After creating my other eHow tutorials, I continued to experiment with various strategies and techniques for improving rankings and earnings. One of the most important things I found was that the use of multiple keywords was extremely important for high ranking articles. This is in part, I later found out, due to latent semantic indexing, or LSI.
I'm not going to try and explain the concept of LSI in depth here, but I will give you the basics. SEO experts have covered this far better than I could. However, here's the short and fast of it...
When a user performs a query on Google, the search engine determines which results are most relevant and useful to the particular word or phrase. Years ago, it was enough to stuff your content full of the same keyword to trick Google into thinking that your content was relevant and useful, even if it wasn't. Today, things have changed.
Although your main keyword phrase is still important, you will have to use related terms and phrases throughout the article in order for Google to deem your article relevant. Using only one keyword phrase over and over with little supporting text will cause your article to look like spam to the search engines, and could prevent you from ranking at all, much less highly.
Successfully Using Relevant Keywords
I became aware of the importance of using related keywords after I observed the success of articles I had written for Suite 101 and WiseGEEK. Both of these sites require that you incorporate several alternate keywords into your article.
On my personal eHow articles, I had been focusing on one keyword phrase, trying to stuff it in as many times as possible. This was detrimental to my earnings (which I expect to increase even more now that I understand LSI), and also made my articles sound a bit unnatural. However, every single one of my Suite 101 articles is ranking in the top 20 search results of Google, and many within the top 10. Coincidence? I think not!
Okay, so it sounds like more work, right? You have to find MORE keywords and incorporate them into your text. Well, it's not as hard as it sounds. I have a simple system that I use and it has proved extremely efficient.
How to Find Related Keywords
First, while I'm performing my initial keyword research for an eHow article, I choose a main keyword phrase which meets all of my criteria. Next, I make a list of AT LEAST five related keywords, which I also obtain from Google Adwords or my own creativity.
These secondary keywords don't have to be put through as rigorous a testing as my main keyword phrase. They are simply used to "back-up" my main keyword. However, choosing related keywords with high searches and low competition doesn't hurt. But, it's certainly not necessary and can even be impossible depending on your choice.
Here's an example. Let's say I was writing an article on "decaffeinated green tea." I'm using this as my main keyword phrase, and now I need to choose some related keywords. Let's look at what Google gives us:
In this case, I see that "decaffeinated green tea extract" shows up as the second most related term to "green tea extract." It also has a pretty high CPC, which is an added bonus, so I'll add it to my list.
Remember, the CPC and traffic don't necessarily have to meet the same standards as our main keyword phrase. If they do, it's an added bonus, but if they don't that's perfectly fine. When you have a large number of related keywords available, I'd definitely pick and choose from those that seem most profitable. If your choices are limited, take what you can get.
Now, since the remainder of the related keywords are low-paying and low-traffic, I think I'll scroll down to the "other keywords to consider" section and see what shows up. Some of these words might be great related keywords. Here's what Google shows:
I see several related terms that would be easy to incorporate into my article and that have an okay CPC and traffic. If you wanted, you could even check out their competition, but this is by no means necessary. I add a few of these keywords to my list, but I still don't think I have enough.
In this case, I would add some of my own related terms - or words that I thought could also convey the meaning of my article in a different way. I might choose "decaf green tea" or "caffeine free green tea."
Using Related Keywords in Your Articles (My Method)
Now that I have a list of related keywords to use with my article, the next step is incorporating them into the text. Let me show you how I do it, and feel free to come up with your own method. I'm only showing you my process to give you an idea of how easy this is to do, and once you start doing it, you'll quickly learn the power of using multiple keywords for yourself.
First, I'll create a new document and list all of my keywords beginning with my main keyword phrase at the top of the page. I highlight my main keyword phrase in blue to remind myself of it's importance and that I need to use it at least 1-3 times in the article as well as once in the intro.
Now, I'll add the title and begin to write the article. As I go, I mark off the keywords I have used. You'll only need to use each related keyword once in the article. I highlight it in red once it's been used and forget about it. Here's an example of how the article might look as I begin and use a few of the related keywords:
As you can see, I've used the related keywords "green tea bags" and "decaf green tea." Now, the next time I use a keyword, I'll change the text to red so I know I've already used it. It is okay to use a related keyword more than once if necessary. What you want to avoid is stuffing the very same phrase into the article over and over again. I'd say 3-5 times is the absolute MAX for a single phrase, with the target being more like 1-3 times.
Once I complete the article, I'll then use all of my keywords from the list as my "keywords" for the eHow keywords field. If I'm writing for Suite 101, in which case I also use this method, I'll use the keywords in the equivalent field on that site.
As you can see, it takes very little extra research to come up with related keywords and the rewards are great. You'll be more likely to be taken into account on Google's search results and rank highly. These rules apply to any online writing, and not just eHow. No matter where you write, using related keywords will give you more attention from Google and make your writing sound more natural and less like you're trying to stuff keywords.
Another method I sometimes use is to just write the article the way I want and then go back and insert the keywords anywhere they would be applicable. Change a few things around and make them work. You may find, however, that you've already used many of your words naturally, and this is the ultimate goal of LSI - to find information that is written for people and not search engines, information that has real value.
Other posts in the eHow tutorial series: