One of the most frequently asked questions by those who are in the process of starting a new website or blog is, what exactly are keywords and why are they needed and relevant to online business so, this will be a very basic explanation of keywords.
If you are new to online marketing and want to know what all this keyword stuff is about, keep reading.
Whenever someone on the internet wishes to search for information, they are likely to use a search engine such as Google, Bing or, Yahoo.
The word, phrase or question they type into the search engine are known as keywords.
The search engines then return a list of web pages it feels are the most relevant to that particular search query.
The listing of pages in a search engine is known as the index.
Of course, the pages that are considered by the search engines to be the most relevant will be listed on page 1 and those with lesser relevance will be listed on subsequent pages.
The order of the pages listed is called PageRank.
Therefore, it goes without saying that if you have a website or blog, you would want to try to rank your article on page 1 or, at a minimum, page 2, as most people will usually not look beyond that so, you will need to target specific keywords in your content to help make that happen.
A broad keyword is usually one word or a group of words that will bring up a vast amount of results that are not specifically targeted.
For example, if you were to type the word Cars into a search engine, you would bring up all types of information relating to all types of cars.
With that result, it would be difficult for you to find the specific information that you may be looking for so, we would need to narrow it down a bit.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are usually a phrase of 3 or more words that are more targeted in nature.
Using our Cars example from above, a long tail keyword would be something like – 2017 Honda Accord EX floor mats.
See how much more targeted those keywords are?
This is the type of keyword that you would want to target when writing content for your website because, while they normally have less search volume, they also tend to have less competition from competing websites, making it easier to rank in the search engines.
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and is a formula that the search engines use to determine what your web page is about by examining the relationship of all the words on the page to the keyword and not just the main keyword itself.
For example, if you were writing a page about Cats, you would most likely also be using synonyms such as a kitten, kitty, tomcat, pussycat etc.
You would also likely be writing about its fur, claws, eating habits and how they are good at hunting mice and so on.
Therefore, when the search engines crawl your page and again, as I stated previously, they are examining the “relationship” of all of the words on the page, they will know that you are writing about Cats, the feline animal, instead of Cats the Broadway play.
This is the reason why it’s important to write naturally while covering your topic thoroughly, as your page will also rank for many keywords that weren’t originally intended, which illustrates how useless it is to include your main keyword too many times on a page, as you will see in the paragraph below about keyword density.
Keyword density refers to the percentage of how many times a keyword appears on the page in relation to the total amount of words on that page.
There are many who still believe this plays an important part in how well your page will rank in the search engines and there are tools available, both free and paid, that will calculate the keyword density on a web page.
Don’t waste your money.
This is an outdated philosophy that is no longer true so, the best approach is to simply target a keyword by using it in the title of the article and again within the first paragraph, then write naturally for the remainder of your page or post, while thoroughly covering your topic.
Check out the video “What is the ideal keyword density of a page?” below where Matt Cutts, the former head of the Web Spam Team at Google, gives a more detailed explanation about keyword density.
Keyword stuffing is when a keyword is overused within your content.
This was an old trick used years ago in an attempt to game the system in order to get better search engine rankings.
Another example of keyword stuffing that was done in years past was to type keywords numerous times in the background but, colored white (or whatever your background color was) so that visitors wouldn’t see it but, the search engine spiders would and therefore, possibly ranking a page higher for those keywords.
In recent years, the search engines have become a lot smarter and have other ways to tell what your web page is about so, do not do any of this.
If the search engines flag your page for keyword stuffing then, your site will be penalized in the rankings or de-indexed altogether and will probably never see the light of day in any search results and you will not get any organic traffic to your site.
Organic traffic is when a user lands on your site due to clicking on a link that was displayed in the search engine results.
Now that you have an overview of what keywords are, the next question is how do you know which keywords to target.
This is where keyword research comes into the picture.
To do this properly, you will need a good keyword research tool that will give you suggestions based on what people are searching for on the internet.
There are some tools that will only give you suggestions but, the better tools will also give you important stats such as search volume, competition and, an indication of how easy or difficult it will be to rank in the search engines when using the keyword.
These stats are essential and should be your minimum criteria when selecting a keyword tool.
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