I have long preached that keywords should be located in certain critical locations on a web page or in a blog post and nothing is going to deter me from continuing to believe that. Basically because it has worked for me time and time again. But I have always suspected and now have read a supporting article (see below) that suggests exact match keyword phrases are not necessary in the main content of your copy. In fact that statement should be taken a stage further, overuse of exact match keyword phrases will be detrimental to your SEO efforts.
What is more important is that you have the individual words that make up your keyword phrase included in your copy in a natural way i.e. that the article is easy to read, is grammatically correct and flows naturally. By concentrating on the aspect of keeping the article reader friendly, rather than how you can fit the keywords into the dialogue, effectively means that you will be adhering to Google’s SEO copywriting strategy. Personally I also think that this will make the writing of an article much easier and allow you to cover the topic more effectively.
So yes you do need to put your keyword phrases into the copy but you don’t have to have them there as an exact match, unless of course the exact match meets the criteria outlined, is not done too frequently and is included in a perfectly natural way.
Why do I stick to the ‘title, headings, sub-headings and alt-tags theory’?
Because it is much easier to make a title or a heading an exact match that looks and feels natural. You are describing your main point, or should be, and that is also where search engines pick up their first indications of what the web page is about before then spidering into the rest of the article content where they will find the words from the keyword phrases scattered about. Affirming in the process that the subject of the content is actually covered and that they haven’t been duped by a false lead. What I would say however, is don’t overdo it.
Firstly get your exact match in the title, your URL and the first paragraph of your main text content i.e. do not use it more than 3 times for a 300 word article or 5 times for a 500 word article and then use synonyms in your other primary keywords locations. A synonym is described as follows:
synonyms – plural of syn·o·nym (Noun)
More information on Google’s Copywriting Strategy