On-page SEO tips: How to use keywords in your client’s content

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You’ve got your list of keywords and you’ve chosen a primary keyword. Now what do you do with them? How do you use keywords to optimise your client’s website?

In this blog, I’ll show you where you need to use keywords to give your client the maximum chance of ranking in Google without compromising on content quality. You can also watch my video tutorial at the end of this blog, to see exactly what goes where in WordPress!



On-page SEO tips: A guide to optimising your client’s content

Here’s a summary of where to use your keywords:

-Title tag, URL and meta description

-Primary keyword in the first 100 words

-Primary and secondary keywords throughout your content

-Primary keyword in at least one H2 heading

-Primary keyword in the alt text of your image

-Primary or secondary keyword as the anchor text for your internal links

-Primary or secondary keyword as the anchor text for your external links


To save you time trying to figure out where all the on-page SEO elements are, I’ve created a handy “On-page SEO Checklist” that you can download and use when optimising your client’s content. Sign up to my email list for your free checklist!


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Search engines use keywords as clues to understand content. In the early days of SEO, search engines relied on exact keywords however as Google’s algorithm has improved and become more sophisticated, it can understand content without having to use an exact keyword match.

Forget those old ideas of keyword ratios, writing keywords in white-coloured font to keep them hidden and using incorrect spelling.

Yes we need to help search engines understand our client’s website content, but the reader is still the most important element in the SEO equation! As a copywriter or content writer, keep putting your reader first ahead of search engines- yes I know, I’m an SEO person telling you to ignore what most SEOs will tell you!

A tip from me: if you have to choose between being user-friendly or robot-friendly, always choose the user.

orange fruit painted blue

Using keywords in a title, URL and meta description

Ranking on page 1 is only half the battle! The next battle is winning the click-through-rate war. It’s not enough to show up on page 1- users need to click your client’s content.

The page title, URL and meta description play an important role in convincing a user that your client’s web page is the one to visit. It’s the real estate equivalent of having an eye-catching, attractive front yard when you’re selling your home (or being unique, like the orange painted blue in the above image).

Using the primary keyword in your content title

Use the primary keyword in the title, preferably as close to the beginning of the title as possible. Your title needs to be attention-grabbing and an accurate reflection of the content. Click-bait titles are a no-no.

If you need to sacrifice the primary keyword in favour of writing a better-sounding title, then go for it. There are plenty of opportunities to use the primary keyword elsewhere.

Using the primary keyword in the URL/slug

You can use your primary keyword in the URL as long as it doesn’t make the URL too long. Shorter URLs are favourable. Try not to use the year in a URL as this will outdate the content in 12 months time. Editing URLs aren’t recommended for SEO. To change a URL, you’d need to create a new page with a new URL and then redirect the old page to the new page. This isn’t hard to do but it’s a pain, so try to avoid dates in URLs.

Optimising the meta description with the primary keyword

Include the primary keyword in the meta description. Write a description to convince readers to click your client’s site instead of someone else’s.  Google doesn’t always use the meta description you have provided- sometimes it pulls out text from the page if it thinks it’s more suitable for what your user is searching. But this shouldn’t stop you from writing an optimised meta description for the times that Google does decide to use the one you’ve written.


Using your primary keyword in the first 100 words

Another effective on-page SEO tip is to include your primary keyword within the first 100 words of your content, however do so in a natural way. This not only helps search engines understand the overall content but it also lets your reader know early on that your content is going to answer their keyword query.

As a content writer, I’m sure you’ll agree that a killer introduction will keep your reader on the page and stop them from clicking the back arrow!

Using primary and secondary keywords throughout the content

Many of the secondary keywords on your list will be synonyms for your primary keyword. Try to use as many of these secondary keywords as possible without sounding robotic. Forget about ratios and trying to use every single keyword on your list.

The longer your content, the more keywords you’ll be able to naturally use. Using different secondary keywords will make your writing sound better because you aren’t repeating the same keyword query throughout the content.

