A few years ago, picking long tail keywords for articles and blog posts was kind of a pain. Why? Because you knew that if you used that long keyword phrase in the title that you would have to use it a couple of times within the body of the article, too. Depending on the phrase, it would be super tough to work it into the article in such a way that it sounded natural.
Worse, most of those long tail keywords didn’t lend themselves to proper grammar. If you looked up just about any “how to” related keyword in the Google AdWords Keyword Extractor, you probably only found 10% of the results to be ordered in a grammatical syntax. After all, visitors often don’t use proper English when browsing the internet, so it makes sense that Google would simply pull up the keyword phrases they used verbatim. But when you wanted to translate those keywords from simple searches to revenue for you, things got a little sticky.
Nowadays, Google has pretty much abandoned the idea of giving you extra Google juice points for using your keyword phrases properly. If the experts are right, Google would rather you drop the idea of keywords altogether and focus on just giving people what they want, using the keyword phrase sparingly in the title and the body so you don’t look like you’re keyword stuffing.
But how are you supposed to leverage those long tail keywords now if using it once in the title and 3-4 times throughout a 400-600 word article doesn’t cut it? Here are a few suggestions I’d like to share with you. Note that since Google is continually changing algorithms that what works today may very well not work the next week.
Use the keyword phrase as is in the title. As long as you don’t repeat important words from the keyword phrase elsewhere in your title, you shouldn’t tick Google off just using the phrase in the header. After all, visitors have to find you SOMEHOW.
Reference key phrases in the article, but not in the same order as your long tail phrase. This isn’t a rule from Google, it’s just something that I recommend for the purpose of adding relative or related keywords into the mix – and making sure Google knows you’re not trying to abuse the main keyword phrase.
Don’t place links in these phrases. Google no longer likes your anchor text to be that of a keyword phrase. They want it to be natural and contextual, like “click here” or “read on for more information.” Boring as all get out, but if it keeps them from thinking you’re trying to play up to them, go for it.
Never force the long tail keyword. If it doesn’t fit naturally into the article, don’t bother. It’s better to have your article lack a keyword phrase than to shove it in where it doesn’t fit. Its presence will trip Google’s trigger far before its absence will, so bear that in mind when formulating the article.