Once upon a time, when search engines were innocent, and search engine optimisers were blatant, you could stick keywords into your content, and search engines would rank you high in the results, just because your pages contained those words. These days though, it’s no longer quite so easy.

Search engines, thanks largely to the efforts of those blatant optimisers, have had to become considerably more advanced, and for a long time now, it hasn’t been enough to simply stick your keywords in every which way, and expect search engines to pay any attention.

These days, your content doesn’t just need to contain those keywords, it also needs to provide the reader with valuable information.

Keep the following tips in mind, and you can get the most out of your keywords, without impacting on the quality of your content.

Use Punctuation & Paragraph Breaks

When a search engine indexes your page, it doesn’t see any of the “extraneous” stuff that makes it possible for people to read content. As far as search engines are concerned, line breaks, bullet points and punctuation don’t exist. That means you can use keyword phrases, without them actually looking like keywords.

It requires a little bit of creativity and content planning, but punctuation marks like the comma or full stop can allow you to use keywords the same way they’re searched for, without losing coherence.

For example, internet marketing consultants South Africa is a common search term. But just try writing a sentence using the phrase. “Design web design” is another. But you can’t write that phrase without losing all credibility as a writer. Or can you? How about this:

“Graphic elements are an important factor in design. Web design incorporates a wide range of different disciplines, including graphic design, content writing, and web development.”

See what we did there? The awkward and unwieldy phrase “design web design” has been used, simply by breaking it in two as far as the reader is concerned. As far as search engines can see though, we’ve used the exact phrase that people are searching for.

Put Keyword Phrases In Quotes

No, we don’t mean that we should use “quotation marks,” although, that would actually be a viable way of using them sometime, if you need to preserve the flow of your writing. (And you should always preserve the flow of your writing.) What we mean is write something in your content that mimics a person speaking. That lets you use keyword phrases which are searched for in the first person. For example,

“People often ask us, ‘How can I improve my website?’ and there isn’t just one simple answer.”

This lets you build a first person keyword phrase into the content perfectly naturally.

Bullet Points & Sections

Bullet points are a very popular item when it comes to writing content for websites. They’re short, scan-able, and easy to read. In fact, they’re so easy to read that readers are naturally drawn to them.

Bullet points are also fairly easy to use for incorporating keywords. They’re meant to be concise and to the point, and as with the first example, you can even break long-tail keywords down across two bullet points, as long as it makes sense.

Take Advantage Of The Sections Of Your Page

Content is naturally broken up into sections. Long pieces like this one are divided into paragraphs, and many pages have short intro’s to start with, or include additional information in side bars or footers.

Search engines don’t differentiate between the different sections of a page. They’ll look at anything. So you can include unrelated keywords as part of additional or supplementary information, on other parts of the page.

Articles Can Be Warnings Too

Sometimes, the keyword that you’d like to target is not something that you really want your business to be associated with. A lot of people search for cheap web design, but nobody wants people to think that their own product is low quality. (Which is what “cheap” all too often implies.)

One way of doing this is to write an article about the drawbacks of using a cheap web designer. This way, you could come up for searches for cheap web design, without actually having to suggest that your own design work is cheap.

Search Engines Ignore Some Words

Because some words are so common that they’re useless in determining the meaning of a page, search engines simply ignore them. These words are known as “stop” words, and include things like “the,” “in,” “a,” “you,” “your” etc.

If you’re trying to use a keyword phrase that doesn’t fit into the flow of your writing, you can use any of the stop words in between the phrase words, and search engines won’t register that they’re not all part of a single phrase.

Content Is Still King

Despite the fact that search engines pay a lot of attention to factors like links, content remains one of the most important factors for your website. In the end, websites depend on their visitors, and visitors arrive at your site looking for information.

The more useful, relevant and valuable the information on your site is, the more likely people are to visit.

No matter what else, it still is, and always will be, vital to have useful, interesting and above all, readable content on your site. The suggestions in this article will help you include important keywords, without compromising the quality of your content. But the really important thing here is that you still need relevant, quality content.

Pay attention to your content, and many of the other things will take care of themselves. To some extent anyway.