Recently we spoke about optimising a page using keywords, and what that means in today’s hundreds of rank factors and artificial intelligence algorithms. Today I wanted to quickly provide some best practices for how to use your focus keywords in your pages.
First off, you cant just use the focus phrase over and over again in your page. This used to be how it was done, this was the reason for 2 of Googles biggest updates, and the method that got many, many people penalised for keyword stuffing. I.e copy pasting an exact phrase they wanted to rank for, all over a specific page. Today, no bueno.
Today, Google uses a sophisticated process known as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) which aims to make an assessment of the topic of a page based on an aggregation of all the words used on the page.
Not just how many times a phrase was used.
That said, it is very likely phrase count does give Google it’s seed information on what the post is likely about. It still very likely looks at the URL, the Titling the HTML tags etc and layers it’s LSI and other rank factors over the top of it to determine if the page really is about what those key indicators were focussed on.
How does it do it?
LSI focusses on contextual or conceptual variations of a keyword. It likely takes its seed phrase, compares it against all its crowdsourced (searched) variations/phrases/questions/synonyms and seeks to find those in the page its looking at.
For example, say you have an article you’ve optimised for the phrase “save the Koala”, you have it in your Title, you have it in your URL and you have it in your alt tags. Google has a good idea that the page is ‘trying’ to provide value to the searcher under that phrase, and has a good guess the topic is about saving koalas.
Now it wants to know what you mean by ‘save the koala’, are you suggesting people keep as many as they can under their mattress for a rainy day? Are you suggesting the Koala are imminently ALL about to perish today? Is there a famous Koala named Save that you want to learn about? The algorithm needs to know all of these things in order to rank the search results correctly. So it will look through your page for semantic clues as to what you’re on about. If the article is written comprehensively, is and is providing value to many readers, it will likely contain many of the LSI keywords that it has historical records of, in your article.
When Google sees semanitc correlations like this, it goes ‘great, now I have a pretty good idea that this article is about conserving the native Australian Koala’ it will then go and compare this rank factor against all the other metrics it is running against your page, to determine where it sits on the SERP.
Thats it, keep your content relevant, written for humans, using rich, topical language and avoiding stuffing the page with the same phrase and you’ll be all set in this factor.
Here are some sites, if you want to get a head start on your article, which will GIVE your your LSI terms which you should definately use in your article.
Google’s Keyword Planner (although you’ll need a Google Ads account to access this one!)