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Google’s Recommendation For Keyword Placement on a Page

Google’s John Mueller addressed keyword placement on a page –– specifically regarding long-form content. We give you Mueller’s thoughts on keywords and content and how both affect your SEO.

How Will Keyword Placement Affect My SEO?

In a Google SEO office-hours hangout, a participant asked Mueller about keyword placement on a 20,000-word web page. Specifically, he said his keyword focus was at the bottom of the page and asked how that would affect his SEO rankings. You can find the question and Mueller’s response at around the five-minute mark in the video.

Mueller’s response reminds us of the importance of readable, engaging content. He begins by saying, “So… I would recommend that if there’s something that you want to tell us that your page is about, to make that as visible as possible.”

Keyword placement is important, as we’ll discuss. But your goal in keyword placement should be to inform your readers and communicate your point as clearly and quickly as possible. Therefore, focus less on where you place keywords within your article and concentrate more on how your keywords are serving your users.

Keyword Optimization

Instead of worrying about chronological keyword placement, he tells users to optimize their entire page for their target keywords. Mueller continues:

So don’t just put that as a one-word mention at the bottom of your article but rather

  • use it in your titles
  • use it in your headings
  • use it in your subheadings
  • use it in captions from images

Include your keyword throughout your article in places where readers’ eyes naturally look (the title of the article or a bolded subheading, for example.) This quickly informs both readers and Google’s bots as to what your article is all about. Mueller drives home the importance of clarity in positioning your keywords:

All of these things, to make it as clear as possible for users and for Google when they go to your page that this page is about this topic.

So that’s kind of the direction I would head there. I would not worry about can Google get to the word number 20,000 or not.

Because if you’re talking about the word 20,000 and you’re saying this is the most important keyword for my page, then you’re already doing things wrong.

He responds to the initial question by emphasizing that article length isn’t the most important factor regarding keywords and rankings. The real issue site builders should focus on is clarity and how useful users (and Google) will find your page.

Keywords and Content Quality

Value-rich content is the hallmark of a high-ranking site, and keywords are a crucial component of useful content. So as you think about keyword placement on your page, step into the shoes of your site visitors. Mueller gives us some insight:

You really need to make sure that the information that tells us what this page is about is as obvious as possible so that when users go there they’re like yes, I made it to the right page, I will read what this page has to tell me.

As you craft content, strategically position your keywords in prominent and helpful places. Then, write and format your pages, so users will immediately know that you have the solutions and answers they’re looking for. And as Mueller implies, you can accomplish whether you publish a 20,000-word page or something significantly smaller.

Keyword Placement for Your Site Visitors

It’s often said that you write content for users first and Google second, awhich istrue when it comes to keyword placement  Google’s top priority is user experience. If they rank a site at the top of their SERPs, but it doesn’t yield good results for their users, it’s Google who must account for that error.

Create content and consider keyword usage and placement for your users, not for Google’s bots. Consider how the keywords you choose –– and their locations –– serve your site visitors. Google interprets your pages the same way a user would, so always craft your site with your users in mind.

Additionally, ask yourself if the keywords you’re using best fit your content. Many times, creators focus on optimizing for specific keywords only to realize that other keywords are more helpful or relevant to the topic at hand. But, again, irrelevant keywords frustrate your visitors and will affect your rankings.


Keyword placement helps Google find your page, yes. But more importantly, it makes your page useful to your users: Google’s main priority. So take Mueller’s advice and utilize keywords across your entire page to reap the most benefits for your SEO.

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