Are Two Target Keywords Enough? Yes and Here is Why

Last Update: October 16, 2018

Here I go again. Trying to help you all to understand that the days of filling your content with your target keyword more than a couple of times, is a dead and buried out dated ranking technique. Who are you writing your content for? Your website readers or Google?

DEFINITELY NOT FOR GOOGLE

Put yourself in the place of the people searching Google for answers. If you wanted to know, is lavender oil good for stress, do you need to see that keyword more than twice to know the article you are reading will answer that question? Most likely not.

Here is another example. Let us say you have a niche website about first aid and care for dogs. You decide to write a post about how chocolate is toxic to dogs and why you should not feed it to them. You decide to use the target keyword, Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?


The image above I just snapped from a Google search using the keyword - can dogs eat chocolate - do you notice something missing? Out of the top 4 results, only the second result has the actual target keyword in the title. Yet all of those results can supply the answer.

How is this possible? Doesn't our target keyword need to be in the title and first paragraph of our content to get high rankings? No and Yes. Now I am sure some of you may be a bit confused by that answer, so let me explain.

NO - Your target keyword does not have to be in the title if your content is well written and fully answers the query - can dogs eat chocolate?

YES - You increase your chances of ranking higher for your target keyword if it appears in your title. It is also a good idea to have your target keyword near the beginning of your content to reinforce the subject matter of your content.

THIS IS WHY CONTENT IS KING

Remember that Google is not going to rank your content highly unless it thoroughly answers the keyword query. Your website readers do not need to see your target keyword more than once or twice to know what your post is about, especially if they searched that exact keyword.

And guess what? Google doesn't need to see your target keyword more than once or twice either. Google highly ranks content written for the human reader. Think of Google as just another human reader, which it basically is.

Of those four results in the image above, the keyword - Can Dogs Eat Chocolate - only appears ONCE within the content of the second result. It does not appear anywhere in the content of the results in positions 1, 3 and 4, yet these posts all answer the query.

So stop obsessing about how many times you need to use your target keyword. Google is going to rank you on how well your content answers your target keyword query. Remember to write your content for humans and not search engines.

If you are wondering how those other pieces of content without the target keyword listed anywhere in the title or content could rank on Page 1, it has to do with how well the CONTENT answers the question - Can Dogs Eat Chocolate.

Learn how you too can rank on page one without a target keyword.

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fleurallen Premium
Awesome point Robert this really helps. I feel like it is about relevant content not just any content stuffed with keywords - thanks a 'penny dropping' moment :)
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Fleur. As long as we write our content for the website reader and not the search engines, Google will rank us.
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fleurallen Premium
Perfect!
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JKulk1 Premium
Hi Robert. Thanks for your educational blog on keywords. I guess people obsess about keywords because we read so many different thoughts on it. Some people say 2 to 3 keywords and others state 3 to 5. I have the plug in 'math ranking' installed and it works on the 3 to 5 ratio. In the end, as you say, we should be concentrating more on good content and less on keyword stacking. Jim
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Jim. People tend to obsess about keywords because they think that by using their target keyword multiple times that Google will rank them higher.

But Google can find alternate keywords in content that is written for the website visitor and not Google. When your content provides the information your target keyword implies, your rank goes higher.
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Debs66 Premium
Hi, Robert,
I don't know what it is but if I need something you just seem to be giving me the right answers at the right time.

I do have my key people here if I need to ask a question but don't want to bother anyone. I just type in the search bar pop in my question and hope my go to people have already written something about the question I need to be answered.

You are certainly coming up a lot. You are one of my go-to people :)

I love your posts I am forever learning something from you. Looking forward to your update on Black Friday 2018 as I learned a lot from your last year's post already too.
Just need to pass back by and leave you comment there too.

Thank you, Robert, you are a diamond.

Debs :)
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you Debs for the kind words. I prefer to write posts and tutorials about the most common issues people have when creating a website.

Then I tag each with the common queries I believe members will type in search, this way it makes it easier for people to find my content. :)
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jvranjes Premium
WA teaching is that it should be in the title and in the url. All is in lessons.

The logic of this is simple, you make your case stronger and make it very clear to bots what the text is about. With this, you increase your chance that your post will appear higher in the SERP because they might see it more relevant for the searched query, and this is what you want.

The bottom line is - there is no harm of having it in the title, there can only be benefits. So why miss the chances?

