If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard the term, “keywords” referred to more than once in relation to your website. And although you may know they’re a critical element in search engine optimization (SEO), you may be wondering what keywords are exactly — and how the heck do you use them?
Keywords are Like a Phone Number
Keywords are words or phrases that help define what your website, and each of your web pages, is about. When researched and implemented correctly, they help Google and other search engines find you when someone is searching for what you do, sell or talk about.
Like the digits in your phone number, the sum of all of your keywords — coupled with the content on each of your web pages — tells Google exactly where to find you. In other words, keywords are identifiers that help search engines pair a person’s query, like “ice cream Madison WI,” with relevant results — in this case ice cream parlors in Madison.
Where you wind up in search results is contingent on many factors, including how well your site is optimized with keywords, how relevant your content is, how large your site is, how long it has been around, as well as other factors.
Based on these criteria, when someone searches for a particular phrase Google looks for matches and provides a list of results in the order of relevance Google’s algorithm, which is called Google Panda, believes is best.
What are the different types of keywords?
Exactly what they sound like, these are the main keywords you’ll use on a web page. For instance, for this blog post, my main keywords phrases are, “what are keywords” and “keywords.” Through a bit of research, I’ve gleaned that these are good keywords to use for this particular topic. They have a good amount of searches each month, and they have very little competition from other marketing & SEO agencies.
Semantic & Secondary Keywords
Semantic and secondary keywords play a supporting role in the optimization of a web page. They’re good to use, but don’t have the oomph that a main keyword has, typically for a couple of reasons: (1) they have low search numbers, and/or (2) they have high competition. Someone who’s novice at SEO may use these as main keywords, or may overlook them completely. Two secondary keyword phrases in this article are “SEO keywords” and “long-tail keywords,” while “marketing and “Google Panda” are semantic keywords.
The truth is that using semantic keywords can sometimes unite a web page in a way that Google really likes — helping improve its authority and ranking in search results. Think about it, would you rather read an article that repeated the same keyword phrases over and over? Or one that offered some amount of variety and nuance?
This is a fancy term for using keyword phrases that are on the longer side. Typically, they fall into the semantic or secondary keyword category, but sometimes these longer phrases actually pack a lot of punch. Long-tail keywords are usually specific, like “wooden MacBook Pro laptop stand.” This exact phrase, researched in a linear fashion, actually gets ZERO searches per month. But its specificity helps produce excellent results, as each word is a defining element — especially “wooden.” Broken down into smaller elements like “laptop stand” and “MacBook laptop stand,” this phrase yields higher monthly search results.
Sometimes long-tail keywords start off with only a small amount of hits, only to gain popularity over time as a service or product gains traction in your industry — making the phrase a more important component of a website.
How to Gain an SEO Advantage
At best, individuals who don’t fully understand SEO people typically choose keywords they believe people are searching for. At worst, they don’t purposefully choose any keywords at all. This puts them at a disadvantage vs. a business that has taken the time, or hired a professional, to create a keyword report and implement optimal keywords into their website.
To gain an advantage over your competitors, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the very best keywords on each of your web pages in key areas including title tags, page copy and headlines. These aren’t always the keywords that get the most hits per month. Instead, they’re the ones that are going to have the most impact on getting you found. If you’re not sure how to do this, Cuppa SEO can help with a customized keyword report and SEO implementation that optimizes every nook and cranny of your website.
Ready to learn more?
Whether you have questions about keywords and SEO, or are ready to move forward with optimizing your website, feel free to contact Cuppa SEO to set up a complimentary meeting to discuss things further. We’re happy to learn more about your business, your goals and your immediate needs.