Keywords in the online world are the fuel that helps people get the results of topics they are looking for, helps search engines rank a website’s content and connect readers to the informative website, and also helps website owners succeed with their websites.
If you are just stepping foot in the online world and you hope to have a website that is going to well-performing and which will be getting thousands of clicks every month, then you are going to want to get yourself well versed with keywords.
This post is a beginner-friendly guide on keywords that will help you know what they are, why they are so important, and how to work with them, among other essential aspects of them.
What Are Keywords?
To begin with, these are phrases that people who want to achieve a certain goal online use to search for something in search engines.
For example, if you were looking to buy a new laptop online, you might type something in the line of “affordable laptops for sale in USA” into Google.
Now, you might be thinking that since we use the term ‘keyword’, it suggests a single word.
This isn’t the case because quite frankly it can be a group of words at times that can consist of up to 5 words or more.
Keywords are also what website owners use to write their website content so that they help search engines know what their content is about and give them an easy time identifying their category and which topics to ranks the content for.
And this in turn helps people who are looking for those topics to be easily matched with the right content that satisfies their needs.
What happens is, Google takes words and phrases that explain what your content is all about and then uses that data to know which content is related to a particular search query, and how that page should rank in the searches for a specific term.
How Keywords Work
There are different types of keywords to start with.
The most common ones are short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Short tail keywords, just as the name suggests, are keywords that have short tails, like a rabbit’s. Lol, just kidding.
Anyways, they are keywords that are made up of a few words, mostly one or two.
These types of keywords are known to be general because they are about general ideas on a given topic.
For example, if you want to know about affiliate marketing in general, you would make a Google search using this search phrase “affiliate marketing”.
And after Google runs your search, you will get results with different general information about affiliate marketing.
Short tail keywords are known to have high traffic because people search for them a lot, but they also have high competition and would be good to target with a fairly new website.
The high traffic is also not good quality that would get you conversions.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are keywords that have more than 2 words as the search phrase and they target a particular section of a topic.
This type of keyword offers information on a very specific aspect of a niche or a topic.
For instance, using the same example of affiliate marketing, I would want to know more about affiliate programs and how they work as part of affiliate marketing.
The search phrase I might use, which is a long-tail keyword, is “What are affiliate programs in affiliate marketing”
Now if I made this search on Google, I would be taken to web pages of the websites that have discussed this actual issue and not affiliate marketing generally.
The beauty of long-tail keywords is that they have very little competition compared to short-tail keywords and the traffic they offer, though lower than for short-tail keywords, is high quality and can lead to high conversions.
Long-tail keywords are quite popular and commonly used.
According to Ahrefs, a study of 1.9 BILLION keywords revealed that 29.13% of keywords with 10,001+ monthly searches are made up of more than three words.
Other than these keywords, there are also LSI keywords.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords which are keywords that are related to the main keyword.
To give more perspective on this, suppose you are writing content and the keyword your article is based on is “How to find the best keywords for your website”
Now to use this keyword properly without stuffing it that would get you penalized by Google, you would have to use other keywords in your article that are related to your main keyword, which is “How to find the best keywords for your website”.
So, some of these keywords can be “how to analyze keywords and get the best ones”, “Factors to consider when analyzing keywords” and more.
These will help you also get to talk about other aspects of the topic in question that will bring out your content as more informative and helpful and you will get good rankings.
Finding Good Keywords For Your Website
If you are going to succeed in the niche you are in, especially if you are just starting out, you are going to want to find keywords that will help you build your website authority fast and start gaining good traffic.
Not all keywords on the topics you are addressing on your website are the best to use.
You have further analyze them and be sure that they are indeed good for your website.
Now to do that, there are certain key factors you look at, which are:
– Search volume – This is the number of searches that are made using this keyword by people who are interested in a topic you are covering. The more the search volume a keyword has, the more traffic your website will get when you use it.
– Competition – This is the number of websites that have used the same keyword for content on their site. The higher the competition, the lower your chances of getting ranked well in search engines, and that means your content won’t be seen by many people.
These are the main metrics you should be keen on although you can consider other ones like the exact clicks you will be getting to your website if your content is given the first few top positions in Google.
Keyword tools are used to know the values of these metrics.
Keyword tools are basically systems that provide analysis on different keywords that help you determine if a keyword is good to use.
Some examples of good keyword tools include Ahrefs, Jaaxy, SEMrush, and Majestic.
You can learn more about keyword research tools, how they work and how you use them to analyze keywords in this beginner’s guide to keyword research tools.
Benefits of Keywords in SEO
1. Helps a website get ranked on various search engines.
Provided that a website picks the best keywords using the help of various keyword tools, they are able to rank well based on those keywords on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
2. Act as the anchor between what people are looking for on search engines and the content that websites create.
Through keywords, people are able to find content they are looking for online and even better content creators get to know what kind of content they should come up with based on how people search for information online.
This way you get a win-win situation.
3. Helps websites know if a certain topic is worth going for or not.
Through doing keyword research and especially using a keyword tool, you get to decide whether a certain topic is worth making use of or not.
4. Draws in readers to content.
This is especially if the keyword picked is catchy and gives the audience a vibe that their needs will be met based on what they are looking for.
For example if a reader was looking for content on cooking fish and then went online and found keywords in the line of, “easy tips on how to cook delicious fish”, they will definitely be pulled to that and will want to read more.
