We already know content is king. And since we are creating our own blogs, our information is going to be “unique” and “original”. By saying content I am referring to something that all writers know about and are familiar with – text, words, and phrases, also known as keywords. In this post, we will address keywords for SEO specifically.
It Starts With Your Website Topic
Before defining what keywords are and their importance, let’s use an example of a website and its content or subject matter first. This way you can better understand where keywords relate to the content of the website.
If you have a website that sells hair products, you will write content around the products you are selling, as well as their features and benefits. Obviously, if you write something about the difference between different models of dishwashers, this is not going to relate to the “subject matter” and content of your site.
You may include articles on good hair care, how to dye your hair, how to get rid of split-ends, and maybe how often to shampoo your hair.
Do you see a common repetitive word in this website’s content? Or maybe a common theme? Hair products, shampoo, and hair would be our best-chosen keywords for SEO.
What Are Keywords for SEO?
Keywords are like indices or if you wish, categories. A keyword is something that search engines will look for and validate to use as one of the parameters as to how to list your site correctly.
Keywords for SEO are the word or words that directly correspond to the content you are writing about and the focus or theme of your entire website. Therefore, they will rank well on search engines because they are directly related to the main content of your site.
Where Keywords Are Found
Keywords can be found in many areas, but keywords for SEO should always be in two distinct and totally different places. The first is in the page header of the site in what is known as the section for “meta” tags. We will deal with meta tags in a different article, however, let’s just say these are the keywords most search engines look for (with their “bots”) when visiting your site.
The second place that keywords for SEO should be, is in your content. Keywords are placed throughout your post in the headings and in the text or images. A keyword may be a specific phrase like “hair products”. Throughout a post using hair products as the main keyword, you may also see similar words such as; shampoo, hair dye, and curling iron. All of these words tell you and search engines that the post pertains to the topic of hair.
Problems with Keywords for SEO in Meta-Tags
When the Search Engine technology first became popular and meta tags were implemented, the keywords tag was critical.
Search Engines looked at the keywords in the meta tag and assumed that was what the site was about and listed the site under those keywords.
This was caught on to immediately. Website owners began listing keywords in their meta-tags that had nothing to do with their sites in order to drive traffic to the site.
But search engines caught on and deprecated the importance of the keywords in the meta tags, UNLESS the content on the site, actually matched the keywords. This made having keywords for SEO more important to modern-day bloggers.
How Using Keywords for SEO Works Now
Two scenarios are possible when search engines search and scan your website now. These situations are as follows…
1. You have keywords in your meta tag (and you should have them!)
The little Search Engine “bot” (that is a software program whose job it is to travel around the Internet, and picks up information on ALL sites so the information can be categorized), comes to a site and reads the keywords on the page.
Then this little bot makes a snapshot of the web page. The algorithms then take over and match the keywords in the meta tags to the text and stuff on your site. Remember Search Engines don’t “see”, they are NOT visual, therefore, graphics are not taken into account unless you use the alt tag (more on that in another post)
The algorithms get more and more sophisticated as time goes on. They look for content, keywords, and phrases. (Remember original content!) Using keywords for SEO really matters!
Optin Monster offers a great article called SEO Made Simple: Where and How To Use Keywords in Your Content.
2. You have no keywords in your meta tag so the engine just looks at your content.
The second scenario is used when you do not have your keywords in the meta tag and the search engine can only use what is in your post and images.
This does not mean that it is okay to put your keyword in every sentence at least three times.
NO! Don’t do that.
Overuse of keywords for SEO throws a red-flag to a Search Engine and you will be penalized for it! It should be used and used frequently, but NOT overused.
When someone searches for your keyword on Google, the Search Engine uses that keyword and many other parameters to decide what position for that specific keyword, your website will have and feeds it out.
Now you should have a better understanding of what keywords are and how keywords for SEO is looked at by Google and other search engines to find and share your site to people searching for your content.
There is a lot more to learn about using keywords for SEO, but you now may understand a little better how using keywords can benefit you with search engine rankings.
Remember this simple formula in the future…
“Content+Keywords in the content+Keywords in Meta tag.”
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