Keywords are specific words or phrases people use when searching for stuff on Google. Like "wedding photographer" or "pancake recipe." Keywords help people find your blog, so they're important for SEO!
Think of keywords as the "Who, Where, What, When, and Why" of your blog. When you write a post, you should always think about what keywords to use, but don't let them dominate your whole piece. Google values high-quality articles that are useful to readers, written simply, and answer key questions without too much fuss.
What keywords should I use in my blog posts?
Well, it depends on what you're writing about and what your customers want to read!
A good place to start is to figure out what you want to talk about and why. (Hopefully, you have a reason for sharing something and aren't just writing any old thing because someone told you to!)
Maybe you're sharing a recent photography session. But guess what! Google can't really see pictures. But it reads words really, really well. Start by thinking about the "Who, What, Where, When, and Why" to keep you focused on your topic when figuring out what to write.
When you start with the "Who, What, Where, When, and Why," you're likely to use lots of great keywords without realizing it! Here's an example, with keywords in bold...
"Can you believe these engagement photos? Jordan and Chris were the perfect couple... and Lindley Park in Greensboro, NC was the ideal place to shoot their spring engagement session!"
Nothing fancy, but check out those bold bits. Those are keywords that Google uses to match your post with people searching for an engagement photographer in Greensboro, NC.
Remember that these days, keywords are really about:
1) Trusting that Google is smart, and 2) SAYING THE DANG THING!
I promise Google is really, really smart. If you write clearly about your topic, you will already be giving Google plenty of chances to understand what your business is, what the post is about, and who would be interested in seeing it.
Focus on writing quality content, and keywords will flow naturally and match up with what you're writing about in the first place!
That sounds... suspiciously easy.
Well, yes. SEO can be complicated, but really everything boils down to creating pages that are very useful to readers.
Writing plainly for real people is a big part of that.
What I mean by, "say the dang thing!" is that sometimes when we're writing, we dance around with words and use euphemisms – especially when writing "fluffy" or creative pieces.
But keeping it simple is the best way to help Google show your blog to people searching for it and get you a higher rank.
For example, "Photographing A Winter Wedding in Disneyland" is a very straightforward title. You know exactly what the blog is about!
"Capturing Special Moments on a Big Day" has ZERO useful keywords. Readers are likely to skip right over this post. Nobody is trying to rank for "big day" or "special moments" and you shouldn't either.
So instead, say what you mean and the rest will follow. If you're talking about Wedding Portraits... say "Wedding Portraits!" Clear, useful keywords help everyone know what you're talking about and get the point quickly.
But how do I add MORE keywords?
Step one is to simply write more. If you want to rank for keywords, you need to use them in your blog!
Really, every word you write is used by Google to match people to your page. So the more you write about something, the more opportunity you have to rank for it.
BUT DON'T STUFF! Keyword stuffing is bad and can actually hurt your ranking.
What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you put irrelevant keywords (or the same keyword over and over) in your post to the point where it sounds unnatural – like you're just stuffing them in there instead of writing in a natural way that's useful to readers.
Google knows when you're stuffing. All they do all day is read things written by humans. They know the way we talk. They know the way we write. And they know what sounds natural vs. what was written JUST for Google. Kind of creepy, but also pretty helpful. Google is really interested in QUALITY. In other words, how useful is your page to an actual human?
Lists of keywords are not useful to humans, so that's why stuffed pages don't rank well. You can't hack the system by dumping in keywords to FORCE a page to rank.
This means that you have the freedom to write naturally, and Google will figure out all kinds of things for you.
For example, you don't have to write *every* variation of a keyword or phrase to rank for it. Also, Google has mapped everything on earth. They know what cities are next to others and that you probably serve locations around where you are physically located. So DON'T plop in a list of every town near you. This is bad for SEO and can cause your rank to fall!
So to recap, DON'T keyword stuff:
"I am a newborn photographer specializing in newborn photography and baby photography. I photograph babies and take pictures of newborns and infants in my infant, newborn, and baby photography studio..."
OR have blocks of text that just list cities:
"...Serving Raleigh and the surrounding areas of Cary, Morrisville, Garner, Knightdale, Clayton, Durham, Holly Springs, Apex, Fuquay Varina, Kennebec, Franklinton, Hillsborough, Zebulon, Garner..."
Please, please don't. Don't do these things. It's not going to help you and it might actually hurt you.
Just try to keep your posts focused on being useful to the reader and always say what you mean! Quality matters most, so write for your readers first, and then go back to make sure you're being clear and using relevant keywords that tell the "Who, Where, What, When, Why" of your story.
You can't make something rank if you're not writing about it!
What about Metadata and Tags?
Metadata is a short description of your page or post that lets people searching Google know what they're about to read. Your meta title (about 55 characters) and meta description (about 155 characters) show as a short preview in Google search results.
PhotoBiz blogs automatically generate metadata for you from the words you have already written in the post. Usually, they're spot on. That's because if you've written your article well, you've given the blog a title explaining what it's about, and the first few sentences get to the point and explain the topic of the article plainly.
Of course, if you want to fine-tune your metadata you have that choice. Just click the little gear at the top of your post and select "SEO." Remember to keep it short, though! Anything longer than the character limit will get chopped off.
TAGS allow you to organize your posts and group them into categories. This is a mostly internal classification that doesn't add any kind of magic SEO juice... but can be useful when used for a specific reason. For example, you can use tags to indicate different kinds of photography, locations, or venues to help you keep your posts organized – maybe 2 to 3 per post is good.
But if you're looking for a way to give your posts more SEO juice, Tags aren't it. It's a much better use of your time to write a few more sentences to go IN your post... or start another post that fits any "extra" keywords you want to target. Remember: you can't force your post to rank for something you're not saying in the post.
Write simply, and the rest will follow!
At the end of the day, people like to read enriching stories about your work... and so does Google! Just make sure you're following good writing principles, and you'll do just fine.
Easy rules for writing blogs and using keywords!
Write at least a paragraph, or about 100 words. (If you can write more, great!)
Tell "Who, What, When, Where, Why" upfront.
Write for humans, not for robots!
DON'T stuff in irrelevant keywords or big lists of cities!
No dead ends – give readers a button to click or something to do next.