There are lots of places that you can use keywords, though some of them are better than others, and make your words count for more. Here is the first part of my list of the best places to use keywords:
The title is the most important place on a page to place your keywords. The page’s title will be visible in the tab of the browser, and is also used as the heading of your listing in the search engine results. The words in the title of your page will easily be the most visible words on the page, and because of this visibility, they are given a lot of importance by the search engines.
The H1 tag is the most important of the heading tags, and should be used to title the entire page. The H1 tag tells both your visitors and the search engines what your page is about more than any other area besides the title.
Heading tags work hierarchically, with H1 being the most important, and H6 being the least important. Don’t feel like you have to use all of the heading tags, but it’s worthwhile doing so if your page actually needs that level of segregation, though this is unlikely. I typically don’t have any need to progress beyond H3s. See my article on heading tag best practice for more information.
The URL is an important place for your keywords, despite the fact that they are often left out in favour of other ways to identify pages, such as by number. A good URL structure can serve as what is called a ‘breadcrumb trail’, and provide an idea of how your website is structured, and the different sections of the website that the visitor has progressed through to reach the current page. Consider the following example:
This is a great URL, and not only provides the search engines with relevant keywords, but it also tells visitors more than you might think:
On the other hand, this is an example of a less useful URL, taken from a large gaming review website:
I’ve removed the domain name, but we’re not interested in that part of the URL anyway. This URL tells us little other than the website hosts articles (it does give the impression that they host a lot of articles, but that’s not necessarily true), and the fact that they probably offer content other than articles. It gives no information on what the articles are about, or if they are categorised in any way. The search engines also have nothing really to learn from looking at it.
I’ve not ranked body text at the top because I’m only discussing where to put your keywords for maximum impact. Looking at SEO as a whole, having great content and lots of it on your pages is the best thing you can do for your website, no question.
Many other guides I have looked at put a large emphasis on ‘keyword density’ – that is, the percentage of the total content on the page that your keywords make up. Analysing keyword density to the level where you’re aiming to reach a figure just isn’t necessary anymore, and your time will be much better spent focusing on the amount of content on the page, and its usefulness to your visitors.
Do include a few instances of your keywords in the content though – it will help Google understand that the content is relevant to the page, but only include keywords into natural places in the text. Be sure not to overdo your use of keywords, or you’ll reduce the readability of your content as well as its integrity, and your visitors will notice that you’re saturating the page with keywords.