How to choose the right keywords and the optimal number of keywords to use for SEO while providing a good user experience.
Using the right keywords is essential in SEO, but using too many or stuffing content with keywords can get your site penalized by search engines. Here are tips on choosing keywords and how many to use while avoiding keyword stuffing.
Why Keywords Matter in SEO
Keywords help search engines understand your content’s topic to rank you.
Ranking for the right keywords brings qualified traffic to your site.
But over-optimizing with keywords hurts user experience.
Getting the balance right is key.
How Many Keywords to Use?
Focus on 3-5 main keywords that:
Closely relate to your content’s core topic
Have decent search volume
Drive qualified traffic
Support the main keywords with 10-20 secondary keywords.
Mention each main keyword 2-3 times, less for secondary keywords.
Don’t force keywords that feel unnatural. Prioritize user experience.
Tips on Choosing Keywords
Leverage keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner for ideas.
Choose keywords that communicate top intent behind the search.
Consider questions people search for as potential keywords.
Select keywords with good search volume and competition.
Pick keyword themes – don’t target disjointed keywords.
Signs You Have Used Too Many Keywords
Some signs you may have over-optimized with keywords:
Your content feels choppy or doesn’t flow well.
You used keywords that feel unnatural or don’t fit the topic.
Your content is hard to read or understand.
You repeated keywords excessively without context.
If you notice these issues, consider removing some forced keywords or choosing better ones. A good user experience is key.
Methods to Use Keywords Naturally
Here are some ways to work keywords in smoothly:
Write for users first while keeping keywords in mind.
Use keywords in headers and sub-headings.
Include keywords in links and image alt text.
Mention keywords in context of your content or explanations.
Answer searches as questions within your content using keywords.
Keyword Placement for SEO
Where you place keywords matters too. Prioritize these areas:
Page title & descriptions – Include main keyword here.
Headers & subheadings – Help structure content semantically.
First & last paragraphs – Start and end with core keywords.
Images & links – Useful for secondary keywords.
URLs – Have primary keyword in URL as well.
Just don’t overload any single area with keywords. Spread them out.
Focus on 3-5 main keywords and 10-20 secondary ones. Mention main keywords 2-3 times each naturally in useful content structured with good headers and formatting. Writing for real people first while sprinkling keywords in smoothly is far better than over-optimizing or stuffing content. Avoid going overboard with keywords. Prioritize page experience and usefulness.
In closing, properly chosen and well-utilized keywords are invaluable for SEO success and driving traffic. But overload content with keywords, and you hurt user experience and risk penalties. Find the right keywords for your audience, use them in moderation focused on utility, and both search engines and visitors will reward you.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How many keywords should I use for SEO?
Focus on 3-5 main keywords and 10-20 secondary ones, mentioning the main keywords 2-3 times each. This balances SEO value with good content.
- What is keyword stuffing in SEO?
Keyword stuffing is overloading content with keywords to manipulate search rankings. But it creates a bad user experience.
- How do you know if you are using too many keywords?
Signs include choppy content, repetitive keywords without context, and forcing keywords that don’t fit naturally. If it feels spammy, you’re over-optimizing.
- Where should you put keywords on a page?
Keywords belong in headers, title & meta descriptions, URLs, links, image alt text, first and last paragraphs. But spread them out – don’t overload any single area.
- What keywords should you use for SEO?
Research keywords that have good search volume and competition that directly relate to your content’s core topic and intent. Align with searcher needs.
- Can you use too many keywords in metadata?
Yes, overloading titles, descriptions and other metadata with repetitive keywords looks spammy and should be avoided. Use keywords, but keep them natural.
- How many times should you repeat a keyword?
Main keywords can be used 2-3 times each. Secondary keywords just once or twice. If you have to repeat them excessively for SEO, you may need to rework your content.
- What is the ideal keyword density?
No ideal percentage exists across all documents. But well-written text contains 1-3% keyword density. If text becomes choppy or confusing, density is too high.
- Should keyword placement be natural or for SEO?
Natural first – SEO second. Keywords placed smoothly in useful content outperform awkward placement optimized for search engines. Think about user experience first.
- Can you get banned for using too many keywords?
Excess keywords could trigger a spam penalty or long-term ranking decrease. Avoid outright bans by not over-optimizing and keeping quality content.
- How long should my meta description be?
Meta descriptions can be any length but are truncated at 160-320 characters in search results. So it’s best to keep descriptions under 250 characters.
- How many headings should I use?
On average, aim for 1-2 H1 headings depending on the page, and 2-3 H2 subheadings. Additional lower-level headings like H3 may be used as needed for organization.
- Should I bold my headings?
Yes, use bold formatting for headings to make them stand out so visitors can scan the structure of your content more easily. Bold titles and headings.
- Are there any SEO benefits to bolding text?
No significant direct SEO boost. But bolding headings does make your content easier to digest which could help readers stay on your pages longer, indirectly helping SEO.
- Should I use keywords in my headings and subheadings?
Definitely. Include your main and secondary keywords in headings where possible. This links keywords to content structure.
- Can you have too many headings on a page?
Yes. Signs of too many headings include only 1-2 sentences between them or using awkward heading levels like H4-H6 headers with no hierarchy. Stick to necessary ones.
- How do I choose the best paragraph length?
Paragraphs with 75-125 words are considered ideal lengths online. Blocks over 250 words can feel heavy. Use line breaks frequently with multiple short paragraphs vs a few very long ones.
- Should I break up long lists for readability?
For lists over 8-10 items, consider breaking into multiple shorter numbered lists by subtopic instead of one overly long list. Makes for better scanning and readability.