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The Easiest SEO Win - Keywords in Titles

There is a TON to SEO, but this is something anyone can do

SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It basically means the process of trying to get Google to rank your website as high as possible in its search results for the specific terms you want.

For example, if you are a car dealership in Los Angeles, you might want to rank highly for "used cars LA", "cars for sale LA", etc. People that are searching for those terms in Google are highly likely to be your target customer.

So, how do you get your website to rank highly in Google, especially when they are hundreds of millions of other websites on the internet and your particular niche may have thousands of competitors too, most of whom will have their own websites and be trying to rank for many of the same terms as you.

The answer is by SEO and while there are many different techniques, methods and strategies you can use to perform SEO for your website, in this post I am going to talk about what I think is one very easy thing that anyone can do. That is on-page SEO and title optimization.

Keyword Mentions

Google takes into account several hundred factors when deciding what website to rank where for any given search term. One of those factors is keyword mentions.

For example, a site for a car dealer, advertising second hand cars, isn't going to contain much information on the latest movie releases is it? Instead, you (as a potential site visitor) would expect to see lots of "secondhand car sale" keywords and information on that site. Things like car listings, how to buy a car, what to look out for, warranty and finance information, etc. Google is expecting to see those things on your site too, if you want to rank highly for secondhand car sale related search queries.

By analyzing the content of a page, Google can then process that information and work out what your site, or any particular page, is about and what it should be ranking for.

With keyword mentions, we are giving Google a clear indication of what we think we should be ranking for with any particular post.

Keywords in Title

One very easy thing that you can do is include your keywords in the title of your blog posts. For example, in this post I want to rank for keywords associated with site backups, server backups and Updraft, and placed all those words in the title, in a natural fashion - "Backing Up Both Your Sites and Servers (Updraft & Disk Images)".

The key is to include the words in a completely natural way and of course, write a killer article on that topic. You want people that click on your links and take the time to read your content to come away satisfied.

You also need credibility, and if it's obvious that you've unnaturally tried to place several keywords in your title, you will stand out like a sore thumb and potential visitors might think you are a spammer or scammer. See "Keyword Stuffing" further below.

Try and use your keywords in your blog post titles, naturally. It's that easy.

Keywords in Sub-Headings

You'll see that this very article has several sub-headings within it. Not only do these headings make for an enhanced user experience, which is very important in itself, but Google also see the headings, and the words they contain, and uses that information to aid it in working out what the page is about (and should be ranking for, if anything).

You can see that the sub-headings I've included in this article are all helpful, relevant and contain a sprinkling of my target keywords.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, it must be natural! Just write as you normally would and then, at the end, go back and check to see you've actually used your keywords throughout your article.

If you haven't, see if there is any way you can include them, in a natural manner, that would also make for a better user experience. It's just something to bear in mind while you are writing your articles.

Keyword Stuffing

Some of you might be thinking, this is too easy! If I want to show in the #1 spot in Google for "used cars" I can just repeat that phrase and others dozens of times in a blog post, and Google will rank me highly for that term.

This tactic is called keyword stuffing, and while it used to work back in the early 2000s, Google has come a long way since then. Google will realise that you are trying to manipulate its search engine results and penalize you. You certainly won't be ranking anywhere for the terms you want, so avoid this kind of thing and keep it absolutely natural.

Written by Matt

I've been running web hosting servers and building websites for myself using Wordpress for 14 years. My network of sites get a TON of traffic and I use various models to monetize them - mainly display ads and affiliate marketing. Along the way I've picked up hundreds of tips and tricks that I think would be useful for anyone looking to make a website and here is where I'm going to share them. Find me on Twitter too.

9 Comments

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  1. Keywords in the subheading I feel is still overlooked by a lot of people. I think most people these days know about using them in titles to rank but making sure to include the right ones in the subheading is just as important in my book. Great post, honest and to the point.

    • Thanks James, yep, the key is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to actually read and understand your content. Do that and Google will reward you!

  2. I’ve been following these tips for many years and generally have great success. Sometimes, it’s better to use a long-tail keyword to reach a more specific niche or if shorter keywords are too competitive. I also recommend using numbers in titles as well, I believe they are about 30% more likely to be clicked.

  3. Really good tip, I’ve been following this for a long time now and even use some keyword analysis tools to really optimize them. I also like to insert some longer keyword phrases into articles as well, it’s really easy to see what people are searching on Google and add it to your content.

  4. Do you think it’s better to target longer or shorter keywords? I usually use short ones in my titles but they don’t seem to rank very well. I think it’s actually the text in my paragraphs that get picked up on Google because I rarely see them pick the excerpt to display. It’s all very confusing.

    • I think you are doing it right, after all, your titles can only be so long right? Just write for your users and make the content as good as possible, then share it and hopefully you get some traction.

  5. What’s your opinion on keyword research tools such as Ahrefs? They aren’t very cheap but if they unlock some great ideas and new potential for my blog, it could be worth it. Right now I just think of what people would search and throw them in the posts which sometimes works.

    • I have a subscription to SEMRush, but I think they are very expensive and you need to make sure your budget allows it. I got by on free tools for over 10 years and did very well

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Backing Up Both Your Sites and Servers (Updraft & Disk Images)