Keywords are key in blogging, that’s for SEO sure! Searchers use words and phrases to hook up with you – IF you’ve used those in your blog post title and in your text.
As is true of any tool, there are right and wrong ways to use keywords and phrases. Basically, "good" means natural and reasonable. Basically, "bad" means stuff ‘n nonsense! Overstuffed sofas might be comfortable to sit in, but keyword-overstuffed blogs are extraordinarily uncomfortable to read.
First, think "high". The keywords and phrases need to appear in the title and then as early (high up on the page) as possible. Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos, authors of Blogging For Business, offer the example of a company promoting vegetarian dog food. Three of the key phrases the owners set out to use are:
Premium dog food
Vegetarian dog food
Healthy dog food
Good use of key phrases:
"So you want what’s best for your dog. You feed him premium dog food. You take him to the vet regularly, take him for walks, and play with him often. Have you every thought about feeding him vegetarian dog food? Sure, you buy a "name brand" dog food, but how good is it, really? Feeding your dog vegetarian dog food is one of the healthiest things you can do."
(Notice this is five sentences, and the key phrases occur three times, in each case as a very natural part of the sentence.)
Bad use of key phrases:
"Vegetarian dog food is among the best premium dog food around. Vegetarian dog food and dog treats are the best premium dog food around. All informed dog owners must feed their dogs vegetarian dog food. Have you ever thought about feeding your dog premium dog food, which is vegetarian dog food?"
(Here you have four sentences, with seven key phrases "stuffed" in!)
Nobody can be comfortable with this over-stuffed blog post, because, as Demopoulos and Holtz explain, the keyword density is UNNATURAL!
Chris Baggott, CEO of Compendium Blogware, points out that search engines determine relevance (and therefore assign higher rankings) based on the ratio of keywords found on a web page as compared with the words used in the search.
Keywords and phrases are your blogging tools. Use them, don’t abuse them!