How many keywords should you use per page when writing a new blog post or article?
What happens a lot is that during keyword research you’ll come across some juicy keywords that sound similar enough, but not quite identical, and you’ll be wondering if you should try and cram them into one article, or instead write a different blog post or page for each keyword.
Ultimately, there is no clear answer for this because every article and page is different. For some pages and blog posts you’ll have to target as many keywords as possible, while for others you will have to be super narrow and highly focused.
However, there are quite a few super useful mental tools and best practices to help you figure out when to target many keywords and when to go super narrow and focused.
Also, there’s definitely a correct and incorrect way to target multiple keywords in situations where you have to “go wide” and use lots of keywords in your article.
After all, just because a page targets multiple keywordsdoes not mean it can actually rank for multiple keywords.
As a general rule, your page’s headline and URL should target a single, main keyword. If you want to target secondary, long-tail keywords you can do this by spreading them out in your subheadings, FAQ sections and page paragraph body.
The remainder of this article some important topics such as:
- Understand how Google first ranks blog posts & pages for just 1-2 keywords, and then for hundreds or even thousands of keywords.
- When to target lots of keywords, and when to go very narrow.
- Correct way to target multiple keywords, super useful tricks and mistakes to avoid
- How and why Google ranks pages for multiple keywords
- When to target multiple keywords with a single page
- How to correctly target multiple keywords
- Headlines and URLs should have just 1 keyword
- Don’t sacrifice headline quality to force an extra keyword in the title
- Use long tail keywords as talking points and H2/H3 subheadings
- Write naturally and ignore keyword density
- Use the anchor text in your internal links to target multiple keywords
- Target long tail keywords with FAQ sections
- Edit an article and write new content for a particular keyword
How and why Google ranks pages for multiple keywords
Before learning when to target multiple keywords, it’s super useful to know how and why Google ranks a page for more keywords. Knowing this will help you plan ahead and help you figure out if your page can even rank for multiple keywords.
Whenever you post a new article or page, Google will first “crawl” it and try to understand what the article is about and what keyword it targets.
If you’ve done your SEO correctly, Google should figure out the topic of your page mostly through the keywords included in the headline and page URL.
After Google has crawled the page, it will in most cases index the page in the search results, and you will begin receiving traffic, though usually very little at first or 1-2 visitors per day.
Once the page has traffic, Google will begin to measure the quality of the page and its information. It does this through a combination of user signals, backlinks to the article and domain strength.
If your page has optimized all 3 of those ingredients, then Google will slowly expand the reach of your page and rank it for related keywords, and not just your main keyword. Extremely well optimized articles frequently rank for keywords that don’t even appear on the page at all!
As a key takeaway, a page that has excellent user signals, backlinks and domain authority, will rank for a lot more keywords than a page that hasn’t mastered one (or all) of these factors.
A good backlink profile is absolutely important and critical to how well your page can rank, but how to build one is outside the scope of this article.
What we’ll focus on instead are user signals, since you, as a blogger or website owner, have near complete control over this aspect.
User signals are metrics Google uses to measure how well your page has satisfied the search intent of a user.
Click through rate (CTR) of your page in search results. A good CTR indicates your article is highly relevant and well targeted.
Bounce rate, meaning how many people clicked “Back” on your article and went back to Google to continue the search. A high bounce rate indicates the information on the page isn’t good enough to satisfy user search intent.
Website speed, since Internet users are very impatient and will click “Back” if a page takes longer than 1-2 seconds to load.
Returning users, this indicates that your page is so valuable as an information source many users keep coming back to it.
When to target multiple keywords with a single page
Below are the most common (but not all) situations where you should target multiple keywords. Knowing when to target multiple keywords or focus just on a single main keyword depends on how well you can figure out the search intent behind a keyword.
Knowing how to spot a keyword’s search intent is itself a valuable SEO skill, and something that’s learned through trial and error and monitoring rank tracking tools.
1. Keyword is part of a connected group of keywords that are extremely dependent on one another.
As an example, imagine the main keyword “iphone 13 review”.
It’s practically impossible to write an article that targets “iphone 13 review” without also targeting smaller keywords such as “iphone 13 cost”, “iphone 13 camera” or “iphone 13 battery life”.
In this case, you practically must target multiple keywords just so your article can rank for the main keyword which is “iphone 13 review”. If you don’t, your article will essentially be incomplete and not have sufficient information for the readers.
In these situations, the most common way to target these keywords is to have the page itself target the main keyword (“iphone 13 review”), while using your H2 and H3 subheadings to target the long tail keywords (“iphone 13 cost”, “iphone 13 camera”).
2. Keywords that are written differently, but express the same idea.
A good example of this are keywords such as:
- “A vs B” is the same thing as “A,B comparison”.
- “[product] sucks” is the same thing as “[product] is terrible” or “[product] is bad”.
