Keywords are single words or, more commonly, short phrases that represent the content of a webpage and how people ask for web content. Keywords are strategically selected by optimizers and are intended to help the content of your website pages communicate in a way that resonates with visitors and search engine spiders.
Because they represent what a page is about, keywords is incorporated into body text and meta information in a way that is natural and subtle. When keywords are properly incorporated, readers consume keyword phrases with ease along with the other words in your content. If they are stumbling over your keyword phrases, or your keywords are assaulting your reader like tiny, misplaced sales pitches, then you’re not doing it right.
Keywords should never be used to try to trick or mislead visitors or search engine spiders. You don’t want to target keywords that do not exactly describe the contents of your website page.
Repeating a keyword over and over in a way that is not natural (known as keyword stuffing) is off limits.
Search engines are very serious about indexing and returning website pages that contain high-quality content. Search engines do not respond well to keyword abuse. To be rewarded, your site’s SEO needs to stay “white hat” only.
Keyword research helps digital marketers understand how their clients' target markets describe their products and service. Then, armed with this information, digital marketers are able to use words straight from the customers’s mouth to describe their website content to visitors and search engines alike.
This does two things.
First, keyword research improves your SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) rank. By using the exact words that your target market is typing into the search query in your meta information and content body you communicate to search engines that you are an exact match for this query — not a “kind of close” or “sort of related” match, but an exact match. Since search engines like to return results that most accurately fulfill the searchers’ needs, your website — as an exact match — ends up at the top of the SERPs and people end up clicking to visit your page rather than your competitors.
Second, taking time to research the language your target demographic is using to search the Internet tells you more about your target audience's personality, interests and needs. This information can then be used to shape inventory and create content that better serves your consumers.
For instance, in researching the keyword phrase “organic flour”, you may find that there are very few searches being performed for the term “organic bread,” but many searches being performed for the phrases “gluten-free flour,” “healthy flour,” “how to eat healthy” and “what is processed food.”
With 14,800 people searching for “gluten-free flour” per month — and accordingly an expressed demand for the product — your company might consider adding a gluten-free product to your line. Or, if you already have gluten-free flour, consider increasing the number of people who stumble upon your product as a solution by describing your product in a more specific way that reflects consumer demand (i.e., “gluten-free flour”).
On the content marketing side, a query like “how to eat healthy” tells you, in their exact words, the needs of your target market and what they want to know more about. This puts you in an excellent position to create crawlable HTML written content that helps your community, establishes your brand as an industry authority, strengthens your brand-consumer relationship, and suggests your product as a solution to their problem.
Long-tail keywords string together three to six words to create a keyword phrase that is specific and niche-targeted. Searchers often use long-tail keywords to narrow down what it is they are looking for and digital marketers often use long-tail keywords to get the most relevant information in front of the most qualified lead.
For example, if a searcher is looking for a gluten-free blueberry bread recipe, he or she may search for “bread recipe,” then after seeing results for “Amish white bread,” “quick bread,” and “easy bread” on page one, but no “blueberry bread,” they may refine their search to say “blueberry bread recipe.” When they see a list of blueberry bread recipes but none that are specifically “gluten-free” they may refine their search again to search for “gluten-free blueberry bread recipe.”
If we have optimized for this long-tail keyword phrase by putting “gluten-free blueberry bread recipe” in your meta information and body content there is a great chance your recipe page will end up on the first page of the SERPs for this search query, which will put you in just the right place at the right time to attract a click from a lead that is looking for exactly what you have to offer.
Long-tail keywords allow you to be specific, and being specific helps you get the right content in front of the right people at the right time.