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How Many Keywords Should I Use For SEO?

Apr. 11, 2023 | Gary Jones

Two business people holding and pointing keyword on post it notes on a glass wall to brainstorm | SEO Keywords

Keywords are essential to help your web pages rank on search engine results. You need to use SEO keywords optimally to get the greatest possible benefit. That means using the right number of keywords at the correct frequency. Whether you are building new landing pages, creating informative blog posts, or helpful content such as FAQs and explainer articles, the following advice can help you include the right number of keywords for SEO.

What are keywords, and why do they matter?

Keywords are words or phrases that are central to the topic of a webpage or website. They play an essential role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as they are typically the words that users type into search engines when looking for the content you are creating. When a user types a query into a search engine such as Google, it uses an algorithm to find the most relevant results based on the keywords in the query. If a webpage contains relevant keywords, it is more likely to appear in the search results for that query.

No one outside Google knows precisely what algorithm Google uses to rank webpages in its results. However, we have studied Google’s ranking system and have gained an understanding of how keywords influence the positions of web pages in the results.

It’s important to use the right number of keywords. Too few keywords can make your webpage irrelevant to users’ search queries. On the other hand, Google sometimes interprets websites that contain excessive numbers of keywords (a practice known as “keyword stuffing”) as trying to manipulate its algorithm and therefore rank those sites lower in the search results.

How many keywords should you target for a project?

SEO experts recommend choosing a single primary keyword as the main focus of your SEO efforts and including enough secondary keywords to cover the topic in full.

  • A primary keyword is sometimes also called a target keyword. It should be the main topic of the page.
  • Secondary keywords are keywords closely related to the primary keyword. They may sometimes be longer phrases (long-tail keywords) or synonyms for the primary keyword.

Why you should have a single primary keyword?

There are three main reasons why every webpage should have a single primary keyword.

  1. Every page needs a single defined topic. When people search online for information, they usually look for the answer to a single question. If they click through to your page and find that it covers several different topics, they’ll likely go back and choose a different result rather than wading through a wall of text to find the necessary information. Google recognizes that people want answers to specific questions and ranks pages more highly if they provide detailed, targeted information on that topic alone.
  2. Google recognizes variations and misspellings. Advice that you should target keywords that are misspellings or variations of your primary topic phrase is outdated. Today, Google is smart enough to recognize when a user has mistyped a search query. Therefore, there is no need to have two primary keywords that mean the same thing or multiple variations on a single spelling of a word or phrase. Instead, pick a single primary keyword and focus on optimizing around it.
  3. Optimizing for one keyword can make you rank for hundreds of others. Research shows that pages that rank number one for one keyword also rank in the top 10 for hundreds of other related keywords. This is because Google’s algorithm knows that these keywords are related to each other and that pages that contain one keyword are likely to be good results for the others too. Therefore, you don’t need to target every possible keyword in your niche to rank well for them.
Hands typing on keyboard | SEO Keywords blog post

Tips & reminders for choosing the best primary and secondary keywords

Choosing the best primary and secondary keywords is the real art of search engine optimization. There are several tools you can use to help you in this task. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Brainstorm: Start by brainstorming keywords and phrases related to your business, product, or service. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about the terms they might use to search for your content.
  2. Use a keyword research tool: Keyword research tools can help you develop keywords for your webpage. Enter your page topic, and the tool will suggest keywords along with their search volumes and their potential to bring traffic to your site.
  3. Consider your competitors: Analyzing your competitors’ websites and content can help you identify relevant keywords you may have overlooked. Look at the content they rank for and identify the keywords they target.

Using the right number of keywords for SEO

Keywords are essential to help your webpage rank well in Google and other search engines. Choosing one highly relevant primary keyword and a few secondary keywords is the best way to boost the visibility of your web pages. It is important not to under or overuse keywords.

Let’s work together

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of search engine optimization and the selection of SEO keywords, don’t panic. Our team can help to ensure that your site doesn’t fall behind and can provide knowledge and assistance when your website needs sprucing up to ensure it stays compliant with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

We offer website optimization services, and you can get in touch today to request a free website SEO review and take your first steps toward better-ranking results.

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