If the way to get organic search traffic to our content is to answer questions clearly and with a high degree of expertise, where do keywords come into play?
How should we be using them, if at all?
Remember those circa-2010 SEO content rules I opened this article with?
We all did it at the time, right?
It’s easy to look back at examples of that and laugh, but sometimes our search writing today isn’t much better.
This happens when we give our writers a keyword and tell them to “optimize for X.” Their emphasis is going to be on “How can I jam this keyword into the content” (which will probably make them want to cry) rather than on “How do I provide the answer that the searcher of this query probably wants?”
We need to remember that keywords are the input.
When writing for search, we are creating the output.
So instead of asking “How can I include this keyword?” we need to start our content creation by asking “How can I answer this query?”
Which brings me to my next point.