learn about keywords and why they're important

What Are Keywords?

Keywords at a Glance

When first learning about SEO we all ask ourselves at some point, “What are keywords?”

The term, ‘keyword’ (or keyphrase), is thrown around almost non-stop within the world of SEO. Companies run marketing campaigns that are worth thousands of dollars around a single keyword. But that begs the question, why? Why go through all this effort and resource for such a simple sounding thing?

The answer is simple. Keywords are terms used to define exactly what your web pages content is about. Within the world of SEO, keywords are the words or phrases that people enter into search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) in order to make a search query.

If you were to take your entire web page and condense the content and topics down, the end result would be your keywords.

The Importance of Keywords

This is very important for the owner of a website to know because the keyword(s) on your web page dictate whether or not your page will be able to be found when humans are looking for information on the internet.

The more relevant your keywords are to what your target market is searching for, the more traffic you could potentially have on your website.

Keywords are the key variable that could be separating you from your target market online. When you are trying to improve your rankings within particular SERPs (search engine result pages) so you can gain a higher volume of organic referral traffic, you will have to be careful to target the right keywords.

For example, imagine you are the owner of a dog food company that promotes a raw food diet. You may think it’s a good idea to try to rank for the term, “raw dog”, but quickly realise you’ve made a mistake when you’re receiving traffic that is interested in adult entertainment.

Mastering keywords is just as much about understanding the intentions of your audience, as it is about creating great content. Try to put yourself into the mind of your target market, and think about what they would search for when they are in need of your product/solution. Then, create valuable content that answers those search queries (keywords).

Knowing how and where to place your business can be the difference to ultimate success and ultimate struggle.

Sound daunting? Don’t be put back. There are tools at your disposal, such as Google Keyword Planner, that can help you research which keywords have the most volume and least competition within your industry.

Different Types of Keywords

There are a few different types of keywords. These variations are categorised by the length of the keyword and the specificity of the search. These categories include:

  • Short-tail keywords. These keywords are, as described, shorter in length (usually only a word or two). They are used for broad terms such as ‘golf’, ‘air conditioning’, ‘ski resorts’, or ‘restaurant’.
  • Long-tail keywords. Just like short-tail keywords, this term is pretty self-descriptive. Long-tail keywords are longer in length (three or more words). These keywords are used for describing specific things, such as ‘golf course in Melbourne’, ‘split system air conditioning installation’, ‘Victorian ski resorts’, or ‘local Italian restaurant’.

Short-tail keywords can be useful, however, they are generally more difficult to rank for. Imagine you run a basketball training course in Sydney. You may try to rank for the keyword ‘basketball’, but you’re going to have a hard time outranking the NBL, the NBA, Wikipedia, and ESPN.

In addition, short-tail keywords aren’t very specific, so they aren’t very good for funneling your target market to your website. If someone is searching for ‘horses’ you don’t know if they want to learn about horse breeds, buy a saddle, or go for a horse ride. Each of these searches is targetting a different market.

Long-tail keywords generally have a much more specific targetted action or purpose and are also usually much easier to rank for. Take ‘SEO’ for example. If you’re looking for something specific you’re more likely to search for ‘affordable SEO company in Hobart‘ instead of just ‘SEO’.

How to Use Keywords On Your Website

‘Keyword stuffing’ is a term used for when someone simply tries to put their keyword on their page in as many places as possible. They will put the exact keyword they are trying to rank for in their URL, page title, headings, content, footer, image alt text, meta description, and etc. This is bad practice and Google does not like keyword stuffing because it doesn’t bring value to the visitors on your website.

Try to keep things natural, and put your efforts into bringing value to the keyword. Use different variations and synonyms of your keyword. Then answer questions, provide information and bring relevance to your page.  Make your page an authority on the keyword and it will be sure to rank.

As a rough guideline: try to use an umbrella (short-tail) keyword on the home page of your website. Then branch into more specific (long-tail) key terms as you break off into other pages, articles, blog posts, etc. on your site.

Learn more about how to use your keywords in our guides to on on-site SEO and also off-site SEO.

If you’re ready to start ranking your website on the first page fo Google, visit our homepage at https://marathonseoservices.com.au

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