This search engine optimization (SEO) guide shows you how to put keywords in an article for SEO to increase rankings and organic visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
You will learn exactly how to use keywords in an article to make the content SEO-friendly for both the ranking algorithms and users. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can give your article the best chance possible to rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the keywords that matter most for your business. All steps were reviewed and fact-checked by the Editorial Staff.
How To Put Keywords In An Article
1. Insert Keywords In the Title
The first step for how to put keywords in an article is to add them to the title. The title of the article is important for both search engine crawlers and users because it identifies what the content is about. Typically, the title is coded in the HTML as the main heading tag, also known as the H1 tag.
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing put emphasis on this area of the web page when it comes to indexing and ranking an article in the SERPs. So you need to optimize it the right way.
To use keywords in the article title for SEO, you’ll want to follow these simple tips:
- Put the primary keyword at the beginning of the title.
- Add the secondary keywords where they naturally fit.
- Do not repeat overlapping words in the primary and secondary keywords to avoid overoptimization.
2. Use Keywords In the Introduction Paragraph
The second place you should insert your keywords in an article is in the introduction paragraph. Primarily within the first 100 words to make it the most SEO-friendly.
Many experts in the SEO industry, myself included, believe that search engine algorithms like Google’s put extra ranking weight on the first few sentences of an article. That’s because the introduction content usually explains the overall idea and concepts for the rest of the page.
Plus, Google’s own documentation on How Search Works states the following about ranking content based on relevance: “The most basic signal that information is relevant is when content contains the same keywords as your search query.”
Therefore, the first 100 words can be an important location not only for the user reading the article but also for the search engine crawlers to gather the SEO keywords you want the content to rank for in the SERPs.
To maximize the ranking value of the introduction paragraph, follow these examples:
- Put your primary keyword within the first one or two sentences.
- Use at least one secondary keyword after that but still within the first 100 words.
- Try to include as many other secondary keywords as you can without the article sounding unnatural. If you need to put these keywords outside of the first 100-word recommendation, then try to fit them in naturally within the first 200 words of the introduction content.
3. Put Keywords Throughout the Content
Optimizing the top portion of your article for SEO keywords is a great start. But you can’t stop there. If you were to just use your keywords in the article title and introduction paragraph and nowhere else, then it dilutes the SEO signals you’re trying to send to the search engines.
So the next place you want to add your keywords on the page is throughout the rest of the content. That way, the entire page will contain your primary and secondary keywords to strengthen the overall topical relevance of your target phrases.
To use this keyword placement strategy, just follow this simple tip:
- Scatter your keywords in a natural way throughout the body of the content. You don’t want them clustered together but spaced relatively evenly in the main section of the article.
4. Add Keywords to the Summary
Similar to what you learned in step 2 for how to use keywords in an article introduction, the summary is also a good place for adding your target phrases.
While the introduction sets up the basic framework and expectations for the reader who’s consuming the article, the summary (or conclusion) summarizes the most important points.
Therefore, it can be argued that the summary of the article also contains an SEO ranking advantage. So you should insert your keywords in the summary of the content to round out the keyword placement.
The following example tips can help you do that:
- Put your primary keyword within the last 100 words on the page.
- Add as many secondary keywords as possible to the last 100 words while still keeping the article sounding natural.
- If you can’t fit all of the secondary keywords in the last few sentences of the article, then make sure they fall within the last 200 words of content.
5. Insert Keywords In Headings
Headings are used in an article to organize the presentation of your content and lead the reader through the page in a logical manner.
On a web page, the heading tags range from H1 to H6 with H1 being the most important heading followed by H2, then H3, H4, H5, and finally H6.
As explained in step 1 for how to add keywords in an article, the article title is typically coded in HTML to be the H1 tag because it’s the most important heading for defining the topic of the page.
Therefore, the main sections of the content should be labeled as H2 tags, which can easily be done within the text editor of any content management system (CMS) like WordPress. The H3 tags would be wrapped around sub-sections of the H2 headings and so forth down the line to H6 tags.
As for using keywords in the heading tags of an article, the best advice you can follow that’s based on SEO testing is to focus on the H2 and H3 tags for ranking purposes.
Because the HTML heading tags are used to determine the topical hierarchy of the article content, they’ve also been proven to be a ranking factor for Google’s search engine because they indicate what the most important topics are in the content.
Plus, Google’s own documentation states you should “Use page headings that convey the subject of the page.”
Therefore, adding keywords to headings is an easy way to improve your article’s rankings for multiple keywords. And the more content you have, the more headings you can put on the page to break it up naturally for SEO purposes.
Use these tips for adding keywords to the headings:
- Put your main keyword in the first H2 on the page.
- Try to add each secondary keyword into at least one H2 tag in the content.
- Use keyword variations in the H3 tags to improve topical relevance without overoptimizing for the main and secondary keywords.
6. Use Keywords In Image ALT Text
When you’re writing an article and trying to optimize it for SEO, you can go beyond just the written text to add your keywords.
In fact, you can increase the overall ranking value of the content by including images in the article and optimizing them for specific phrases. When you do this properly, your images can also rank in Google Image Search, which is another way to bring in website traffic outside of the standard Google Search Engine.
To put keywords on an image, all you have to do is add them to the ALT text field. This is easily done in my CMS platforms like WordPress by clicking on the image to open the hidden property values and then looking for the ALT text field (or box).
Inside the ALT text field, you can insert your keywords to improve the topical relevance of the content. Just make sure to describe the image accurately while also including your target keyword phrases. The ALT text information is used by screen readers to help people with disabilities understand the context of the image. So you don’t just want to stuff your keywords in this HTML field without proper context for the user.
