Why you should use synonyms and related keywords

Why you should use synonyms and related keywords • Yoast

Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke van de Rakt is the founder of Yoast SEO Academy and CEO of Yoast. Her favorite SEO topics are SEO copywriting and site structure.

Using the right keywords is essential in SEO. Because using the words your audience searches with, will help your posts and pages rank. That’s why we tell you to put some effort into finding the perfect keywords to optimize your articles for. So, after finding that perfect keyword, why shouldn’t you use it over and over again? Why would you use synonyms and related keywords? Well, it might seem contradictory, but using synonyms and related keywords the right way will definitely improve your rankings. In this post, I’ll explain why. 

Variation is key

The main reason to use synonyms and related keywords in your text is that they will make your text much easier to read. If you write a text about ‘candy’ and use the word ‘candy’ in every other sentence, your text will not flow naturally and become unreadable. Your readers will most likely stop reading and leave your page or post. You’ll lose your audience. That’s why you should aim for variation in your writing. For example, words like ‘sweets’ and ‘delicacy’ could serve as synonyms for ‘candy’. And related keywords could be ‘chocolate’ and ‘sugar,’ which aren’t synonyms for ‘candy’, but are related to it and can therefore still be relevant for your text. We’ll go into that later on in this post.

So for your text to be attractive and engaging, it should be varied. This can be done in different ways. For instance, you can try to alternate long sentences with shorter ones. Longer sentences are often more difficult to process and by also using shorter sentences, your text becomes easier to read. You can also try to alternate the sequence of words to avoid too much repetition in your sentences.

But the most important thing is to vary with the exact words you use. Especially if you’re trying to rank for a long-tail keyphrase which consists of several words, such as ‘candy store New York’. Using that exact keyphrase in a lot of your sentences will make your text awful to read. Using synonyms and related keywords, on the other hand, allows you to make a text much more attractive while still being able to focus on your chosen keyphrase.

But wait, what about keyword density?

Of course, it’s important to use your focus keyword regularly and be aware of your keyword density, but you shouldn’t overdo it. In the old days, SEOs tended to stuff their texts with their keyword as much as they could. That way, Google would understand what the text was about and rank it accordingly. But Google has come a long way since then. It can read and understand texts and is on a continuous quest to better this understanding.

I’ll give you an example. If you type in ‘candy store New York’ on Google, the results will show pages about ‘candy stores’ as well as ‘candy shops’. Google understands that ‘store’ and ‘shop’

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This article was written by Marieke van de Rakt and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

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