A keyword is such a simple and so often used term and concept in our daily lives. Yet, often times when it comes to understanding it with respect to search engine optimization or digital marketing we look for a definition.
In the context of written text or conversation or content any word or words in combination that are popular or used often or can tell you something very briefly is a keyword.
When you want to say something using a few words that will make the other person understand quickly what you want to say about then the words used become a keyword or keywords.
Let us now understand what are keywords when it comes to SEO and also digital marketing and its other channels.
What are keywords
Keywords are no special or different words or terms. These are the daily used words and some combination of words that people use to point to, talk about and search for, something that they are looking for, want to know about or read, or want to buy or for some other reasons.
Before beginning to explore, understand and define what are keywords let us make it clear that we are talking about SEO keywords. So, here we will understand what are SEO keywords.
What are SEO keywords
We define SEO keywords as the words that have some purpose which helps users and search engines know more about the content that surrounds these keywords and the content or page that covers these.
SEO keywords means and refers to the important words that we use while doing search engine optimization. These are the keywords we need to start SEO of any website. These are the keywords that help us see, evaluate and segment the results we get from doing search engine optimization.
SEO keywords are the keywords or terms, phrases or words which play the most important role throughout the SEO process.
These keywords are what someone will type in to search for some information or product, services or company, blogs, etc. Keywords are also what the websites use to target the searchers or groups of searchers who use search engines for seeking such information.
Keywords in SEO are also those words that define a web page content and also represent what searchers are looking for.
Let us help you understand SEO keywords better through a very simple example of words we used here, right now.
We said SEO keywords. We specifically mentioned that we would be talking about SEO keywords and not just keywords. This is because the term ‘SEO Keywords’ helps much better in making you understand what we are and what we will be talking about. So, ‘SEO Keywords’ is OUR Keyword here.
The second reason for using that term is because the term keyword is more related to SEO than any other online marketing channel or practice.
This is because the whole process and basis of SEO, which works how search engines work, is influenced by or centred around and strongly grounded on keywords. None of the other channels in digital marketing focus that much on keywords, although it still plays some role in parts.
Third, SEO has a dedicated task or sub practice which solely focuses on how to find keywords for any website.
Like SEO keywords, there is also a term called PPC keywords. This means and refers to the keywords we use for search based advertising which is called as PPC or pay-per-click advertising.
Like SEO, PPC also uses search engines. The keywords used in PPC are the same that we try to find in SEO and use there.
There is another area that uses keywords and that is content. Content marketing is the way of marketing by using and publishing content. Even in SEO, we use keywords mainly in the content or as the header or Title of a content.
But the focus on keywords in the content only grows more when it is used for SEO purpose. If you want to just publish on different platforms, which is still high quality, then you will not that much focus on keywords. You may and will still use these, but your key focus in content marketing is to influence users by what you say and how you say.
Why we need SEO keywords
Keywords in general but specifically in relation to online content mean the important words in a text or content. These are the words we focus on more. Keywords are words that we use to represent a piece of text or content. Keywords help us define and in a way summarize and present a piece of content.
SEO keywords therefore are the words or set of few words that we use for the purpose of and in the process of doing search engine optimization.
These are those important words which we use in our content and on our web pages to help make those pages and the content within reach people whom we want to target.
Without the use of relevant and proper keywords we cannot fully, properly and specifically target and reach people who are searching for the types of websites or content which we have.
This is because, knowingly and unknowingly, people search (for example in Google or Bing) for information using various words that they think represents the detailed information or content they are looking for.
SEO Keywords are important as they are needed for targeting users
Let us understand how we need kewords in SEO. This we understand when we know what are queries.
Keywords and Queries
All the terms and phrases what people to find information are called queries. Whether you type a single word or a sentence, everything typed in the search bar is a query. All those queries look to find information about something.
Keywords are what those queries are pointing to, the meaning of those queries.
Three different people search for three reasons using three queries:
Where to buy formal shirts: query
Occasions to wear formal shirts: query
Types of formal shirts: query
All these queries are about formal shirts. All three are looking for different types of information, yet they all are asking something about formal shirts.
So, the keyword which is common in all three is "formal shirts".
Keywords are the core words about a subject. Websites use these keywords to target all related queries about that subject. Then the search engines match these keywords with all the related queries and terms people search for.
Keywords are the terms which a website and the SEO world uses and optimizes. Queries are what searchers use and type in search engines. And the search engines use both, they match queries of searchers with keywords on websites to find the best match websites for each of searchers queries.
The most important reason why keywords are important and needed in SEO
Can we do SEO without keywords
Even if you do not want to use keywords or if one day you decide to do SEO without using keywords, you will still find keywords all across your page and your content.
You cannot escape from keywords and using these in your content and page for the purpose of search engine optimization.
AND NO! You cannot do SEO without using keywords.
Because whenever you write about something or anything as online content and when that content is read by search engines and even by users, they will always identify some keywords in it.
This is because there will always be some keywords in the content. This is because as we said before that keywords are just the simple words that people use and talk about. So when you write about something then you are going to use those words.
