Keyword optimisation for 2018 – What’s the latest best practice?

What worked before doesn’t mean it will keep working as Google’s algorithms are in a constant state of change (1-2 times a day they update their filter settings). Still marketeers are looking for a secret trick to devise a perfect keyword strategy. We’ll share with you best practices based on what the industry is doing today in terms of keyword optimisation techniques.

Long-tail keywords are gaining in popularity because of voice search (siri and alexa) as almost everyone has the virtual assistants on their devices.

More than half of teenagers and about half of adults use Google’s ‘hey google’ voice search app every single day. 

Coupled with Google’s Hummingbird program that is designed to look at the overall meaning of a search inquiry (as opposed to just the typed words) marketeers now have to adjust their keyword strategy to work with these changes in algorithm filters and in voice search technology. So long-tail keyword that relate to voice search or conversational speech will inevitably be a better match to the searchers intended meaning of an inquiry. In other words long-tail keywords should match with conversational style search words (from voice search). For instance 

A typed search versus a voice search could look like the following:

Typed search
Where is the closest Chinese restaurant?”

Spoken search
“Hey google where can i eat Chinese food around here?”

Finding a process or tool to help get you started with your keyword list 

There are hundreds of tools and services to help you create keywords we have listed 4 popular ones:


Google Keyword Planner Tool 

Answer the Public

Moz Keyword Explorer 

Google’s algorithms update ‘Hummingbird’ is like a search engine within itself and is becoming more and more intuitive in recognising the intent of voice searches even when the words used are not exactly accurate (due to conversational speech) and identifying correctly the ‘meaning’ behind the search on the first inquiry attempt. 

The future of virtual Assistant Apps in all devices home or office is increasing day by day and won’t be long before people behave like those Sc-fi movies issuing commands to devices and getting immediate and accurate replies.

Does embedding keywords into headings still make sense? 

Is it still necessary to place keywords in titles? Well gone are the days, where every post and blog has to have a keyword embedded in the heading or  subhead, however embedding keyword on-page SEO still make sense as part of your SEO strategy just knowing where to place is the next step.

Top, bottom, middle – where to place keywords on a page.

1. Headline (Title) Tags  should have keyword if  possible, providing its natural and doesn’t create an badly worded line. In fact it’s better to leave out a keyword than to force just to get the benefits of SEO.

2. Same applies to Subheads tags if you can embed your selected keyword into one of the subheads on page your but it should sound natural. Use common sense if it doesn’t sound good wait and try again lower down in another subhead further down your page.

3. First sentence or paragraph. many content writers or marketers will shoe horn a keyword into the first 100 words of every single blog. It’s still good practice to embed your main keywords early on and try to reach your point quickly without too much unnecessary prelude. Get to the point of your topic and have your main keyword appear early in the article is best practice provided is sounds natural and not shoe horned.  

4. Placing primary keywords into URLs benefits SEO provided it does add too much additional text to your URL’s as this looks ugly and ungainly. 

5. Labelling images and photos with keywords is good practice for posts and blogs as it’s a discrete way to get SEO benefits. Copy and paste your keyword into the image file name and image alt text.

E.g. ‘Sandpaper-SEO_Keyword-Optimization_-5.jpg’

When not to place keywords


Common sense should be applied when deciding when and when not to place keywords in a sentence/paragraph/heading/subhead etc. Your content sound natural and read well at the expense of SEO benefits. It’s better to have quality written content that’s easy to read than awkward text that’s written just for SEO. Common sense should prevail for best results. 

Getting the right keywords for you. 

How do you gather, shortlist and prioritise your keywords in to primary and secondary keywords. 

If you putting in energy into strategically placing keywords you must also think about researching the right keywords for you and your business goals.

Start with reviewing existing communications you have and draft up a list of keywords (common phrases or terms)   that relate to you and describe your business activities. Then think about your strategic goals and draft a list of words that best describe the areas of new business you wish to associated with.

Now copy and paste them into Google’s search bar and it will list recommendations for similar search queries.  

It may seem a bit simplistic but Google’s search engines are highly sophisticated and it provides relevant, instant results that are a good start and will save you time and money using other research software tools.

Popular Keyword Research Software tools.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer –If you have the time and are looking for many keyword suggestions try Ahrefs Keyword Explorer it will generate thousands of keyword suggestions for each single word search. As their database is updated regularly it will provide latest terms and trends to give you a better choice of words.

SEMrush’s- Is another keyword research tool that is good for ‘competitor analysis’. Their software reveals which keywords perform best with your competitors. 

KWFinder- A simpler research tool this software is a leader in terms of simplicity and accurate results. Everything about it’s interface is easy and user-friendly. it’s great for newbies and give accurate results are well laid out. 

Moz keyword Explorer– research tool has a keyword difficulty analysis, data filtering feature and CTR feature is rated high amongst it’s competitirs.

Google’s  Keyword Planner  

Arguably the most popular keyword tool designed for Keyword research but nowadays it’s focused more on Pay Per Click PPC rather than organic search. 

Using any of the software platforms listed above, you’ll get the results you need. However you could also enter your draft list into some of these other software tools to compare results. It might just serve to confirm what you have is okay to use. Also trying another tool might reveal some other  ‘competitive search terms you missed.

If there’s one overriding keyword optimization trend to keep in mind, it’s that the SEO rules of the past aren’t nearly as inflexible anymore.  

Try place targeted keywords throughout your content (post, blog etc) but don’t worry too much about density of keywords focus more on the quality of the content. Quality and relevance will pat more benefit than over saturating your content with keywords. If the content’s well-written, relevant, informative easy to read, people will find it, like it, share it and so will search engines.  

In summary the best approach to keyword optimization? 

Spend time researching keywords to establish you list and repeat the exercise every 3-6 mths. Follow the keyword guidelines. But remember the quality of content you post is more important in your search ranking. The best keyword strategy won’t help anything if your content isn’t up to scratch- content is king, keyword placement only benefits quality content.