Keyword-Stuffing is No More: How to Use Keywords the Right Way in Blogs and Other Content

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Since the dawn of online search, keywords have been the foundation upon which search engine optimization (SEO) was built. Long seen as the most important factor for search algorithms, keywords serve to allow search engines to better categorize and rank a given piece of web content. The practices governing keyword usage and placement have changed since those early days, however, and in insurance SEO, using keywords in the right ways can produce significant results in terms of online visibility. Here’s how.

The Early Days of Online Search: Keyword Stuffing

In the beginning of online search, search engines like Excite, InfoSeek, Lycos, and AltaVista were primitive as compared to modern standards. These search engines used relatively simple search algorithms to index and rank web content, and because they were primitive, they were easily fooled by certain practices. One of these practices was known as keyword stuffing, where content developers and SEO professionals would place multiple instances of a given keyword in content. Specific placement or context were secondary in this practice; the goal was to use the keyword as many times within the content as possible. 

Fast-forward to today and search engine algorithms are extremely sophisticated; outdated practices like keyword stuffing are now met with penalties. While some digital marketers may still attempt to stuff as many keywords into their content, the most likely outcome is poor rankings in search results. 

Moving Forward with Keywords: Keyword Research

How can insurance SEO professionals leverage the power of keywords in a way that satisfies search engine algorithms without incurring penalties? There are many tactics available, and each can work to produce the positive search ranking results desired. 

Search optimization begins with keyword research – identifying the word or words that users are searching for when seeking information about a given product or service, then using those words in page content. It can be argued that keyword research is the most essential component of a successful SEO campaign. The cornerstone of keyword research is understanding user intent; gauging searchers’ needs and desires can provide the necessary clues to identify words and phrases they will use when they conduct searches. SEO professionals have many tools at their disposal when it comes to researching the appropriate keywords, including using search volume and traffic data to pinpoint user needs. Certain keyword research tools also identify long-tail phrases and so-called “proof terms”, or words/phrases that are related to a given topic. 

Keyword Best Practices in Website Content

Now that keywords and key phrases have been identified, the next step is to work them into page content. Again, it can be counterproductive to place multiple instances of the same keyword within a single page of content. Where and how keywords are placed is far more important, this practice triggers search algorithms to properly categorize, index, and rank pages. Keywords and key phrases should be used in:

  • Page content – most SEO professionals recommend that a keyword frequency of about 2% in a longer page (400-600 words) of text is the best way to create favorable search visibility without running afoul of search engines. A general practice is to place the keyword within the first 100 words of content.
  • Title tags – placing targeted keywords in page title tags (metadata) can improve search engines’ ability to index pages.
  • Page headers and subheaders – keywords here not only satisfy search algorithms, but the headers and subheaders themselves break up text on a page into sections, improving readability for the website visitor.
  • Image alt text – when users hover over an image, a text-based descriptor appears if designers take advantage of alt text fields. Adding keywords to image alt text improves online visibility and tends to positively influence page rankings in search.

The Value of Quality Blog Content

As shown above, keyword use and placement have significant effects on search ranking. In insurance SEO, identifying and using appropriate keywords in website content should be the primary focus of search optimization efforts. Luckily, creating great website content helps to improve visibility, and can do so in a natural way that resonates with site visitors.

When great content is featured on a blog or website, keywords and their long-tail related phrases and variations come naturally. When writing about an insurance product, such as commercial general liability policies, the use of keywords and related terms is simply part of the writing process. It has been said time and time again that quality, well-written content is the best way to gain impressive rankings in search results. Well-written content is readable; more importantly, it provides the information website visitors are looking for. Google and the other search engines have one goal in mind: to provide high-quality, relevant, and trustworthy resources to every search user. By using keywords and their related key phrases in well-written content, insurance SEO professionals can satisfy search algorithms while providing site visitors the details they need to make purchasing decisions. 

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.

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