A few additional tips for using keywords in an example article image include:
- Try to have at least one image per keyword. If you’re optimizing for 1 primary keyword and 2 secondary keywords, then you’ll want to put at least 3 images on the page if you can.
- Use your primary keyword in the first image on the page.
- Add your secondary keywords in the other images with one image per keyword phrase.
7. Put Keywords In the Meta Title Tag
Up until this point, you’ve learned how to put keywords in an article for SEO as just a content writer. If you have the ability to update the meta tag information for the published article as well, then you can continue with these next three steps to fully maximize your keyword placement and optimizations.
The meta title tag (also known as just the title tag), is considered to be the most important place to add your keyword phrases in an article’s HTML code.
A meta title acts as a name tag for a webpage and is what first appears in the search engine results page for a user to click on. Therefore, search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing put a lot of SEO value on this HTML meta field.
If you don’t have your keyword phrases in the meta title, then you likely won’t rank for that term no matter how many times you use your keywords in the content.
So tip number one here is to always put your most important keywords in this location.
Additional tips for making your meta titles more user-friendly and SEO-friendly include:
- Put your primary keyword at the beginning of the meta title. The closer the keyword is to the start of the meta title, the more relevant it is seen by the search engines.
- Add as many of your secondary keywords as possible without repeating words to avoid overoptimization.
- Keep the meta title for the article under 60 characters if you can with 65 being the max length.
8. Add Keywords In the Meta Description
The meta description is one of the most basic ways to add keywords for SEO but is often overlooked because it’s not a direct ranking factor for Google.
However, the meta description still has a lot of importance for the user because it acts as a short summary of the content to describe what the article is about. And many people judge the worth of a URL by what the meta description reads.
So using your keywords in this location can help Google to better filter your URLs in the SERPs and attract more clicks from the search engine.
The easiest way to add keywords to the meta description is to follow these tips:
- Put the primary keyword at the beginning of the meta description.
- Add at least 1-2 secondary keywords in this HTML field.
- Keep the total length below 160 characters. Otherwise, Google may cut a portion of it off in the SERPs.
9. Insert Keywords In the Article URL
Another good place to use your keywords is in the article URL.
The best URLs are ones that give both the visitor and search engines a clue about what the content on the page is about. If the text in the URL closely matches the article’s title that’s displayed in the SERPs, then it’s a good indication to the user and search engines that the page could be a good match for the search query.
Therefore, you always want to optimize the URL for every article you publish to squeeze as much SEO ranking power out of the web page as you can.
To achieve that all you have to do is follow this one example tip:
- Put your primary keyword as an exact match phrase for the URL page name.
10. Put Keywords In Anchor Text Links
The last step for adding keywords in an article applies to other content on the same website. When a keyword is used as an anchor text link in another web page that links to the target page you just published and want to rank for that keyword, it implies that the target page is highly relevant to the topic.
This search engine optimization strategy is referred to as “internal linking” for SEO.
A good rule of thumb is to add at least 3-6 internal links with well-optimized anchor text keywords to every newly published article on your website. Following this basic practice will help set your content up for success from the start because you’re showing Google where the most important articles are on your website and which exact keyword phrases they are focused on.
My simple tips for using keywords in your internal link anchor text are as follows:
- Never repeat the same link anchor text more than 50% of the time. You want to vary your anchor text so it doesn’t send a red flag to Google that you’re spamming the algorithm.
- Try to use each of your primary and secondary keywords at least once in each internal anchor text link. That means if you’re targeting 3 keywords in total for one article, then you’ll have 3 separate web pages linking internally to the target page with their own exact match keyword phrases used in each instance.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
How Many Keywords Should You Put In an Article for SEO?
You should put one to three keywords in your article for SEO. This is a minimum standard for how many keywords you should be optimizing for in the search engines because the more related keywords you can focus on, the more search queries the article can be indexed for.
Keep in mind that the longer the content, the more primary and secondary keywords you can add to the content. For example, a 500-word article can easily contain two or three keyword phrases, but trying to fit five or six into a short page like this will likely sound unnatural and borderline spammy.
However, a 2,500-word article or longer can easily have seven or more related keywords that are spread out throughout the page while keeping the flow of the content natural.
How Many Times Do You Use a Keyword In an Article?
You should use a keyword no more than five times in an article. This standard recommendation allows you to use the keyword enough times to satisfy the search engines and meet the user’s needs without overoptimization.
If you use your primary keyword in the first 100 words of the article, the summary, and three times in the body of the content, then you’ll easily hit this maximum number of times you should use the keyword.
Keep in mind; however, that this recommendation doesn’t include using the keyword in the headings, meta tags, or URL, which can also safely be optimized for your primary keyword phrase.
Do I Have to Add Keywords for SEO?
You have to add keywords for SEO because they’re important for search engine optimization and getting your articles to rank in the SERPs. The more keywords you can add to a page to improve the topical relevancy for SEO, the more organic traffic the article can earn.
Summary for How to Put Keywords In An Article for SEO
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to put keywords in an article for SEO.
As you discovered, there are a number of ways for how to use keywords in an article to improve the topical relevance for the search queries you want the content to rank for in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. As a writer, you can add keywords in an article in many places to improve its SEO value before you submit it to the editor for review. However, if you’re the person who controls the publishing of the content, then you can take things a few steps further for the content SEO strategy by optimizing other key locations in the HTML code for better organic search visibility.