But as always, no need to guess, see in the attached screenshot what Google says about the keyword in the title. I think I would never miss having it in the title.
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boomergp08 Premium
I totally agree. That is why I said,

"YES - You increase your chances of ranking higher for your target keyword if it appears in your title. It is also a good idea to have your target keyword near the beginning of your content to reinforce the subject matter of your content.'
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Loes Premium
I am busy to create content, content, content, I have just decided to blend my 2 websites together, there have to be some adjustments made, links replaced, images redecorated, I am much more experienced with images now, new keywords have to be found, I have 114 posts and pages to transfer, so I am busy!
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JamesJB Premium
Ah...there you are :) I thought aliens came and abducted you :)
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Loes Premium
Haha, no, I am véééérrryyy busy!
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JamesJB Premium
Hehehe... Take care, and try to get some sleep in between :)
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Loes Premium
I am now copying and pasting, save the images as... and up to the next post to put in draft. I tried to transfer, but it transfers them all in published mode. That's not good:(
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JamesJB Premium
Oh dear...that doesn't sound like good news at all :(
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boomergp08 Premium
Too much work for me. I would have just kept the two websites separate.
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Loes Premium
It´s a bit of work now, but I want to publish them one by one, the upcoming year, that saves me a lot of time, I revamp them,new keywords, but there are 114 articles, 2/3 a week = material for months ahead
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boomergp08 Premium
Make sure to check in Search Console so you do not replace keywords you are already ranking for.
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Loes Premium
I will, thanks Robert
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derekmarshal Premium
In your screen shot, it shows that google is getting better at recognising synonymous keywords.

The very reason as why we should NOT focus on one particular keyword and mention it as you say, more than a couple of times but to naturally and where appropriate use something synonymous with the keyword phrase.

Besides, keywords are like girlfriends! one is enough..but you always want more!.

...And you do want to be careful of "Stuffing" them too many times....
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boomergp08 Premium
Exactly Derek. Google is quite capable of recognizing synonymous keywords, which are also known as LSI keywords. And as Kyle and others, myself included, has said, when you write naturally your content will contain many other keywords that you can rank for.
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JWhite5 Premium
Scales are slowly falling from my eyes Robert! This helps me in so many ways.When focusing on using a lot of keywords segmented in key areas of your content; takes away your creativity as a writer.Your post reenforces why we should write to help people not chase after Google to get ranked by them! I just got indexed by Google on an article that had on tags,description of the article or other things that I am not familiar with and despite all of that; the article was indexed! You knew Robert!
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boomergp08 Premium
One thing to remember is that all content gets "indexed" but not all content gets "ranked" because indexing and ranking are two different things.

That being said, when we write our content naturally and creatively, all of that content gets indexed. Google will then use this indexed content and rank us on the natural keywords that it contains.

Kyle explained this in a lesson on keywords that I remember from a few years ago. He said to not worry so much about keywords and just write your content if you cannot find a good enough keyword.
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seesy62 Premium
Since about 3 years, Google has been using a new generic words
algorithm that value your page as a whole instead of running after keywords. Not too many people know about this. I remember you wrote about this about 3 years ago.

This is the reason why you see the results that you mentioned in your image.
Just go ahead and write your post and don't be too spammy and you'll find yourself on the top first pages of Google.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes, this is true. This algorithm is used by RankBrain to evaluate the rankings of the entire page/post of content, taking into consideration all LSI keywords too.

When we write our content naturally many more keywords will appear without us trying to create them. If a human can determine what our content is about by just reading it, so can RankBrain.
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seesy62 Premium
Absolutely, you open my eyes to this 3 years ago with a nice post explaining this. you remember that post?
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boomergp08 Premium
I am not sure. I have written about this a few times but I think it might be the post I wrote after learning from Kyle that we can still get ranked by just writing quality content even without a target keyword.
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seesy62 Premium
I'll look for it
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AlenkaV Premium
Excellent advice, as ever!

I've been doing this, but not through my SEO wisdom (I have to admit!), but through feeling uncomfortable repeating the same phrase/word over and over again.

However, I do always put the keyword/phrase I'm writing about in the title. That way, even if I don't repeat it in the article, it's been mentioned and I can get on with writing the post.

Best,
Alenka
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boomergp08 Premium
You are doing great Alenka. That is the correct approach and feeling uncomfortable hearing a word/words repeated IS part of your SEO wisdom.