So, you cannot do SEO without keywords. You need to understand how to find & use keywords when you want to start learning SEO from scratch and complete. And this becomes more clear when you read the next section on what you do with SEO keywords.
And no matter you write for the purpose of SEO, content marketing, for social media, for articles or blogs, or even for some offline purpose, you will use keywords.
The only difference is that when you write for SEO you are specifically focused on keywords. But when you write for non SEO or non PPC purposes then you use these but don’t focus on these as much. And sometimes you just mention these without even knowing it.
This is why keywords are important to SEO we do
What you do with SEO keywords
Now people are searching on the search engines using a large range of (yet) specific words that they think will give them the answer or search results which will have the content or information that they are looking for.
Therefore, websites, web pages and the content published there needs to target those keywords so that the content gets relevant meaning and direction.
So, we optimize our online content with keywords. That is what we primarily do with keywords.
For the purpose of search engine optimization or SEO, we use keywords for these three main reasons.
- Make a keyword rank
- We use SEO keywords to identify, optimize and streamline content
Make a keyword rank
This is one of the primary goals of doing and learning SEO. All the professionals and experts started learning it and then do search engine optimization to make a keyword rank.
We use keywords in SEO to make them rank. Why do we rank keywords? Ranking a keyword is the only way to improve search visibility on the search engines. With improved search visibility you reach more searchers and get more clicks. More visibility and clicks brings more traffic.
When you master the art of ranking keywords, you master search engine optimization. SEO experts have worked hard and learned ways to improve search visibilities and bring more traffic to websites. One of the ways that they have mastered is how to rank a keyword fast and bring more clicks and traffic.
We use SEO keywords to identify, optimize and streamline content
If you start reading any content which does not have a heading and sub headings, whether it is offline or online, what will happen? First, you may have difficulty knowing what that content is all about. Then you will have to read through it only to know what it relates to. And if you have to go through that then you might as well skip it.
The content is the explanation or the detailing. But the keywords are the headers or headlines or other content signals that help you know what this is all about. Keywords are like the important signposts or markers which help you know what lies ahead, in the content.
I want you to write only 500 words and you can start writing them now and then come back and read this blog post or article later.
Can you do that?
Of course NO!
First, you need a subject, a topic to write on.
Then when you start writing you need pointers to direct your content and give meaning to it.
These can also be seen as the keywords. Or, these are definitely the places in the content where you use your keywords.
We optimize and streamline every online content with the use of keywords. These keywords are also the headers and the Titles. But these are also the important stop and restart points in the content.
Keywords give structure, meaning and direction to your content. Your keywords can be your important stop and look here places.
Keywords help divide and segment content into sections and give name to these sections.
Importance of Keywords for SEO are these
Search engine indexes content for keywords
When you submit your site for indexing to Google then it indexes and categorizes your content and page for the keywords it uses.
If you write content about one topic but you do not do detailed and complete on page SEO optimization then your content will not be able to target the right keywords.
No matter how good and unique your content is, if it is not using the right keywords and is not optimized for those then it is not getting indexed for the keywords that are right for you and the keywords which that content should be targeting.
The result is that you do not get relevant traffic. And it could even happen that your content and page does not rank for the keywords that it should rank for.
I have seen pages that were ranking for all the not that important and irrelevant keywords. All I needed to do there is find the right keywords and use them properly with the help of on page SEO optimization techniques.
People use keywords to find websites
Yes, this is the most important reason to use keywords. And this is most important importance and use of keywords.
People who search on Google and other search engines always use keywords.
They use words, terms and phrases when they want to find any information or want to buy something.
If you have a content that you want should reach those users then you have to use those keywords in your content.
Keywords help connect your content with their actual users and seekers. Use of right keywords makes your website important as it can reach the audience it is meant for.
This is what makes SEO important for business websites.
Keywords give us insights into what searcher wants
Searchers use keywords to find what they are looking for. What does this mean?
They want to find something. Then they use certain words, terms or different phrases to find what they are looking for.
They may use different phrases but most of those phrases will have some common type of words. These phrases and words are the keywords that tell us what our users are looking.
When you go on finding the right keywords then you know what your searchers or users are actually looking for and you find the keywords that properly represent that.
The right keywords you select are the ones that properly represent your content and your objective behind it. What these keywords will also tell you is what your searchers are looking for.
When you find and select keywords for the type of content that you want to publish then you keep in mind
How to find your Keywords for SEO?
What is Keyword Research
Keyword research is what we do to find out the words, terms and phrases people use on search engines to search for some specific information or product. We do this so that we can target all the viable terms or phrases to reach those people and motivate them to visit our website. This is why we do keyword research.
Think of it in this way. If you want to create a website then you need to know the language in which you can create which means to know the language which a website speaks. Similarly, to target specific groups of searchers on search engine we need to understand what they speak there which is know the vocabulary of searchers on search engines. This is keyword research.
Keywords research also helps us to know who are our audience and how they look at websites like ours.
