The Basics of Keywords
For many years, content creators and brands have relied on keywords as one of the many ways to target audiences and inform search engines of their website’s intent. The term “keyword” seems simple enough: something that provides contextual value to those who happen to discover it.
Yet keywords are more sophisticated in the world of SEO than their contemporary definition would suggest. Anybody – whether they’re starting a personal blog or managing a major online presence – should strive to understand how keywords inform search engines and users alike. Today, we’ll take a look at the basics of keywords for those who are new of the world of SEO.
Why Use Keywords?
Keywords, at their core, are indicators of what your pages and content offer. Search engines have not always been perfect at identifying content; in the past, keywords were one helpful way to tell search engines exactly what the context of a page was. While some brands abused this, ultimately, search engines have become much better at identifying real content.
Nevertheless, keywords can be used not only to provide search engines with additional context, but also help guide your own content creation strategy. By knowing which subjects your brand is targeting, you’ll be more effective at pinging your website with content that is consistently on-point.
When to Use Keywords
Keyword usage can be a bit confusing for those not experienced in the art. For example, the frequency at which you use a particular keyword or phrase can be ineffective if you utilize it too much or not enough.
Most traditional analyses suggest that any one keyword or phrase should constitute 1-2% of the content’s total. This means a one or two-word phrase would be used once or twice every 100 words. However, this can be relative: for instance, stuffing 10 different keywords into a piece of content is likely to set off red flags for search engines, which will nerf your page’s visibility due to keyword stuffing.
Ultimately, a well-written piece of content should naturally include references to keywords – optimizing them for particular search targets after the fact (rather than stuffing them in beforehand) is the best approach.
How to Pick Keywords
Knowing which keywords to target is just as important as knowing when to use them – arguably more so. Not all potential keywords and phrases in a niche make for good targets, in part because existing competition may be too much to overcome. Most brands focus on targeting keywords with relatively few search results – often 1 million results or less.
The concept of keyword research is very important and can help save you plenty of time and anguish in the future. By researching which keywords are realistic in terms of ranking high in results and which keywords have the best search volume, you’ll e able to efficiently target the best keywords possible.
Keywords are a great way to start pinging your website and its content with relevance and context. They help brands, blogs and businesses rank more prominently in various results and can be great focal points for broader content strategies. Now that you know the basics, you’ll be better equipped to target your marketing and content plans at the right audiences.