What are keywords and why are they important?
9 out of 10 online users make use of search engines to look for information by typing in a keyword or a keyword phrase. But what are keywords? To keep it as simple as possible, keywords or key phrases, are the specific words that people are searching for in search engines. You type in keywords of what you’re searching for and in return, a search engine’s algorithms sift through the enormous number of webpages indexed and analyzed by “spiders” (remember those spiders?). The spiders’ crawls through the content of these webpages, which search engines match with keyword phrases used during searches.
As a business, keywords are very important. Why? Because you want to be the business that comes up first when people search for the keywords or phrases that are relevant to your products or services. To stand a chance of being near the top of the results, you need to include those words and phrases in your website.
Let’s say you’re an accountant that specializes in small businesses, you should have the words “Small business accountant”, or something similar on your website to start appearing in those search results. You’re probably saying, “well that’s easy”, but it’s just the start. There are lots of factors involved, from the number of links to the speed and security of your website, that influence how close to the top you appear. We touched on this briefly in one of our previous blog posts called 6 Reasons Your Site Needs an Oil Change. But creating pages and content that include the right words and phrases is a great place to start.
How to find keywords?
Keeping with our Small Business Accountant concept, some keywords like “small business accountant” will be obvious. But keep in mind that it’s those obvious keywords that are the hardest to rank for. Why? Cause every other Small Business Accountant or event larger competitors will have the same idea, so there will be lots of competition.
For that reason, it’s also beneficial to use what’s called “long tail keywords”. These are keywords that may be searched for less often but are much more specific. For example, those small businesses might be searching for an accountant specific to the city that they’re in or that offer a specific service that you require. Those keywords would help start to eliminate the outlying competition. Finding these kinds of keywords and creating high quality, useful content around them can help you get found too, by the same people that may search for the broader, more competitive keywords.
Once you have a list of keywords then it’s time to start incorporating them into your content. There’s no need to “stuff” keywords into your content, instead, focus on creating useful content around each term. You may have read in the past that you need to include the exact phrase you’re targeting a certain number of times, but now search engines are much more advanced. They can understand synonyms and promote articles that may not have an exact match but contain lots of relevant information around the term searched for.
Regular keyword maintenance will help you keep ahead of your competitors and continue to attract traffic to your web presence. Using your keywords in these areas is the most basic way to target your content to searches. It’s not going to immediately shoot you to the top of the results, but it is essential SEO and failing to take these basic steps can keep you from ranking higher in the search ladder.
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