The Importance of Keywords
In the world of SEO, the keyword is king. Google, and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, read the content of every page on your website, and sort it. The famous “search algorithm” takes hundreds of factors into consideration when ranking and sorting your data, but what it actually uses to rank your content is simple: it looks for keywords.
What are keywords and why are they important?
Keywords, quite simply, are words that appear more frequently than others in a written piece of work. When these words are relevant to what a search engine user is looking for, your website is returned to the searcher for consideration. By optimizing your keywords, you are able to reach more users, and in the way that you want to reach them. Keywords show the search engine what exactly your site or page is about, and let it know that your content is what the user is looking for. If the word “platypus” appears 14 times on a single page of your website, there’s a pretty high chance that your page is about platypuses. And, since content is the top ranking factor in search engines, keyword consistency (how frequently a chosen keyword of keyword phrase is used in a particular document or page) is one of the most important steps an SEO can take.
Importance of keyword research
Let’s say your site sells moving supplies. Before you launch an SEO campaign to strengthen your keywords, you need to do some research. When people look for moving supplies and moving companies online, how do they search for them? What keywords do they use? What keywords are the competitors using, and how powerful are these competitors? While this may seem straightforward and simple, it is, in reality, somewhat more complicated. If you’re in New York City, and you want to be in the top results for “moving boxes,” you might think that by just mentioning “moving boxes” several times that you will rank in the top results. Wrong. What about that fortune 500 moving box giant down the street, which spends thousands of dollars a month on SEO and has been in the business since the beginning of time? The point is, it is hard to get into the top ranks for a very broad search term in a competitive market. But with some careful keyword research, perhaps you’ll find that not many companies have optimized for the keyword “sturdy moving boxes,” or “cheap moving boxes.” By targeting these specific terms, rather than the more general “moving boxes” term, you can pick up a great deal of traffic without having to directly compete with the companies who optimize for the broad keywords.
Where to put your keywords
In addition to discovering which keywords to use, you must also be cognizant of where you use them. There are a few tried and true rules for keyword usage which will help you maximize your visibility in search engines. One of the most important spots for keyword placement is the page title. This will be enclosed in tags, and is one of the first things that search engines read about a site. In fact, it pays to put your targeted keyword at the beginning of the tag, for that extra little SEO boost. Also important in the first sentence of the content. Placing the keyword or keyword string in this first sentence holds nearly the same weight as the title tag, as it is the first part of the content that a search engine will scan. Other locations to place keywords include the page URL, in the
tags, and in the meta description. If you’re consistent with this, you’ll make it far easier for search engines to properly index and scan your site, which will ultimately result in more visits to your site for your targeted keywords. Happy keyword-ing!