What are Keywords?

If you've ever wondered, "What are keywords?" then here is the simple answer in plain English. Keywords are used extensively by search engines, so we need to become familiar with them and understand how to use them.

Since we don't want to scare off search engines, we also need to know how to avoid keyword mistakes.

Keywords are individual words and phrases that Internet searchers are using (or you think they'll be using) to find a particular product, service or source of information that you have to offer. They are tracked by search engines and keyword tracking sites to determine what people are searching for and how they go about entering their search queries.

When we use a good keyword phrase in our page content, we're giving a clue to search engines as to what our page is about. If we do it properly, it becomes a win-win situation - the search engines supply appropriate pages for review, and we get increased traffic at no cost because our pages are part of what the search engine recognizes as appropriate to provide to an individual who is searching for a particular keyword (or phrase.)

In essence, we're building pages that match what searchers are looking for. It's a bit like building a product that people have expressed a need for.

Good Use of Keywords

Now that we've answered "what are keywords," let's look at good use of them in our websites and blogs. Good use of keywords means:

  • Pages that use keywords as a focus.
  • Placement of keywords in prominent positions.
  • Appropriate density of keywords.
  • Using keywords in association with our photos.
  • Using text to communicate keywords.
  • Selecting two and three word phrases unless it's a single word that is quite specialized.

We also use keywords well when we pick them such that we can write a page and incorporate them naturally into the title and flow of the text. For example, if we selected "homeschooling programs" as a keyword, it would be easy to insert this into a title, sentence, text link and photo description. It seems like it might make a good keyword.

What are Keywords Mistakes?

We fail with keywords when we try too hard or aren't aware of the basic rules for proper keyword usage. Here are some of the things to avoid:

  • Pages that are not keyword focused.
  • Placement of keywords only in the text.
  • "Stuffing" too many keywords in an article or page.
  • Failing to use keywords in association with photos and other graphics.
  • Using images to communicate keywords.
  • Selecting single words that are simple and common like "factory" or "dishes."
  • Choosing multiple word phrases that are rarely searched for, like "ancient rituals of Kurdish tribesmen."

If we select poorly when it comes to keywords, we'll be challenged and unsuccessful. For example, "earth environmental science for homeschooling" would be a difficult keyword to use to write a page. I can see how one would place that phrase in the title, but how would it be used in a sentence without sounding like we're unnaturally repeating it?

Besides, it's a bit too long as well. If we stick with phrases that are no longer than four words, we'll likely do much better than trying to use five and six word phrases.

What are Keywords Resources?

Not too long ago, experts in the computer world suggested that we imagine how a searcher might phrase their search, and then use those ideas to create keywords. That can work, but it's a bit like a shotgun approach. Instead, we need to make use of tools out there that allow us to see exactly what people are searching for.

One of the keywords resources is Wordtracker. They provide limited free use of their database to help identify keywords. If you go to https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com you can sign up at no cost to use their services on a limited basis. I find them to be an invaluable source of keyword ideas.

Done with What are Keywords, take me back to Identifying Keywords

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