- “Should I buy PRODUCT” is the same as “Is PRODUCT worth it” or “Is PRODUCT worth the money”.
- “Should I do X” is the same as “is it ok to do X”.
- “Is my boyfriend serious” is the same as “does he want a relationship” or “does he want something long term”.
These are just some examples, there are a ton of other such keywords that have the same meaning, but are phrased differently.
In this case, the challenge is to find these similar phrases and sprinkle them a bit in the paragraphs of your page. You don’t even need to write them in H2’s or H3’s although there’s nothing wrong with that.
The great part is that if your article ranks for one of these keywords, it will also rank for the others, usually at the same search result position.
3. List articles where each keyword is a different category.
As an example, imagine this keyword “best philosophy books”. This is the main keyword, but it is also divided up into multiple, long-tail keywords such as:
- Best stoic philosophy books.
- Best Asian philosophy books.
- Best Greek philosophy books.
In this case, an excellent way to write an article is to target the main keyword “best philosophy books” and then create subheadings for each different subcategory.
How to correctly target multiple keywords
Headlines and URLs should have just 1 keyword
If this is the only information that you were really looking for, here it is.
Target just one, main keyword in your headline and URL. Instead of trying to add as many keywords as possible in them, try instead to focus on making your headline and link as clickable as possible. If you want to target multiple other keywords, then you can do so through subheadings, FAQ sections, anchor texts as well as edits and additions to the article.
If your page has good, relevant information that users like, search engines will expand the reach to target related keywords anyway. But you have to nail the information for the main, focus keyword.
Don’t sacrifice headline quality to force an extra keyword in the title
Sometimes you’ll be tempted to force two or more keywords in a title or URL. Even if you do rank for both keywords, your headline will be a jumbled, unfocused mess that’s hard to read and doesn’t trigger people to click.
The better approach is to just make your headline as clickable as possible, even if it targets just 1 keyword. A 10% CTR for a main keyword will bring you a lot more traffic than having a 2-3% CTR that targets multiple long-tail keyword versions.
Once you’ve nailed the headline, you can increase how many keywords you target by focusing on the H2 and H3 headings.
Use long tail keywords as talking points and H2/H3 subheadings
A super useful approach to targeting multiple keywords is to find interesting long tail keywords, and then use them as either subheadings, or talking points in your article.
For example, let’s say you want to write an article targeting “audible review”. During the keyword research phase you might some very low traffic keywords such as “price of audible with amazon prime” or “can you read along with audible on kindle”.
These keywords are way too small and insignificant to write a completely separate article for them, but you can (and should!) use them as talking points in your page’s paragraphs, since this is a piece of information people actually want to know.
Long tail keywords that have more traffic and lots of variations (such as “how much is audible” or “how much does audible cost”), can be grouped up into an H2 or H3.
Write naturally and ignore keyword density
For a very long time SEO specialists said that each blog post or page should have a keyword density of 1-2%. This is no longer the case, and following this rule just makes you page read more like an ad, rather a conversational, uninterested advice written by humans for other humans.
What you can do is to sprinkle in a few long tail keywords here and there in your paragraph text. A single repetition of the keyword is enough to tell search engines your article can rank for that question.
Use the anchor text in your internal links to target multiple keywords
Besides the keywords in your page’s URL and headline, another important clue search engines use to figure out the topic of your article is the anchor text from internal and external links that point to your page.
As an example, take this link: https://www.datasourse.com/why-instagram-wont-let-me-post/
If we wanted to have this article target multiple keywords, we could configure its anchor text to match the target keyword:
- Instagram errors targets the keyword “Instagram errors”.
- “Instagram bug” targets the keyword “Instagram bugs”.
In this case, search engines will notice the article above is labeled with the anchor text “Instagram errors”, so it will assume the article is also relevant to the keyword “Instagram errors” and rank it in the search results for that keyword.
This is part of the reason internal linking different pages on your site to another is so important, since through anchor texts you will have some sort of control over what keywords your article ranks for.
Target long tail keywords with FAQ sections
Another thing you can do is to add FAQ sections to your article that target particular long tail keywords.
An FAQ section will look something like this:
The benefit of these FAQ sections is that they will often appear in the “People also asked” snippet in Google, or even appear as a featured snippet at the top of the search results.
If your site is not on WordPress, then the next best option is to either:
- Add the question as an H3/H4 heading, and the answer as a paragraph.
- Markup the text in the article with the required Schema FAQ code.
Edit an article and write new content for a particular keyword
If you’re still unsure how many keywords to target, then one approach is to write a small, super focused article first, and then gradually expand it over time by adding new content that gives it more information, and expands the reach of the article by targeting more keywords.
The advantage of this is that you can write articles quickly, see which have ranking potential and which don’t, and then focus on building up articles that show signs of life and can be major sources of traffic in the future.