I too put my target keyword in the title, sometimes the entire title is my keyword. By doing this it increases my chances of ranking for that specific keyword.
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AlenkaV Premium
Thank you for your encouragement.

Now I have it in writing - I am an SEOWiseWoman! A new action hero on the block ;)
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boomergp08 Premium
You will need to come up with a costume. All action heroes and heroines have costumes. ;)
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AlenkaV Premium
No problem.

I'm an opera singer and used to a career in costumes! ;)

If I make it to Vegas next or the year after, I shall turn up in a SEO-Gal Costume ehhehehehe (and will blame you!)
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boomergp08 Premium
Thanks...I think. :)
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YvetteC2 Premium
Thanks for sharing this info. Great post!

Yvette
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boomergp08 Premium
It was my pleasure to share this with you Yvette and the WA community.
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firstlearn Premium
Thanks for all the information Rob.

Derek
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Derek.
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MRametti Premium
Thank you for your article, it well explain the concept and now I understand better what to do, thanks again!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Happy I could help you better understand.
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MAXINEG Premium
In essence what you are saying is if your query is answered then you can rank.
But, Include at least two keywords.
Bottom line quality content springs from a query.
Also, I much prefer to write for humans not search engines.
Thank you for another valuable approach, Boom.
All the best,
Maxine
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes Maxine, that is what I am saying. As long as your content is providing a sufficient answer to your keyword query, you can rank for the keyword whether you use it or not.

However, to increase your chances of getting a higher ranking for your specific target keyword you should use it twice. First in the title and secondly in the beginning of your content.
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MAXINEG Premium
Why do we need to have 1000 words if you can answer in 500 words, Boom?
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boomergp08 Premium
The more content you have, the more Google can index, and the more natural keywords it will contain. This can lead to higher rankings for keywords we do not realize that we create through just writing naturally.

However, not all content has to be 1,000 words and up. If you can thoroughly answer a keyword query and all possible related queries in less than 1,000 words, then go right ahead. You never want to add words just for the sake of using more words.
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MAXINEG Premium
That is what some people do and it is outrageous. They stretch and stretch until it is clear to see what they are doing. I have been reading a couple references and Google is getting a lot smarter about "the stretch". LOL
Maybe, I should blog about it.
Thank you Boom for your answer.
Maxine
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Maxine.
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pasionazul Premium
Hi Rob,
I understand that a long tail keyword does not need to be repeated many times in the content, like the ones you explain in your post. But what about "general" keywords? like dogs, cats, dinosaurs, blueberries, etc. These keywords have many more searches and it would be very interesting to have a good ranking with Dad Google. What would your advice be in these cases? Thank you so much!!
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boomergp08 Premium
You will always use general keywords when writing your content. I am sure you have heard Kyle and many others here say to place your keyword in the title, the first paragraph, and then just write your content naturally.

Well when you write naturally ALL of the words you use can be used as keywords by Google. So in the process of writing naturally you will more than likely use many general keywords as well as LSI keywords.
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pasionazul Premium
Yes Rob many thanks I dream with keywords !!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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SWhitley Premium
Great point, Robert. The content is the (sorry) key!
Sanders
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you Sanders. Content is always the key because when written naturally it will contain synonyms and far more keywords than you realize.
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AffMktgRt Premium
Thanks Robert for another great post.

I hope that It's not too cold up there in the Garden State.

Blessings
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Happy you liked it.

So far it has not become cold yet. Just a cool 48 degrees in the early morning. But I am sure it will be getting colder soon...but I am in no rush.
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AffMktgRt Premium
Robert, I will send you some palm trees, just make sure they don't freeze up like the ones a waterfront catering place in my old local village out on Long Island did. At $1000 or so each it must have burnt a big hole in their pockets. Real schmucks. We have mid 50s here in Bayou City.

Blessings
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boomergp08 Premium
I'm jealous. LOL
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JamesJB Premium
What a fantastic read, Robert! Following your guidance, I have stopped the way I was writing my posts, and target them purely for humans to read. Many thanks for a great post.

James
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome James. I am just reiterating what Kyle has said many times in the past, to write your content for people and not the search engines.
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JamesJB Premium
Yes, you're right, but your posts remind us of this, as well as your providing real-life examples, which cements it all together.
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