It will also boost the chances of your client ranking for many similar keywords, not just the primary keyword.


lady sitting at macbook

How long should content be? Is longer content better for SEO?

This is one of the most-asked SEO questions and you’ll see different opinions!

A Backlinko study of 1000 search engine result pages using SEMrush data found that the average Google first page result is around 1,890 words.

But there are a few factors that determine content length.

Think about your client’s audience- do they want to read that many words? How much of the content will the reader consume?

Think about the topic you’re writing about. Is it complex that you need that many words to explain it? Or is it a simpler topic that you could write fewer words about?

While blogs can be longer, some of your client’s web pages will have fewer words. A sales page may only have 500 words, and that’s ok. A contact page may have fewer words than that, which is ok- your client doesn’t need to rank their contact page on page 1 of Google!

As a general rule, content should be at least 500 words if possible.

Using H1 and H2 headings to help with content structure

There are different heading sizes to use in your client’s content. For SEO purposes, H1 and H2 are the most important. Most WordPress themes automatically turn the title into a H1 heading.

Use the different sized headings depending on the structure of your content, just as you would use headings, sub-headings and sub-sub-headings.

Use the primary keyword in one H2 heading, and use secondary keywords in other titles.

camera on pink background

Images- file names and alt tags

I’ve written a detailed post about how to optimise your images for SEO.

Create an image file name and write alt text using your keywords where possible but only if the keywords relate to the image.

If you’re using images for decorative purposes, don’t use the keyword in the alt text. Alt text is used by readers for vision impaired people, and also by Google’s bots to understand what the image is. Search engines cannot see images- they need textual clues.

Internal links to keep readers on the website for longer

Internal links are the links between pages on the same website.

Internal links are important for 3 reasons:


-Help users find other relevant content on the website

-Help Google’s bots understand the website structure, crawl the site efficiently and index all content

-Help spread page authority from the home page to other website pages.


Internal links help users find other relevant content on your client’s website. Internal links help keep users on your client’s website for longer, which increases the chances of converting them into a client or customer.

Internal links also help Google’s bots crawl your client’s website and find all their content easily, and understand the structure of the website.

Internal links also help spread authority from your client’s home page to other pages on the website. A higher page authority helps with keyword rankings and getting more traffic.

Create an internal link between the post you’re writing for your client, and another related post already on your client’s website.


External linking: connecting with authority websites

External links are links to other websites from your client’s website, such as other businesses, government websites, media reports and scientific research.

By linking externally to a reputable source, you can support any findings, arguments or points of view you’ve made in your client’s content. External links also help your readers find reputable information on other websites that they may be interested in reading.

But is it a good idea sending your readers to another website?

Yes, there’s a risk your reader will click to another website and leave yours. Although you can’t stop this, you can make it easier for the reader to return to your website by setting up the link so that it opens in a new tab.

External links are used as a form of goodwill- by linking to another website, you’re showing Google that you’re giving the other site a tick of approval. This helps strengthen the other website’s authority.

Finally, external links help Google’s bots crawl the internet. They call it the world wide web for a reason- most web pages are linked to each other in some form!


Here’s a summary of the on-page SEO elements:

-Primary keyword in the title tag

-Primary keyword in the URL/slug

-Primary keyword in the meta description

-Primary keyword in the first 100 words of your content

-Primary and secondary keywords throughout your content

-Primary keyword in at least one H2 heading

-Primary keyword in the alt text of your image

-Primary or secondary keywords as the anchor text for your internal links

-Primary or secondary keywords as the anchor text for your external links


How to do on-page SEO video tutorial:

Want a free On-page SEO Checklist to download and use whenever you’re optimising content?

To save you time trying to figure out where all the on-page SEO elements are, I’ve created a handy “On-page SEO Checklist” that you can download and use when optimising your client’s content. Just complete the sign up form below.

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Nat Alleblas- SEO Sleuth: helping copywriters, marketers and web developers with their SEO needs. When she's not slaying SEO, Nat can be found with her head buried in a book or is smashing out a spin class. But not at the same time. Loves eggplant lasagna.

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