When starting SEO activities, you may wonder how many keywords you should use on a page. In today’s short guide, we’ll show you that the number of key phrases should be approached just like the whole SEO process – holistically and strategically.
How many keywords should you target per page? The answer to this question isn’t simply a number. Why? Because keyword selection ought to be a strategic choice based on a complex vision of the SEO process for a given website. How to devise the right strategy? Does your keyword list include some unnecessary phrases?
The ultimate goal is to do SEO for numerous phrases and reach top positions for each of them. However, before you get to this stage, you need to determine your initial priorities.
Starting cooperation with an SEO agency equals buying a certain amount of resources – largely time. The more keywords you select, the less attention is devoted to each of them individually. So, how many keywords should you use on a page to reach satisfactory positions in Google?
SEO and keywords. How many of them to choose?
First of all, remember that keywords serve various purposes. This aspect is partially determined by the condition of your website. To evaluate your page, conduct an SEO audit. Perhaps your site isn’t developed enough and lacks some texts. Since the process of content development usually needs to be planned, goals (meaning previously selected keywords) are a must-have. New content is created based on these phrases.
Proper website optimization is crucial for SEO. The page should be filled with texts perceived by Google as natural and written by a human and for a human. They ought to have proper keyword density, although it shouldn’t be too high – otherwise, robots will categorize it as manipulation.
Therefore, keyword selection should be analyzed in the broader context which takes into account all the processes that are part of SEO. If you select too many phrases, you may need to expand the page. Then, the SEO process goes beyond your possibilities and it takes longer to see its results.
Because of that, an appropriate strategy and the ability to choose priorities are so important. One of the methods recommended on the MOZ forum (a website every SEO specialist is familiar with) is to divide a collection of keywords into three categories:
Of course, the first group is the most important – it should also be the smallest. This way, you can devote an appropriate amount of attention to each of the keywords.
How many key phrases should you target?
There isn’t one unanimous answer concerning the minimal number.
Some SEO specialists (like Mark Walters) believe that five keywords sound reasonable if you run a small enterprise. Bigger companies can choose more. He suggests that the monthly search volume for these phrases should amount to 100. On the other hand, others claim that the minimal number of keywords you should take into account when doing SEO is eight. Online forums and blogs frequently advise that you ought to do SEO for at least ten key phrases.
So what to do? Well, although we aren’t able to state that a certain suggestion is 100% true, it’s worth staying moderate and avoiding extremes. Surely, the size of the website, amount of its content, number of subpages, blog, and its updates certainly affect this factor.
If there are too many keywords and too little content, your website may become oversaturated with phrases. Google may perceive it as manipulation and penalize your page with a filter which results in being removed from the search results. If you do your best not to oversaturate the texts, some of the keywords may be left unused.
Technically speaking, there is no one, versatile ratio of keywords to texts that would be suitable for each website. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that there is a limit to keyword density and Google won’t be happy if you exceed it. Last but not least, the location of keywords e.g. in the <title> meta tag seems vital.
The results of SEO
Despite the fact that the above model looks well, a small number of keywords prioritized in the first place may seem insufficient to an entrepreneur.
Therefore, it’s important to note that SEO activities focused on selected keywords won’t affect solely these phrases!
The number of key phrases your website is actually displayed on depends on algorithms analyzing the text. Let’s assume that you’ve chosen the phrase “SEO for words”. Nowadays Google algorithms are so flexible that doing SEO for such a fixed (and unnatural) phrase will bring the expected results if the text contains phrases like “what words are good for SEO” etc.
Consequently, some of the keywords selected for your SEO strategy may turn out to be unnecessary. In many cases, it’s pointless to highlight several phrases, as Google evaluates one of them positively enough.
However, be careful. Google may treat two seemingly similar key phrases (e.g. “SEO services” and “International SEO services”) as completely different. This may result from various search volumes.
SEO done with a list of keywords in mind has another beneficial result. Selecting a number of keywords that match subpages with quality content will also improve your position on long-tail phrases.
The next step
After some time, you may evaluate the effectiveness of conducted SEO activities. The amount of needed time is determined by the competitiveness of selected phrases. It can be estimated by analyzing the volume of searches or competitors to high positions (local companies or global online stores).
If activities are successful, complement the initial group with subsequent phrases that are important from the perspective of the client and search results. The ability to combine SEO activities and business strategies bring measurable benefits.
Change your attitude to the number of phrases that should be used during the SEO process. Don’t be discouraged by the small group of initially chosen keywords and fight your temptation to target too many phrases.
It’s crucial to realize that you want to do SEO for numerous phrases and reach high positions for each of them in the long run. However, achieving the goal is a continuous process during which the attention of the SEO agency will focus alternately on both primary and secondary groups of keywords.
This example proves how crucial it is to change the attitude. SEO needs to be approached comprehensively; together with a website development strategy and business goals. As you can see, online marketing requires a complex strategy and lots of effort, just like the promotion of services or products in the “real” world.