5. Help you target the right audience.
This is because you come up with keywords that are only specific to a certain topic and your content will be read by people who have some interest in that topic.
6. Helps in understanding the needs of the audience.
Through keenly monitoring what people need help on, with the help of how a keyword is phrased and what it is based on, an SEO content creator get to address their needs and that forms a basis for their work.
7. Helps a website get traffic and conversions.
Depending on how good and catchy a keyword is to an audience, a website is able to get good traffic on a post which leads to good ranking and as a result, it is able to have a high conversion rate when the keyword is used right and the content is convincing.
8. Help websites inform Google that a web page is a match for a query.
Google uses keywords to know what your website content is about and it get to use that information to match your website with the audience that wants to learn more about the topic that your content is created around.
How To Use Keywords on Your Website
To use keywords properly on your website, you need to have a good understanding of where to place your keywords which is quite important. Here are the most important places to add keywords to your website:
• In your meta description
This is a short description of what your work is going to be about.
It usually shows up under your URL and page name in search engines when people are searching for something online.
In here, you can insert your keyword naturally as you describe what the content you wrote is about.
• In the title of your article
Google matches your title with your meta description to give people an idea of what your content is going to be about.
In the case that your keyword doesn’t naturally fit here, you can try using words related to it just so that people know what your work is about.
• The first paragraph of your content
This is because most of your readers read the first paragraph just to know if they want to continue reading or go to another website to keep looking for what they want. So it’s important to insert your keywords here.
• In your title tag
This is simply the clickable page name that your audience will see on search engine results pages (SERPs) once they start searching for a specific keyword. Since your keywords must be seen here, limit everything else and prioritize on your main keyword in this section.
Tips On Using Keywords
* Use LSI (Latent, Semantic, Indexing) keywords in your content.
On top of the main keyword, you should consider adding LSI keywords as they will not only help your content be more informative but will also add SEO value.
* Approach your content from the point of the audience
You must recognize your target audience and fit yourself in their shoes because that is the surest way to ensure that you are meeting their needs.
Get to ask yourself questions such as “if I want a certain service, information or product, what would I look for and how would I know a website has what I want?” such a question will help you understand what your audience needs and give you pointers of what to work with in your content.
* Use long tail keywords
They will help you reduce competition for you on a specific keyword and hence reduce ranking difficulty.
* Invest your time in finding a good keyword tool for your keyword research
Getting a good keyword tool will make it easy for you to get many great keywords for your website if you want to publish content on the bulk.
Also, they offer more refined analyses of keywords that will help you get the best ones.
* Mention your keywords as you promote your content
After you have published your content, it is always a good practice to promote it so that it reaches many people.
And using keywords as you promote your content can help increase the authority of that content in the eyes of the search engines and hence improve its rankings there.
Common Mistakes Made When Using Keywords
• Choosing the wrong keywords for a certain topic.
This can be brought about by many factors but the main one is failing to do keyword research.
Always ensure that the keywords you use relate to the topic you are going to discuss and you are addressing the right people so that you don’t confuse your audience or losing them altogether.
• Bombarding your audience with too much use of keywords
What this does to your audience is ring the “spammer” bell and hence most of them will exit from your website, and you cannot blame them.
People want content that is useful and which serves their needs and if you focus too much on keywords and rankings, you lose the essence of content creation, which is added value to your readers.
Search engines will also note what you are doing and you might end up getting penalized.
• Failing to understand the search intent of your audience
You must always know the various ways through which people are searching on a particular topic and what they want when they use certain keywords. This helps you in creating content that is valuable and is marketable because you are meeting their needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Keywords
Question: How can I rank for a keyword that is really competitive?
Answer: Unfortunately if your website is a bit new or hasn’t gained authority yet, this is going to be a very daunting task.
This is because it might be difficult for you to compete with other authoritative websites on a competitive keyword.
If you still want to go for that keyword despite the difficulty, you could try out the following to help enhance your efforts:
• Create a completely informative and interesting guide on a certain topic such that if anyone wanted information on that topic they would come to your website.
• Promote that content as best as you can. Get many people to read it and link to it so that Google detects how good it is.
• Target long tail words on that topic because they will lower your competition and increase the quality of your traffic in search engines.
Question: Do keywords really matter?
Answer: YES, they definitely matter because they are the driving force of a website’s content and hence determine how you get ranked, how much you get traffic as well as how many clicks your content gets.
Question: Can you rank without paying attention to keywords?
Answer: Yes, it’s still possible because while doing any form of writing, you still mention some words and topics in your content that google views as keywords.
But when you want to target specific keywords, you have to use them in your article.
Question: Why am I still not ranking for the content I put out?
Answer: Well, first, you should acknowledge that it takes time to rank for a specific content and hence you should exercise patience.
However, if it takes a longer time to than expected these could be the possible reasons you are not ranking;
~ You don’t promote your content
~ Your content isn’t informative or helpful to your audience
~ You haven’t fully optimized your work for your target keyword
Question: How many times should I mention the keyword in my work?
Answer: There isn’t a limit per se that restricts you to a certain number because that is determined by factors such as length of your content, how relevant your content is to your keyword, among other factors.
The important thing is to use it where extremely important and to avoid overusing it.