Before understanding the search vocabulary, understanding of search, how search engines work, why we do SEO, and how we prepare a website for search was necessary, and we understood all these in previous chapters.
Now to better understand keyword research and keywords, let us briefly go through the process.
Search engines are platforms where people search online. These people are looking for information like, general information; about some company or organization; about any product or service; for a place to go and visit; to know what they should buy, eat; etc. They search for that information on these search engines using terms and phrases.
These search engines will then show them results as list of websites with related information. This they do by matching these searched terms and phrases with the content in websites in their index and display the best.
Here knowing and understanding keywords becomes important as it is through these keywords only that those terms are matched and the results are displayed.
We can understand it this way that searchers ask questions through searching and search engines provide answers by showing them a list of websites that have best of the information which they asked for with their questions.
Websites provide these information, general as well commercial or product, services and company related information. And what SEO does is show best of the websites for each type of information or queries. So, websites are looking to target the traffic on search engines. This traffic is the volume of different queries which is the number of people using each type of query to find some particular information.
Keywords are what connect searchers with the list of websites which answers or satisfies their queries in the best ways.
Keyword research in a way is the base of SEO and very important.
The types of Keywords in SEO
These are few of the common types of keywords which you will find and will be dealing in when you start doing SEO.
Head or Main Keywords
These are the main keywords for every page which represent the subject of the entire page. Head keywords are usually 1-2 words long. These are also usually very generic.
Body keywords are the keywords that we usually use in the body of the content. These can also represent a part or section of a web page and its content. Such keywords are little longer than the head keywords, like 2-3 words.
Long Tail keywords
Long Tail keywords as per the name are those keywords which are much longer. Keywords which are more like phrases and are 4-5 words long, and can be even longer, are Long Tail keywords.
These are keywords which we use to search for some generic information about anything.
The keywords that represent the intention of buying something are transactional keywords. These keywords mostly would include words like buy, price, discount, offer, coupon, sale, delivery, shipping, etc.
These are the keywords used when we want to look for specific information to find or reach a particular company, brand or a website. Branded keywords come under this category.
How to find SEO Keywords
Think like your customers
When you think like your customers you start thinking what they are looking for. You start to think how they would find a website like yours or the product that you are offering. Your website is important for your business and you want it to reach your customers. What are the words they would use. In fact what all the different words could be that they will use or might use to find and reach your type of website or page.
This is how you can find the keywords.
Take help from Google
Google can be your best help when you want to find your keywords.
There are main three ways to find keywords by using Google.
Google Keywords Planner
Go to the keyword planner from Google. Select discover new keywords or find volumes. Type in your keyword if you have one or the words that think are relevant for your page.
You can have a list of many keywords which have those words. You will find hundreds of keywords which are related to the keyword or the words you typed in.
Google auto suggest
When you open Google search and start typing words into the search bar then it gives you suggestion for keywords which contain those words. These are keywords suggestions which relate to the words you are typing.
If you have typed in a keyword then Google auto suggest will show you more keywords that are similar to the one you typed in.
Google related searches
When you type any word or keyword and search for it then you can go to the bottom of the search page. There you will find a small list of keywords under the heading Searches related to your keyword.
These are keywords which people also have used to find things similar to what you want to find.
How to use SEO Keywords
Now you need to use your keywords. There are two ways to use keywords.
On Page SEO
One way is to use the keywords on the page. You need to use the keywords that you have selected for a page. This you do by using the on page SEO techniques. This is called on page optimization.
You must have decided your main keyword that you want to focus on your page and write content about.
What on page optimization does is help you use your main keyword in places and in ways that make it easy for users and search engines to find that this is the keyword that you are targeting. It also helps your users know what this page is going to talk about.
There are various on page SEO optimization techniques to do this.
To help you start with on page SEO the first thing that you need to do is use your main SEO keyword in your Title. The Title of every page is the most important place where you should use your keywords.
When you are naming your page then you can also insert your keyword in the name. This is the URL of the page and one of the important places to use your keyword.
The H1 is called the main header. It is usually the first thing that your user will see on your page. Here also you can use your keyword.
Use keywords in content
Second is to use the keywords in your content.
When you write a content then it is about something. That content is also saying something and pointing towards something. That could be an useful information or details about what a product is about and what it gives.
When you write content then you keep in mind what your user wants from you. If you are publishing a product page then you know your users want to buy it and are looking for useful information which could help them in their decision.
When your content is about a keyword then it is natural that it will appear in your content too. So, use your main keyword in your content too. Keep in mind not to use that keyword too much in the content.
Use of SEO Keywords by their types
Head or Main Keywords
The head or main keywords are usually used in the ULR, Title and in H1 tag.
Body keywords are used within the body content and in other header tags like H2, H3, etc.
Long Tail keywords
Long Tail keywords are mainly used in the content.
Informational keywords are more used in blogs but can also be used in product pages for detailed information.
Transactional keywords are used by sellers and are commonly used in ecommerce sites and their product pages. You can also use these in product pages of any business website.
Navigational keywords are more used by brands.