variations for your keywords.

  • Photography
  • Photographer

If you only target the keyword photography, your site will not appear on the results page when someone searches photographer.

Be as specific as possible for your services offered in order to gain more results and higher rankings.

3. Use Keywords as Links

Hyperlinks are one of the best ways to get your keywords noticed, but in order to be effective, they need to be used properly.

Most people link words such as, “click here” or “read more.”

Instead of adding links to these types of phrases, try adding the link to the actual keywords.

For example, in the sentence –

Read more about how this Seattle wedding photographer got started in the business of capturing beautiful memories.

Link a page to the words, Seattle wedding photographer, instead of read more.

4. Limit Keyword Phrases to Three Words or Less

Search engines place the most value of the first three words of keyword phrase.

It’s best to limit your key phrases to three words or less.

Try switching up the order of the three keywords throughout your content or website.

  • Seattle wedding photography
  • Wedding photographer Seattle
  • Seattle Washington photography.

5. Resist “Over-Stuffing” Your Content with Keywords

Search engine spiders are a lot smarter than what most people think.

If you crowd your content with keywords in every sentence and overuse a specific keyphrase, your content will most likely be flagged and your rankings will drop.

Be sensible.

Make sure your keywords support your content – instead of content supporting keywords.

This is a peek at the world of search engine optimization and keyword-use.

That world is a vast one, but if you know the basics, it doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.

What keyword tips do you have?


Feel free to contact Thrive Web Designs for further information on using keywords to support your search engine optimization.

This article is brought to you by Bonnie Olswanger of Thrive Web Designs, a Boise web design company.




BigStock Photo Credit


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. February 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

I read this all the time. And, persist in writing things that make a difference to me. If you like them, I am thrilled. And, if not you, someone else will.
But, to only write with specific keywords in mind…
Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted..Straight line thinking?My Profile


Joseph D Shiller February 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

this works good in small a niche, but if you are up against a lot of competition, you have to do some digging to find a medium to long tail key-phrase.
Joseph D Shiller recently posted..Amazing Animation and Bill Lopa Team Make Giant Splatter in Dental Communities with Warner Bros., Disney, Marvel and DC ComicsMy Profile


Cathy February 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Roy: Which is why one of the tips is having the keywords support the content and not the other way around. I think it’s quite possible to use keywords that do just that.

Done right, I see it as merely helping your customer find you. But, I agree that writing with specific keywords in mind is not the way to go. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Cathy February 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hi Joseph-thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’ll admit, I am far from being an expert on the topic.

I also admit I do not over analyze keywords for my purposes. I focus more on the content (as Roy suggests) and find certain keywords help readers know what my business is about.

I recognize my own ignorance. 🙂


Bonnie February 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hi Roy: Content should never be written for the purpose of keywords. Not only do you lose the meaning and passion behind the words, but the search engine crawlers prefer valuable and meaningful content, as well. However, it isn’t difficult to support your writings with keywords and if done properly, you can reach more people with the meaningful words you write.

Joseph, you are definitely correct. The more competition you have (ie national versus local) the more you’ll have to dig to find appropriate and useful keywords. The Google Keyword Tool is a great resource for finding relevant keywords and lists the competition level from medium to high, as well as how many searches are made nationally and locally for that specific phrase.


Ken Pickard February 28, 2012 at 1:50 am


The SEO scholars debate on a multitude of issues when it comes to what it actually takes to get a post ranked. And although I’m not an SEO expert, writing this post to highlight the benefits of properly placing keywords for the sake of SEO is a good thing. I did not read this post as one should think of the keyword first and write a post second.

However..isn’t that human nature? We have an idea for a blog post and we check the keyword to see if it’s a worthy keyword to use. If you search for a keyword after you write the post you’ll find yourself editing a lot more than you intended.

We write to our readers first, search engines second. There is nothing wrong with setting up a post so it can be found online.

Also there is a lot more to SEO and being found online than just the keyword. “On page” SEO only counts for 15-20% of potential SEO. Off page SEO (everything done to promote the post after it’s published) is far more valuable. So yes the keyword is important and it does have it’s place.

i also agree with he notion of 2-3 word keywords. Anything more becomes leader likely to be read by your readers.

Ken Pickard
The Network Dad
Ken Pickard recently posted..10 Quick Tips To Increase Your Productivity Part 2My Profile


Cathy February 28, 2012 at 5:02 am

Hi Ken: Good to see you here. Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂 I agree that the promotional efforts weigh much more heavily. A few strategically placed keywords won’t help if you don’t let people know where you’re at. 🙂

Thanks fo stopping by, Ken, and sharing your insight.


Madonna February 28, 2012 at 6:42 am

I’m a bit like Roy. Tend to forget about keywords, but only new to blogging. Keywords seem a bit contrived, but I’m going to make an effort.

Thanks Cathy for your informative content.

Madonna recently posted..Glass Half EmptyMy Profile


Cathy February 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Madonna: Good to see you here. It’s all in the delivery and what you are hoping to achieve. I don’t write with keywords in mind, but like I commented to Roy, I do see them as helpful for customers wanting to find information on a specific topic.

Over at my personal blog, I don’t find the same value for keywords as I do here at my business site. Thanks for sharing your view, Madonna.


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